A chat with Athan Didaskalou

Unpacking the suitcase with July

We caught up with co-founder of July, Athan Didaskalou to talk about good baggage just after opening his Queensland flagship store on James St. You may see Athan rolling into the airport with a July Carry On Trunk in Light Grey (his favourite colourway) jet setting effortlessly between locations to manage the hugely successful luggage brand, or off to Antarctica to fulfill his bucket list. Find out why July is the must have bag to pick up from the luggage carousel, why they re-invented the wheel and how they became a partner of the 2024 Australian Olympic Team.

What was the reason behind starting July?
Richard Li and I founded July as an opportunity to fix a broken industry. We saw that the consumer’s only choices were cheap bags or expensive luxury items; there was a real gap in the market for quality, thoughtfully designed luggage at a more accessible price point. We’re frequent travellers and so it was also fixing a personal pain point – we couldn’t find a suitcase that met our needs, so we made it ourselves.

Can you give us some insight into the design and innovation process behind July’s products.
We did so much research when we started plans for July, including reading thousands of suitcase reviews to find out the key pain points for consumers. Wheels were by far the biggest issue, and we couldn’t find any on the market that would be good enough quality for our case. This gave us only one option, designing them in-house. We actually spent almost half of our initial budget on creating the wheels as they were such a priority for us. Our SilentMove 360° spinner wheels boast a double wheel system that glides effortlessly and quietly across all surfaces and also comes with a lifetime warranty – it’s now one of the things we get the most positive comments from customers about! 

The new July store is a very welcomed addition to the James St district. This is your second Queensland store, what appealed to you about James St to open a store here?
James St is such a premier spot, we always knew that if we were to open a Brisbane store it’d be here. Fortitude Valley has become a real destination for style and travel over the past few years, with The Calile opening and all the other amazing brands here. We’re really excited to have our Queensland flagship store on James St and meet more of our customers in person. 

July is the official partner of the Australian Olympic team for the Paris 2024 Olympics, tell us about how this came about and what it entails?
The partnership began about four years ago when we got an email from a contact at the Australian Olympics Committee who had a July case and loved it. We ended up providing cases for the Beijing Winter Games, which was a huge deal for a young Aussie startup like us. I can’t speak too much about the design for Paris 2024 yet, but it’ll be a beautiful July Carry On suitcase that’s limited run and completely custom. Supporting the national Olympic team is every brand’s dream, and we’re absolutely thrilled about it. 

What has been the most surreal moment you’ve had since starting July?
Our partnership with the Olympics and Commonwealth Games has got to be up there. It’s been a huge achievement and honour for our business to provide July cases to Aussie athletes representing our country across the globe. We’re just five years old, so this partnership has felt like a coming of age moment for us – we couldn’t quite believe it when we got the call up. 

Also opening our NYC pop up last year in Soho. I think every business owner dreams of expanding to the US, so having a bricks and mortar store over there made our international growth feel very real. 

What sets July apart from other luggage brands?
July started because two frequent travellers couldn’t find any bags they liked on the market – so our cases really are the best fit for anyone who travels a lot. Product tech features like the removable power-bank and laptop sleeve in our Carry On Pro really do change the game, helping you breeze through security and keep your phone charged. Our carry-on light holds the title of the lightest hardshell suitcase globally, weighing just 1.8kg, without compromising durability or functionality. To this day, everything is designed from the ground up by our talented team in Melbourne.

Posted on

March 30, 2024