Kish Vasnani, 36, and his wife Vanessa Jeswani, 34, joined forces as entrepreneurs in 2016 after he got fired from his software sales job for not making quota. Vanessa had already left her corporate marketing job and started an Etsy store, where her travel products were taking off. “We wanted to be captains of our own ship and see where we could go,” says Jeswani.
That business became Nomad Lane, a brand that sells travel bags online. In 2020, it generated just under $1 million in annual revenue, which it took in almost entirely in the first three months of the year, before Covid hit, after reaching $3 million in 2019. The company’s most popular item has been the Bento Bag, designed from water-resistant, premium nylon to allow enough room for a 15″ laptop. The bag, which has a built-in phone charger, has many pockets to keep things organized. Funding came from $2.1 million the couple raised on Indiegogo in a campaign where they greatly exceeded their original goal.
Now the couple, living in Miami, Fla., with their new baby, has launched an Indiegogo campaign for a brand-new product, the Nomad Lane Origami Tote Pack, and things are looking up again. As of this writing, the campaign has raised $160,411—far exceeding its $7,500 goal with 18 days left. The bag, which has a similar array of pockets to the Bento Bag, sells for $109.
The Origami Tote Pack took shape when Nomad Lane got hit hard by the slowdown in travel in 2020. To keep in touch with fans of their bags and do market research, they started a weekly Zoom call. About 30-40 customers signed up. During the calls, some of the women who participated mentioned they needed a basic black tote bag where things wouldn’t disappear into the “black hole.” They wanted some of the same features as the Bento Bag. “We kept hearing, ‘I love this bag. Can you use the same principles in a tote bag,” says Vasnani.
Those conversations led to the Nomad Lane Origami Tote Pack, which includes similar pockets to the Bento Bag. The new bag will help the company diversify outside of the travel sector. “We really had to buckle down and figure out what we are going to do with the brand,” says Vasnani.
With the company growing quickly, Nomad Lane’s founders rely on a team of 10 regular contractors and vendors to get things done: their designer, their quality control/factory agent, a social media manager, a paid-ad manager, an email marketing manager, a customer service person, a bookkeeper, an accountant, a web developer and an outsourced warehouse and shipping partner. They communicate with this team about deliverables using Airtable, a project management tool.
Although it’s been challenging to navigate the pandemic, they’re committed to entrepreneurship—and they don’t mind making the sacrifices it sometimes takes to hang in there. “We make money faster than we spend it,” says Vasnani. Fortunately for them, they’re bringing it in quickly again now.