High-resolution images with captions are available via our Dropbox here: bit.ly/refined-traveler-images
Pictured: a travel bag by Refined Traveler ($200). Photo © 2018 Alex Ratajczyk
- Started in August 2018 by Brian Roberts, Refined Traveler sells backpacks, duffel bags and other sustainable, premium travel accessories.
- The brand does no paid advertising. Instead, that cost plus a portion of profits from each bag sold go to good causes.
- Sammy’s Hope, a non-profit, all-volunteer animal rescue organization based in Sayreville, is Roberts’ first local recipient.
- Roberts donated 100% of the revenue from his first sale ($200) to Sammy’s Hope.
- In lieu of writing typical promotions, Roberts is using his freelance writing experience to help tell the stories of the good causes the brand will support.
- Hiring local is also a priority. Despite cheaper help available remotely, both offshore and across the country, Roberts’ team is 100% Sayreville-based.
- “When you support us, you’re supporting people who live locally. You’re supporting positive causes locally. We’re an online business with plans to serve customers from all over, but home is still home... and home will always be our priority.” - Brian Roberts, Founder, Refined Traveler
|Roberts is seeking help from readers in finding the next best local organization to support in Middlesex County. The reader whose cause is chosen will get a free travel bag ($200 value).|
A former freelance journalist, Roberts was inspired to start the brand after a weeklong assignment in Fiji last year, where he interviewed luminaries like Joe Gebbia, the co-founder of Airbnb, self-help icon Tony Robbins, and winners of a Shopify business building competition.
His brand, Refined Traveler, sells backpacks, duffel bags and other premium travel accessories. But the brand's mission isn’t all about travel. It's about people.
"We just want to do as much good as possible" said Roberts.
In a radical departure from business as usual for most companies, Roberts has decided to skip on paid advertising all together, opting to redirect those funds, plus a portion of the profits from each travel bag sold, to good causes. He’s starting close to home, too.
Sammy’s Hope, a non-profit, all-volunteer animal rescue organization based in his hometown of Sayreville, is the first recipient of Roberts and his company’s giving pledge. But the support isn’t just monetary.
Roberts plans to use his freelance journalism background to help tell the stories of the people behind these good causes.
In addition, Roberts has pledged to source talent exclusively from his hometown, and neighboring towns, at the outset. Despite cheaper help available remotely, both offshore and across the country, Roberts’ team is 100% Sayreville-based.
“When you support us, you’re supporting people who live in your town. You’re supporting positive causes in your town. We’re an online business with plans to serve customers from all over the world, yes, but home is still home... and home will always be a priority to us.”
About Brian Roberts
Pictured: Brian Roberts, founder of Refined Traveler, wearing two of his brand’s vegan leather bags. Photo © 2018 Alex Ratajczyk
Brian Roberts is the founder of Refined Traveler, a luxury travel bag brand, and former freelance journalist. His writing has been covered by The Washington Post, and featured in Forbes, Time, Inc., Entrepreneur, Business Insider, CNBC, USA Today and more.
Roberts has interviewed everyone from rap superstars like DJ Khaled and French Montana to billionaires like Mark Cuban, Bill Marriott, Chairman of Marriott International, and Joe Gebbia, the co-founder of Airbnb, to Brad Parscale, President Trump’s 2020 campaign manager.
Roberts has guest lectured at Rutgers University and Penn State, and received honors from the U.S. Senate, Congress, House of Representatives, Borough of Sayreville and the South Amboy-Sayreville Chamber of Commerce for his pro-bono, local mentorship work.
About Refined Traveler
Pictured: a model wearing one of Refined Traveler’s vegan leather bags. ($200 USD). Photo © 2018 Brian Roberts
Refined Traveler is a luxury travel bag brand empowering travelers with products that look good, while inspiring them to do good, through sustainable, high-quality luggage, while donating a percentage of profits to charity. Made using ultra-soft vegan leather, each bag is 100% PVC and animal-free. All are compact, lightweight, water/UV resistant and meet TSA carry-on size requirements.
Additional Talking Points
- TRAVEL: From packing lists tips to best practices for extended travel, Roberts has no shortage of travel insight. His guest post for Forbes, Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Travel In Your Early 20’s, was his most controversial story ever, seen by 250,000 readers to date. Roberts can also talk about the benefits and downsides of traveling in your early 20’s, based on his own experience traveling all across America—and the world—by 26.
- COMMUNICATION: If it involves putting words together, Roberts can speak on it with authority. Roberts has written for everyone from his favorite local newspapers, like the Home News Tribune, to dozens of leading global media. His Rutgers University guest lecture was on communication, and his most popular story for Time, How To Sound More Confident, was in collaboration with his former public speaking professor.
- BUSINESS: Roberts has traveled tens of thousands of miles and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs. He can speak about everything from his past failures in business to his motivations for starting Refined Traveler. One of his most popular stories for Entrepreneur, 7 Things I Wish I Knew When I Began As An Entrepreneur, details several hard lessons learned.