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Company Background/Bio

MINAAL (pronounced min-AHL)

Mission: Minaal makes durable, professional travel gear that gets you where you want to be - faster, happier and more productive.

With ideas borne from endless hours spent in transit, business meetings, and the back seat of a tuk-tuk, Minaal is a new travel gear company aiming to make your travels faster, happier and more productive. They aim to lead the fight against the evil ‘Travel Drag’, which they define as “Anything that slows you down, mentally or physically, from reaching your destination.”

In creating streamlined, stylish, yet practical gear, Minaal is drawing on the founders’ combined experience growing up in the varied climates of New Zealand, then working from the road, around the globe. They aim to attract the ‘ProTraveller’ (that’s ‘ProTraveler’ for you Americans) – the dedicated traveller who wants to remain professional on the road, instead of looking like a backpacker.

The first product to launch is a carry-on bag that opens flat and allows you to pack it like a suitcase. In addition, you can easily access your gear from any angle; the main straps zip away within seconds, leaving you with a sleek duffel-style bag; the separate device compartment protects electronics and is lockable, and the bag fits within regular carry-on dimensions.

Minaal is in development for other products, but they're super secret and we can't tell you about them unless you leave $100 in unmarked bills in a brown paper bag at the intersection of Av Rivadavia and Campichuelo in Buenos Aires (directions available on request).

Points of Interest

--> The founders met and bonded while living in a van with 3 other people, eventually circumnavigating North America on a 27,000km / 17,000mi, 52-day road trip.

--> After travelling extensively, they couldn’t find the perfect gear for their lifestyle; they wanted to travel light and practical, but maintain a professional appearance.

--> After spending years imagining the bag, they prototyped it in New Zealand before living in Vietnam for 3 months to develop it further.

--> The company aims to provide a point of difference with regular brands by emphasising a minimalist aesthetic and focusing on the user, rather than producing hundreds of new models a year to satisfy sales targets and quarterly reports.

--> Minaal was founded by two regular guys with no formal training in the industry, who decided to make a business out of doing what they loved - travel. Then they made it happen, through a mix of Lean Startup techniques applied to manufacturing; willingness to challenge industry 'rules'; and commitment to living the lifestyle they're enabling.

Founders' Background/Bio

DOUG BARBER (Co-Founder)

Doug was born to travel, so much so that the maternity nurses had to restrain his progress out of the hospital doors. He was inspired to design travel gear when he realised his mother’s hardcase wheeled luggage weighed more than half the allowable carry-on limit. With a passion for the ocean, sleeping on floors and clean code, Doug is the brains behind Jimmy’s noticeable brawn. He is currently asleep.

JIMMY HAYES (Co-Founder)

With honorary degrees in street food and interpretive dance, Jimmy is also an expert at writing outlandish things about himself in the third person. He was drawn to making travel gear when his bag imploded in an unfortunate rush-hour incident on the Shanghai subway. He is currently refusing to join LinkedIn or sign documents with anything more than ‘X’.


"Minaal make the ultimate travel gear for productive life on the road. You won't find gigantic logos or hastily-designed products here; just great-looking, practical gear that's equally at home in professional and casual environments." - James Clark, Nomadic Notes

"These guys live to travel, which is probably why their gear is so damn good. Attention to detail + bringing style back to life on the road = YES."
- Dan Andrews, TropicalMBA

"The understated good looks of a German sports car, paired with the maintenance needs of a Japanese sub-compact. As a touring musician, I live on the road; my Minaal gear is always with me." - Josh Skaja, Musician

Press Mentions

iTunes Top 25 Business Podcast. Over 1,000,000 downloads.

“The Minaal guys are making some really cool products.”

Focuses on ‘Innovative Business’. New Zealand Business Magazine of the Year 2012.

“Pack lighter and save time and hassle on the road, without sacrificing good looks.”

A podcast on running a business – from no fixed abode.

“They’ve designed the ultimate carry-on luggage.”

#1 iTunes e-Commerce podcast. Over 20,000 monthly downloads.

“Minaal offers durable gear that saves you time, without sacrificing style.”

Over 100,000 downloads per month. Spotlighting today’s most exciting and inspiring entrepreneurs.

“Minaal are preparing to release a revolutionary new carry-on luggage design.”

Logo / Creative

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