All of Us, a new Minneapolis-based luggage and apparel startup, is partnering with celebrity chef (and Minnesota resident) Andrew Zimmern to launch a line of travel accessories that donate a portion of sales to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Andrew Gamson and his All of Us co-founder, Greig Waddell, have been in the travel and retail business for years. When they decided to start their own brand, Gamson said the team wanted to solve a problem beyond how much you can fit in a carry on.
“Travel has the potential to bridge gaps between people and cultures,” Gamson said. “You feel connected to the people you meet. So we wanted to share proceeds with refugees, who are the bravest, most vulnerable travelers in the world.”
With this in mind, All of Us reached out to IRC, which delivers aid to people affected by war, conflict and natural disaster. According to Gamson, the All of Us team brainstormed several ideas for ways to help, including plans to repurpose or recycle some of their bags. But when they asked the organization what they really needed, the answer was much more simple: money.
This mission caught the eye of Zimmern who joined the brand as a partner, and helped design the bags. Gamson said Zimmern encouraged them to think of funciton, rather than anything “high-end or gadgety.”
The brand was launched through CITIES Market Studios, a Minnetonka firm that helps companies launch products through retail. Gamson works on the brand full-time, and is assisted by Waddell, the general manager of Travel Plus, the company that developed All of Us’ luggage.