Inspired by their own transatlantic travels, mother-daughter team Rana and Camryn Lebowitz decided to launch their own high-end luggage brand, Royce & Rocket. Obsessed with order and efficiency, growing up the pair would tweak their existing luggage to make packing more streamlined, like sewing hidden pockets into a suitcase lining to hide valuables. In the end, they put their lessons to the test and created the perfect travel companion.
What might surprise people about working together as a mother-daughter team? The interesting thing for us is that there was such a transition from our mother-daughter relationship to that of co-founders. We expected our dynamic to change but the extent to which it has, and it still is, is something that continues to surprise us both. We’ve both grown and evolved so much in response to the demands of the business, and it’s been amazing to watch. The other thing is people have always found us very similar and we’ve always had similar interests and strengths, but we have both really gravitated towards opposite aspects of the business, which has been a happy surprise.
You talk about being “frustrated by the lack of functionality of traditional luggage”—what specifically and how does Royce & Rocket solve these problems?We love to travel and we love efficiency, but we always found traditional luggage to be at odds with those two things. Who wants to spend time putting things away in dusty hotel drawers when you’re in Bangkok? The world is waiting! Very simply: unpacking and packing is a hassle and a time-zap, and traditional luggage does nothing to alleviate that, ours does. Our castle shelves create an organized, contained unpacking experience, where you literally fold down two shelves, stack your clothes and go. It does half the work for you.
What’s the story behind the name Royce & Rocket?
Rana: We moved between London and the United States several times when my children were young, and the “we’re moving” news wasn’t always taken well. So, I would tell them stories about Royce and Rocket, two intrepid characters who were always moving right before we did. They loved it. Wherever we were traveling, Royce and Rocket went there first, and thus made the adventure a little more alluring to a seven-year-old. When I decided to start a travel company, based in a large part around the lessons I learned from traveling with my children, it just made sense to revive Royce and Rocket.
Do you have plans to launch more products? Why did you opt for a check-in size as opposed to carry on? Our carry-on will be available in time for the holidays! We started with a check-in size as it provides the prime castle shelves experience. The shelves are perfectly sized to fit standard clothing items and you have the space, and now the organizational ability, to bring everything you need. Traveling with the Castle Classic feels like bringing your entire wardrobe away with you, hence the check-in size.
What is something we’d always find in your suitcase? Packing cubes, a laundry bag, a notebook and pen, at least two books, a pair of heels, and a ride-or-die pair of walking shoes.
What’s your packing routine and what’s your advice on packing the perfect suitcase? First and foremost, we always set time aside to pack. As annoying as it can be, take the time at home to make sure all of your items are coordinated and organized, so that on the road you can focus on enjoying your travels. When packing, we’ll choose a color scheme based on the location and then take a capsule wardrobe approach, making sure all of our clothing items match each other. And then we’ll pack our packing cubes by item, so one cube is dedicated to shirts, one to pants, etc.
Tell me about the castle shelves and how many prototypes did you go through before perfecting the design? It’s definitely been a journey. We fastened our first prototype out of an old suitcase, cardboard and a staple gun. Once we realized the idea was viable, we collaborated with some brilliant industrial designers to bring it to reality. The Castle Classic you see on the market today is the result of three years of prototypes and tweaking.
Where are you traveling to next and why? We’ve been so busy with Royce & Rocket recently that we’re focused on perfecting the weekend trip. From quick dashes to Nashville, Savannah and Woodstock, to a long weekend out in Aspen and another in Park City, our next two months are packed with trips! We’ve been exploring more domestic destinations than we did in the past and are really enjoying getting to see new parts of the country.