Virgin StartUp of the Week - SAINT LUKE

Tessa Holladay is the founder of SAINT LUKE, a London-based startup that makes beautiful travel bags with one crucial difference - they also help make the world a better place. Every bag sold pays for the resources to provide 40 people in developing countries with clean water for up to five years. Pretty amazing. Let's find out more!

We choose one Virgin StartUp company to be featured on each week. We ask our startups of the week to deliver the ultimate elevator pitch. What would they say if they had one minute in a lift with Sir Richard Branson? Please answer the questions below, keeping each answer to five sentences max. 

Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does

SAINT LUKE is a socially conscious travel wear brand that takes inspiration from culture, exploration & individuality to create vibrant & unique products.  Working with strong colours and bold prints, we create travel bags built to last using strong canvas, and designed to make every customer feel like they’re on their next adventure with every use.  For every bag bought, SAINT LUKE donates the funds to provide the materials and resources for 40 people in underdeveloped parts of the world to receive clean water for up to 5 years.

Floor 1 to 2 - Where are you based?

London and, hopefully soon, anywhere in the world I’m needed!

Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?

At SAINT LUKE we believe that businesses can and must be a force for good. Our motto is to ‘do what you love & help along the way’ - we want to build an energetic company that not only sells high-quality, inspiring, colourful products, but also cares for people and the planet.

Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?

Herschel, Longchamp, Northface, WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie…

Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?

You only need to look at one of our bags to realise why they’re unique!

Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?

The market for luggage is, in one word: boring. The same plain dark grey wheelie bag is dragged out for business trips and annual holidays alike.  Yet - when we touch down in Barbados or Ibiza, even the most reserved of us undergoes a transformation. You’re no longer afraid to whip out the garish and loud swimming trunks – after all, you’re on holiday and the rules no longer apply. That flamboyant turquoise linen shirt finally gets its outing and those bright yellow shorts get their time to shine - you're tanned, you’re confident, you're carefree… it is this unique “good vibes” feeling that SAINT LUKE is built around.

Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?

We received £7,000

Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?

The funding went towards the materials needed to produce our first 500 bags.  Each aspect of the product was carefully selected over 12 months of intense research across the globe, to make sure every part of the bag was exactly as we imagined it.  We were determined not to compromise on quality or the design, and the funding meant we were able to create our exact vision!

Floor 8 to 9 – Who’s your Virgin StartUp Mentor?

Sam Tilston - CMO at Storm Technolgies & Waterfox Browser.

Floor 9 to 10 – What’s your workspace like?


I either work from home in Maida Vale, or from the Southbank Centre by the river – they have a dedicated work space on the 6th floor which overlooks the Houses of Parliament and the London eye – it’s incredibly inspiring.

Floor 10 to 11 – where will your business be in 12 month’s time?

Growing, stable and profitable, with a wider range of bags, and starting to move into other related products. Widening the positive difference we can make by finding more great charitable projects for us to get behind!

Connect with SAINT LUKE on Twitter.

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