110: How DUFL Is Changing The Way The World Travels
Some people get up with that “Monday morning” feeling and head into the office after a laborious commute feeling sorry for themselves. Then there are those glamorous road warriors whose boss wants them in Toronto one week and San Francisco the next. That might sound glamorous but anyone who has actually lived this life can tell you it’s a different story. Flight delays and cancellations slowly drive you insane not to mention missing out on social events at home with friends and family. I came across a company called DUFL that claims to be changing the way the world travels. DUFL is a premium travel service that simplifies business travel by shipping, cleaning and storing your business attire in a virtual wardrobe. You no longer need to worry about packing that big case or even sports equipment. You can just get off the plane and head to your hotel to find your luggage waiting there for you. Today we are talking to Bill Rinehart, the Chairman, CEO and co-founder of DUFL.
Can you tell the listeners a little bit about you and what you do?
My name is Bill Rinehart. I’m the founder and CEO of DUFL. My background is not in travel logistics or hospitality my background is in software infrastructure. I came upon this idea strictly as a user after being a road warrior myself for the last twenty years.
Can you explain to the listeners what DUFL is and how they can have their own virtual wardrobe waiting whenever they need it?
The way it works is very simple. We set out to say if I’m going to go on a business trip I shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time packing, laundry, dry cleaning, unpacking and going to the airport early. You download the app and once you sign up for the service we will send a massive roller bag to your home or business. You’re going to put in all the clothes you typically wear on the road for business in that bag along with all the toiletries you typically travel with and toiletries you don’t travel with but wish you could (you’re allowed to travel with full-size toiletries with DUFL). You send that back to us in our warehouse, we inventory everything, send it out to be cleaned and inventory everything again. We take professional pictures of your entire wardrobe and everything else you sent us so from that point forward your closet is on your phone. Pull up the app, tap on the clothes you want to take on your trip, tell us what hotel you are staying at and what day you’re going to arrive and when you arrive your bag will be there. At the end of your stay notify us in the app and someone will come get your bag and send it back to the warehouse.
What kind of feedback have you had from users?
That’s been the most impressive thing. We’ve had massive adoption from the users. 89 percent of our users say DUFL has changed their life. We joke a little bit that they must not have had much of a life ahead of time but when we’re serious about it it’s a pretty interesting stat. 94 percent enjoy using DUFL and 73 percent say they would be more likely to stay at a company that uses DUFL as a benefit for its employees.
Time is the most valuable thing and what you’re doing at DUFL is actually giving people time back isn’t it?
Yes it does. We’ve coined a phrase we use internally. You hear a lot about the on-demand economy and the sharing economy and we don’t fall into either one very well. We like to talk about the “meconomy” where people are investing in technologies that give them time back. If you start doing the math on how much time it gives back it’s a lot.
Am I right in saying DUFL has business hubs in Europe, Canada, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne? Is the UK included as well?
Let me distinguish what that means. We have travelers who travel all over the world including the places you just mentioned. We deliver to 860 cities in the U.S and 23 countries and counting. Everything is based out of the U.S right now so if you travel to Singapore it’s sent from the U.S. The way we envision it to roll out if you look out over a year or two we would have actual hubs and facilities in all those locations.
What’s next on your roadmap? Are there any plans to expand the brand into other areas?
There are a couple of things, one of which we’re doing right now and one we’re playing with down the road. We have a program called DUFL bits. We’ve been approached by multiple brands that would like to put samples in the bags for the consumers. These are things like protein bars, lotions, soaps and things like that. The next thing is we track all of your clothing. We know your brands, your size, your colors and your styles. We know what you like to wear in Miami versus what you like to wear in London. We’ve been overwhelmingly told by our customers they want to be able to buy things from us and have us put it in their closet. So I think you will see us in the e-commerce business sooner than later.
What’s the best way for people to find out how to get up and running with DUFL?
The best way is to go to the website www.dufl.com