’Pitch’ BUSINESS LETTER SAMPLE: Luggage Needs

March 28, 2017

Dear xxxxxxxxx,

This letter is to you to make you aware of a need that isn’t being met in the luggage industry that I believe would interest you. This letter explains in more detail.

Typically, luggage is intended for travel, but hundreds of thousands of people around the world use luggage daily for work as well. The film industry employs many of these people. The largest number of these people are background talent (informally known as “background”).

I am a seasoned traveler, having lived on four continents and traveled to at least 30 countries independently, so regular luggage has always been a big part of my life. However, I have also been employed in the film industry for a number of years, using luggage daily for a completely different purpose. For these reasons, I am able to see that the basic luggage needs and desires of the traveler and background artist are slightly different. I would like to explain the way the background artist uses luggage in hopes that you would be interested in designing luggage specifically to meet these needs.

First of all, background is selected for a role and sent an email, which typically states the following:

    • Bring three complete changes of clothing, including matching footwear, belts, handbags, jewelry and other accessories for each change option.
    • Bring appropriate undergarments for each change. Also, bring under-layers for warmth as needed.
    • Bring loads of options for layered looks and multiple options for both interior and exterior looks. (Union rules require a minimum of 3 complete changes).
    • Bring toiletries, tattoo-cover materials, make up, and shaving equipment.
    • Bring rain boots (or footwear similar to Uggs) to walk back and forth to set to keep your set footwear clean, and bring a cozy coat (typically a warm winter jacket) and umbrella to keep warm and dry between scenes.
    • Do not bring wrinkled or dirty items and do not allow them to become so during transport.
    • Do not bring valuables to set as the production is not responsible for missing items. (This is unavoidable, however, but stated for insurance purposes.)
    • Do not bring bags that must sit on the tables or chairs, but can be safely sat on the floor without your contents becoming damaged.

You may infer that the way the items are placed in the luggage is important to avoid any wrinkling, especially long ladies dresses and business wear. Multiple inner compartments would also be helpful for shoes, and other smaller items that would be better kept separate. Larger separate compartments for weather cover (cozy coat, rain boots, and umbrella) would be useful. Often, workers also have items that go to every set, so multiple compartments help separate things that are regularly changed and things that can stay. The floor is often dusty gravel, wet grass, or another substance that can dirty or dampen the luggage body, and rain leaking through tent tops and tears can also be a luggage hazard. Security features would be mandatory. There are no criminal record checks in this industry and theft is very common. Because space can be limited, keeping things compact is recommended. Unlike regular travel which often allows for unpacking and preparing before wear, this is not possible in the film industry.

There are other things to consider about background’s use of luggage:

    • All background are required to efficiently show their options to busy wardrobe professionals who must choose the best option for the day. It must be quick and easy to show all of the items together, often in a confined setting. Wardrobe specifically prefers items to be on hangars for easy viewing as well as to ensure they do not become wrinkled during the process.
    • All background are required to bring a pen for daily paperwork, and receive their copies this paperwork after the day is complete. In Canada, tax credits also require workers to bring copies of sensitive or private identity documents to each day of work (such as driver’s license, health card, passport, car insurance, phone or hydro receipts, and social security cards, credit card statements, etc.) Background workers keep these documents, that leave them highly open to identity theft, in their bags. A secure document compartment for this paperwork would be helpful for busy workers who can also easily misplace or crumple these important and private required documents traveling back and forth with them to each assignment, and left alone in their bag while they are on set.
    • Most background bring personal items such as books, electronics, artistic or study materials, etc. There is often a great amount of downtime in background work, and people use these items to occupy themselves when needed to to remain silent as they wait, as well as to advance other work skills during downtime. (These are taken in and out of the bag multiple times during the day and require quick access when background are called back with short notice.)
    • Most background experience short notice for wardrobe and set requirements (requirements  are typically given the evening before; ex. the notice can come at 9 p.m. for a call that is starting at 7 a.m.) due to the film industry’s extreme fear of leaking information to paparazzi and other organizations that compromise set security. Luggage that is able to be quickly filled and organized would be helpful for these last minute rushes during unpaid work-time.
    • Most background experience “short turnaround” between film sets. There is little time to quickly switch out items needed, and often, background artists are tired and need to pack for the next day quickly so they can get to sleep. It would be most efficient to be able to pass clothing still on hangers back and forth quickly between luggage and closet.
    • Some background drive to work, and others use public transportation, so the ease of transporting the luggage both in the vehicle as well as by various methods of public transportation is important. (On occasion, there are background workers who bike to set and typically use backpacks or saddle bags.) Lightweight, easily transportable and maneuverable (and in some cases, convertible) products are important.
    • Some background have special dietary needs and bring their own lunch to set. Other background prefer to bring their own eating utensils for eco-friendly reasons, as well as containers for left-overs that would be otherwise thrown out. With many early morning calls and a desire to be more eco-friendly and less wasteful, it is also common to see background workers bringing their own coffee and tea mugs along. An area that could contain these items, their smells and possible leaks would be helpful to keep wardrobe and other items in acceptable condition.
    • Some background are asked to bring pets or SAE (special abilities extra) items to set. It could be helpful to have a variety of compartments that keep these things in mind.

I am sure you know Züka bags. Pardon me for mentioning a competitor, but these bags, however inappropriate for the average background artist, are extremely popular on set with the hair, makeup and wardrobe departments. These bags have sparked interest in background talent for the following reasons:

    • They are very sturdy, durable and have wheel options suitable for varied film industry terrains, such as dusty gravel, wet grass or dirt, and bumpy walkways.
    • They have built-in seats that are useful when “unfortunately there aren’t enough chairs yet” or you are waiting for a transport vehicle to take you to or from set from parking.
    • They are customizable and personalizable, which helps when everyone wants to buy the same bag but quickly identify their own bag amongst the many. This is also an industry with a lot of creative, individualistic people who adore the opportunity to “make things their own” and show their design talent and taste. Personalization can also help with security, because when “everybody knows whose bag that is,” someone is less likely to be able to walk away with it.
    • They have separate compartments, aiding organization and cleanliness, as well as allowing easy switch-outs of things that are needed for different sets, but leave-ins for things that are required for every set. (Zombie Apocalypse, Western, and Robot movies all have different needs.)
    • They are marketed to the professional, so they are tax deductible purchases for film industry people, who are all considered self-employed by the government.

Before closing, if this product interests you and you are interested in delving further into the actual numbers of background members on set in an average day in North America that could be using this type of bag, I suggest contacting the following entities:

Thank you for your time and attention. I have always loved your luggage as a traveler, and seeing your bags are always a reminder of my wonderful days wandering the planet. Your luggage has also been a reminder of my of participation in the creative industry. I hope that creating this luggage for them interests you because I would like to see a longterm producer-consumer relationship between your company and film industry workers—who could be using your products for work every day.

Feel free to contact me at xxxxxxxxxxxx@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

xxxxxxxxx xxxxxx

2017© Charlotte Hansen  All Rights Reserved.

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