President, Rise and Hand Travel Gear - A division of Round Circle Group Ltd.
Industrial Design, 2009
While you may not know Lee Renshaw by name, you may have seen him on TV. The inventor of Rise and Hang Travel Gear and president of Round Circle Group Ltd., Renshaw appeared on the CBC television show Dragon’s Den in 2012 where he was offered two deals. From there, his hanging luggage system has appeared on The Shopping Channel and the Today Show, which led to his invention being named one of the top Christmas gift ideas for 2012.
Renshaw’s Rise and Hang, which features a duffel bag with collapsible hanging shelves, will be included in the gifts available to the stars at the 2014 Academy Awards. He also licensed his technology to global firm California Innovations, a move that generated sales of $2 million in 2013, in addition to his own sales of more than $500,000.
“I was a student in Industrial Design at Humber and I lived in Kitchener. I travelled back and forth, spending nights at friends’ houses and pretty much living out of a bag for four years,” he says. “My clothes were always wrinkled and smelly. I needed a better duffel bag.” He bought a sewing machine, taught himself to sew and made a prototype that featured a built-in shelving system and hamper to separate laundry from clean clothes. “I used what I was learning in class and presented the bag in my fourth year at the Industrial Design thesis show.” The bag caught the attention of the owner of organizational hockey bag manufacturer Grit Inc., who hired Renshaw. The designer and budding entrepreneur spent his spare time over the next three years refining Rise and Hang Travel Gear, landing Air Miles as a client in 2011.
Renshaw is expanding his product line. The travel gear will be in retail outlets in Canada, the US, Europe, Asia and Australia by the end of 2014.
“Humber helped jump-start my career. The design competitions I participated in gave me practical skills such as learning the art of public speaking—a skill I use today to pitch ideas and market my products.”