I spent an afternoon with Sean Derivan, the new owner of Jesse Luggage.
I was intrigued to see the whole operation as Al Jesse is a good friend of mine and the similarities of Sean and Al are very evident of how Jesse Luggage produces its product, formerly made Al now made by Sean – They both have the exact same mindset, to provide you with the absolute best hard luggage money can buy.
Tell us about the company, what were your humble beginnings?
Jesse Luggage Systems was founded in 1993 by Al Jesse, a well-known motorcycle adventure traveler.
Jesse Luggage new owner Sean Derivan, owner of Precision Metal Mfg, LLC. In Mesa, AZ. has been manufacturing aluminum panniers for Al since 2007.
Jesse Luggage was sold to Sean in 2017 and we’ve been refining our products ever since. We believed that there were some changes that could be made to improve our products and we went to work. Today, we build the most durable panniers in the world.
***I walked around the shop with Sean and have to say it is one of the cleanest metalworking shops I have ever stepped foot in, and I used to be in this business for decades
What was the first product, and do you still make it/ sell it or something like it?
We can’t take credit for introducing the first product developed by Jesse Luggage, but motorcycle panniers have been the core of the business for many years. Al had the vision to make the best aluminum panniers on the market. Make one product and be the best, we are now following those same principals, refining design, structure, and strength.
This is evident in the New Challenger series and also in the new more economical Baja series
How do you test your products before offering them for sale, any unique methods?
All of our products are tested in various ways. Our panniers are rigorously tested for durability by using destructive testing procedures. We literally beat them to a pulp to identify the weak spots, then address any issues that we find.
Where do you get your inspiration, your thoughts, and ideas, do you accept suggestions from customers/ friends?
Most of our inspiration comes from our customers. We listen carefully, and although we can’t address every idea that is given to us, we try to apply it somewhere. We do have a few things in the pipeline that we are currently designing. Some things take a while to bring to fruition.
Do you have a product in your line that you feel is genius, but the public doesn’t buy too many of but you feel they should, could you highlight that?
Absolutely! Soft luggage adapter plates. We offer an adapter plate that will allow our customers to install either Wolfman Luggage or Mosko Moto soft luggage to our racks. This gives them the ability to switch between hard luggage and soft luggage in just a few minutes. A huge benefit for those who travel afar as well as do a lot of off-roading. We are also beginning production on our new Baja panniers. The Baja will be our economy line, designed to keep some of the smaller, more economical bikes in mind.
Which product is your best seller?
Our best selling product by far is the new Challenger 10” panniers along with the mounting racks for the BMW R1200 and R1250 GS/A followed by a close second with the same parts to fit the KTM 1090/1190/1290. In fact, keeping these in stock has proven to be quite a “challenge” ?
Are any/all your products made in house?
All of our panniers and racks are CNC cut and formed, then hand built in house by our team of skilled craftsmen. Our panniers are fully MIG welded inside and TIG welded outside, then hand finished before being sent to our powder coater here in Arizona for a super durable finish, inside and out.
Do you keep much product in stock?
Yes, we have actually doubled our on-hand stock by over 100%, so in a lot of cases we can ship the very same day
How long does it take from an idea, to design, to prototype, to the final product on the shelf?
Usually, several iterations are needed to get the product finalized and ready for the treacherous journey that some of our customers will take them on. It can take as little as a day or two, all the way up to a year, depending on the complexity.
Could you say that all or a large part of your product line is U.S. made?
Absolutely! With only one exception that I can think of, and that’s our gasket material. ALL of our other products are made right here in the USA. Most of which are built right here in our facility in Mesa, AZ.
Do ADVrider and its inmates play a big part in your business, do you offer any kind of incentive or discount for inmates?
ADVrider is where we go for exciting stories and creative builds. The inmates are always a super helpful community and we find it inspiring to see what everyone is doing.
all images by rtwPaul and Jesse Luggage