Gina Allen

President and CEO of Birlon Sacs

What inspired you to start your business?

My son and a group of his high school and college friends decided to start a travel group. After every return, he spoke about how travelers bags all looked the same and how everyone was trying to charge-up their phones. After his third excursion, I said: “We are starting a luggage company.” He said with much excitement, “Ok, Mom, I'm in!”

What women inspire you?

My mother spent my entire life making a change in my community, always focused on the education and support of youth and seniors. In 1985 she started her non-profit. She had after-school programs, tutoring, clothing closet, food pantry, and summer programs. She wanted to provide the service where the service was needed. She networked with senior volunteers, the public school districts in the area, the city, public housing and family neighborhood services.  I watched, supported my mother, and learned that I will use my voice for those who are not being heard.

How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?

I have had the opportunity to network with some of the country's empowered female entrepreneurs. I am devoting a lot of effort to building strong relationships within the WBENC community. I value these relationships that have led to strong friendships.

What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?

Technology. The travel industry is realizing that today's travelers have a need to be connected. Everyone has an electronic device -- cell phone, laptop, or tablet. Birlon Sacs is part of that cutting edge – 55 percent of our products have technology.

What do you love about being a business owner?

Believe it or not, feedback. I enjoy talking to business women learning about their journey and asking customers to be brutally honest about my product. This feedback is necessary for me to give the customer what they want.

As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?

What's next. I must stay ahead to get ahead.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

Sleep. Being a small business owner, there's never enough time to sleep. Five more minutes please!

What are you reading or listening to now?

Everyone's in Sales by Todd Cohen

What’s the best way to start your day?

I start and end everyday with yoga. Yoga is a total mind, body and spiritual connection. It's a dog-eat-down-dog world out there and you've got to have your body in shape and ready for whatever comes your way.

Fill in the blank:

When I face a challenge, I... focus on the problem, switch the approach to find the solution.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself... start on your business in your 30s.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is... my son. His honesty and support is what makes it all worthwhile.
By this time next year, I will be... hiring more staff, giving back to my community and moving into great prosperity.
The best thing that happened to me last week was...  Going to the Walmart Open Call. I've formed some great relationships with some positive business owners that I can say have inspired me to reach pass the stars.
To get my creative juices flowing, I... go to the mall, train station or downtown and people watch.


About Birlon Sacs

Birlon Sacs are inspired by globetrotters who explore the World. Travel bags for the 21st Century traveler who appreciates our company's uniqueness, organization, durable and finely crafted travel essentials and accessories. Birlon Sacs are designed for travel, business, school, and everywhere in between. Learn more.