Laura Udall of Zuca - After The Show Blog

By Laura Udall, Founder and CEO of ZÜCA, Inc.

This is my first trip to The Big Idea and what a tremendous day! I arrived at the CNBC studios in time to meet Dan Rather, who was also a guest tonight. What a thrill!

Seven years ago, I was a California mother of three juggling parenting with a career in


corporate responsibility. My daughter, Rachel, was having back pain from carrying her heavy backpack and at the age of thirteen she was diagnosed with 30-degree curvature spinal scoliosis, which was exacerbated by the heavy pack she carried to school each day. Have you ever seen what that looks like? It’s pretty severe. I have her x-ray hanging in my office to this day. As a mom, I was both horrified and inspired. I went to my husband Nick, an engineer, and said “there has got to be a better way!” We toiled away in our garage and created the first ZÜCA, which stands for Z Ultimate Carry-All.

Our first product, the ZÜCA Sport was originally designed to serve as a rolling locker, for students and athletes who need to haul around a lot of heavy stuff. We created it to address a severe and growing problem. Today, children’s back pain and injury equals that of adults, and back pain is the second leading cause of medical complaints in the United States. What we have learned in recent years is that parents started “ZÜCAnapping” their kid’s ZÜCA Sport for their own business and personal use.

The uses for ZÜCA seem limitless and we hear from people about the clever ways it is improving lives. And we are always eager to hear from our customers, because they have great ideas. We have incorporated many of those ideas over the years. We call it “considerate design.” Our carry-alls consider people’s health as well as their need to transport personal things with out pain or hassle. We build our carry-alls to last, so they are considerate of the environment. And we eagerly listen to customers’ input on how we can incorporate new features to address different needs.

Today, there are schools that have ZÜCA parking lots! We have worked with major cosmetic companies who have asked us to design a custom ZÜCA for their traveling make-up artists. Celebrity athletes like Olympic medalist and professional ice skater Sasha Cohen and martial artist/actor Jackie Chan tell us that they love their ZÜCA.

My philosophy on being an entrepreneur is to find your purpose, embrace your passion and be persistent. People may tell you that your idea can’t be done. It absolutely can. When we created ZÜCA, we were told that it wasn’t possible to put the frame on the outside of the bag. We did and the result is a more durable product that offers more packing room on the inside, and creates an integrated seat. Yes, you can sit on it! And because we put the frame on the outside unlike anything else in the industry, we tell people that we literally turned the category inside out.

We continue to grow and our business is rolling (pun intended of course). A few months ago, we introduced the ZÜCA Pro, which is the ultimate carry-all carry-on for travelers. That is one of the most fun parts of being an entrepreneur. The creative juices are always flowing. Our mission at ZÜCA is to lighten the load one back at a time, and we will always be looking for a better way to do that!

Thanks for having me on your show Donny!