Amber Waldeier, a resident of Liberty, has turned a personal frustration into an innovative solution with her creation, Zipplicity Un-Luggage. After undergoing hip surgery and recovering for several months, Waldeier and her family planned a beach vacation to celebrate her improved health. However, the prospect of paying exorbitant luggage fees bothered her, leading her to develop a unique neck pillow that could double as storage for clothing, swimsuits, towels, and other travel essentials.
Her initial attempts involved using quilters’ cotton, although the material lacked flexibility. Undeterred, Waldeier persevered, incorporating zippers into her designs. Encouraged by her family, she saw an opportunity not only to reduce baggage but also to save money for activities and excursions, emphasizing the importance of creating lasting memories.
Motivated by her vision, Waldeier applied for a provisional patent, which she received in August 2019. In October of the same year, she and her family traveled to Mexico with some of the earliest prototypes. After refining her design with a better pattern and more forgiving fabric, she sewed an additional 50 to 60 pillows.
As she delved deeper into the manufacturing process, Waldeier sought guidance from a local cut and sew shop, Fashion Tech KC, run by Laura Treas in the West Bottoms area of Kansas City. The shop empowers women by providing training and opportunities for those transitioning out of shelters or facing refugee status.
With her creation now officially known as Zipplicity Un-Luggage, Waldeier found support from Jolinda McClintock, the full-time business facilitator for the Liberty Economic Development Corporation’s initiative aimed at supporting small businesses in the area.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges for Waldeier’s business, as travel restrictions and lockdown measures led to a decline in sales. However, she persevered and utilized a stimulus check to purchase the full patent in August 2022, marking three years of dedicated effort invested in her project.
In June of the previous year, Waldeier relaunched sales and explored new avenues, including partnerships with online platforms such as Amazon and Uncommon Goods. Her initial order quickly sold out. Additionally, a video demonstrating the packing process using the Zipplicity Un-Luggage neck pillow went viral, further raising awareness and interest in her innovative travel accessory.
Waldeier envisions her creation as a convenient solution for travelers, allowing them to pack three days’ worth of summer clothes efficiently. The neck pillow design also facilitates passing through TSA security, as it is regarded as a comfort accessory rather than conventional luggage.
Through her determination and entrepreneurial spirit, Amber Waldeier has transformed a personal inconvenience into a promising business venture, offering travelers a practical and space-saving solution with Zipplicity Un-Luggage.