Away (luggage)

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Away
Private
IndustryTravel
Founded2015; 4 years ago (2015) in New York City, New York, United States
Founders
Headquarters
New York City
ProductsBaggage, Travel accessories
Websiteawaytravel.com

Away is an American travel and lifestyle brand.[1] It is best known as a luggage designer, manufacturer and retailer, and led by founders, Stephanie Korey and Jennifer Rubio, in New York City.[2][3][4] Rubio and Korey started Away in 2015; they have raised $31 million in financing and sold more than 300,000 suitcases.[5] It is one of the highest funded female-backed startups.[6]

The company primarily sells products online, but also has brick and mortar locations in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin.[7] Its newest storefront opened up in London in August 2018, and is the company's UK flagship location.[8] Away is a direct-to-consumer retailer, which allows the company to sell directly to consumers without third-party wholesalers or distributors. Its products are available throughout the U.S. and in Europe.[9] The company has also released a book The Places We Return To and publishes the digital magazine Here and the podcast Airplane Mode.[10]

History[edit]

Stephanie Korey and Jennifer Rubio met in 2011 as former colleagues on the early executive team at Warby Parker. They founded Away in 2015.[11] By November 2015, the company had raised $2.5 million in seed funding from investors Accel Partners and Forerunner Ventures.[12]

Away released the book, The Places We Return To, which featured travel stories from 40 people around the world, including artists, influencers and editors. Korey and Rubio sold the book with a gift card to purchase the company's first product, "The Carry-On", which became available to ship in February 2016.[13][14] In September 2016, the company raised an additional $8.5 million in Series A funding for expansion.

In its first fiscal year (2016), the company sold US$12 million in luggage.[15] The next year, Away had grown to 66 employees and projected more than $50 million in sales.[16][17] The company raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Global Founders Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Comcast Ventures, and Accel Partners in May 2017.[18][19]

Away expanded into editorial content with the launch of a podcast called Airplane Mode in May 2017, and in July 2017, a print and digital travel magazine, Here, which includes city guides, travel essays, and photo journals.[20]

The company was included on the Built in NYC "Startups to Watch in 2018" list and named a "Breakthrough Brand with Ingenious Marketing" by Adweek.[21] Fast Company recognized Away as one of the "2018 Top 10 Most Innovative Companies", and the company was a recipient of Surface Travel Awards.[22]

As of May 2018, Away had more than 150 employees and announced plans to expand jobs across the company, including a relocation of its headquarters in New York City.[23]

In May 2019 the company secured $100 million of investment and reach total valuation of $1.4 billion. The funding round was led by Wellington Management, as well as Baillie Gifford,  Lone Pine Capital and Global Founders Capital. The money will go for building brick-and-mortar stores and expanding travel gear.[24]

Founders[edit]

Korey and Rubio are 2016 and 2015 Forbes 30 under 30 alumns, respectively.[25][26] The duo, who had previously become executives at Warby Parker on the same day when it had 20 employees, jointly appeared on the 2017 Inc. 30 under 30 list.[27] In June 2018, Korey and Rubio were recognized as winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 New York Award.[28]

Products[edit]

carry-on from the top

Away produces and markets a variety of travel accessories, using a direct-to-consumer business model.[29] The company's most well-known products are suitcases with: ejectable batteries for charging devices,[30] scratch-resistant hard polycarbonate shells, YKK zippers, interior organization including a compression pad to make more space,[31] TSA-approved locks,[32] a removable laundry bag[33] and 360 degree Hinomoto spinner wheels.[34]

The Carry-On was developed based on the focus group and survey responses from hundreds of travelers.[35] Vogue announced the creation of the luggage in November 2015, labeling it "The Perfect Carry-On."[32] By October 2016, it had launched three additional sizes: The Bigger Carry-On; The Medium; and The Large. The Bigger Carry-On was an honoree in the 2017 Fast Company Innovation By Design Awards.[36] Away released the "Aluminum Edition" luggage in March 2018 made from anodized aluminum alloy.[37]

The company also launched additional travel accessories, including: The Everywhere Bag, The Signature Garment Bag, The Dopp Kit and The Insider Packing Cubes.

All luggage products have lifetime guarantees.[27]

Collaborations[edit]

In 2017, Away collaborated with Rashida Jones,[38] Madewell,[39] Pop & Suki,[40][41][42] Gray Malin[43], NBA,[44] Star Wars[45] and the Hotel Amastan Paris to release limited edition colorways of their signature cases.[46]

Due to the brand's celebrity appeal, People dubbed the luggage "the little black dress of luggage" in August 2017.[47]

Regulation[edit]

In response to fire and safety concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration several airlines announced plans to institute bans on smart luggage equipped with lithium-ion batteries effective January 15, 2018. This new regulation outlined that lithium-ion batteries cannot be checked in the cargo hold. The Away luggage sizes that contain built-in lithium-ion batteries (the two carry-on sizes, The Carry-On and The Bigger Carry-On) have a battery that pops out from the internal holder with the push of a button for ease of removal in the event that the carry-on is gate checked. Earlier iterations of this product required users to remove the battery from the inside of the suitcase. For the older version of the product, a Transportation Security Administration-approved screwdriver was included with the purchase for battery removal whenever the product was required to be gate-checked.[48] For either version of the carry-on sizes containing a built-in battery, the Away battery can be removed for use as a power source during travel,[49] which is compliant with industry rules.[50] The company released a video and dedicated page on its website to address the issue.[51]

Corporate identity[edit]

Away has a partnership with Peace Direct, a nonprofit that works to build sustainable peace for people who live in conflict zones.[52] In April 2018, the company announced that it would be supporting Kode With Klossy, an organization founded by Karlie Kloss that teaches girls to code.[53] Away has partnered with other organizations, including Charity: Water, an organization that provides clean drinking water to people in areas of need.[54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ahiza Garcia (October 24, 2017). "The founders of Away changed the luggage industry after a travel mishap". CNN Money.
  2. ^ Cat Zakrzewski (September 8, 2016). "Luggage Maker Away Raises $8.5M for International Expansion". The Wall Street Journal.
  3. ^ Diana Ransom (June 12, 2017). "This $48 Million Luggage Company Has Big Plans for Your Next Trip". Inc.
  4. ^ Gina Baksa (October 2017). "Get Away with the Thoughtful Luggage for Today's Traveller". Luxurious Magazine.
  5. ^ NewsCred (April 17, 2018). "How Away Brings Its Brand to Life through Content Marketing". Insights.
  6. ^ Susie Gharib (October 18, 2017). "This CEO is Leading a New Wave of Female Entrepreneurs". Fortune.
  7. ^ Emma Whalen (November 6, 2017). "New York-Based Travel Brand Launches First Texas Store at Domain Northside". Community Impact.
  8. ^ Sykes, Andrew (August 14, 2018). "Away travels to Seven Dials for first UK store". Retail Times. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  9. ^ Natalie Theodosi (May 1, 2018). "Away Jets to Europe With New Collaboration Series". Women's Wear Daily.
  10. ^ Megan Doyle (September 13, 2017). "Luggage Brand Away Launches Pop-Up Hotel in Paris". Business of Fashion.
  11. ^ Ilyse Liffreing (August 14, 2017). "Inside Away's Instagram Strategy". Digiday.
  12. ^ Talia Avakian (November 9, 2015). "A Pair of Former Warby Parker Execs Are Attempting to Create the Perfect Carry-On Bag". Business Insider.
  13. ^ Burt Helm (July 2017). "How This Company Launched With Zero Products-- and Hit $12 Million in First-Year Sales". Inc.
  14. ^ Véronique Hyland (December 22, 2015). "The Duo Trying to Make Travel More Glamorous". The Cut.
  15. ^ Howard, Caroline (December 20, 2017). "Can A Cult Instagram Account Turn Away Into A Top Travel Brand?". Forbes. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  16. ^ Taylor Boozan (October 26, 2017). "Away's New Collaboration With Gray Malin Was Made For Wanderlusts". Forbes.
  17. ^ Anthony Noto (May 19, 2017). "Karlie Kloss Backs Travel Brand Away in $20M Series B". New York Business Journal.
  18. ^ Josh Constine (May 19, 2017). "Away Nears 100k Stylish Suitcases Sold as it Raises $20M". Tech Crunch.
  19. ^ Vicki M. Young (May 19, 2017). "Luggage Company Away Secures $20M". WWD.
  20. ^ NewsCred (April 17, 2018). "How Away Brings Its Brand to Life through Content Marketing". Insights.
  21. ^ Liz Warren (January 16, 2018). "Built In NYC's 50 Startups to Watch in 2018". Built In NYC.
  22. ^ "The World's Most Innovative Companies 2018 Honorees By Sector". Fast Company. 2018.
  23. ^ Maura Brannigan (May 21, 2018). "Away Is Set To Hire More Than 200 New Employees In A Major Expansion". Fashionista.
  24. ^ "Trendy luggage brand Away packs on $100M, rolls past $1.4B valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  25. ^ "Forbes 2016 30 Under 30: Retail & E-Commerce". Forbes. January 4, 2016. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  26. ^ Rooney, Jennifer (January 5, 2015). "The 30 Under 30 Setting A New Standard In Marketing And Advertising". Forbes. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  27. ^ a b Ransom, Diana (June 12, 2017). "This $48 Million Luggage Company Has Big Plans for Your Next Trip: These two former Warby Parker execs want to sell you way more than your next piece of luggage". Inc. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  28. ^ https://www.ey.com/us/en/newsroom/news-releases/news-ey-announces-winners-for-the-entrepreneur-of-the-year-2018-new-york-award
  29. ^ The Economist (November 16, 2017). "A New Class of Startup is Upending America's Consumer-Goods Industry". The Economist.
  30. ^ http://www.travelandleisure.com/style/travel-bags/smart-luggage-with-removable-battery
  31. ^ https://www.travelpulse.com/news/travel-technology/the-high-tech-carry-on-luggage-safe-for-flying.html
  32. ^ a b https://www.vogue.com/article/away-luggage-direct-to-consumer-business-launch
  33. ^ http://www.fox5ny.com/news/away-new-york-brand-away-luggage-recharge-your-phone-compress-your-dirty-laundry-luggage
  34. ^ https://www.wired.com/review/review-away-carry-on/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  35. ^ https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/12/away-co-founder-steph-korey-what-business-school-cant-teach-you.html
  36. ^ https://www.fastcodesign.com/90138093/how-two-suitcase-designers-are-cramming-more-into-your-carry-on
  37. ^ https://quartzy.qz.com/1233478/from-rimowa-to-away-how-did-aluminum-luggage-become-so-cool/
  38. ^ Claire Stern (August 22, 2017). "Rashida Jones and Away Collaborate on the Sleekest Luggage Ever". InStyle.
  39. ^ Claire Stern (May 16, 2017). "Away and Madewell Just Launched the Smart Suitcase of Your Dreams". InStyle.
  40. ^ Bayley, Leanne (March 9, 2017). "Pop & Suki launch the most Instagrammable travel luggage we've ever seen". Glamour. Archived from the original on July 13, 2017. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  41. ^ Sidell, Misty White (March 7, 2017). "Suki Waterhouse, Poppy Jamie Design Suitcases for Away: The collection of pink trolleys became available for purchase today". Women's Wear Daily. Archived from the original on September 2, 2017. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  42. ^ Webster, Emma Sarran (March 7, 2017). "Pop + Suki and Away Travel Collaborate on Pink Suitcase Collection". Teen Vogue. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  43. ^ Jen Rubio: Co-Founder of Away on Launching a Brand People Want to Talk About.
  44. ^ Jesse James (February 13, 2018). "Travel Like An All-Star! The Away x NBA Limited Edition Luggage Collection". Stupid Dope.
  45. ^ Lyndsey Matthews (May 4, 2018). "Away Just Launched Star Wars Luggage You Won't Be Embarrassed to Use". Esquire.
  46. ^ Andrea Whittle (October 10, 2017). "Away's Millennial Pink Luggage is Back". Conde Nast Traveler.
  47. ^ Schmidt, Mackenzie (August 23, 2017). "This Is the Carry-On Every Celeb Is Toting: Shop Jessica Alba, Mandy Moore and Karlie Kloss's Go-To Bag". People. Archived from the original on September 14, 2017. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  48. ^ Nozari, Elaheh (December 2, 2017). "American Airlines Is Putting a Ban on Some Smart Luggage". Condé Nast Traveler. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  49. ^ Josephs, Leslie (December 1, 2017). "Airlines ban some high-tech suitcases, fearing battery fires". CNBC. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  50. ^ Slotnick, David. "Our favorite smart luggage you can still use despite new airline rules". January 10, 2018. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  51. ^ Emily Price (February 15, 2018). "Remove Your Smart Luggage Battery Before Flying Delta". Lifehacker.
  52. ^ Tori Utley (October 23, 2017). "How This Travel Brand Is Transforming Social Impact". Forbes.
  53. ^ Sarah Karmali (April 4, 2018). "How Karlie Kloss is catering to the needs of the modern-day traveller". Harper's Bazaar.
  54. ^ Jiwon Kim (March 23, 2017). "Buy A Carry-On Bag And Give Someone Access To Clean Water". PSFK.