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Is Away the Luggage Startup of Investors' Dreams?

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A company that started out with a storybook and preorder code because their product wasn’t ready has just landed a $50 million investment into their already growing and successful brand. Stephanie Korey and Jen Rubio founded a company called Away in 2015.

Prior to launching this startup, Korey and Rubio both worked at D2C store Warby Parker. They thought they could use the same direct-to-consumer approach with their own company. When they first started Away, the main idea behind it was to minimize any headaches that a flier may have and maximize a carry-on’s potential.

When travelling, people pay most attention to what they wear or where they are going. What’s lacking is the need for a good piece of luggage. In an interview with Bond Street, Rubio mentioned that there isn’t a luggage brand out there that talks about the way we travel or wants to connect with people about their experiences. That’s why they wanted to create a product that was more than just a suitcase.

So What Exactly is Away?

Away is a NYC-based startup company that sells luggage through the direct-to-consumer approach. The brand launched its first and only product in February 2016, a $225 hard-shell carry-on.  Since then, due to customer demand and continued success, the company has expanded its line to different sized carry-ons, kids’ suitcases and even travels bags. Much like Warby Parker's idea of try-at-home glasses, customers can try out the suitcases for 100 days and if they are not satisfied, they can easily return them. Not only are these suitcases guaranteed for life, but they come with cool features like built in USB ports, combination locks and a built in laundry bag. 

Today the company has sold more than half a million suitcases and just landed a multi-million dollar investment from existing investors Forerunner Ventures, Global Founders Capital and Comcast Ventures to continue its growth trajectory. According to Fast Company, with this new money, Away may potentially be able to open six new stores by the end of the year. As well as opening new stores and landing an investment, the company will move into a 56,000 square foot office in New York and plans to add 249 jobs in the next five years.

Even though most of Away’s products are sold online, they have started to open physical stores in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin, while also making its debut in foreign markets like London, Berlin and Milan. By opening these physical stores, Away has the opportunity to give its customers the real experience as they get to try their products in stores and potentially create a connection with them, which is what they strive to do.

One big part of Away is that they focus on storytelling as part of their marketing strategy. By finding stories they can feed to the press and social media, not only are they enhancing their brand image, but they are creating a storyline for their company. Consumers pay attention to what a company posts on its social media or what the media has to say about it, so by creating an experience that is worthwhile, consumers are bound to buy a suitcase that is more personalized to them and their story.

Looking into the Future

With its recent $50 million investment, Away is on the right track to a successful business. Being in the market for more than two years now, it has the potential to keep growing and attracting more and more consumers. Not only has this woman-led startup sparked creativity and ingenuity in the market, but it is creating experiences for their consumers to keep coming back to them.

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