When Steph Korey and Jen Rubio started doing market research for Away, their e-commerce luggage startup, they asked people to name their biggest traveling peeve, whether or not it had anything to do with suitcases. There’s nothing you can do about this, was the frequent response, but my phone is always dying before I can get to a charging station. So Away built a USB charging port into its first product, a distinctive-looking, smartly designed hard-sided carryon that became an instant hit. (When new regulations prohibited lithium batteries in checked bags, Away made them ejectable.) Two and a half years later, the company has sold more than half a million suitcases, employs more than 200 people and has expanded to more than 20 countries, including retail stores in the U.S. and Europe. They’ve rolled out unique looks, from collaborations with fashion designers to Star Wars and Despicable Me models.
Is This the Suitcase of the Summer?
Save for Louis Vuitton steamer trunks, luggage has never had a particularly sexy connotation. (Recall Holden Caulfield complaining about his Gladstones banging the hell out of his legs.) The 1 percent of yore hired people to carry their belongings, and some celebrities still glide through airports with nary a suitcase in sight. But about a year ago, amid the sea of black polyester-nylon that dominates most airports, I started noticing something new: sleek, colorful, grooved hard-shell rolling suitcases with built-in chargers. They’re made by Away, a two-year-old luggage start-up with $81 million of investment. Fans include Rashida Jones, Karlie Kloss and Dwyane Wade, all of whom have designed limited editions with the company.
Luggage Startup Away Raises $50M In Series C And Hits Profitability Within Two Years
Away, a seller of lightweight smart-luggage, has raised $50 million in additional funding from existing investors Forerunner Ventures, Global Founders Capital and Comcast Ventures. The capital will help Away take off into new global markets, widen its product line and open six retail stores in 2018. “It’s really cool to be part of this class of women-founded businesses that are paving the way and proving that anyone should be able to raise money. Not everyone has to look the same as the founders of the past,” says Steph Korey, cofounder and CEO. She and Jen Rubio, both Forbes Under 30 alumnae, launched Away in early 2016 and have announced it reached profitability within its first two years, a feat for a startup that manufactures a high-tech luggage with 100 different parts. “Our luggage is quite complex,” says Korey. “What allows us to invest in high-quality products is the fact that we don’t sell to other retailers.” Without retailers chomping at their profit margins, Away is able to keep their luxury line at “coach prices.”
Away raises $50 million in Series C funding
Steph Korey, Away co-founder and CEO, and Jen Rubio, Away co-founder and president, discuss how their company has become one of the fastest-growing female start-ups in the country. To expand they just announced an addtional $50M in funding to help them expand beyond luggage and into the large global travel market.
As luggage startups drop like flies, Away beefs up with 249 jobs
In the world of direct-to-consumer luggage startups, there are winners and losers. Last week, I wrote about how Raden, a three-year-old smart-luggage startup, shuttered, only weeks after a similar brand, Bluesmart, ceased operations. But against this backdrop, two-year-old Away is thriving. The brand just announced that it is adding 249 jobs over the next five years in a major expansion. It will relocate its headquarters to a cavernous 56,000-square-foot space on 82 Mercer Street in New York’s Soho neighborhood. To support this expansion, New York State will provide Away with $4 million in performance-based tax credits. The new jobs will be across many functions, including customer service, product development, and editorial.
Watch out Rimowa! Luggage competitor Away is making aluminum cases
Away just celebrated its second anniversary, and the direct-to-consumer luggage startup continues to grow. It’s sold 300,000 suitcases to date, opened four stores across the country, and grown to a team of 140 employees. One part of the company’s strategy is to release a steady flow of new products, which usually involves iterations of the same polycarbonate hard shell case in different colors and textures. Away has partnered with everyone from Rashida Jones, who helped select colors inspired by Scandinavia, to the NBA, which created colors representing some of its teams.
The Founders of Away Have 3 Tips for Female Entrepreneurs
When we launched Away, it was because of a personal pain point: Jen’s luggage broke. When she looked for a replacement, she realized there wasn’t a luggage brand that was iconic but accessible, and that made a high-quality product that didn’t cost more than the trip you were planning to take it on. That’s why in 2015 we set out to create a company that would offer the luggage that Jen was looking for and to create a brand that people could get excited about. We appropriately named it Away, and we create products and experiences that make travel more seamless.
Away Co-Founder on using Instagram to fuel Travel Brand Engagement
CEO Steph Korey Wants To Make Away The World's Leading Travel Brand
Forbes 30Under30 Alumni - Stephanie Korey ran the supply chain at Warby Parker and Casper before launching high-end luggage startup Away with list alum Jen Rubio. They launched Away together in 2015 after identifying the opportunity to build a beloved, trusted brand and product for modern travelers.
Away Co-Founders Define Brand, Business Strategy
Away's New Collaboration With Gray Malin Was Made For Wanderlusts
Away founders and 30 Under 30 alumni, Steph Korey and Jen Rubio have been changing the way people travel since they launched in February 2016. In under two years, the brand has sold more than 150,000 suitcases with projections to generate $50 million in revenue by the end of 2017. From a “millennial pink” collection that sold out in days to capsules with brands like Madewell, Away continues to be a cult favorite and the go-to luggage for celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski, Jessica Alba and the Haim sisters, and “it" girls all over Instagram. Korey and Rubio aren’t stopping anytime soon. Today, the brand revealed their latest collaboration co-designed by jet-setting photographer, Gray Malin.
How This Travel Brand Is Transforming Social Impact
In the age of social responsibility, startup founders are more than innovative – they're socially conscious and committed to the world around them. Now more than ever, millennial entrepreneurs are aware of the impact their brands have on the world, and they embrace the double bottom line approach. Doing good isn't just a part of the company puzzle, it's the very foundation. Enter Away. Away is an innovative travel brand bringing trendy, high-quality luggage to the mass market. Launched in February 2016, Away has already sold more than 100,000 suitcases and is projecting more than $50 million in revenue in 2017. But for the Away team, it's always been about more than travel. For founders Steph Korey and Jen Rubio, two Forbes and Inc. 30 under 30 alums, creating a company that made an impact on the world has been the foundation of their work at Away.
Traveling With Kids: ’90s Supermodel Devon Aoki and Away Show How It’s Done
VOGUE - Besides being blessed in the genetics department, models are also some of the most seasoned travelers. After all, these are individuals that spend weeks, if not months, on end traveling the fashion circuit—often with very few pieces of luggage pared down to the essentials. Such is the case for Devon Aoki, who has spent a large part of her life globe-trotting for the likes of Versace and Chanel. Case in point: The supermodel—whose presence looms large in the fashion landscape of the ’90s—spent the weekend making her way to and from New York City for a walk down the Jeremy Scott runway.
How This Company Launched With Zero Products--and Hit $12 Million in First-Year Sales
Steph Korey and Jen Rubio had a problem. Their planned launch of Away, a new luggage brand, was fast approaching--and none of their suitcases would be ready to sell in time. Luckily, the two had a social media trick packed in their bags. They turned a proven retailing tactic, the preorder, and an idea for a book into a campaign that went viral on Instagram and beyond. --As told to Burt Helm Korey: As December approached, we knew our first production run was not going to be ready in time for Christmas. Even so, we thought there are a lot of people who have terrible luggage. They might be happy to preorder something. Rubio: We wanted to get everyone on board in the beginning.
Away Packs Capital for Retail Stores
Travel-gear startup Away is expanding its brick-and-mortar presence, an increasingly common business strategy for e-commerce ventures. Like Warby Parker, where some of the company’s founders previously worked, Away has a direct-to-consumer sales approach. After shipping 100,000 suitcases since February 2016, the company is gearing up to expand into other travel-related goods. To fuel those capital-intensive efforts, Away said it has raised $20 million in a Series B funding from existing investors. Global Founders Capital, which led the company’s Series A less than a year
Away nears 100K stylish suitcases sold as it raises $20M
What do people actually want in luggage? A phone charger, unbreakable exterior, and maximum packing space at a resonable price is what Away discovered. So it built a line of sleek but expansive polycarbonite suitcases equipped with battery packs, and sold them direct-to-consumer. Now after selling nearly 100,000 suitcases and generating $20 million in revenue, Away has raised a $20 million Series B led by existing investor Global Founders Capital plus Forerunner Ventures, Comcast Ventues, and Accel
Away takes fashion-forward luggage to another level
There's Money in Suitcases
At the Away store in New York, Steph Korey glides through a demonstration of a light blue suitcase—the phone charger on its strong polycarbonate shell, the small nylon bag to separate dirty clothes from clean, the mesh that separates compartments, the compression pad that keeps stuff compact... But that's all Korey really has to say about the bag by the luggage brand she co-founded last year. The minimalist luggage that's generated such buzz since it hit the market last year has no lengthy features list for sales people to rattle off.
With $11M VC Funding, Women Behind Cult Luggage Brand Away Open Stores, Go Into Travel Accessories
teph Korey and Jen Rubio met working at eyewear unicorn Warby Parker, where they were among the first 15 employees, so they’re no strangers to explosive e-commerce growth. It’s a good thing, too, as the first run of their minimalist, thoughtfully-designed suitcases sold out before they even made it back from the manufacturer.
Luggage Maker Away Raises $8.5M for International Expansion
Luggage retailer Away has raised $8.5 million to take its suitcase sales and retail stores abroad. Founded by former Warby Parker executives, the New York company makes sleek, hard-shell suitcases with a built-in battery for tech-savvy travelers. Global Founders Capital, the venture arm of Germany’s Rocket Internet SE, led the Series A round. Forerunner Ventures, Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures and Starwood Hotels founder Barry Sternlicht participated in the funding.
Save Your Money, Skip The MBA, And Go To Startup Grad School Instead
If you have dreams of one day launching your own startup, the idea of getting an MBA may have crossed your mind. After all, business schools are great at explaining how successful companies got off the ground and providing networking opportunities so you can connect with potential investors and cofounders. That's probably why U.S. Department of Education data indicates that the MBA is the most popular graduate degree. But Jen Rubio and Steph Korey, who founded the luggage brand Away last year, would encourage you to give business school a miss. "I actually got an MBA from Columbia," Korey tells Fast Company. "But it was—truthfully—less helpful than startup grad school."