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."