NEW YORK, United States — Luxury luggage brand Away is preparing to expand into wellness following the close of a $100 million investment round.
The 3-year-old startup, which is valued at $1.4 billion, will use the recent funding to bulk out its portfolio of merchandise to include apparel, lifestyle accessories and wellness products, as well as building additional brick-and-mortar stores. The view is to create a one-stop-shop for the wellness traveller, and in doing so capitalise on the $639 billion wellness tourism market.
“We launched just over three years ago with one product, The Carry-On, but have always said that luggage is just the beginning for Away,” Co-Founder Jen Rubio told Harpers Bazaar. “Our broader vision has always been to transform the entire travel experience, and this move underscores our commitment to delivering on that mission as we continue to grow into a leading global travel and lifestyle brand.”
Currently in the early stages of creating these new categories, the brand will look to hire industry experts to oversee each one, leading the charge on designing new products that address “travel-specific pain points”. According to Harpers Bazaar, for wellness, these could include items such as skin care and supplements. However, the brand also has the potential to address common wellness travel issues such as jetlag, sleep, stress, dehydration and more.
“We’re ready to start taking action to figure out how else Away can play a role in not only what you use to pack, but what other kinds of products you might need to bring with you,” Rubio told the publication. “Like all things at Away, our decision to expand into these three categories was made in response to feedback from our community – they’ve come to trust our ability to create products that they love and that truly make their travels better, and they’re asking us to consider new items and experiences all the time.”
Since launching in February of 2016 with an initial investment of $2.5 million, Away has become a leader in the $40+ billion dollar global luggage industry and one of the fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands, announcing it reached profitability in under two years, and generating more than five times as much revenue in 2017 as it did in 2016. To date, the startup has sold more than 1 million suitcases.
According to Rubio, the brand’s success can be credited to its strong branding, which embodies the values and aspirations of its audience.
“Today’s consumers are looking for more than just a great product, they’re looking for a brand that aligns with their values and that takes the time to truly understand their needs as people, not just customers,” said the entrepreneur.
“We’ve built deep relationships with each and every one of our customers as a direct-to-consumer brand, and we’ve used their feedback to drive what’s next for Away. That’s what we’ll continue to do until we’ve fixed everything currently wrong with the travel experience.”
Recognising that wellness now plays a huge role in the lives of its customers and is starting to cut across all of the touchpoints of the modern travel experience, the brand is now making moves to secure the future success of its brand within the evolving travel market.
“We’re building a brand for the long-term,” revealed Steph Korey, Co-Founder of Away.
“We’ve embraced change as a constant, used data to inform our intuition, and iterated based on insights from our global community and their unique needs. That combination — and the incredible team we’ve built along the way — has allowed Away to grow at a pace that’s surpassed our wildest expectations.”