Away (company)

  (Redirected from Away (luggage))

JRSK, Inc., doing business as Away, is an American online and storefront luggage and travel accessories retailer.[4] It is best known as a luggage designer, manufacturer and retailer.[5] Away is based in New York City.[6][7] Jen Rubio and Steph Korey started Away in 2015. The company has raised $31 million in financing.[8] It is one of the highest funded female-backed startups.[9]

JRSK, Inc.
Away
TypePrivate
IndustryRetail
FoundedNovember 9, 2015; 5 years ago (2015-11-09)
Founders
Headquarters,
Key people
Catherine Dunleavy (CFO)
ProductsBaggage, travel accessories
RevenueIncrease $150 Million[1]
Number of employees
200
Websiteawaytravel.com
Footnotes / references
[2][3]

The company primarily sells products online, but also has brick and mortar locations.[10][11][12] 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.[13] The company has also released a book The Places We Return To and publishes the digital magazine Here[14] and the podcast Airplane Mode.[15]

HistoryEdit

Steph Korey and Jen Rubio met in 2011 as former colleagues on the early executive team at Warby Parker. They founded Away in 2015.[16] It improved upon traditional suitcase designs by adding features such as built-in batteries in their luggage for charging mobile devices[17][18] By November, the company had raised $2.5 million in seed funding from investors Accel Partners and Forerunner Ventures.[19] The company's first product, a carry-on became available to ship in February 2016.[20][21] In September 2016, the company raised an additional $8.5 million in Series A funding for expansion.[22]

The next year, the firm had grown to 66 employees and projected more than $50 million in sales.[23] It raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Global Founders Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Comcast Ventures, and Accel Partners in May 2017.[24][25] As of May 2018, it had more than 150 employees and announced plans to expand jobs across the company, including a relocation of its headquarters in New York City.[26] In May 2019, it 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 is intended for building brick-and-mortar stores and expanding travel gear.[27]

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.[8]

The company was named a "Breakthrough Brand with Ingenious Marketing" by Adweek.[28] Fast Company recognized Away as one of the "2018 Top 10 Most Innovative Companies", and the company was a recipient of Surface Travel Awards.[29]

Toxic workplace allegationsEdit

On December 5, 2019, a report from The Verge described a toxic workplace and "culture of intimidation and constant surveillance" at Away in which employee communications channels were restricted while executives used Slack as an internal megaphone to publicly humiliate employees.[30] Employees reported expectations to work long hours, on holidays, at night and late into the evening, and without paid time off.[31] In an apology, CEO Korey said that she was "appalled" to read her own messages and listed steps taken to improve the company's work culture in the last year.[32] Korey initially resigned as CEO on December 9, and the company announced that she was to be succeeded by Stuart Haselden, former COO of Lululemon.[33]

Korey renounced her resignation on January 13, 2020, and stated that she and Haselden would be co-CEOs of Away. In an interview with The New York Times, Korey said that The Verge's reporting was "inaccurate" and that it was "not right" for her to resign. The Verge replied, "Steph Korey responding to our reporting by saying her behavior and comments were 'wrong, plain and simple' and then choosing to step down as C.E.O. speaks for itself."[3] Erin Grau, Away's human resources chief, resigned the same day in response to Korey returning.[34]

On July 2, 2020, however, Jen Rubio and Stuart Haseldon announced that Korey would be stepping down as co-CEO "within the year", following comments she made on social media attacking digital-only media companies. Away employees were concerned that her comments meant she had learned nothing from the events in December 2019.[35]

ProductsEdit

 
Carry-On from the top

Away produces and markets travel accessories using a direct-to-consumer business model.[36] The company's best-known products are suitcases.[37][38][2][39] They have also added a more diverse product line going into travel bags,[40][41] travel organizers[42] and travel accessories.[43] A limited edition pet carrier was launched in August 2020.[44]

The Carry-On was developed based on the focus group and survey responses from hundreds of travelers.[45] Vogue announced the creation of the luggage in November 2015, labeling it "The Perfect Carry-On."[2] By October 2016, Away 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.[46]

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

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Feldman, Amy. "Away Luggage Hits $1.4B Valuation After $100M Fundraise". Forbes.
  2. ^ a b c Farra, Emily (2016-11-09). "New High-End Luggage Brand Away – Direct-to-Consumer Business, Travel". Vogue. Archived from the original on 2018-08-04. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  3. ^ a b Sorkin, Andrew Ross (2020-01-13). "Away C.E.O. Is Back, Just Weeks After Stepping Down". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  4. ^ Garcia, Ahiza (October 24, 2017). "The founders of Away changed the luggage industry after a travel mishap". CNN Money. Archived from the original on July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  5. ^ Karmali, Sarah (2019-05-16). "Fashion's favourite luggage brand is branching out into clothing, accessories and wellness". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  6. ^ Zakrzewski, Cat (September 8, 2016). "Luggage Maker Away Raises $8.5M for International Expansion". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  7. ^ Ransom, Diana (June 12, 2017). "This $48 Million Luggage Company Has Big Plans for Your Next Trip". Inc. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "How Away Brings Its Brand to Life through Content Marketing". NewsCred Insights. April 17, 2018. Archived from the original on July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  9. ^ Gharib, Susie (October 18, 2017). "This CEO is Leading a New Wave of Female Entrepreneurs". Fortune. Archived from the original on July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  10. ^ Whalen, Emma (November 6, 2017). "New York-Based Travel Brand Launches First Texas Store at Domain Northside". Community Impact. Archived from the original on July 28, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  11. ^ "AWAY Luggage Brand to Enter Canada with 1st Standalone Store". RETAIL INSIDER. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  12. ^ Sykes, Andrew (August 14, 2018). "Away travels to Seven Dials for first UK store". Retail Times. Archived from the original on 1 September 2018. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  13. ^ Theodosi, Natalie (May 1, 2018). "Away Jets to Europe With New Collaboration Series". Women's Wear Daily. Archived from the original on July 29, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "Here | Travel & Lifestyle Magazine from Away". www.heremagazine.com. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  15. ^ Doyle, Megan (September 13, 2017). "Luggage Brand Away Launches Pop-Up Hotel in Paris". Business of Fashion. Archived from the original on July 28, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  16. ^ Liffreing, Ilyse (August 14, 2017). "Inside Away's Instagram Strategy". Digiday. Archived from the original on July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  17. ^ "JRSK Inc - Company Profile and News". Bloomberg Markets. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  18. ^ Feldman, A. (n.d.). Next Billion-Dollar Startups: How Two Young Entrepreneurs Used Relentless Online Marketing To Build Away Into A $700M Luggage Brand. Forbes. Retrieved August 5, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyfeldman/2018/11/20/next-billion-dollar-startups-how-two-young-entrepreneurs-used-relentless-online-marketing-to-build-away-into-a-700m-luggage-brand/
  19. ^ Avakian, Talia (November 9, 2015). "A Pair of Former Warby Parker Execs Are Attempting to Create the Perfect Carry-On Bag". Business Insider. Archived from the original on July 29, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  20. ^ Helm, Burt (2017-06-28). "How This Company Launched With Zero Products-- and Hit $12 Million in First-Year Sales". Inc. Archived from the original on 2018-07-11. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  21. ^ Hyland, Véronique (December 22, 2015). "The Duo Trying to Make Travel More Glamorous". The Cut. Archived from the original on July 29, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  22. ^ "Trendy luggage brand Away packs on $100M, rolls past $1.4B valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  23. ^ Noto, Anthony (May 19, 2017). "Karlie Kloss Backs Travel Brand Away in $20M Series B". New York Business Journal. Archived from the original on June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  24. ^ Constine, Josh (May 19, 2017). "Away Nears 100k Stylish Suitcases Sold as it Raises $20M". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on July 29, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  25. ^ Young, Vicki M. (May 19, 2017). "Luggage Company Away Secures $20M". Women's Wear Daily. Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  26. ^ Brannigan, Maura (May 21, 2018). "Away Is Set To Hire More Than 200 New Employees In A Major Expansion". Fashionista.
  27. ^ Clark, Kate (2019-05-14). "Trendy luggage brand Away packs on $100M, rolls past $1.4B valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  28. ^ "5 Breakthrough Brands With Ingenious Marketing That Hit a New Level in 2017". Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  29. ^ "The World's Most Innovative Companies 2018 Honorees By Sector". Fast Company. 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  30. ^ Bellstrom, Kristen (2019-12-06). "Away Founders Use 'Inclusivity' to Respond to Toxic Culture Claims". Fortune. Archived from the original on 2019-12-06. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  31. ^ Schiffer, Zoe (2019-12-05). "Emotional baggage: inside the toxic work environment at Away". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2019-12-07. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  32. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross (2020-01-13). "Away C.E.O. Is Back, Just Weeks After Stepping Down (Published 2020)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  33. ^ Schiffer, Zoe (9 December 2019). "Away replaces CEO Steph Korey after Verge investigation". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  34. ^ Del Rey, Jason (27 Jan 2020). "Top Away executives were blindsided by their CEO's decision to backtrack on stepping down". Recode. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  35. ^ Schiffer, Zoë (2 July 2020). "Away says co-CEO Steph Korey will step down this year after her attacks on the media". Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  36. ^ "A New Class of Startup is Upending America's Consumer-Goods Industry". The Economist. November 16, 2017. Archived from the original on March 13, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  37. ^ Doherty, Patricia (2019-01-29). "6 Smart Suitcases That Won't Break Airlines' Battery Rules". Travel + Leisure. Archived from the original on 2018-08-04. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  38. ^ Bowman, Eric (2017-12-12). "The High-Tech Carry-On Luggage Safe for Flying". TravelPulse. Archived from the original on 2018-08-04. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  39. ^ So, Adrienne (2018-01-19). "This Smart Suitcase Would Be Great Even If It Were Dumb". WIRED. Archived from the original on 2018-02-02. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  40. ^ "Away Just Launched Its First Duffel Bag". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  41. ^ "Away Luggage Reviews From Travel Editors: See the Suitcases and Bags Worth Buying". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  42. ^ "This Celeb-Approved Luggage Brand Just Made Packing for Vacation Way Easier". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  43. ^ "Away Just Brought Back Its Mini Suitcase Gift Sets for the Holidays". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  44. ^ "Away Just Launched Its First Travel Pet Carrier". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  45. ^ Elkins, Kathleen (2018-02-12). "Columbia MBA and multimillion-dollar start-up co-founder: Here's what business school doesn't teach you". CNBC. Archived from the original on 2018-08-04. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  46. ^ Budds, Diana (2017-09-11). "How Two Suitcase Designers Are Cramming More Into Your Carry-On". Fast Company. Archived from the original on 2018-03-22. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  47. ^ Mackenzie, Schmidt (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.