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Away, now worth $1.4 billion, may soon be a fashion brand

Away, now worth $1.4 billion, may soon be a fashion brand
[Photo: courtesy of Away]

Away launched as a scrappy startup a mere four years ago, promising high-quality luggage at affordable prices. But this week, with a new investment of $100 million by Wellington Management Co., the company is now valued at a whopping $1.4 billion.

Steph Korey (left), cofounder and CEO of Away, and Jen Rubio (right), cofounder, chief brand officer, and president of Away. [Photo: courtesy of Masha Maltsava/Away]
This is part of a broader trend in the world of direct-to-consumer startups, which started as underdogs competing with the giants of their industry, but have now become juggernauts in their own right. Glossier, the beauty upstart that wants to take on L’Oreal and Estee Lauder, is now worth $1 billion. Warby Parker, which disrupted the world of eyewear, is now worth nearly $2 billion. And razor startup Harry’s was acquired by the owner of Schick for $1.37 billion.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Away sold $150 million worth of luggage in 2018. But if the company is to keep growing, it needs to sell more than just suitcases and weekenders, which are relatively infrequent purchases. Founders Jen Rubio and Steph Korey say their plan is to enter new categories of products that are related to travel, and they’re teasing us with hints of what they might be.

They’re considering expanding into wellness products that would be useful on a trip, like skin care and supplements. And they’re also thinking about getting into apparel, by making comfy fashionable clothes to wear on flights. So yes, Away may soon be on track to be a fashion brand.

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