Away’s biggest launch in years is a massive departure

Away is launching a new category of luggage to take advantage of this boom. One week from today, the company is releasing a line of outdoor gear, which includes duffel bags, convertible backpacks, and messenger bags made from waterproof materials, designed for hikes and road trips. Away is touting this launch as the next chapter in its brand evolution. after a loss exposure Concerning the brand’s toxic culture in 2019, followed by months of low sales when the pandemic struck, this new collection gives Away an opportunity to reinvent itself to consumers in a post-pandemic world.

[Photo: Away]

The Away launched in 2015 with a hardshell suitcase that quickly became an Instagram fixture as customers shared photos of their belongings during their travels. Away’s chief design officer, Kuan Hanley, says the suitcase remains a top-selling product and he expects it to remain the core of the business. But suitcases and similar items, such as carry-on duffels and tote bags with trolley sleeves, were primarily designed for air travel, especially for people who frequently went on work trips. “The hard side stuff is fantastic in an urban environment, going from city to city,” Hanley says. “But we saw a desire for a product that could go a little further.”

06 90762929 Away Launches A Line Of Outdoor Bags
[Photo: Away]

According to Away’s internal research, half of travelers expect to travel differently after the pandemic: They want to spend more time in nature and outside. This may be because people developed new travel habits during the pandemic, when traveling on planes was risky, but trips socially distanced in nature – such as camping and road trips – were safe. Hanley’s team designed this new line called For All Roots (FAR) for these contexts. Away hopes to win over a new kind of customer with this line, while also giving existing customers new products to buy from. “Our existing customers would have gone elsewhere for these types of products,” he says.

07 90762929 Away Launches A Line Of Outdoor Bags
[Photo: Away]

Hanley says the team focused on using lightweight, sustainable materials that are made from recycled polyester. Along with the duffel bag, they have incorporated the compression system found in suitcases to allow passengers to pack more. From a design standpoint, the line is a major departure from Away’s previous pieces. While the suitcases are sleek, with minimal branding, this line is emblazoned with a large “A” and comes in more vibrant colors, including neon yellow, nuclear orange and cobalt blue. “Our core products have a stripped-down, clean feeling,” says Hanley. “With FAR, we had a lot of fun playing with colors that pop.”

02 90762929 Away Launches A Line Of Outdoor Bags
[Photo: Away]

Many direct to consumer brands launched with a single product and then expanded. For example, Allbirds launched with the wool sneaker in 2016, but now includes a wide variety of footwear and activewear. Warby Parker was launched by selling eyeglasses online, but has since expanded to over 150 stores, many of which now include ophthalmic services. However, other brands have been less successful in their attempts to branch out. Glossier Tried to Go Beyond Their Minimal Makeup to Create a Brand of Colorful Lipsticks and Eyeshadows, But They Were Silly Discontinued due to poor sales.

Away has suffered several setbacks over the past three years, beginning in December 2019, when The Verge published a piece in depth In which former Away employees explained how the startup’s inclusive branding stood in contrast to its toxic work culture. Then-CEO Steph Corey, whose management style was described as harsh in the article, walked away from the company, but then changed his mind and returned in January 2020. She eventually left the company later that year, and her co-founder, Jane Rubio, took over as CEO.

But by then the pandemic had halted the journey. Away saw a 90% drop in revenue and laid off half of its employees. The startup’s 2020 revenue was approx. $135 million, half of what he had made a year earlier. Hanley says revenue has been rising since then, especially with a spike in travel, but he didn’t say how much revenue has improved. Still, over the years, several competing startups have had a chance to develop their own brands and could threaten Away’s expansion, including the eco-friendly travel brand. ParvelCustomizable Luggage Brands wander throughAnd baboons to the moonJoe Away’s FAR. Makes outdoor duffles and backpacks in bright colors, similar to

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