Away, the luggage brand that’s taken over Instagram feeds everywhere, has raised $50 million in a Series C funding led by Global Founders Capital, Forerunner Ventures and Comcast Ventures.
The 2-year-old company first disrupted the luggage industry with one product, The Carry-On, and has since expanded to a whole array of items for travel—from aluminum suitcases to garment bags and packing cubes.
With a current retail footprint of four stores, Away plans on opening six new stores this year.
“We just want to be anywhere where our customers are,” said Jen Rubio, co-founder, president and chief brand officer of Away. “Where we’re launching stores and launching markets is largely driven by customers who have given us feedback and want to be our customers.”
Rubio said that in each region—Away has stores in San Francisco; Los Angeles; Austin, Texas; and New York—it’s seen an average increase in sales of 40 percent. The company’s retail per square foot is $4,000.
In addition to the funding, Away also announced plans to expand its social good partnerships and will create 249 new jobs in the next five years. Rubio said while owning first-party data is a large part of the company’s success, its customer-first approach has also helped.
“Our entire product road map has been completely driven by customer feedback,” Rubio said. “We have a customer-obsessed approach to everything we do.”
Two of Away’s designs, the sky blue and pink suitcase, came directly from customers asking for them. The Bigger Carry-On suitcase was also the result of a customer request (and is the company’s best-seller both online and in-store). Rubio said that unlike other direct-to-consumer companies that don’t utilize their data well, Away makes sure to analyze it and get it to the right team, whether it’s the product development or creative team.
While luggage is typically seen as a one-time purchase, Rubio said Away’s changed that.
“If you build a brand people care about, it shifts their thinking,” Rubio said. “Their perspective has changed from luggage [and this] once-in-a-lifetime purchase to [seeing] it as a fashion and lifestyle accessory.”
Away has now raised a total of $81 million.