Jen Rubio, one of the co-founders of Away, got the idea for a more thoughtful piece of luggage after she went through a travel nightmare on a trip to Switzerland. Her suitcase broke.
“I was at the airport, and all of my clothes just spilled out everywhere,” Rubio told CNNMoney. “I had to find some straps and some tape to tape everything together.
Rubio went looking for a replacement. Her options were limited — a well-designed piece that was too expensive or a cheap one of poor quality.
Rubio complained about the experience to Stephanie Korey, her friend and former co-worker at Warby Parker. They saw an untapped market, and set to work creating an affordable, durable hard-shell suitcase with wheels and a built-in battery pack for charging electronics.
Their luggage ranges from $225 for a small carry-on to $295 for a large suitcase. Away is also a lifestyle brand that includes a magazine.
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Korey and Rubio, who both have consumer marketing experience from stints at companies like Warby Parker and Casper, bring different strengths to the company. But they know their roles.
Korey, the CEO, has an MBA and is more logic-minded. Rubio, whose title is creative director, manages branding and design.
When they teamed up, they planned their company structure on Post-It notes. The pair laid out notes with all the different functions and departments that their company would need. They divided up the tasks and found they each had an equal amount.
The two also share an entrepreneurial spirit.