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Steph Korey On Growing A Business And Investing In Others

Steph Korey’s Business Away Started Because Of A Broken Piece Of Luggage

Steph Korey took a call from a friend that resulted in a new business venture. Korey was finishing up business school when her friend Jen Rubio called her to complain about a broken piece of luggage. Two started a discussion about the need for durable and affordable options.


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Steph Korey was not a stranger to running a business. Before attending school at Columbia, Korey was in charge of the supply chain at Warby Parker. Within three months, the two friends had their luggage business Away up and running.

To create the best piece of luggage, Korey and Rubio interviewed hundreds of people regarding their traveling habits. They wanted to know everything, including how people packed from what transportation they took to the airport. The two friends learned that people’s primary concern about their luggage was weight. Travelers spend most of their time wrestling with their bags or pay extra for overweight bags. While conducting their research, they revealed that zippers and wheels are the parts of a suitcase that breaks first.

Steph Korey flew to Asia even before finishing her take-home final to meet with manufacturers to help design a better piece of luggage. The collaboration resulted in a bag made from lightweight metal and stronger zippers and wheels. According to Korey, the bags can easily withstand continuous falls from a three-story window. The best features are the built-in charging port and battery.

Away’s business model is straightforward. The company invests in good, quality materials but only sells the bags online. Since there is no retail markup, Away can sell their bags at affordable prices.