Direct-to-consumer luggage brand Away has appointed Melissa Weiss as chief marketing officer amid a wave of C-level hiring.
The New York-based company, which also hired Charles Liu as chief operating officer and Luke Chatelain as chief digital officer – two new roles – said it was adding new talent as it sought the growing demand for travel after the worst of the pandemic. .
“After an extremely difficult time for the travel industry, we have capitalized on growing customer demand and seen significant gains across all categories,” Jen Rubio, co-founder and CEO of Away, said in a statement.
Ms. Weiss will oversee the brand marketing, growth marketing, creative and communications functions, the company said. She worked most recently as a consultant and before that as Marketing Manager at Lyft Micromobility. She also previously served as the Marketing Director of Barry’s Bootcamp, and previously held executive positions at J.Crew and Amazon Fashion.
She succeeds Selena Kalvaria, who began a new role as senior vice president, brand engagement at Gucci Americas earlier this year.
Mr. Chatelain was until recently Chief Digital Officer of J. Crew, and Mr. Liu previously held executive positions at Casper and Walmart..
Away launched its first product in 2016, with a carry-on suitcase that it sold directly to consumers through digital channels. It has since expanded into various luggage and travel related products, and has added physical retail stores to complement its online sales.
In 2019, the company raised $ 100 million for a valuation of $ 1.4 billion. The following year, the Covid-19 pandemic ground travelers around the world to the ground, crippling the entire industry. In an April 2020 Medium article, Ms Rubio and Away co-founder Steph Korey announced that the company would lay off 10% of its staff and put about half of its team on leave.
Today, travel brands are reassessing their marketing and overall business strategies amid growing travel demand as pandemic restrictions ease. The company has since expanded its team and reopened its points of sale.
Away is focused on raising awareness, deepening community engagement and adding customers, Ms. Rubio said in an emailed statement.
“As we look to 2022 and beyond, we have set ambitious growth targets for the company, which include a strong focus on our branding strategy,” she said.
During the pandemic, the company continued to promote its brand, including a creative campaign referencing the rash of pet adoptions in a pandemic, a tongue-in-cheek direct mail catalog highlighting the home uses of the pandemic. travel accessories and partnerships with Serena Williams and fashion designer Sandy Liang, Ms. Rubio said. The company has also entered into partnerships with brands like Marriott and fashion label Kith, he said.
Last month, Away began rolling out its vacation campaign online and in its retail stores, the company said.
Write to Alexandra Bruell at [email protected]
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