Luggage brand Away on Friday debuted its growing product line at nine Nordstrom Pop-In locations across the U.S. and Canada, including in Vancouver, British Columbia; Toronto; Seattle; Bellevue, Washington; Los Angeles; Costa Mesa, California; Austin; Dallas and Chicago, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive.
Between Jan. 11 and Feb. 24, shoppers can buy Away's polycarbonate suitcase in four sizes, as well as packing cubes and leather stickers. The line includes new colors and some new takes on classic colors, the company noted.
The collection, which is also available on Nordstrom.com/POP, also offers accessory products in the beauty and wellness and travel space, like travel kits, facial towelettes, neck pillows, eye masks and guide books, among many other knickknacks.
The temporary collection is a part of Nordstom's ongoing Pop-In shop initiative, the brainchild of Olivia Kim, vice president of creative projects. Each month, she directs the rollout of curated exclusive products featuring designers and content built around a specific theme, like "poolside glamour," "'90s raves," and "road trips." By nature, pop-ups come and go, but Kim has cemented Nordstrom's rotating Pop-In locations as a must for digitally native brands like Allbirds, Everlane, Opening Ceremony and even Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop lifestyle brand.
As Away ascends from its one-product mainstay into a lifestyle brand, a partnership with Nordstrom will boost its visibility and open the doors to a new customer base. That's essential for digitally native brands like Away that gained much of their popularity on social media platforms.
Scrolling through Away's Instagram reveals a careful curation of on-trend user-generated content — including, in some cases, adorable dogs and babies in suitcases. This may lead shoppers to believe that the demographic target is urban millennials, but Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer Jen Rubio told Retail Dive last year that the company has customers aged 18 to 98.
"We love our customers and we love our customers on social media, but the ones who are most active on social media aren't necessarily representative of our entire customer base, which is why we think social media is just a collection of channels for us to communicate with one type of customer," she said previously.
Stores are another channel. The company now has five in the U.S. and one in London. The company, like many digitally native brands, is careful where and how it develops each new store, which makes a pop-up partnership with Nordstrom all the more important. It doesn't, however, signify a deeper relationship with Nordstrom, or that other partnerships with retailers are to come, an Away spokesperson told Retail Dive in an email.
The partnership does offer the brand the ability to experiment with selling its core product alongside that of other travel essentials — an idea that Rubio floated to Retail Dive last year.
"We want you to be boarding a plane with your Away suitcase and all the stuff in it be Away branded also," she said at the time, adding that the company would also consider private label and partnership options. The latter seems to have come first, but if the pop-up goes well this could signify more travel adjacent products to come from Away.