Away Is Bringing Thoughtful Luggage to San Francisco

 Photo: Away

Photo: Away

Away made its mark selling luggage direct to consumers online, but the two-year-old company is expanding into the brick and mortar world. Away currently has retail outposts in New York and Los Angeles, and will add a San Francisco location this year.

Away makes "thoughtful" luxury luggage at relatively reasonable prices, from $225 for a carry-on to $295 for a large suitcase. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, that's probably because you've seen ads for it on Facebook or Instagram. Those would be the sponsored posts talking about two former Warby Parker employees disrupting the luggage industry, or the posts touting the brand's unbreakable shells and built-in USB chargers.

 Photo: Away

Photo: Away

While the company has already sold more than 100,000 suitcases in two years, a lot of folks want to try a suitcase in real life before committing to a $200+ purchase. That's where the concept shops come into play. The stores allow shoppers to lift, zip, and test the full range of bags before buying. And there are other perks, too. At the New York concept store, shoppers can purchase the entire line of Away suitcases and peruse a selection of travel essentials from brands like Harry’s, Koio Collective, Tommy John, i.am+, and LOST iN. At the L.A. shop, customers can customize a suitcase for the perfect personal touch. What surprises will the San Francisco store offer? According to a rep for the company, we'll know soon enough because the store is set to open before November.

So far, Away will not confirm an opening date or location in San Francisco, but a staffer at the mostly-defunct Kit and Ace store in Hayes Valley tells me that Away is set to take over the space at 371 Hayes starting August 1. To be clear, that is an unconfirmed rumor. But, when you consider all the buzzy Internet brands setting up shop in the city's most restricted retail corridors—Warby Parker in Hayes Valley, the Reformation and Everlane on Valencia, and Modern Citizen on Union Street—Hayes seems like a good home for Away.