Even though we all can’t wait to travel again, after being grounded for the past year or so, most of us may need something as calming as a safety blanket to help us out. to leave the safety of our couch.
Away, the cult travel brand that intimately understands its customers, has just launched a new collection of accessories – including this blanket – designed to make travelers feel comfortable venturing out into the world again. In signature Away fashion, all five products share a minimalist aesthetic with many thoughtful features.
The line includes a face mask, sleep mask, neck pillow, travel blanket, and compression socks, all focused on comfort – both physical and mental.
As Away knows we’re not ready to fly in the air just yet, all of these products work equally well in the home, as they hilariously reveal in a clever and tongue-in-cheek direct mail catalog. Reminiscent of the iconic Sky Mall magazine, it highlights the craziness we’ve been feeling this year and makes us realize that if we’re going to have cabin fever, it might as well be in a first class cabin. With first class amenities.
The images are perfect for the pandemic. Of course, you can use your travel neck pillow while sitting on your potter’s wheel and rocking the compression socks while watching your favorite TV show. And you may dream of throwing them in your Away carry-on in a few months and sitting on an airplane, carrying them both, while checking out the in-flight movie options.
I reached out to Selena Kalvaria, Marketing Director at Away, to find out more about the new collection of travel accessories. Here’s what she had to say about products, the future of travel, and being a travel agent during the pandemic.
Why did you decide to introduce these specific products now?
These travel accessories have been on our roadmap for quite some time and we thought it was the perfect time to finally bring them out. The return to travel seems right on the horizon, but we also recognize that it’s not quite here yet. While we are already seeing our community preparing for future travel – getting vaccines, booking flights, and purchasing travel items – many more are still staying at home, waiting for the moment when they feel ready to travel again.
With this in mind, we wanted to offer products that provide comfort all overwhether you’re at home or on the road. We are delighted to present our new line of travel accessories, all carefully designed to create a comfortable state of mind.
Can you talk about the idea of comfort – why is it so relevant now and how does each product fit into this theme?
During the pandemic, we recognized that the priority given to well-being and comfort is essential to our mental and physical health. Earlier this year, Away released Travel Wellness Kits that were curated with products designed to promote personal care and wellness, and our focus on comfort seems to be a natural extension of that. theme.
We have designed each new accessory with physical and mental comfort in mind. The key elements include:
All new Away travel accessories (except compression socks) feature an antimicrobial finish on the outer fabric.
Sleep mask, neck pillow and travel blanket feature 37.5 technology for dynamic thermoregulation.
The face mask features adjustable ear loops and a back strap to ensure a secure fit and includes two disposable interior filters with every purchase so travelers always feel prepared and protected.
The extra soft molded eye mask allows the eyes to move freely without feeling constrained.
The neck pillow has built-in adjustment capability, providing personalized comfort and is machine washable for easy cleaning after use.
The travel blanket features an interior kangaroo pocket and foot pocket for extra warmth as well as snaps that connect to the neck pillow or other blanket.
· Compression socks are multi-wear, feature anti-odor technology, and have been constructed using minimal seams for maximum support and comfort.
Tell us a bit about the Away pandemic experience. How did business change when people weren’t traveling?
As a company located at the intersection of travel and retail, we have of course been hit hard by COVID-19. At one point, revenue fell 90%, but we saw our own rebound from a successful end of 2020 and strong performance in early 2021. As we continue to monitor metrics that people are over in addition to keen to travel, we are optimistic the travel industry recovery is imminent.
When travel stalled, we successfully redefined the concept of travel to include any travel, no matter how small. Over the past year, we’ve been able to showcase the functionality and versatility of Away luggage and bags, launch and sell new products, unveil brand-led campaigns, successfully run the brand’s first and second sales. , invest in our business infrastructure, support nonprofit partners and continue to engage with our community.
What lessons have you been able to learn during this time and how will they impact the future?
This past year has been rich in lessons, but above all it has proven that consumer behavior is driven by emotional connection and brand affinity. We were reminded that our ability to engage and connect with our community is our most important asset and will remain a critical part of our business strategy going forward.
What do your customers think of travel? Are people starting to prepare to travel again?
One thing is clear: travel is on the horizon and our customers are already preparing. As we continue to track promising internal (sales performance, web traffic, etc.) and external data (vaccine distribution, TSA numbers, Google search trends, accommodation and flight bookings, etc.), we are optimistic that the travel industry is already active. his path to recovery
Travelers are already starting to book summer “vaxications”, with many prioritizing domestic travel, exploring nearby towns, or the great outdoors. We expect this trend to continue as people continue to favor road trips, weekend getaways, and visiting friends and family across the country they haven’t seen. for months. As domestic leisure travel recovers faster, we predict international travel will gain momentum by 2022, as countries continue to open their borders and the world’s population is vaccinated. Business travel is probably the slowest to recover, in large part due to the increased ease of virtual communications and remote staffing.
I love your “catalog” and think it is so smart! Give us a little insight into its origin and use.
Bringing a new line of travel accessories to market at a time when very few travelers travel may seem odd, but rather than shy away from this challenge, our in-house design team embraced it. From the start, we wanted to be fun, surprising and offer our community an ironic way to engage with our brand and our products.
Interestingly, there are two key tensions at play with this idea: First, Away is a modern, digitally native brand engaged in a very traditional and historically uninspiring tactic: direct mail. Second, as the urge to travel is at its highest level and the madness of the hustle and bustle reaches its climax, the world is still not quite ready to relapse into travel.
As sentences such as “unprecedented times ” and “new normal»Having become tropes in everyone’s lexicons and our community feeling exhausted after a year of working remotely (and more than ever impatient to change the scene), we recognized the opportunity to infuse humor and nostalgia for the days before. pandemic. The concept of an old-school and nostalgic catalog allows us to present these products in a home environment rather than forcing them into a travel context that does not yet exist for everyone. We’re excited to provide our community with a bit of escape, taking them back to the nostalgic days of mid-’90s magazines while exploiting the craziness we all experienced in our forties.
Hundreds of customers across the country will receive the printed catalog in their mailbox, not their inbox, in the coming days. The creative campaign will also come to life on a number of Away channels, including through our web experience, social media partnerships with TikTok content creators, and creative-inspired postcards in our stores. We’ll also engage Away Instagram followers through 90s-inspired GIF stickers and an AR filter experience inspired by the new line of travel accessories.