WSJ News Exclusive | Travel Brand Away Appoints New CMO, Plans to Increase Marketing Budget
Away has hired Carla Dunham as chief marketing officer as the luggage and travel accessories company tries to make the most of the industry’s pandemic recovery.
Ms Dunham had most recently served as director of marketing and merchandising at e-commerce delivery start-up Foxtrot and previously held senior marketing roles at retail and fashion companies including Kate Spade and Amazon Fashion .
Away previously said its sales totaled $150 million in 2018 and the startup secured $100 million in funding in 2019 at a valuation of $1.4 billion.
But the pandemic has seriously hurt the business of Away and other travel brands. The New York-based company, officially called JRSK Inc., laid off or laid off the majority of its staff in early 2020 after sales fell more than 90%, according to a publication of the company on Medium at the time.
Business has picked up as travelers around the world resume pre-pandemic activities, according to Ms Dunham.
Away’s sales during the period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday last year almost doubled the total during the same period in 2021 and were 60% higher than during the same period in 2019, Ms. Dunham said. She declined to disclose total sales for 2022.
Away attempted to capitalize on the industry’s recovery in the latter half of 2022 by launching a new line of outdoor-focused travel accessories and a new advertising campaign running under the tagline “Let Travel Happen”.
Away this year will continue to rely heavily on influencers and self-produced content while increasing its investments in highly targeted or performance-based marketing that can tie more directly to sales, according to Ms. Dunham. The company increased its spending on traditional TV and streaming ads by about 50% in 2022 and plans to double that total in 2023 while spending more on social media platforms like TikTok, she said.
The company is also planning further investment in its outlets, which Ms Dunham described as “three-dimensional billboards for the brand”.
</div> <p>Away has garnered attention in the past for unconventional marketing moves such as launching a branded podcast and a print magazine called Here. The podcast stopped airing new episodes in 2017, and the magazine became a web-only property in 2020 after publishing 14 quarterly print editions. Ms. Dunham reports to Away co-founder and CEO Jen Rubio. Late last year, Away promoted its chief financial officer, Catherine Dunleavy, to the rank of first president. Write to Patrick Coffee at [email protected] </div>
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