PARIS, France— Direct-to-consumer luggage brand Away is making its first foray into the experience of travel with a pop-up hotel in Paris.
The New York-based company, which has aligned itself with the fashion industry through collaborations with Madewell and Pop & Suki, will take over the Amastan hotel in the 8th Arrondissement with "Chez Away" for the duration of Paris Fashion Week.
Amenities specific to Chez Away include in-house manicurists, piercing and tattoo artists, with in-room beauty products supplied by Glossier, Diptyque and Dr. Jart. There will be a Grey Goose bar, and brands including Nike and MNDFL will support a programme of workshops, events and wellness sessions during the week-long event.
“When we think about the people that travel to fashion week, there are so many needs they have that a lot of hotels can’t really accommodate,” Jen Rubio, co-founder of Away, tells BoF. “We realised a pop-up hotel could be a really interesting place to take the Away ethos of making a travel experience better, and apply that to a specific event such as Paris Fashion Week.”
Rubio says the timing of Paris Fashion Week was chosen in order to target the global creative community. “As fashion week has become bigger and bigger, it’s not just people from the fashion world that come to experience the events,” she says. “There are people from all different industries and creatives from all over the place, so we’re trying to build up programming and events that speak to all of those people.”
The pop-up hotel is the latest venture into the travel experience space from the luggage brand, which has sold over 100,000 cases since its launch in early 2016 and recently raised $20 million in a Series B funding round. The company already publishes a magazine, "Here" and a podcast, "Airplane Mode", part of a mission to create a lifestyle around its product.
“If you think about terms like ‘experience economy’ and ‘lifestyle brand’, they are two very overused terms that undermine the power of doing those things correctly, and that’s really how we try to build the brand.” says Rubio. “When it’s done right, going into the ‘experience economy’ gives people something to talk about, which is obviously important for us as a brand to grow.”
The pop-up hotel will be a test-run for the brand into what it hopes will be further travel experience ventures.
“Before we even launched, we joked with our investors that someday there might even be an Away Airlines,” says Rubio. “If you think about that broader vision of improving travel and giving everyone exciting experiences, the way to get to that is through things like pop-up hotels.”