Away’s CMO Selena Kalvaria Says Travel Has Shifted From Airplane Overhead to Back of the Car

The luggage brand also admits talking about trips right now is just plain weird

Screenshot of Richard Collings and Selena Kalvaria
Selena Kalvaria spoke with Richard Collings at Adweek's Commerce Week virtual summit.

Few industries have been hit as hard by the coronavirus crisis as the travel industry. Hotels, airlines and cruise lines have all seen revenues decline as closed borders and public health mandates have limited travel—for business or pleasure—across the globe.

At Adweek’s Commerce Week virtual summit, Selena Kalvaria, CMO of luggage startup Away, spoke with retail reporter Richard Collings about how the brand has put community first during the pandemic and refused to panic when faced with uncertainty. She also outlined how traveling in the age of Covid-19 has become a new experience that the brand has learned to embrace.

“We had to decide really quickly how, and if at all, we could talk about travel,” Kalvaria said. “We took that first week or two to huddle together to see how the news developed and talk about what our role could be.”

One shift the brand has noticed about the new normal: Luggage needs have shifted from airplane overhead to back of the car.

Another aspect Away has had to deal with is that, as Kalvaria put it, travel is weird right now.

“It’s weird to talk about, it’s weird to share on your social channels,” she said.

To address this uncomfortable reality, Away partnered with artist Robert Beatty to create some psychedelic and fantastical illustrations that help capture the moment.

“We have everything you need to travel safely and confidently, and we want travel to be the escape and still feel like a happy place,” Kalvaria said. “It’s kind of that juxtaposition with it being weird, but we’re here to get you through it.”

Watch the full conversation below.


@hiebertpaul paul.hiebert@adweek.com Paul Hiebert is a CPG reporter at Adweek, where he focuses on data-driven stories that help illustrate changes in consumer behavior and sentiment.
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