How a misfortune turned the tides on Steph Korey depute into business

In business, they say that unfortunate situations open avenues for innovation and ideas that will lead to the establishment of an enterprise. Steph Korey is very familiar with this line of thought because she started her business Away. During her final semester at Columbia Business School, she was called by her friend stranded at the airport because of a broken suitcase. She contemplated how she would assist her if buying a new suitcase or repairing the broken one was an option. Purchasing a new suitcase meant double cost, which would be expensive at that particular time, and repairing the broken one would require some spares that were not readily available. These two conflicting ideas allowed him to find a lasting solution for travelers who faced the same problem.


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From experience at the airport, Steph Korey and her friend Jen Rubio who had worked together sometime back at a supply chain management company, nurtured the idea and began researching how to get durable materials for making suitcases. They started by researching travelers, where they interviewed over 800 travelers on some common problems they experience on their bags when traveling. The response was overwhelming where travelers admitted to experiencing broken suitcase handles, zip, and wheels. Steph Korey later developed a durable suitcase with improved features like a phone charging port because people would need somewhere to charge phones during transit.

The business picked up well, and though the purchase was being made online, they could sell the suitcase at a relatively low price of between $225 and 295, depending on the size. The company has secured over $2.5 million in funding, and they are thinking of expanding their services to other areas. Steph Korey attributes his breakthrough during the holiday season of 2015 when they sold most of their products. This was a more fulfilling journey because they were best friends apart from working as colleagues.

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