In influencers he trusts. Caraa bags’ cofounder and chief executive officer Aaron Luo has built a digital-native luxury gym-bag business aimed at the Millennial woman.
The bags, which typically range from $200 to $450, are the answer to changing lifestyles among urban women, he said. “Their schedule has changed, now she goes to the gym after work instead of drinks. Eighty-two percent of customers plan their day based on where they work out. We’ve seen this affect apparel’s standpoint — evolving to become more active and body-inclusive. But when we looked at the overall accessories space, things remained the same,” Luo said.
Thus, Caraa’s day-to-gym-to-night carryalls were born. “Handbag options were limited. There were designer handbags and sports bags that didn’t have that designer look, which meant carrying multiple bags. We are able to offer a luxury good for under $400 from a brand that is both emotional and technical,” Luo said.
The company was launched in 2015 with just two styles and has expanded to some five collections. Luo said Caraa’s average purchase per customer is 2.8 pieces.
Caraa has tapped professional athletes like gymnasts Simone Biles and Jordyn Wieber as well as local fitness trainers with loyal followings to promote its product on social media. “There is more than ever a place for digital-native brands. We cannot settle with mediocre product that overcompensates with fancy branding and marketing — it doesn’t work anymore,” said Luo.
“We are betting on thriving in this environment based on innovative product with a cultlike following and using digital for brand-building and communication,” he elaborated of his strategy.
Though launched as a direct-to-consumer label, meaning “healthy margins,” as Luo said, Caraa has since grown to wholesale with select retailers like Nordstrom and the Equinox luxury gym chain. Wholesale accounts for about 20 percent of company sales.