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Posted 3.21.16

Disrupting fitness fashion - Aaron Luo, EMBA '08

Caraa’s luxury fitness handbag bridges high fashion with performance functionalities, addressing the need for a fashionable, multipurpose bag to get from commute to office to elliptical and back home again. Caraa has adopted the LEAN approach to business and is involving customers through rapid prototyping, product testing and more as a core part of the overall fashion design process.

Prior to launching Caraa, Luo spent almost a decade leading cross-functional teams across eight industrial business units and 12 countries at General Electric (GE). Luo grew up in an entrepreneurial family focused on manufacturing and supply chain within the fashion market, and that spirit of entrepreneurship carried over to the next generation. After building a solid managerial and leadership foundation at GE, Luo felt prepared to strike out on his own.

Caraa luxury fitness handbag

Seeing a need for innovation around the customer shopping experience, overall product design, and merchandizing, the fitness fashion industry seemed to be the best place to make an immediate difference with Luo’s disruptive design and innovative product approach. “It is a market that has been underserved for the mid- to high-end product range of products, especially within the fitness handbag and accessories categories,” says Luo.

The opportunity to shape an industry really excites Luo. Involving the customer in the design process is a big diversion from the traditional trendsetter model of fashion designing, but it’s an important one, especially among Millennials, who don’t want to be told what to wear or how to dress.

The transition from helping to manage a $1B business in one of the world’s best and largest companies to running a startup is a difficult and challenging one, says Luo. His experiences in the executive MBA program at Weatherhead helped him tremendously along the way. It catapulted his career and helped him build the confidence and skills necessary to lead in an industry that is competitive and in need of a makeover.

Discover Caraa's products online and learn more about the executive MBA program at the Weatherhead School of Management, where leaders transform who they are, not just what they do. 

Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University cultivates creativity, innovation, and purpose-driven leadership at every level—self, others, organizations, and society. Learn more about Weatherhead’s life-changing degree programs. Weatherhead School of Management: think brighter.

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