A rising new e‑commerce startup, Crane & Canopy, is slashing department store markups on a dynamically expanding range of pillows and comforters.
Discerning e‑commerce managers and e‑commerce analysts will appreciate the company’s shrewd and savvy strategy. It’s zapping as much as 70 percent off designer prices by designing, selling and shipping its tastefully neutral range of products itself, saving overheads that would otherwise go to retail stores, importers and exporters and licensing firms.
Innovate or sink?
In the increasingly crowded e‑commerce space, unique innovations are becoming the key to success. While Beautylish makes a bid for the m‑commerce market, Shutl offers ultra-fast delivery on products purchased online. Rising star The Fancy may elbow in on Pinterest’s space by offering online sales for the items featured, not simply a look at the images.
Crane & Canopy is just three months old and its strategy seems fireproof. Following an increasing e‑commerce trend to ditch the middleman, it makes its products from the very same factories used by top designers, but does so with direct contracts.
Fast and flexible
Co-founder Christopher Sun, who created the company with fellow Harvard Business School student Karen Shieh, claims that the key to its success lay in flattening the supply chain, a convoluted process that took almost a year to achieve. But with that job wrapped up, the firm can now introduce new products at the drop of a hat. Whereas top brands are tied to seasonal launches because they have to co-ordinate with licensing companies and stores, Crane & Canopy can bring new lines on stream in a matter of days.
Ms Shieh said that the firm is vastly more flexible than the big brand leviathans because it can respond immediately to customer feedback appearing on social sites like Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, adjusting instantly to consumer likes and dislikes.
Money has been raised so far from angel investors, and the company is looking to expand its range beyond bedding to include sofa pillows and towels in the near future.
Ms Shieh remarked, “We’re trying new things with home goods that the big players have never tried, because we’re going to the factories directly and saying, ‘Let’s do something different.’”
She makes a good point. A pintuck duvet cover will cost $190 at Bloomingdale’s. At Crane & Canopy, it’s just $99.