Crane & Canopy, an online home goods store, is taking advantage of the internet to streamline business and save cost by flattening the traditional supply chain. Unlike some brick and mortar stores, where their online presence is just a slick web presentation of their store, Crane & Canopy gets rid of extra people and processes in the typical supply chain scenario by handling many things in-house, such as design, CAD work, importing and exporting, prep work, and sales. Basically much of the middle-man is cut.
Crane & Canopy works hand-in-hand with the same manufacturers who supply bedding to high-end retail and designer brands like Vera Wang directly to the consumer. By doing this, the customer will get the fraction of the price for the same quality. Currently Crane & Canopy is in the bedding space but they hope to expand to home décor, like headboards, footboards, side tables, accessories, and more.
The company was founded in mid-2011 by Harvard Business School graduates and classmates Christopher Sun and Karin Shieh. Prior to starting Crane & Canopy, Christopher spent time in Silicon Valley as an associate at Storm Ventures. The company is based in San Carlos, California and works directly with factories in Asia.
“The concept was conceived when I purchased my first home, and I found it really difficult to furnish with high-quality affordable design without breaking the bank,” said Shieh in TechCrunch on how she became interested in the home goods industry. “I love home goods. I was shopping around a lot, and found it really frustrating. And after talking to all my friends, I found that they had a similar experience.”
Shieh wanted to see if there was a way to break through the traditional supply chain process with new ways of doing things. So she did research on it and found there were ways. Said Shieh, “We found out that there were actually a bunch of externalities in the whole supply chain. So the concept of this is that we cut out the middleman.”
The success of Crane & Canopy and similar e-commerce businesses that streamline the supply chain and sale process is due to the recession. Factories no longer had a steady supply of retailers for orders so they were opened to companies like Crane & Canopy to expand their sales, which were drying up fast. That is good news for entrepreneurs like Sun and Shieh but also customers who want the same quality but without the added price that they were paying before.
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