Innovations now are increasingly about rethinking and redoing historical models of production, and using time to advantage:
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What is empowering the upstarts now is the Web’s ability to reach lots of consumers without the costs of operating physical stores as well as a change in manufacturers’ willingness to work with small brands.
Because they are not dependent on third parties, these e-commerce companies can also introduce products much more quickly.
Crane and Canopy, for example, releases new duvet covers and sheet sets every other week and designs textiles based on current trends on Pinterest and elsewhere, instead of planning collections seasons ahead of time like most brands, said Karin Shieh, its co-founder.
“We want consumers to get those products immediately, so we connect our customers directly with the factories that are currently making bedding for Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and high-end brands,” Ms. Shieh said.
But Crane and Canopy sells the bedding without all the extra costs. A queen-size white pintuck duvet cover on its site, for instance, is $119, while a similar one by DKNY is $400 at Bloomingdale’s.
Crane and Canopy’s principals leveraged their knowledge of what factories were making for others. How do they get that information? Personal relationships with the factory owners allows them to build their offers and production in the draft behind other, larger, slower competitors.
They are making time out of thin air, and cleaning their competitor’s clocks.