The October 2008 issue of Catalog Success carried an interesting profile of Peter Cobb, the founder of eBags. (If you’re not familiar with eBags, have a look – it’s an impressive website selling 36,000 handbags, totebags, briefcases, backpacks and more.)
Four years ago, eBags tried expanding into the shoe business, only to find that it took them too far afield from their core competency. After selling the shoe portion of the business, they recognized that they could still take advantage of a synergy with that industry. They teamed up with Shoes.com to produce a joint catalog. Half the book offers eBags products, the other half offers Shoes.com merchandise. Customers of eBags receive a catalog with eBags on the front, Shoes.com on the back. For Shoes.com customers, the covers are reversed. A remarkably clever idea, I thought!
The idea reminded me of Kip Creel’s suggestion mentioned in our July 23 blog post for online nurseries to team up with garden centers.
What companies does your business have a synergy with? Is co-venturing a way to cut your costs and expand your business?