Not many of the early-to-market online retailers can boast the level of success that eBags.com has seen. Founded in 1998 and launched live in 1999, eBags says it has grown into the largest online retailer of bags and accessories in the world by offering options to suit any need and lifestyle and providing superior customer service.
“Our mission is to enrich customer’s lives and journeys with the perfect bag,” President and COO Robert Cassidy says. “We fit their needs at their desired price point.”
Read more: eBags.com
Based in Boston, Shoebuy.com is a true e-commerce success story. Founded in 1999 at the peak of the dot-com bubble, Shoebuy.com has grown into the largest Internet retailer focused on footwear and related apparel and accessories.
Since the Shoebuy.com website launched in January 2000, the company has seen significant year-over-year growth 12 consecutive years running. In 2006, Shoebuy was acquired by IAC, which owns other leading online properties. The company has tripled revenues since being acquired by IAC.
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Entertaining in the comfort of one’s home has become more popular since the economic downturn. Libbey, the self-proclaimed leading glassware manufacturer in the western hemisphere, offers its customers the latest in drinkware, tabletop items and home décor to set the perfect table for home entertaining, Vice President of Consumer Sales and Marketing Jeff Joyce says. “The economy has been challenging and many consumers have had to change their spending habits,” he adds. “Many consumers now want to create an entertainment experience at home. We try to understand what is happening in the market and put a huge emphasis on product development to meet emerging trends. Newness is very important to the consumer.”
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Freshpair, an Internet retailer of intimate apparel for men and women, is changing the perception that online shopping is impersonal. It is offering an individualized experience for each customer and experts on stand-by to assist with sizing or order placement.
The company was founded 13 years ago and marketed only to the parents of students in college, President Matthew Butlein says. “It was a way for the parents of students at the University of Maryland to send their kids new underwear on campus,” he explains. “That model has changed, as it was very hard to find that specific target market.”
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It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that “nerd” culture is booming right now. “The Big Bang Theory” is one of the most popular shows on TV, comic book superheroes like the Avengers rule the box office and it’s not unheard of for a video game to gross a billion dollars on its release date. It isn’t surprising, then, that online retailer ThinkGeek has experienced substantial growth over the past few years. Purveyors of eccentric and “geeky” products ranging from computer repair kits to Jedi knight bathrobes, ThinkGeek approximately doubled in revenue between 2008 and 2011, and CEO Kathryn McCarthy says there’s potential for growth even beyond the $120 million in revenue the company made last year.
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Finding a bra that fits perfectly is invaluable to a woman’s intimate collection. When perfection is found, the thought of losing it is frightening and Canada-based lingerie retailer La Vie en Rose understands that – which is why its most popular bras are never out of stock.
“Our main product is bras; that is what we are known for,” Vice President of Design and Product Development John Izzo says. “Women are loyal to bras when they find a good fit, they will come back to us. We keep our best sellers on our shelves at all times.” The company is known as the “bra specialists” because of its commitment to helping women wear the correct size. To honor that promise, bra clinics are held multiple times per year and private fittings are offered in the dressing rooms. “We make a big effort to give personalized service to customers,” Izzo says. “That’s what differentiates us, all our staff are trained on how to fit women for a bra. It’s something customers appreciate.”
Read more: La Vie en Rose
It may have changed its venues and even its name over the years, but the ShoppersChoice.com LLC that exists today is still, at heart, the same company that started as The Grill Store & More in 1998. The company was founded as a brick-and-mortar store located in Baton Rouge, La., by Michael and Ladina Hackley. The seven-days-a-week operation built enough following to open a second brick and mortar store in 2000. It was the same year the company went into e-commerce with its first website, thegrillstoreandmore.com, followed by BBQGuys.com in 2001. Just like its brick and mortar stores, the websites proved a successful endeavor, so successful, in fact, that the company closed its physical locations and went strictly online in 2002.
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‘Our model was different than that of many online retailers,” says Shoplet.com co-founder, CEO and President Tony Ellison of the late-1990s “Internet bubble” that saw scores of online ventures go out of business after a brief period of success. “We’ve built Shoplet brick by brick, and was never looking to get rich quick. We were turning a profit before dot-coms were in vogue starting in 1997.
“We’re not the normal story of someone having an idea and going to an IPO to raise funds; this is a private enterprise,” he adds. “Our profitability and concentration on customers is why we didn’t have the problems others had. We were growing triple digits year-over-year, and were cash flow positive, so we didn’t really have any reason to bring in money from the outside and in the process lose control of the company.”
Read more: Shoplet.com
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