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Would you miss Crate&Barrel?

Continuing my “Would you Miss” series

Cratebarrel


Does Crate & Barrel provide such a unique product and customer experience that we would be saddened if it didn’t exist? Does Crate & Barrel treat its employees so astonishingly well that those workers would not be able to find another employer to treat them as well? Does Crate & Barrel forge such unfailing emotional connections with its customers that they would fail to find another retailer that could forge just as strong an emotional bond?

What say you?

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28 Comments

  • Travis … looks like you need to get out from the ad world and explore the retail world. Crate & Barrel has a solid retail store business and a solid catalog business. They are not omni-present but present enough to be known. (Or so I think.)

  • Barchbo says:

    Yes, I would miss it. Assuming I am their target audience, C&B is a store that has created a strong enough brand that I know what I am getting when I shop there. It is reliable, consistent, above-average quality, well-priced, and not so market-saturated that I worry that something from there will be seen in the home of everyone I know.They haven’t opened too many stores, and the stores they do have are well-stocked and comprehensively carry most of their goods so that people can see the majority of what’s available.

  • Chris Wilson says:

    I would miss them. In fact, I wish miss them quite regularly since there are no stores within a 100 miles of my house. It’s just catalogs shopping for me.Oh, and I’m a huge fan of their CB2, modern living extension on the old CB brand.

  • I’d miss the window-shopping, but thus far, despite being a regular visitor to their stores, I’ve never actually shelled out for anything.Would *they* miss *me* ?

  • Danno says:

    Crate is coming to Canada, and I wondered what the culture was like. I read different sites that employees had posted on. It seems they sure will not miss the company. For me personally? I will have to see what they are like when they get here.

  • BLarner says:

    Hi John, Wouldn’t miss Crate & Barrel. Nor Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware.Chris, good response, Would *they* miss *me* ?best,bonnierichmond, vausa

  • I really love this series. Truly. I’m glad we connected in San Marcos a million years ago, but man, these are some great posts. They always get me thinking.Me? No. Wouldn’t miss them a bit, but then, I’m a dad, and the items C&B sells are not my typical purchase.

  • Spike Jones says:

    I’m with Joel. I’d kinda miss walking around in there. But would I miss the brand? Nope. Not a bit.

  • JMW says:

    I wouldn’t miss them. C&B lacks a strong brand identity for me — I’ve walked through their stores many times and I still can’t say what need they fill, exactly, in my life.With the exception of the leaning bookshelf, their furniture offerings are mostly generic. The basics are generally offered in other stores.I know they sell an experience or a feeling or whatever in the overall shopping atmosphere of a C&B store. I get that, really I do. But surely there must be some substantial differentiation beyond that. The brand seems so focused on the retail experience and undifferentiated in product that it screams “overpriced” to consumers.They need to make something that I drool for, that I dream about and really want. Perhaps there’s a matter of taste here but they just don’t strike me as polarizing in the least. Just style over substance.

  • I would be DEVISTATED! When C&B opened in Austin, we said, “we’re finally a civilized city!”I would miss it for the following reasons:(1) Best Christmas ornaments and reasonably priced. The only modern ornaments we can find locally.(2) Their gadgets section makes for easy unique gifts, especially when in a hurry.(3) The furniture is incredible and although it is expensive, it is high quality and well worth the money (especially when on sale).(4) Wonderful gift registration for brides, I’m sad C&B wasn’t in Austin yet when I got married.(5) Their marketing is always stunning and is constantly inspiring to me graphically.——–I would miss our romantic Sunday visits with coffee in hand to C&B even when we don’t make a major purchase. I’m sad even *pretending* C&B would leave!

  • C&B is an interesting one. Used to go there all the time, bought things more than once, and then they just kind of dropped of my radar. Similarly Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware have also disappeared. Maybe I’ve just got what I need, but something else is at work here. At one point, I probably visited all three of those stores a combined 20 times in a year, now it’s more like twice. They had an opportunity to engage we and didn’t make the connection. They all have decent quality stuff, but like others have noted, it’s not exceptionally different or unique enough anymore. The novelty wore off for me with those brands.I think they are in a tough spot. People have a very specific notion of what C&B offers, to change it could be too much of a disconnect to their loyal customers. But they have to do something different to get me to care about them again.

  • emma says:

    The absence of the white box underneath the Christmas tree with the san-serif type declaring “Crate&Barrel” housewares were in the future of someone in my family come Christmas morning.

  • KK says:

    I can’t speak for employees, but I would miss it – terribly. There are few stores that are focused on entertaining in the home and do it so well.Does the Barrel have a strong brand presence? No. Will they get there someday? Yes, I think they will. And I have very mixed feelings about that because then Barchbo’s point may come true. They will become market-saturated to the point where everyone will own exactly the same thing.To CB’s credit, they change out their merchandise often so while we may shop at the same place, our interiors are not spitting images of each other, unlike Pottery Barn.If Pottery Barn died, I wouldn’t care.

  • I’d miss them. They are a good Idea Store.You can look through their catalog for good ideas and then find something similar elsewhere for less.

  • Whitney Rosenbalm says:

    I think with Target knocking off every look and feel of stores like C&B and PB (and PBKids) that their products are not positioned in the minds of buyers as “exclusive” as they used to be.I do enjoy reading their catalogs (when they come) but I don’t actively seek them out online to shop there — and I am probably their target demo (30s working Mom). I DO like their after Christmas sales — awesome, hip ornaments and gift wrap. I think their market is probably supported by chic wedding gift buyers and trendy brides.

  • KL-Creative says:

    I can’t think of too many retail operations that maintain the consistency in approach and merchandising that you find in Crate and Barrel. It’s an amazing example of limited retail space that uniquely reaches a wide range of demographics. Never have their prices been out of the range of their customer-base, which is amazing in these inflationary times.Hell yes, I would miss C&B!!!

  • BIG Kahuna says:

    I would guess C & B’s target demo is women between 24-50 something. I was forced to register for both ;) my weddings at C & B. So I’m pretty sure my ex wife and current wife would miss them. Hence I would miss them.

  • Michelle D says:

    Yes, I would miss them. I agree that they are an idea store, an entertaining-in-the-home store, and I-buy-really-great-presents store. It seems that their POV is always on trend. I sold my house to move to a new city, and am currently a renter. I miss going to C&B now, and I throw away the catalogs right away because it makes me yearn for my own space. Maybe that’s what they do – they help people create their unique space and place.

  • Melizzard says:

    Wouldn’t miss them a bit and I’m pretty sure I’m the target demo – 40 something professional who’s a little too house proud.I’ve long since starting seeking smaller stores that provide a more unique point of view.

  • Melizzard says:

    Wouldn’t miss them a bit and I’m pretty sure I’m the target demo – 40 something professional who’s a little too house proud.I’ve long since starting seeking smaller stores that provide a more unique point of view.

  • Caffeinated says:

    Definitely would miss them! They have a great brand and are more reasonably priced than either Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn… most of my house is decorated with C&B :-)

  • James says:

    If I were getting married, yes. We registered there. But it’s been 10 years and now we have a family and haven’t been able to afford to shop there in years.Moved from L.A. to Seattle two years ago and honestly couldn’t tell you if they even have C&B in this state.

  • Ange from Australia says:

    When i visited the States last year, C&B was a real highlight, not just because of the product offering, but level of care and thought put into stores. I think you guys are lucky to have the choice not to go a C&B store in the first place!

  • JT says:

    Absolutely would miss it. Have been shopping there for more than 20 years. Still have everything I’ve bought there, too, and it’s all in great shape because of the high quality even after 20 years (which also makes it very affordable, yes?) Also great design, they have things like Marimekko that you can’t easily find elsewhere. Great brand, one of the very few I stick with.

  • kd10021 says:

    Would definitely miss them. Don’t know where else I would find nice & modern but relatively reasonably priced furniture. ABC Homes is not in my price range right now.That being said, I noticed about a year ago that there is a lack of something in between the quality and price of IKEA and Crate & Barrel. I’m 25 and work in advertising, so I can’t always shell out as much as C&B charges, but don’t want to buy (and build!) crap from IKEA. Someone come up with a solution…

  • Dubai says:

    Yesterday, Terry and I were lucky enough to attend the media pre-opening of Canada’s first Crate & Barrel store. The gorgeous two-level space in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall boasts a whopping 35,000 square feet of kitchen gadgets, tableware, bath accessories, linens, rugs, lamps, amazing accents and of course, quality furniture for every room in the house. And it’s not only Torontonians who benefit, Canadians across the country can.

  • LT says:

    no. They’re overpriced. IKEA is far superior.