KARIN SUN // CRANE & CANOPY
Was there a moment in your life when the lightbulb went off and you just knew what you wanted to do?
The initial seed for Crane & Canopy was planted when I purchased my first home. I loved every minute of the process –touring open houses, experiencing the highs (and trepidation) of putting down my first offer, and dreaming of transforming a house into a home. Only when I started furnishing it from scratch did I realize that there was a gap in the market. I wanted to decorate my modern home with designer bedding, but found it difficult to do so without breaking the bank. After sharing my frustrations with my fiancée (now husband), we got to work, and Crane & Canopy was born.
Did you always have a thing for bedding or the desire to be an entrepreneur?
Well, I do love a good afternoon nap. In all seriousness, even though it took me many years in corporate America working at Procter & Gamble before I made the big leap, it was always my dream to start my own business. I have my mother to thank for bringing out the “bedding” entrepreneur in me. She was constantly decorating and redecorating my bedroom with fun décor and incredibly comfortable textiles and gave me a wonderful childhood of imagination and endless possibilities. It is a huge part of why I have always had a career where I am constantly creating and building.
Crane & Canopy has such a specific aesthetic, how did that come about?
I am inspired by so many things around me, especially from my travels. Experiencing different cultures allows me to see even the most ordinary things in a different light. When traveling around Europe, I was inspired by the intersection of modernity and romance, which sums up our aesthetic and bedding collection.
Once you knew you wanted to have your own product line and online shop, what steps did you take to make that a reality?
I spent a long time brainstorming and interviewing during our first few months. We created a lot of mood boards – and this was before the age of Pinterest! The fun part was crafting the business plan, brainstorming our name, selecting our logo and working with talented designers. We then spent over a year working through the supply chain and ensuring that we were delivering the best possible products. I truly believe that to create a sustainable company, one has to create products of uncompromised quality that consumers love. We searched and found the right suppliers who believed in what we were trying to accomplish.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
The biggest lesson I have learned while building Crane & Canopy is the importance of prioritization. I have learned that as an entrepreneur, time and energy is limited. It is easy to get bogged down on the little challenges of running a business. Whenever that happens, I just ask myself one question, “Will this make a difference?” This helps me focus and prioritize before tackling the list of all the to-dos.
What has surprised you about owning your own business?
I never thought that I would be so excited to go to work every morning…for myself, nonetheless! My biggest fear in starting my own business was how motivated I would be every morning. It was especially daunting given that I have only worked in very structured roles and projects where there is a certain amount of stability and predictability. My advice to anyone wanting to start their own business is to not worry about it. Starting my own business has been one of the most exhilarating and exciting things I have done for myself.
What hardships have you had along the way?
In the beginning, establishing factories that delivered products at the quality we expected was a challenge. It was easy to find factories that made bedding, but quite difficult to find ones that operated at the scale and the quality we wanted. Even though we have some history in the textile manufacturing space, it still took over a year of visits and relationship building to secure the same factories used by high end department stores.
What do you wish you would have known going into this?
Starting any job or new venture is hard. Sometimes, it’s important to learn to be patient. When you are in too much of a hurry, you can make decisions that are wrong for yourself, your customers and the business.
What have you found works for you as far as organizing your business and time?
I love making lists in every shape and form. On my desk, you will find lots and lots of post-it notes to remind me what to do, who to call, and ideas I have. There are powerpoints, emails, and text messages of bulleted reminders. It may seem like a chaotic way to bring organization to my life, but things get done.
Highlight of your career so far?
I have always loved launch days of our new bedding collections. That feeling of introducing something new to the world never gets old for me because each launch represents months of collaboration and teamwork, whether it be in the design, the photography to the production, shipping and creative. That being said, there is nothing like receiving feedback from a customer who loves your product and brand as much as you do. We received one note the other day from a lady in Florida who decorated her room with our Noe signature duvet cover. She called, wrote us a wonderful letter and called again to chat. While these interactions may seem small, they are the ones that definitely stick out in my mind as highlights of my time at Crane and Canopy.
Best advice you’ve been given?
- “Follow your heart, whether it be in love, career or life.” my mother
- “Pick your battles. You only have so much emotional capital.” my first boss
- “Have fun. Being your own boss is the best feeling in the world.” my entrepreneur dad
About Crane & Canopy: Crane & Canopy delivers high-quality designer bedding, duvets and sheets at an affordable price point. We’ve been focused on bringing innovation to the bedding category since we launched. For example, after talking to many women, we learned that over 50% do not like making their beds in the morning. So, our design team created a two-toned cover that unites the flat sheet and the duvet cover, making it easy to create the look of a perfectly made bed in the morning. This patent-pending signature duvet cover has strategically placed hidden closures toward the middle of cover so it is easy for consumers to change their bedding in between washes.
Behind the Biz takes a deep dive behind the scenes with business owners and entrepreneurs. Don’t miss my other Behind the Biz features with Lee Kleinhelter of Pieces, Emily of Elva Fields, Rochelle of The Shirt and handbag designer Blair of Blair Ritchey. Tweet along with me at #behindthebiz and @megbiram.