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George Crichlow

Recently I found a bag company called Côte&Ciel.

it is a design collective that gets its inspiration from the natural world and their French heritage.  I love how they have created a design philosophy that is expressed through their well design bags.

In their own words:

Our vision for Côte&Ciel is simple. To develop, design and produce travel goods that balance modern fabrics with architectural shapes, to make sure bags, rucksacks and sleeves that complement your lifestyle. 

Our products are designed to fit smartphones, tablets, laptops and more. All so you can live life the way you need to, safe in the knowledge that your technology is protected with high quality, beautifully designed storage solutions.

Doing a bit of digging I discovered that the company was originally a commissioned project by Apple. No doubt a Steve Jobs initiative. 

It reminds me that Steve Jobs was the ultimate systems thinker.  Not only did he re-imagine the personal computing industry. He was thinking about the supporting systems that would reinforce and enhance his innovative products. In doing so, this company Côte&Ciel re-imagined the travel good industry.

In thinking about systems and innovations. Larry Keeley writes in his book Ten Types of Innovation, that for a company to truly create a game changing market, along the way it must create at least 3-5 innovations. He breaks down these innovation into three groups. Configuration, offering and experience.

Configuration Innovation, focus on the inner workings of an organization and its business practices. For instance, a unique business model and how a company is organized.

Offering Innovation, focuses on product distinctions unique service offers. The iPhone is an example of a distinct product, and a service like Uber is an example of a unique service offering.

Last but not least are Experience Innovations. This bucket focuses on services, channels, brand and consumer engagement. Zappos used its customer engagement model to become a billion dollar business. Amazonfocused on selling books online to create a distinct channel strategy.

Using Keely’s innovation model.  He defines Apple as an example of an experience ecosystem. Apple created products, services and extensions that interoperate and connect consistently elegant and beguiling ways. Côte&Ciel is an example of an extension of the Apple experience ecosystem.

The product is unique in design and function, but also supports the greater ecosystem for Apple products. No doubt built into the design are specific placeholders for a laptop, ipad, mouse, iphone and accessories that naturally blends into urban and non-urban environments.

The price point is also very high and the distribution strategy deliberate. Another innovation they have employed is a keen channel strategy.  By creating a strong brand, the create demand. The brand is exclusively sold in Apple stores and one or two speciality stores in chosen cities.  But their main channel is direct sales online, where they can control and minimize distribution cost.

No doubt, Côte&Ciel is an innovative offer.  They created a network of unique designers to create a compelling product and brand offer. And finally they employed a unique channel strategy to sell directly to consumers.  

Needless to say I will be splurging on a Côte&Ciel bag very soon.