But Harriet Carter’s online “about us” description is quite extensive, discussing how it got started on Harriet Carter’s kitchen table, what her first product was and so forth. Here’s an excerpt: “A lot has changed since my family and I began our venture into the mail order business back in 1958. Our first successful item was a decorative wood switch-plate cover which we hand cut and stained down in our basement. My office was our kitchen table where my young son and daughter would help fill orders under my watchful eye. We learned right from the start that customer satisfaction was the key to keeping our little business growing successfully.”
Less surprising is the similarly efficient history essay that electronics cataloger Hammacher-Schlemmer provides on its site (www.hammacher.com/about_us/abindex.asp). Hammacher provides two stories: The first, a four-paragraph piece that briefly describes the company’s evolution from a small hardware store started by two German immigrants in New York’s Bowery District in 1848. But then you can click on the bottom for a “our history,” which takes you to more detailed, five-paragraph explanation of the company’s story (www.hammacher.com/about_us/history.asp), replete with old photos.
Check These Out Too...
In brief, here are some others I looked at that I think are worth checking out, for better or for worse:
* The Company Store (www.thecompanystore.com/story.asp) for its explanation of the evolution of down comforters since the early 1900s.
* Gooseberry Patch (http://www1.gooseberrypatch.com/gooseberry/database.nsf/v.pages/f.ourstory) for its very brief, but thorough explanation of how cofounders and next-door neighbors JoAnn and Vickie started the company. My only beef here is they don’t reveal their last names. Why not?
* Neiman Marcus (www.neimanmarcus.com/store/service/company_overview.jhtml), perhaps not surprisingly, takes a very brief and rather cold approach. Its “company overview” provides a one-sentence mission statement and a fairly extensive timeline, dating back as far as 1907 founding. Virtually no personality in this explanation.