Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What Happened to Sharper Image?

Sharper Image was one of the hottest companies in America for years and in the 1980s, it reached near iconic status. Today, I learned on the news that the company has declared bankruptcy.

I remember talking to my friends in college who talked about the quality of a mall based on whether it had a Sharper Image. The store became the benchmark separating the good, from the bad and ugly. One of my favorite movies is "When Harry Met Sally" (yes, I am a romantic) and one of the most enjoyable scenes (and memorable) scenes is in a Sharper Image. There, the two main characters sing on a karaoke and stumble upon Harry's ex-wife in a most uncomfortable and humorous scene.

Back in those days, Sharper Image was decidedly geared towards the affluent. The products weren't cheap, but they were believed to be of a higher quality and a cut above in creativity, over others. Some where along the way, Sharper Image became common in price and image.

* Right now, if you visit the Sharper Image Site, you will find a digital frame key chain for less than $30.

* You can find a hydrogen fuel rocket set for less than $20.

* You can find a Sharper Image Turbo Groomer for less than $30.

I think you get the point, Sharper Image products are quickly beginning to look like the cheap products we associate with "as seen on TV." We come to that conclusion, because that appear to be exactly what they have become. I believe that the lure of being like everyone else on TV was the very thing that led to its decline. He (or she) that lives by low prices, often dies by low prices. Write that up in the Sharper Image obituary.

Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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Blogger Kevin Price said...

I always thought Sharper Image was kind of joke. I'm not surprise to see it fall.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Kevin Price said...

The above is actually the opinion of one of my kids, who didn't like Sharper Image and wanted to write this just to irritate me! Remember, don't walk away from your computer without logging off.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Jesse said...

I loved the sharper image and I am sorry to have lost it. It offered a lot of "fun" toys and it was cool to see what sort of products were new and how people can apply them. Some products were not for me, and I definitely purchased others. My friends and I are sad to see this place go...

I hope its not the last of the sharper image. I am certain that many people across the country feel the same way. 11/19.08

1:13 PM  

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