Let's face it. Some people have the charisma, brains and conviction to raise $30 million for a virtual company and some don't. Meet Peter Cobb '79, one of the pioneering successful online e-retailers and with a nice little profit in his wallet, to boot. Visit eBags and you'll see why.
Cobb's creation, eBags, not only managed to survive the dot.com crash, the impact of 9-11 on travel, and a rough economy, it has boomed. By 2003, sales for the year were up 93 percent, and the site had sold 2.3 million bags since its launch in March 1999--miraculous given the recent rate of failure for traditional luggage stores. This from a site that began with a smart combination of Cobb's background as head of marketing for Samsonite and a long list of friends and colleagues who contributed to the company's start-up war chest.
But most important, "We had conviction, passion, and decades of business experience, plus education behind us," said Cobb. "We knew how companies worked. We took a logical business approach, a laser-like focus on the customer, hired a great team, and sprinkled in some innovation and inspiration."
A good day at eBags nets hundreds of thousands of visitors. And according to Cobb, after visiting the site once, they come back, thanks to a strong focus on customer service and a 110 percent satisfaction guarantee.
Peter graduated from the Lundquist College of Business and cites his education there and at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management as critical to his success with eBags.
"The University of Oregon planted the seed for my interest in business," he offered, "and I was fortunate to see the potential of the Internet for creating a new and better way for people to shop for something I was passionate about--bags."