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Why This Online Clothing Company Started Sharing Its Profits With Brick-and-Mortar Stores To calm the nerves of traditional shops and department stores (and grow their customer base), Ledbury made a drastic offering.

By Stephanie Schomer

This story appears in the October 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Kate Magee

When the online-only men's apparel brand Ledbury launched in 2009, it was like many online-only brands: It offered high-­quality products at a competitive price, because it cut out the retail middleman. But then something unexpected happened. "People were walking into department stores and menswear stores asking for Ledbury shirts," says Paul Trible, co-founder and CEO of Ledbury. And some brick-and-mortar retailers wanted to carry the brand.

Related: Entrepreneurship in Retail? You Got It, Just Follow These 5 Simple Rules!

Trible hadn't anticipated this business interest but eventually decided it was an opportunity to reach new customers. So in 2016, Ledbury rolled out to 20 stores -- what Trible calls "early adopters." It went well, and he began looking for more retail partners. And that's when he hit the online-storefront divide.