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What is CB2 and How Is It Different From Crate and Barrel?

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What is the deal with cb2.com, aka Crate and Barrel 2? The website says it has modern styles, but why are there two Crate and Barrels? Does this mean there will be two different types of Crate and Barrel stores, or that a CB2 catalog is coming into the old Crate and Barrel stores?

These are the questions we asked back in the 2000s when CB2 first came to be. Then, there was only one CB2 store in Chicago plus the website. Today, CB2 has a full chain of stores, but the distinction between it and Crate and Barrel is still blurry to the outsider looking in. Here’s the story.

CB2 is a spin-off of the original Crate and Barrel. It’s intended to appeal to a younger, hipper crowd, but the distinction between the two isn’t exactly clear. CB2 has a smaller, but more interesting product line than Crate and Barrel — but honestly, there’s no real difference in pricing. It’s not like the relationship between Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic, where each brand caters to a very specific price point. Surely, the CB2 and Crate and Barrel teams understand how the two brands are different, but it’s not that clear to this Budget Fashionista.

CB2 selection vs. Crate and Barrel

Both stores focus on home décor, housewares, and furniture. You can find throw pillows, bedding, bath towels, dishes as well as sofas, tables, and rugs. The aesthetic of CB2 is somewhat more interesting than Crate and Barrel’s, but the difference isn’t extreme by any means.

If you’re shopping for outdoor planters, for example, you might find more textures and patterns at CB2. Crate and Barrel by comparison will lean more towards solid-colored designs, relying on the shape and finish to make the statement. But the selection of sofas across both stores is similar, even down to the pricing.

Generally speaking, CB2 focuses on décor items, while Crate and Barrel also dabbles in appliances. Specifically, you can buy juicers, blenders, air fryers, and toasters from Crate and Barrel, but these items are not available from CB2.

Interestingly, CB2 carries a small and odd assortment of home electronics that includes Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and even a turntable.

CB2 services

Both CB2 and Crate and Barrel offer gift registries, but Crate and Barrel promotes theirs more prominently.

CB2 also has an interesting line-up of interior design services. From the website, you can preview how CB2 products will look in your space from your phone, without downloading an app. In truth, this sounds cooler than it actually is. I tried it and, after a minute of frustrated tapping, I accidentally placed a beautiful blue club chair on top of my desk. Needless to say, it didn’t convince me to buy the chair. I’ll leave it to someone with more patience than I have to explore the usefulness of that feature.

You can also request 3D room renderings of CB2 products in your space. This service costs $49 or $99, depending on whether you want help from a stylist. Learn more here.

Both CB2 and Crate and Barrel also allow you to connect with a designer from their respective websites.

Store footprint

As of January, 2021, CB2 has 20 store locations, plus its website. Californians have four CB2 stores, split evenly between the northern and southern half of the states. You can also shop CB2 in New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Florida, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Minnesota. If you live north of the border, you can find CB2 stores in Toronto and Vancouver. See the full list of CB2 stores here.

Crate and Barrel, on the other hand, has a much larger store footprint. There are more than 100 Crate and Barrel locations in 29 U.S. states and Canada, including Crate and Barrel Outlet stores in California, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

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