Endy partners with Urban Barn to open 37 showrooms

Online mattress company Endy has partnered with home furnishings retailer Urban Barn to open showrooms in 37 of its stores across the country, part of a growing movement towards brick-and-mortar retail experiences by direct-to-consumer brands.

Endy, which has sold more than 80,000 mattresses in Canada since its 2015 debut, describes the partnership as the next step in “omni-channel growth” for the company. Urban Barn shoppers will now be able to experience both the Endy mattress and pillow in a store environment prior to ordering at Endy.com.

Endy products will be showcased at Urban Barns stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Endy also has showroom partnerships in place with other retailers across the country. While Endy was acquired by Sleep Country Canada for $89 million last year, the two businesses stressed at the time that they would be run as separate businesses to maintain the “same competitive spirit.”

A growing number of digital pure plays have opened pop-up shops or permanent brick-and-mortar retail locations in recent years, including Warby Parker, Bonobos and Glossier. According to experts, physical spaces offer a better environment for showcasing products while allowing customers to experience them first-hand.

In a report on direct-to-consumer brands issued this week, the U.S. IAB said that pop-up stores are part of a “creative revolution,” as online brands begin moving into physical retail. These showrooms, it said, are for experiencing as much as selling.

Another bed-in-a-box company, Casper, opened “The Dreamery” in New York, with people paying $25 for a 45-minute “nap session” in a “Casper nook”—a private, quiet pod featuring an “outrageously comfortable” bed.

Casper, which plans to open 200 North American stores within the next three years according to the IAB report, is also pursuing a physical retail strategy in Canada. It opened the 2,300 square-foot Casper Sleep Shop in Toronto’s Sherway Gardens last year, and has previously partnered with furniture retailer EQ3 to create in-store showrooms.

The IAB report said that digitally native brands will open 850 stores in North America in the next three years. While New York and L.A. are far and away the most popular locations for pop-ups, Toronto ranked third on the list.

Bed-in-a-box companies have been particularly disruptive in the mattress market, with the IAB report noting that Casper, Leesa and Purple doubled their U.S. market share to approximately 10% between 2016 and 2018, leading to a 4.6% drop in sales for category leader Tempur Sealy and the bankruptcy of the retailer Mattress Firm.

Endy, meanwhile, was named Canada’s fastest-growing retail company—and fourth fastest-growing overall—on the Canadian Business/Maclean’s Startup 50 list, with two-year revenue growth of nearly 3,000% between 2015-2017 and projected sales of more than $50 million last year.

People who try out the Endy products at Urban Barn locations will receive a promo code to use on Endy.com.

–Chris Powell

Chris Powell