plants roots in Canada
The burgeoning brand just opened its second bricks-and-mortar store here, with a Canadian HQ coming soon.
(Author : Melissa Dunne)
On an overcast winter day on Toronto’s Queen Street West, shoppers loaded down with bags walk past the storefront of mattress brand Casper’s new store, offering them a break from all of that hustle and bustle. Stepping inside, Casper’s second Sleep Shop in Canada attempts to bring instant calm via the white-and-blue walls and potted green plants. The shop even smells calming, thanks to the brand’s own lavender pillow spray.
What started as an online-only mattress retailer in 2013 has grown into a sleep brand that sells everything from its mattresses to down duvets to linen sheets, both online and IRL. The brand – along with competitors like Leesa and Canada’s Endy – woke up a sleepy category known for musty showrooms with pushy salespeople. Casper aims to makes its showrooms the polar opposite of that dated, cliched image, with more than 20 sleek Sleep Shops dotted across North America. It plans to make a big push in the bricks-and-mortar space by opening 200 locations by 2022.
Other popular online furniture brands, such as Canada’s Article, are sticking with online-only sales, but Nicole Tapscott, VP and GM for Casper in Canada, says providing an in-store experience is important to would-be Casper customers.
“Casper has always been heavily interested in experience,” she explains. “People want to touch and feel the products before buying.”
The company continues to also offer its 100-night trial to all customers who might be wary of buying a foam mattress in a giant white-and-blue cardboard box. Since the company first popularized the idea of purchasing a mattress online, several competitors have entered the increasingly crowded space. Canada’s answer to a mattress-in-a-box, Endy, started in 2015 and was acquired by Sleep Country Canada late last year in a deal valued at $88.7 million. Meanwhile, by mid-2018 Casper had raised US$239.5 million in funding and was reportedly considering an IPO, according to Fast Company.
In a bid to hold on to its leadership position in the online mattress space, Casper is not only opening physical stores, but has partnered with retailers on both sides of the border so people can touch and feel the product before buying. Here in Canada, it has teamed up with Hudson’s Bay, EQ3 and Indigo Books & Music stores so Canadians can try out Casper products in person.
The company is planting deeper roots in the Great White North, opening its Canadian headquarters above the new Queen Street shop in the near future. The new office will be spearheaded by Tapscott, who was working in New York for Casper before moving back to her home country last year. Understanding there are few things as Canadian as ice hockey the American brand also became the Toronto Maple Leafs “official sleep partner” in 2017 and launched a campaign with player John Tavares in November.
Casper also launched a hyper-local campaign in Canada’s largest city in December. The company worked with Lg2 on over 200 unique executions around Toronto, both underground in subway stations and above-ground around the diverse city. The neighbourhood-specific ads promoted a range of products. One ad, for example, features a black-and-white pooch in a Casper dog bed, with blue text that reads: “Toronto has 48 dog parks but he only likes the one in High Park. Rest up.”
As Casper continues to branch out and expand Tapscott wants the mattress company to connect with Canadians of all ages, whether they encounter the sleep brand at a subway stop, while shopping at Indigo or by taking a quick nap at its calming new Queen West store.
“We’re not targeting one specific group,” insists the VP and GM for Casper in Canada. “Good sleeping is universal.”