This is a story about sleep. Well, to be more accurate, it’s actually a story of sleep’s rise to e-commerce greatness.
Once relegated to echo-filled big box stores in sleepy suburban strip malls, mattress shopping has somehow become an exciting task, quietly shedding its chore status over the past half-decade. Constantly in search of a good night’s rest, many shoppers now giddily compare different brands, relying heavily on reviews and word of mouth as the main guides pointing towards the most reliable purveyors of waking up rested.
In Canada, there is one particular name that has risen above the deluge of competitors. Endy is a mattress-in-a-box brand—a packaging model that has earned its own subsegment of the market—founded in 2015, and in the four years since has engineered incredible growth.
Co-founders Rajen Ruparell and Mike Gettis set out to create a made-in-Canada company focused on sleep that offers uncompromising quality and convenience. If the term ‘mattress-in-a-box’ were to be distilled as a business model, Gettis (now CEO) owns the ‘mattress’ aspect, spending thousands of hours tinkering with foam and materials that could be rolled up and turned into a comfortable product. Ruparell (now chairman) is the ‘box’ part, honing in on his business expertise to build a nationwide e-commerce and distribution network.
Endy is in the sleeping well business, and business is booming. The company sold to Sleep Country Canada in 2018 for $89 million but chose to remain a separate entity, leaning into the meteoric success the past years brought. Now onto their fourth office space in as many years, Endy and its 50 employees took over an 8,000 square-foot floor designed by Harrison Fae, though this one will likely stick for a while—it can handle another 50 employees, so Endy is ready for expansion.
Advertising is crucial for e-commerce success, and Endy is no different. They made a splash in their early days with carefully targeted subway ads, so the entrance to the office is modeled after one of the busiest downtown Toronto subway stations, Queen. The walls even have the recognizable tiling and the signature Endy ads that one might see on any given day riding the rocket.
Endy is not building and packaging mattresses in their eighth-floor downtown Toronto workspace. Rather, this hub is the center of operations for everything from customer service to advertising to engineering. The mattresses themselves are manufactured exclusively in Canada in a handful of fulfillment facilities spread around the country.
Endy built itself on its flagship mattress but has since expanded its repertoire to sell pillows, sheets, and duvets. There is consistent market research happening here to determine what the next product should be—the latest to roll out is the Endy bed frame, and there’s a good bet the next product will also have something to do with sleep.
The best direct-to-consumer companies champion two distinct areas: creativity through marketing and product, and customer service through support and feedback. Endy realizes this and has made big investments into those two areas, as their customer support and creative teams make up the largest bulk of employees in the office. The creative team even has its own private photography studio. This was a major wish for the team as the company decided on a new space—they wanted to be able to create and test their own work within the office’s walls and skip the whole “renting a studio” thing.
Meeting rooms inspired by Endy’s Canadian roots dot the office. Hop into Pine or Mountain for a quick stand-up, or maybe hang out in the comfortable Moose or Beaver lounges on either side of the space. These bring employees together to informally chat, or simply offer a spot away from the desk to get some work done.
The main boardroom is a bit of an exception, as it is named after the Panda, Endy’s unofficial mascot. The lovable animal has been the internal face of the company since the beginning, mainly because they sleep up to 10 hours a day. New hires at Endy are dubbed new pandas, though they’re not encouraged to sleep half of the day.
“The new Endy HQ is designed to feel like home—comfortable, relaxed, and open. We wanted to avoid the pitfalls of a traditional open office and create an environment that would work for everyone.” – Mike Gettis, Endy co-founder and CEO.
Collaboration is a huge part of how Endy works. There is a real effort made to connect teams who may not regularly work together in order to ensure everyone in the company stays on the same page. The urge to provide amazing customer service is the uniting factor here and it’s shown through the real reviews displayed on TV screens around the office—every Endy employee knows the customer is who they are accountable to, so they need to make sure customers are at the end of every decision.
The displays around the office also offer a fun glimpse into the work Endy’s fantastic creative and marketing team does. One campaign saw the Endy box photographed in lush locations around Canada, and there’s even an ad involving local Body Break superstars Hal and Joanne McLeod—peak Canadiana.
Walking into the office feels a bit like stepping into a gorgeously-designed Northern Canadian cottage that seems more mansion than wilderness retreat. Spending time in the Endy office is a comforting experience as the design exudes simultaneous homey and outdoorsy vibes through the use of wood finishes, turf carpeting, and several large couches, along with tons of plants kept alive by a green-thumbed member of the creative team.
Employees move freely through the space and are encouraged to work where they feel comfortable. One favorite choice is the cubbies at the front of the office, where Endy workers can bring their laptop and work alone or meet with a full group of four to get something done. There is employee-chosen music playing in each of the common spaces. It was Bob Dylan and Dire Straits during our visit, though it might be dance and electronic music on another given day.
Endy is proud of its startup culture and displays the best aspects of being a fledgling yet explosive e-commerce company. There is no receptionist to greet guests as the office manager role has been integrated into other operations roles. The startup mentality is further shown in The Endy Cafe (as noted by the hot Endy-pink neon sign, a request from the co-founders), which is the kitchen area of the office that brings employees together for lunch each day. A wall of Endy’s achievements provides something to gaze at while eating, though if past success is any indicator, the company will soon need another full wall to display new milestones.
As a company that prides itself on customer happiness, Endy also takes time to recognize employees who are excelling at a high level. Endy workers nominate fellow colleagues who exemplify company values through the quarterly Jump on the Bed awards, and winners take home a gift and get to keep an award on their desk for the quarter. The company-wide Snoozefest brings in every Endy-er for an all-hands meeting to review company goals.
If it isn’t evident enough, Endy really champions collaboration, but one initiative stands out; donut coffee dates. Employees are matched at random to go grab a coffee and pastry at a local cafe and chat about their roles and how they can help one another better reach the consumer. Monthly socials also bring the team together for scavenger hunts and game nights, or just hang at the office and play ping pong, mini-golf, or use the fun hop-scotch design on the floor.
A big part of feeling well is sustenance, and Endy is extremely proud of the coffee and snack provisions they have created. In fact, snacks were one of the main requests as Endy upgraded offices. Healthy options like veggies, yogurt and trail mix mingle with chips, popcorn, and gummy candies, providing something for everyone. Two JuraX8 espresso machines full of Pilot coffee beans keep everyone caffeinated, and on Friday, lunch is catered from local spots in the neighborhood.
Monthly lunch and learns (dubbed Something to Chew On) allow teams to showcase exactly how they are contributing to Endy’s success, and occasionally outside experts come in to chat about finance, health, and other areas. Employees can even impart any knowledge gained from the company’s learning and development program, which allows them to take external courses to develop new skills.
Feeling rested is obviously a big part of performing well at work, so each Endy employee receives the full suite of products to bring home. Two nap pods sit in the corner of the office, providing a quiet place to work or lay down. A Love Sleep mural adorns the walls, painted by local Toronto artist POSER.
Endy also gives back to charities in a big way. Customers have 100 nights to try out their mattress and if they return it before then, Endy will donate it to communities in need. So far, close to 5,000 Endy mattresses have been donated to various shelters and youth centers.
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