A decade after launching, Casper is still disrupting the mattress industry in new ways. That can make it a pain point for some brick-and-mortar mattress stores — especially because the company is pushing further into the wholesale and physical retail side of the business.
Jeff Willard recently took on the role of chief growth and marketing officer, so I asked him about the monumental task of marketing to mattress retailers that may not be too fond of the Casper brand.
To that, he says Casper can actually help drive traffic to physical stores, and that the company is developing new products that will be of interest to consumers. He says it’s not the Casper it was 10 years ago — and that’s a good thing.
“We balance retail and DTC because we know what it takes to do both,” he explains. “We’re very early in the wholesale phase, but we want to help service retailers with a known brand name. Retailers want brands that are known by customers. They need traffic, and boring marketing doesn’t work. We’ve embraced the retail side and have had a positive response from the people we’ve worked with.”
First and foremost, Willard is a marketer through and through. While he has previous experience at Serta Simmons, he says that the mattress industry was “an outlier” in terms of his career. However, having managed several world-renowned brands including Beautyrest, Harman Kardon and Coleman, he knows how to shape a lifestyle brand.
And that’s what he plans to do with Casper, which he says interested him because it’s creative, colorful and still breaking the rules nearly 10 years after first disrupting the mattress industry.
“We’re disrupting with clean, simple lines and we’re not blowing up the shopping experience,” he says. “We are bringing a fun and creative lifestyle focused on sleep. This gives us an opportunity to be a creative brand.”
As a brand that always needs to be a step ahead, Willard says it’s not hard to think of what’s next for Casper.
“The DNA of Casper is focused on what’s next,” he says. “We’re going to be constantly striving to be creative because that’s the world we live in — we have to be creative. We love thinking about what’s next.”