The Sheet Society talks growth, sustainability and expansion plans
Online bedding retailer The Sheet Society, which recently opened its first store in Melbourne, expects to turnover $4.4 million this financial year.
Company co-founders Hayley and Andy Worley said the business has grown over 300 per cent in just 12 months.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the growth and demand for our product in 2020,” Andy told Internet Retailing. “When the global pandemic hit our shores, we were getting ready like every other business to bunker down, we did believe there would be a reasonable shift to online, but our sales exploded with April being our biggest month ever.”
Andy added their direct-to-consumer business, which was launched in 2017, saw an 80-per-cent spike in new customers during the March and April period.
“We’ve really transitioned from a start-up to a small business,” he said.
In July, the company launched its augmented reality Bed Builder app that allows customers to conjure up their own linen design and generate a 3D digital bedroom preview from the comfort of their own homes.
While the Bed Builder itself can be accessed via desktop to preview linen mixes and colour palettes on a 2D render image, the new AR technology is accessible via smartphones.
“Allowing our customers to virtually preview their rooms and intermix linen is a dream come true,” Hayley said. “This technology will allow consumers to consider the light, wall colour and existing furnishings in a bedroom when curating their ultimate linen ensembles.”
According to Hayley, the company’s new AR app takes out the guesswork when it comes to ordering linen.
“It’s seriously fun and we think our customers will appreciate being able to see their linen in their bedroom before purchasing it,” Andy said.
With the positive turn the business has taken, Andy said they are looking forward to proceed with their plans for next year.
“We are in the process of moving our 150sqm warehouse to a new 3000sqm space and implementing some pretty robust systems to set us up to scale,” he said. “After that, we will look to go international around mid next year, with a focus on the UK market as we see a lot of similarities in our demographic.”
According to Andy, they had been planning to move to a larger purpose built warehouse since February, but they encountered delays in construction due to the coronavirus outbreak, so they had to switch plans and sign on to a building that is existing.
Reducing carbon footprint
Andy said for some time now, they have been taking initiatives to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and become more sustainable.
“Our packaging has been completely stripped back to avoid waste. Our products come in a simple recycled cardboard sleeve. The size of our products and our packing boxes have been optimised to avoid wasted space and the need for any additional packaging materials, with no plastic including our tape,” he said.
“It’s always hard for new businesses to devote a lot of time and resources to sustainable practices but we do believe that we’ve made the right choices whenever we can,” he added.
According to Andy, their sheets are farmed, not manufactured, meaning they only use natural fibres in their sheets, either 100 per cent cotton or 100 per cent linen.
“Not only does this make for a higher quality product, but it means that it’s also completely biodegradable once it’s time to say goodbye,” he said.
He said the company doesn’t use any plastics in the packing materials, so everything sent to customers is fully recyclable.
“We’re also big advocates for buying less, but buying better and all of our products have the highest standard components like branded YKK zippers and thick elastic trims,” Andy said. “We use reactive dyes which, compared to standard dyes have a really high absorption rate so not only do they use less water to penetrate the fabric the colour stays brighter longer.”
Andy said at this time, they really want to connect more with their customers and level up in different areas of the business to capture a wide range of audience.
“Creating an emotional connection with your audience, or customer at this time is really important,” he said. “Everyone has had a tough year, and anything you can do as a brand to brighten up someone’s day goes a very long way.”