“Sofas were definitely the furniture pieces that caused the most problems. They are usually bulky and impossible to move around tight stairways and doorways,” recalls Aubé, who is now founder of Canadian sofa brand, Cozey.
Physically moving a sofa from one place to another wasn’t the only pain point he’d uncovered in his multiple moves whilst studying at McGill. He found that sofas would often have long lead-times of 8-12 weeks and tended to take forever to assemble (with incomprehensible assembly guides).
Another downside? “The traditional in-store shopping experience is just overwhelming for everyone,” he says.
It was clear there was room for improvement.
Whilst studying, Aubé was also working part-time as an analyst in an investment firm and had been examining the rise of direct-to-consumer brands, looking deeply at the mattress-in-a-box industry. “The idea of convenience really resonated with me,” he says.
So he began searching for furniture companies in Canada who were trying to simplify the customer experience “and there was nothing to be found,” he recalls. That’s when bringing the sofa-in-a-box concept to Canada really started circling.
The goal was to create an elegantly designed sofa that ships quickly to doors across the country, that is easily assembled (tool-free), and is also “marvellously comfortable.”
Aubé began exploring the how to create a sofa-in-a-box brand in February 2019, and a few weeks later he was on a plane to Asia looking at different suppliers and learning as much as he could about fabric, frames, foam and everything needed to build a sofa.
At the same time, he also began collaborating with industrial designers from Montreal to develop an assembly system that would be simple, yet sturdy. “After many trials and errors, and sourcing different parts around the world, we finally settled on a system that met both needs,” he says.
Cozey officially launched its first product to market in June 2020, and the reaction from Canadian consumers has been great. “Demand has outpaced our projections by a very wide margin,” says Aubé. “The first year forecast I had drawn out was met in 5 months.”
Cozey wants to simplify the experience from A to Z with a simple shopping experience, simple and quick shipping, tool-free assembly, and elegant designs.
“We take the complexity of the operations on our shoulders and we make it simple for our customers,” he says. “We also personalize the experience with world-class customer support.”
“We take the complexity of the operations on our shoulders and we make it simple for our customers."
The Cozey Sofa is thoughtfully designed to be assembled, disassembled, reconfigured and adapted as your life changes. Its modular style means you can start out with a solo one-seat armchair all the way up to a four-seat sofa. And you can expand anytime by adding new seats or an ottoman to give you that extra bit of comfort. Cozey also makes it easy to order replacement seat cushions and backs, helping to sustain the life if your sofa.
Aubé tells me that customer reaction has “blown every expectation” he had prior to launch and says that “customer appreciation for the Cozey experience has translated into so many great reviews and people telling their friends about us that I believe existing customers are actually doing the bulk of our marketing.” The sofa is also very affordable, starting at C$945.
Giving back is also important to Aubé. “We want to create a positive social impact across Canada,” he says. “Some companies decide to turn to global issues, but we focus on a local problem that is often forgotten: homelessness.”
“We want to create a positive social impact across Canada."
For every sofa that Cozey sells, it donates a ‘Comfort Box’ to the homeless community. This box contains items such as warm socks, clothing, and essential products that provide a drop of comfort to the ones who need it most.
Aubé believes that companies have a lot of power to create value for society and drive positive change around the world and in their communities. “For me, there was no doubt that Cozey had to get involved locally and at least attempt to make a difference,” he says.
Reflecting on the journey so far Aubé says “we’re very happy with what we’ve accomplished, but we feel that there is so much left to do and could not be more excited about what’s next.”
As a direct-to-consumer brand, Cozey is in control of its product and customer journey all the way from the manufacturing, straight to the post-purchase customer service. “We talk to our customers and interact with them on a daily basis,” says Aubé. “We know exactly what we are doing well and what we could improve across the chain, and few companies have that ability.”
Cozey’s mission is to simplify the furniture shopping experience in Canada. “With simplicity, personalization, a great value proposition, and our community at the heart of what we do, we are laser-focused on creating 7-star customer experiences,” says Aubé.
“In doing so, if we can use our scale and leverage to make a positive impact locally with our Comfort Box initiative, we then stand a chance to really create something better for all Canadians,” he says.