As Millennials who have grown up in the Amazon age, we believe that everything can be ordered online. Heck, sometimes it even ends up being our significant other! Addressing the universal laziness, co-founder Kabeer Chopra launched Burrow to tap into the next wave generation that is expected to spearhead the future demand in the furniture market.
It’s August, and we all know what that means! It’s moving time! When it comes to scheduling that oh-so-dreaded moving truck there is always one obstacle in the way of you and your magical dream house, the couch. We have all heard the ongoing feedback: it’s too big, can’t be deconstructed, won’t fit in the elevator, yadda yadda yadda. Luckily, Burrow is bridging that “moving” gap by providing customers with a modular sofa that is made both for you and by you. “For us, it is about making people’s lives easier.”
“Our current sofa is made from the same materials as regular retailers, but we save 70% of the shipping cost.”
Did you know that the reason why your sofa is so expensive is due to logistics? Yes, shipping, shipping, shipping. The price is passed on from the manufacturer to the warehouse to the retail showroom and directly onto the customer. By removing the middleman and constructing a direct-to-consumer, online-only business model, Burrow’s sofa ranges from $550 to $1,150. “Our product is chemical free, sustainably sourced, arrives within 2-5 days and revolves around one core design in different colors.”
The Early Days
Co-founders Stephen Kuhl and Kabeer Chopra met back in the day (2006) at McGill University in Montreal. They later rekindled their friendship by both being in the same entrepreneurship class at Wharton during their MBA and bonded over their horrible sofa buying experience. Fun fact: this is the same class that launched successful companies such as Warby Parker, Koio, and Helix to name a few.
“We never wanted to go into business together, but life had a different plan for us.” Kabeer majored in Computer Engineering at McGill and later on moved to Toronto in 2009 after graduation to co-found Lucova, a mobile payment app. In 2013, he was headhunted to work at Michael Kors during its growth stage in its analytics and big data department. “That was when I saw the intersection of retail and technology and thought how crazy it was because we are no longer guessing about things and instead, using actual data to make decisions.”
“After Michael Kors, I decided to attend business school as a foundation layer for understanding business and starting my own thing.” When working on Burrow, Kabeer and Stephen pitched their idea to over 100 investors and kept getting rejected. After much tweaking, they got accepted into Y Combinator and finally received seed funding. “This provided us with the validation and morale boost we needed to keep going back in February 2016.”
Why The Name
“We wanted to create a lifestyle brand that resonates with comfort. Just like a rabbit’s burrow is known as something you can cozy up in, we wanted our name to emulate the same feeling. We want to make customers feel comfortable with not only the furniture but also with the experience.”
“To be competitive in this space, you have to build the right brand at the right scale”.
Red Antler is credited as the agency behind the brand’s name and identity. If you haven’t heard of them already, these bad boys are the same brains behind Casper, All Birds, and Snowe. They tend to have a large waiting list and invest in brands by taking equity in return for creative services. Essentially, you do well, they do well.
As a new brand, it is important to have a digital presence, especially when you are going direct-to-consumer. “We looked at marketing as an algorithm. What that means is that we are going to put one ad out there and test it against 10 different versions to see which one works best and to keep optimizing. Last summer we channeled all of our energy towards Facebook. For us, an effective campaign is one where your acquisition cost is lowered over time.” We’re sure you’re wondering what Kabeer’s key findings were from all this testing?
1. People are more interested in lifestyle images than product-only shots. Images that work best entail a human reading on the couch, watching TV, sleeping and living with the sofa.
2. Customers are more likely to trust a brand that showcases quotes and testimonials from other customers and publications. This ensures validation and trust.
Other than the digital sphere, Burrow has partnered with Leesa Sleep for events in their SoHo showroom to complete your entire bedroom with e-commerce savvy companies.
“Everyone told us that manufacturing would be our biggest challenge but Stephen and I believed that we would defeat all odds. However, we have faced production related issues almost every day”.
Burrow currently produces their products in Mexico City. When seeking a supplier they had a difficult time sourcing one that aligned with their vision. “Factories either said our business model could not be done or to choose from their current inventory and we did not want to do that.”
As a recent graduate from Wharton (May 2017), Kabeer is going full throttle with Burrow. His advice?
- Use data to make all of your marketing decisions
- Look for validation early on via incubators, investors or fundraising
Interested in meeting Kabeer or visiting the Burrow office in NYC? Drop us a line and we can connect you.