Thanks to some positive media stories, strong customer word of mouth and an eCommerce boom brought on by a global pandemic, Ben and Mark McLean, owners of Benji Sleep were facing explosive growth for their eCommerce business, which professes to offer customers the softest damn sheets ever. The brothers quickly outgrew their current warehouse (aka their parent’s basement) and team (family and friends). After finding Second Closet through a Google search, the business hasn’t looked back and now has a professional logistics backbone it can brag about.
That time when you have to move out of your parent’s basement for good...
Benji Sleep was inspired by a shopping trip to a big box store. Brothers Ben and Mark McLean had recently graduated and were getting their first apartment together in Toronto. Like most folks setting up house for the first time, Ben and Mark set out to purchase bedding, only to find themselves totally confused by the purchase process.
“How much money should we spend and does expensive mean good quality? What material should we get? What the heck is thread count? It was all pretty confusing and overwhelming,” admits Ben. “It was clear to us that this was an industry and a purchase decision that desperately needed to be simplified. We set out on a mission to find the softest bed sheets we could find and make the whole purchase process much simpler for people.”
Committed to their quest for the perfect bedding, Ben and Mark found a manufacturer for their ‘softest damn sheets’ and put in their first order.
Then this happened.
“This big truck full of bedsheets pulled up to the curb at our parent’s house. We couldn’t afford a warehouse and so we were using their basement,” says Ben. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, now we’ve got to sell them.’”
So they did.
Like most small businesses, they got the first orders out the door with the help of friends and family. “We hired our cousins down the street to package up the sheets, and we’d lug them up the stairs. Every Monday we’d arrive at the post office with three carloads of orders. The ladies behind the counter always acted like they were happy to see us...but I’m pretty sure they were cringing every time we walked in the door,” chuckles Ben.
A feature story in a popular news outlet threw things quickly into high gear for the business and orders were flying out the door. Ben, Mark and their cousin-army were quickly overwhelmed. “We woke up to all these orders,” says Ben. “We spent three days straight packaging and shipping just to keep up. That’s when we said, ‘we can’t keep doing this ourselves. We need staff. We need warehousing. We need help.”
With customers flocking to online shopping and a great product to sell, Benji Sleep’s business skyrocketed
Mark took to Google to research third-party fulfillment partners and came across Second Closet. Ben recalls, “Mark had a meeting with Second Closet’s team and CEO. He came back to me and said, ‘These are the people we need to work with.”
Shortly after Benji Sleep signed its Second Closet agreement, eCommerce hell broke loose (in a good way), brought on by a global pandemic. “We got super lucky with our timing,” admits Ben. “It was perfect the way the Second Closet relationship lined up because people who normally shopped in big box stores couldn’t anymore. They all headed online and that made our business skyrocket.”
With the ink barely dry on their contract, Ben and Mark shifted their fulfillment business into Second Closet’s hands. “We’d just manufactured all our sheets and it was the biggest order we’d brought in to date. But we had Second Closet at our side to package up the orders and get them out the door.”
A partnership built on honesty and integrity
Things are so much easier for Ben and Mark now that Second Closet is handling the fulfillment side of the business. “It has allowed us to focus on the business instead of taping up boxes,” says Ben. “It was fun learning about the logistics side of the business, but now we’re able to invest our time in steering the ship and coming up with creative new ways to get the word out there about Benji Sleep and its products."
Second Closet’s seamless integration with Benji Sleep’s Shopify website makes it easy for the brothers to make changes to orders, track shipments and verify inventory levels. “Everything connects. We know when orders are delivered or not delivered. If we have a shipment coming in, we simply put in the SKU and how much product we are expecting and it will count the inventory for you in real-time, which is really nice.”
The Benji Sleep team feels cared for.
“We regularly speak with our account manager Tom. Even though the relationship has been virtual due to the pandemic, we feel we’ve really gotten to know each other,” says Ben. “There’s honesty and integrity built into the relationship. The Second Closet team has been able to achieve greater than a 99% pick accuracy rate, but in the off-chance there is a mis-pick or an issue with a delivery, we simply message the team and they get back to us right away. They take full responsibility for looking into shipping issues, which takes a huge burden off our plate.”
In good hands for growth
Fuelled by success over the last year, Ben and Mark are now planning to expand Benji Sleep’s product lines to include pillows and comforters and are getting ready for a US expansion. They are confident they have the right partner for growth in Second Closet. “We’re working hard to make sure that growth happens as planned,” says Ben. “It’s been an entirely new learning experience for us, but Second Closet has been there to help us every step of the way.”
What's Benji Sleep?
Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear bedsheets. Benji Sleep is setting out to simplify the entire bedsheet purchase process by eliminating the trip to the big-box store, debunking the myths around thread count and offering high-quality, versatile and affordable bedding ALL online. Visit them at www.benjisleep.com
Looking to partner with a fulfillment provider you can trust? Contact our team to learn how you can improve the quality of your logistics process and delight your customers.