Montreal Startup ‘Cozey’ Disrupting the Furniture Industry with Expansion that Includes 1st Toronto Store [Interview]


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The idea for furniture brand Cozey came to Frédéric Aubé when he was a student at McGill University in Montreal studying finance and economics.

Frédéric Aubé

The idea began in 2019 and the brand was launched initially online in June 2020. 

“The idea for Cozey at first was just to create one simple sofa, elegant, easy to move, in boxes that could be assembled tool free, shipped to your door in a few days at a really attractive price point,” said Aubé.

“It was a test to see if other people had the same problem as me of moving sofas around in a move or assembling sofas that take four tools and 12 bolts. And if so, can I sell those sofas on the internet.

“It was one sofa, four colours, really simple. And that’s how it started.”

Cozey at Stackt Market (Image: Cozey)
Cozey at Stackt Market (Image: Cozey)

The concept was purely digital until recently when it opened a pop-up location at Stackt Market in Toronto. It is opening up its first store in Toronto on Queen St and Ossington Avenue in September in 3,600 square feet of space.

“It was the perfect timing to launch a sofa brand on the internet. We were in the midst of the pandemic where all the stores were closed. Everybody was looking for furniture and we had furniture in stock because of our model we hold the stock in and ship out directly to the customers’ homes. The business model was perfect because we had stocked and because we were able to serve customers,” said Aubé.

“So the reception was above and beyond all of my expectations and it’s been like that since the beginning.”

Image: Cozey

Aubé said Toronto is the company’s biggest market as the most populated city in Canada and one of the most populated cities in North America. 

“I always say win Toronto, win Canada and for us it was important to be close to our best customers, close to our biggest market and really offer the seven-star experience that we want to offer and close the loop with the store,” he said. “A lot of people are coming every day and saying is there a place where they can try out the sofas.

“So we decided we’re going to test that with one store and if we’re going to do it we’re going to do it in our biggest market. It’s a perfect sofa for a city like Toronto with tight spaces, smaller apartments, being fully modular, ship in boxes, it fits through any door, it’s delivered quick, it’s just an easy experience perfect for the Toronto market.

“Lots of companies have gone too quick in trying to open up new stores. And not really getting the recipe right. And that’s really what we want to do. Get the recipe right. Learn. And then once we figure out if the store and the retail locations make sense, then to scale across Canada and across the U.S. But we want to take it slowly until we find the right recipe.”

Cozey at Stackt Market (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Future Cozey on Queen at Ossington (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

He said Cozey was never meant to be for students because of the price point.

“But I really wanted it to be the perfect sofa for any type of room whether it’s your first living room sofa, your basement sofa, and just trying to bring the best quality at the best price point possible. It started with my own experience of moving things around,” he said.

“I think the sofa is the toughest item in the house to ship. So once we figured that out let’s go onto other furniture.

“One thing startups have in common is that they try to make the world a better place, by simplifying our lives. That’s what I want. A faster, easier, and effortless experience.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


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