For those who do try the Yogibo, many are instantly sold. That’s why the business – which started in 2009 as a one-product, husband-wife-operation along with a business partner inside the family garage – has flourished into the lifestyle brand it is today. Yogibo operates in an 18,000-square-foot New Hampshire facility and owns 18 stores in malls throughout the Northeast where it sells much more than its signature beanbag.
New products on the horizon to accompany the Yogibo beds, seating, pillows and other comfort and décor products include bedding and additional home décor and furniture that will be launched next year. The company also created Yogibo’s first character, the Hugibo. The jolly-faced pillow is geared toward children and has arms that wrap around a person. Levy says the character is starting to build a good presence with customers and Yogibo plans to involve it with events in the autistic community, which uses Yogibo products to help autistic kids develop sensory skills.
“We took those beanbags and extended the concept to the whole lifestyle,” Levy says. “We moved from beanbags to other comfort products like pillows, travel pillows, body pillows and laptop trays. Then we created an aromatherapy line and soon extended it to home décor with contemporary lines of coffee tables and bookshelves. Yogibo is not just a new generation of beanbags, it’s a whole lifestyle of awesomeness.”
Living the Life
Yogibo is ensuring that the customers experience that lifestyle at every touchpoint. It opened four new stores this year in Providence, Rhode Island; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Freehold and Woodbridge, N.J. It plans to open more stores in 2015 and is looking into new territories and non-mall locations. Sales associates in all of its stores are encouraged not to simply sell a product, but to build relationships with customers, giving them a reason to come back again.
“We try to create something different in our stores with a very interactive shopping experience,” Levy says. “Our sales associates are very interactive with the customers. It’s not about sales, it’s about building relationships with the customer. If we focus on making sure that the customer has the best experience, the sales will come naturally. We have people who bought their first Yogibo and are coming to buy new pieces, see what new products we are launching or buy gifts for friends and family, which is why we try to refresh the brand and come out with new things.”
Yogibo works with outside retailers to ensure they are delivering the same interactive experience. “A year after we opened our first retail store, we quickly realized that the demonstration store is very important for our brand,” Levy says. “We make sure that the specialty furniture stores we work with understand that. You can’t put Yogibo in the corner and hope the customers try it themselves. We make sure they give the same experience we give them in our own stores.”
In person, the Yogibo can be an easy sale. All the customer has to do is sit down. Online, however, is a bit trickier, which is why Yogibo recently redesigned its website to better convey the Yogibo experience.
The new website is easy to navigate and a special “Yogibo Rooms” tab allows visitors to get a full picture of how Yogibo can transform a space – from the family room and living room, to the playroom or dorm room, and down to the basement and outdoor space. The website also showcases interactive videos that show all the ways someone can use and play with Yogibo products. The “Get Social” tab directs visitors to Yogibo’s profiles on a variety of social media sites so they can stay informed of the company’s latest products and updates.
“We added more video to our best-seller items and put a lot of thought into the user interface,” Levy says. “We put the Yogibo in different rooms to make it as interactive as possible. Visitors can click on an item and get a description. It’s much more up-to-date.”
The website will also help Yogibo reach new markets. It contracted with a distributor in Japan and will open its first Yogibo store in the country in the first quarter of next year. It also recently launched a corporate gifts division to manufacture corporate and promotional items on request. Next year, the company is looking to get into the collegiate market as a licensee. In just five years, Yogibo has grown from a basement startup to an international company with strong growth on the horizon.
“From the first concept, we’ve seen the excitement for the product,” Levy says. “We didn’t anticipate such fast growth when we first started, but after six months we saw the reaction and now everything goes as planned.
“So we invite stores and entrepreneurs to be local distributors across the different territories that we don’t have a presence in as we expand Yogibo here in the U.S. and Canada,” Levy continues.