And what’s amazing is how often Chris Burch, an investor and entrepreneur spots magic. And that’s where one enters Poppin.
In2014, Forbes reported that 52% of Americans viewed their daily job with dread.But what if the one thing they could absolutely count on, every day, was a simple, consistent, magical experience with their work environment? That simple question led Poppin to reimagine the office experience from the ground up. Technically, from the stapler up. Poppin started by overhauling the stapler, trading off traditional utilitarianism for a sleeker, sexier approach. The result was a stapler that belongs in a James Bond movie.
From staplers, Poppin’s designers moved on to reinvent the entire office, from desk organizers to furniture. Their approach marries playfulness with functionality;sure, everything is brightly colored and slightly juvenile – but it also fits together perfectly, solidly, and efficiently. These are objects that remind adults why kids love back-to-school shopping.
With their giddy approach to corporate life, Poppin is determined to bring color and wonder to every office. The playful ethos finds its way into their core values.Don’t merely make a customer happy: “Be a Customer Hero,” a goal Poppin highlights on its corporate page, and accomplishes by delivering prices up to30% lower than competitors, tool-free assembly, and a team of “Work stylists”devoted to helping office managers with design issues. And the office managers are responding: Poppin boasts customers from the NFL Network to LinkedIn.
Thefocal point (as with any company) is obviously the customer. However, Poppin has made a simple connection: if employees are expected to deliver joy to other companies, they probably need to start with a hefty supply of their own. Tothat end, Poppin offers employees a veritable buffet of happiness. Want a vacation? Take one; they’re unlimited. Want to hit up happy hour or mini-golfwith your co-workers? Once a month, Poppin reimburses employees up to $50 fortime spent connecting outside the office. Love your dog? Bring him with you.
Thejoy seems to be contagious–or at least, marketable. Poppin has attracted thenotice of industry titans like Christopher Burch, who participated inanother round of funding last month, as well as founding the company simplybecause his father had once said (years earlier) that he hated spending moneyon such ugly office supplies. To date, the company has raised $34.1 millionsince 2009; the most recent round (last August) pulled in $17 million fromChris Burch’s fund, First Round Capital, and angel investors, leading to thecompany’s current focus on establishing its furniture footprint.
Both established businesses and startups are eager to compete for Millennial employees, who will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025 (according to Connecting Elements, a Poppin competitor in the office furniture sector). So,investors in Poppin’s bright, modular, eco-friendly strategy could reap substantial benefits.