Companies that pressed through adversity to be in the right place at the right time in 2020
Last year was a bad one for business, to be sure. But not every business suffered. Certain sectors were tailormade for these times, as anyone who had never heard of Zoom before March and now has hundreds of virtual meetings under their belt can attest. Through a combination of innovation, adapting to the moment, and being just what people needed to push through, these companies have thrived.
The LA-based “luxe-leisure” brand was founded to provide customers with simple, comfortable loungeware. If ever a time called for comfy sweats made from “supersoft” fabric, it was 2020. But things weren’t easy for Monrow, which had over $1 million in wholesale orders canceled in two days in March. The company pivoted to ecommerce, increasing that percentage of its customer base from 30 to 50. “(T)he demand for sweatpants and sweatshirts and T-shirts just started to skyrocket. So we shifted all that merchandise to ecommerce. And we feel very grateful that we had the right kind of merchandise that was in such demand,” co-founder Michelle Wenke told the Glossy Podcast.
In many places, pet shelters ran out of pets as people settled in at home for the long haul. Those new pet parents needed a one-stop shop for food, toys, and medicine to keep their furry friends happy and healthy. They found that in Chewy, which PetSmart purchased in 2017. Chewy’s stock went up 200% last year thanks to its well-built website, inventory, and televet services. With pet food recipes and funny videos, Chewy has built a community of pet enthusiasts in addition to the Amazon of the pet world.
The pandemic has brought the need for rigorous cleaning and for less human interaction. In short, it requires cleaning robots. Which Avidbots happens to make. Demand doubled for the Ontario company, which debuted Neo 2, the latest generation of its industrial cleaners, in the fall. “In a time when businesses need consistent, high-quality cleaning, and disinfecting, Neo 2 offers a smart answer for companies needing to reassure customers, partners and employees alike,” CEO and co-founder Faizan Sheikh said.
Homes needed more cleaning too, with people spending so much time there. They also wanted their cleaning products to be sustainable. What better than plant-based products from a company that’s dedicated more than 30 years to healthy, sustainable, and equitable living. “A name can say a lot about a company—where it comes from, what it makes—but for us, Seventh Generation is far more than just a name. It embodies the soul and spirt of who we are, what we strive to be, and what sets us apart. We’ve always had the belief that you can’t live a healthy life on a sick planet,” CEO Joey Bergstein says.
With home the focal point of our lives, we wanted to enjoy it more. After a day of working and schooling inside, families wanted to get out and entertain themselves. Outer’s furniture, which includes sofas, sectionals, and outdoor rugs, makes it easy to turn the backyard into another room of the house. The company launched in 2019 and saw sales shoot up 1,000% last year, exceeding $12 million. Potential customers visit current owners in the Neighborhood Showrooms to see how the setup works in real life, and maybe make new friends as well.
There’s a long list of companies that were once groundbreaking then fell by the wayside as hungrier and more innovative competitors improved upon the original and left it in the dust. Nintendo is not one of those companies. It has reinvented itself several times over more than 130 years in business and stayed at the top of the video game world since the 1980s with new takes on classic games. With leisure time also spent at home, sales of the versatile Switch soared. Entry into the Chinese market also helped, with more than a million consoles sold there since the end of 2019.
The destination management company previously specialized in planning travel for international visitors to the US. When there weren’t very many of those anymore, Overseas Leisure Group turned its attention inward, helping Americans rediscover their own backyard safely. The group offered a $250 credit for each adult in a traveling party who presented a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. “Since March, we have taken further steps to protect clients and vendors. After witnessing the shocking acceleration of COVID-19 cases in my hometown caused by a resurgence in tourism, I felt the essential need to put measures in place that ensures travelers take ownership and responsibility for their own risk to others,” CEO Felix Brambilla told Travel Pulse. Moving forward, Overseas Leisure Group now has a pool of millions more potential customers.
Peloton had a PR nightmare on its hands thanks to a cringeworthy 2019 holiday ad that was so poorly received the company’s stock dropped 15% in three days. But then came a pandemic, and a home exercise revolution. Peloton shipped out so many bikes and treadmills and got so many app downloads that sales doubled in 2020 to nearly $2 billion. The company aims to be more wallet-friendly to reach a bigger demographic. “It has long been our goal to democratize access to fitness and lowering the price of our bike, along with the introduction of our lower-priced Peloton Tread, are important steps in achieving this goal,” CEO John Foley said.