Q&A: Endy founder Rajen Ruparell on how the brand is making sure healthcare workers catch some quality Zs during the pandemic

Q&A: Endy founder Rajen Ruparell on how the brand is making sure healthcare workers catch some quality Zs during the pandemic

The Canadian company has stepped up to support front-line healthcare workers in a big way.

Abbotsford Hospital Donation

Since Endy launched in 2015, their signature Canadian-made mattress has skyrocketed in popularity, garnering stellar reviews and improving the sleep of hundreds of thousands devoted customers. The company has championed an admirable giving philosophy from its inception, donating over 10,000 new and gently used mattresses to families and individuals in need through organizations like Furniture Bank in Toronto, Matthew House in Ottawa and Women in Need Society in Calgary. Most recently, in a mission to help out healthcare workers exhausted by the pandemic’s second wave, they’ve worked with Abbotsford Regional Hospital in BC and Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket to make sure their call rooms are outfitted in cozy mattresses and bedding.

The initiative started back when the pandemic hit, and Endy got a call from a frontline physician at St. Paul’s Hospital in BC, who told the team that with the anticipated surge of Covid-19 patients, more doctors and nurses were having to stay overnight for multi-day shifts in the hospital—without anywhere comfortable to sleep. We caught up with Endy’s founder and chairman Rajen Ruparell to learn more about why the brand jumped to help, and how the initiative has made a difference to stressed-out doctors and nurses.

St. Paul’s Hospital Donation

Many companies went into self-preservation mode when the pandemic hit. What made Endy want to give back even more?

Our aim with every decision we make is to lead with our values, especially as a proudly Canadian company. In this case, making the decision to provide mattresses and bedding to hospital workers coast to coast wasn’t just about being Canadian: It was about being human. We thought, these are the doctors and nurses who continuously fight for us on the front lines—the people risking their lives each and every day. If we can provide even a moment of comfort and rest for these miracle workers between patients, we think it’s well worth it. As leaders in the Canadian ecommerce space, we also felt it was important to inspire other companies to step up and give back, too.

Our philosophy is simple: It’s better to do, than not to do. We believe in sharing a piece of our success, and giving back as we grow. We strive to connect our philanthropic goals to our mission of helping all Canadians get a better night’s sleep.

How did you figure out that some hospitals were in need of mattresses? 

It all started with an email from a frontline physician at St. Paul’s Hospital in BC, who reached out to our customer care team with an urgent ask. Their ICU team was restructuring to deal with the anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients, which meant more overnight and multi-day shifts in the hospital, with nowhere to sleep. Doctors and nurses were forced to find shut-eye literally wherever they could: On waiting room chairs, plastic stretchers in hospital hallways or, if they were lucky, on broken mattresses in call rooms. 

We knew we could help, and were able to donate enough mattresses and bedding to overhaul every call room in the hospital’s intensive and critical care units. From there, we expanded the program to hospitals across the country, including IWK Health Centre in Halifax, St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Mount Sinai in Toronto, and BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver.

That must have involved some quick thinking and organization. 

Our customer care team is remarkable. With St. Paul’s, they recognized the urgency of the request right away and quickly mobilized our team to meet the need. Lots of companies say they’re customer-centric. I’m proud to say we really are. It’s core to our DNA, and this is a perfect example of it.

BC Women’s Hospital Donation

What are some tangible benefits of the program?

Ultimately, it was about showing these doctors and nurses a little bit of love and gratitude for the sacrifices they’ve made for us. When our hospital donations first started, we had a feeling that the sleep and overall well-being of our healthcare workers were being hard hit as a result of COVID-19. Now we know that, since the onset of the pandemic,  healthcare workers are experiencing insomnia, anxiety, and depressive symptoms at a far higher rate than the general population. 

Our team is working safely from home, with no plans to go back to the office anytime soon. In the best of times, it’s hard for any of us to imagine the toll that working for days on end in a COVID ward can take on a person’s mental and physical health. 

How did the most recent programs for Abbotsford and Southlake come about?

We heard from a physician at Abbotsford Regional Hospital in Abbotsford, BC a few weeks ago, who reached out with a request similar to St. Paul’s. They were in need of new mattresses for all of their call rooms across their ICU, OR, ER, and OBGYN departments. We were able to provide enough mattresses for a total call room overhaul, which will arrive in time for the holidays. 

With Southlake, the request came from the wife of a frontline physician. She let us know her husband often works 30-hour shifts, and that he has thrown his back out twice in the past six months. In her words: “The hospital call room beds are absolute crap.” She shared that his work is stressful and physically grueling, and that new mattresses would mean so much to the frontline doctors and nurses who are battling the most taxing year of their careers. 

Southlake Hospital Donation

What’s been the most meaningful moment of the campaign?

It was a pretty emotional moment for all of us when we first saw the photos of our mattresses arriving at these hospitals, in the midst of the pandemic’s first wave. And it was even more emotional when we heard from one of the physicians a few months later, who reached out to say thank you and to share what a difference our mattresses and pillows have made for her and her team.