As often happens, Jonathan’s career had humble beginnings. Jonathan started out as a backup helper for local deliveries for Obasan. However, it was not until 2002, when he helped to deliver the booth for the Natural Products Expo in California, that he got more involved with Obasan/Sleeptek.
Jonathan was studying marketing then, so he asked if he could assist in staffing the Obasan booth. Evidently, he put his education to good use – he loved the pillows so much that he sold almost every pillow they had while working the booth. Quite an incredible achievement at the young age of 22!
Jonathan enjoyed explaining the products, company history, and integrity to potential customers. So after the expo, Jean, the owner and founder, offered Jonathan a part-time job (he was still a student) in sales and marketing, which ultimately led to his career with Obasan/Sleeptek.
Before his time with Obasan, he spent five years working at a grocery store, where he became extremely familiar with the layout of the store and its inventory. Because of this, he has always loved grocery shopping and believes that how a store looks and feels can greatly impact the shopping experience. He brought this conviction to Obasan because Obasan believes their customers deserve an exceptional experience.
Obasan encourages their vendors to provide unique and memorable customer experiences at their one-of-a-kind locations. They never cut corners or settle for cheaper alternatives; instead, they are dedicated to providing a sustainable and high-quality product.
As mentioned earlier, in 2002, Jonathan was working in sales and marketing, focusing on wholesale sales to Canadian wholesale distributors. By 2007, sales had expanded to all of North America. In 2010, the company attempted to enter the retail market by opening retail locations in Canada, but this venture was ultimately unsuccessful.
In 2012, Jonathan helped the company introduce innovative zoning technology in their mattresses, creating multiple-zone mattresses in addition to zoning by side. This was a unique feature at the time, and another turning point in the history of the company.
Designing a customizable zoned mattress
The first multi-zone mattress that was designed in collaboration with sleep doctors and chiropractors left professionals amazed. Then, the focus became on how to market this innovative product effectively. It is worth noting that the design of the zoned mattress played a crucial role in the success of Obasan. Now, customers could buy a mattress that provided support right where they needed it and adapt it in future years as needed.
This spring, Obasan introduced their updated line of mattresses (The Classic, The Deluxe and The Grand), incorporating zoning into all adult models. This allows customers to tailor the mattress to their needs by having customized firmness in the hips and back, the upper body (neck and shoulder), and the lower body. The combination of superior quality materials with solid construction and zones of support that fit each sleeper individually makes for a comfortable mattress like no other.
This allows customers to tailor the mattress to their needs by having customized firmness in the hips and back, the upper body (neck and shoulder), and the lower body.
Zoning plays a significant role in mattress comfort, but adding a topper can make a world of difference. Therefore, Obasan now includes a topper handcrafted of organic wool, organic cotton, and organic latex, with each adult mattress purchased. These toppers help the comfort and longevity of the mattress by providing an extra layer of protection and cushioning.
The reason for adding a topper with each mattress was simple. When reflecting on their customers’ experiences,
Jonathan and the Obasan team realized that customers had reported purchasing a topper along with a mattress improved their sleeping experience. The topper also cut down on the wear and tear on a mattress, leading to a much more comfortable sleep. Toppers are designed to absorb pressure, which allows the mattress to stay flat and resist any impressions or indentations. Additionally, toppers can be easily rotated and flipped. The increase in comfort, longevity, and luxury was amazing!
Sustainable Materials and Fair Labor
Businesses need to be transparent about the materials used in their products, and Jonathan believes that Obasan excels in this regard. When purchasing from Obasan, customers can be confident in the quality of what they are buying, and he is proud to be a part of such a reputable company. They work hard to source the finest quality wool, cotton, and latex – all certified organic.
Obasan is committed to using sustainable materials that are safe for you and the environment. Their mattresses are made from organic cotton, organic latex, and organic wool – all GOTS or GOLS certified. The company is determined to use only the best quality cotton and to buy it in bulk to get the best price for the customer. Obasan found a superior source in the Netherlands that ensures that high-quality cotton is milled in Europe. Their organic latex is sourced from Sri Lanka, and their wool has been sourced for years from a farm in Argentina where the sheep run free.
Additionally, the factory places a high value on craftsmanship and ensures its employees are fairly compensated for their skills. Each worker receives a just wage, and the company recognizes the importance of investing in its workforce for the long term. The employees are encouraged to take pride in their work and are dedicated to producing high-quality products exclusively for Obasan. Unlike other factories, there is no pressure to work quickly and compromise on quality.
New initiatives are happening with repurposing and reusing materials.
When 5-10 inches of fabric, wool, or backing are left over, they are repurposed by separating, sorting, and keeping them clean to work towards zero waste. The cotton fiber and wool are reopened to be used again in good quality and timeless investments. One example of repurposing is from mattress production, where the leftover material is used to line wool jackets, resulting in less waste and returning the fiber to Canadian customers where it originated. Additionally, shredded rubber is repurposed into pillows.
In 2009, there was so much leftover rubber that pillows became a popular solution. Now, their pillows are so much in demand that all leftover rubber is used, and more.
Repurposing is not a free solution, as there is a cost to reopen the materials. Nevertheless, the company continues to do it, not for budgetary reasons but for the environment.
Obasan is dedicated to helping the environment by working on switching to fully recyclable paper packaging. They are continuously working towards improving their sustainability practices and innovating new ways to reduce their environmental impact. They take pride in maintaining the highest quality packaging while staying committed to using only GOTS-certified materials.
A company with strong values
Jonathan is glad to be part of a mission to improve customer sleep quality and overall well-being. In the fast-paced world of today, we often find ourselves constantly on the go and needing a good night of rest. Obasan’s products are designed to regulate temperature, target pressure points, and provide customizable support for comfortable and healthy sleep, a foundation for excellent health.
For 21 years, Jonathan has been fortunate enough to work for Obasan, a company that upholds strong values and treats its employees with respect. It brings him great joy to work for a business that prioritizes integrity in all its dealings and provides a quality product that makes people’s lives better. He has never desired to pursue any other career path. In the future, plans are being made to keep the company moving forward when it is time for a succession plan, and Jonathan would be honored to be a part of that.
Check out the Obasan brand page to learn more about Obasan’s high-quality and innovative products.