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Bedtime Reading: Why An E-Commerce Brand Is Expanding Into Content

Bedtime Reading: Why An E-Commerce Brand Is Expanding Into Content
[Photos: James Ransom, courtesy of Casper]

Casper, the popular mattress-in-a-box e-commerce brand, is getting into the content business. On Monday night, the company launched a new digital publication called Van Winkle’s, which focuses on “the social, creative, and scientific elements of sleep.” Van Winkle’s has four full-time employees and is one of the most ambitious attempts by an e-commerce company to enter the branded content sphere to date.

Jeff Koyen, the site’s editor-in-chief, told Fast Company, “We will cover all aspects of sleep, but not in the usual health-and-wellness way. We’re really taking on sleep as it impacts wakefulness. So, sure, we’ll talk about bedroom hacks and beating jet lag. But we’re also looking at energy drink overdoses, out-of-body states, and why your kid’s diet is making them have terrors.”

According to Koyen, Van Winkle’s is the “first publication of its kind to consider sleep as its own editorial vertical.” He added that the publication operates autonomously within Casper and “it’s actually a very traditional relationship between publisher and editorial–my team of journalists answers to me, I answer to the CEO.”

Van Winkle’s is launching with plans to post approximately 10 pieces of new content a day. Casper hired Elizabeth Spiers, former New York Observer editor-in-chief and Gawker founding editor, as editorial director, and the company plans to bring two more full-time employees on board in the coming months.

Developing content in-house for customers is an old trick for airlines and hotel chains, but one that has increasingly been migrating into the e-commerce world. Airbnb launched a quarterly print magazine several months ago, and Dollar Shave Club has branched into publishing a print publication as well.

Disclosure: In the best traditions of the two-degrees-of-separation aspects of New York’s media world, the author has worked with Koyen in the past.NU