To Sleep, Perchance to Dream… With Casper
Posted On Apr 15, 2016
Looking to have more fun in bed? Casper is the new-guard snooze concept that’s disrupting the musty mattress industry with personal flourishes, forward-thinking materials, and an unflinching desire to sweep you off your feet.
In case you slept through it — which in this case we’d endorse — it was the seventh annual National Sleep Awareness Week back in mid-March. Every year, the National Sleep Foundation draws attention to the health benefits of higher-quality respites, making connections between sleep, longevity, productivity, and the like. In this day of sleep-aid apps, iPad “Night Shift” modes, increased practice of meditation and yoga, ramped-up interest in holistic body health, and (on the flip side) unprecedented societal and environmental stressors, there’s a lot to discuss within the beddy-bye arena. Not surprising to many is this: Casper (casper.com), the mattress startup that’s disrupting the oft-awkward and antiquated bed industry, was on many a mind.
Rightfully so. The company — winner of major design awards from Time and Fast Company, as well as the 2015 Crunchie Award, which deemed it the gold-standard of startups — has been making noise in New York City since its charming, illustrated ads began appearing throughout the subway system approximately two years ago. As straphangers pondered the foreign notion of a pleasant bed-shopping experience, the startup’s founders set out to excise the unnecessary glut of choice when buying a bed (you’ll take yours medium-firm and like it) as well as sales middlemen, which helps them keep the price between $500 (twin) to $950 (California King). It made a cool $1 million in its first month out of the gate, and quickly became a staple for twenty- and thirtysomethings. Ease dominates the online ordering experience, humanity reigns supreme when it comes to customer service, and the youthful team prides itself on staying acutely conscious of customer feedback.
Is it worth the hype… beyond the facts that Leo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Adam Levine, Scooter Braun, Ashton Kutcher, and Nas are investors, and both Kylie and Caitlyn Jenner sing Casper’s praises? More than 100,000 happy sleepers say yes. The American-made, body-contouring mattress of latex foam plus memory foam results in a surface that is supportive yet cooling to the body and bouncy enough to elicit an “ahhhh.” And, as is common of today’s elite, tech-forward brands that are credited with disrupting a stodgy industry, Casper was founded by five young guys, under age 35, who’ve managed to appear on the Forbes and Inc. lists within the year.
One of these five — co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Gabe Flateman, an award-winning composer in addition to a Brown University-educated visionary whose work has been implemented in the Library of Congress — gives us a closer look into one of the fastest-growing consumer brands of all time.
NEW YOU: Gabe! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us about the brand… on National Sleep Week, no less. You all must be busy.
GABE FLATEMAN: Yes, National Sleep Week has a fantastic message, one we’re trying to bring to a wider audience with Casper. The fundamentals of great sleep are a healthy lifestyle and a healthier demeanor. Just think of any day after a bad night’s sleep… Everyone feels more put-off. Sleep is a natural way of getting the most out of yourself and the day ahead.
NY: A lot of people first became acquainted with you through your animated subway ads in New York City… What was your aim with this rather successful campaign?
GF: As we were beginning, we knew we couldn’t compete with the larger competitors in a number of ways yet… but we could compete with the creativity of our ads. Our subway ads offered people a new cultural awareness around sleep. This industry hasn’t innovated in a long time, so subway riders were ready to listen. Since the quality of the product was there to match the way we were connecting with people, it all proved to be really successful.
NY: Well, congratulations on creating a product that has really struck a chord.
GF: We all are very happy. It all started because of this notion that mattresses could actually be an exciting customizable experience.
NY: But did you all have a particular obsession with mattresses?
GF: No… no, we didn’t. I know my parents were particularly taken aback… “Mattresses?” But it came down to the other founders and me seizing upon an opportunity to build a better product. We knew there was potential. Did we realize how much potential? We couldn’t have imagined what actually happened in our wildest dreams. What is critical for us now is growing and expanding the customer experience so things remain in this great place.
NY: Why the decision to only offer the one medium-firm mattress?
GF: We were very exhaustive, ridiculously so, in our search for the greatest mattress possible. If you compare sleeping to dining at a restaurant, having an amazing meal once is one thing and replicating the experience over and over is another. The mattress, our pillow, and our sheets, have been painstakingly considered so that our customers sleep beautifully time and time again.
NY: What will most likely impress new customers about your products?
GF: To improve sleep, one of the important factors is temperature, so we’ve been very meticulous about identifying materials to be supportive and will stay cool throughout the night.
NY: In addition to feeling rested, what are some of the positive beauty benefits of a restful night of sleep?
Well there’s no questions that it does wonders for alleviating bags under the eye and improving skin quality. Plus, people look their best when they’re optimistic, and quality sleep is nature’s best mood booster. From personal experience, I can tell you… I’ve never felt more radiant…
Adam LevineCasper MattressesForbesGabe FlatemanKylie JennerLeonardo DiCaprioNational Sleep Awareness WeekNational Sleep Foundationsleep