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A short history of the bed-in-a-box

It was way back in 2016 that I interviewed a confident and well-spoken young man who had two years earlier launched a company that made what some thought was a crazy product.

Casper says it took significant investments in foam research and sleep science to create its new generation of mattresses.

In fact, Casper CEO Philip Krim’s idea—a bed delivered to your door in a box— wasn’t silly at all.  A self-described “serial entrepreneur” whose first company operated out a dorm room at the University of Texas, Krim was an early e-­com executive, and studied evolving consumer shopping trends online and off.

Turns out he was right that consumers would accept a mattress that came with limited customization but loads of convenience, and less cost. This was especially true of the growing number living in a high-rise. For this market, Krim set out to “build the most comfortable mattress possible” and to streamline the purchasing and transportation process.

The direct-­to­-consumer model most certainly disrupted the mattress industry. But it’s worth noting that many bed-in-a-box companies have re-introduced some conventional selling practices, like displaying product in showrooms. Several now have retail presence and some have partnerships with complimentary brands; Canadian company Endy  for example, is sold through Urban Barn

Chaises for Sleepenvie’s Liv sofa can be oriented right or left.

Another Canadian company, Sleepenvie, makes a great bed (they sent me one, and I love it). Now they do sleeper-sofas in a box. These I have not tried, but I think it’s a clever idea.

Most recently, Casper swung back toward customization with a new collection of eight mattresses designed for various types of sleepers, with varied needs. Those include enhanced pressure relief, cooling technology, contour zones for pressure relief and spinal alignment, and breathable materials that increase airflow and lower temperature.

In another nod, there are “hybrid” options that combine foam and coil. There are also new designs for covers, all of which are made from recycled material. In a final twist, though, some are available exclusively at select retail partner locations.

Featured pic, and pic top right provided by Casper.

TOPICAL NOTE: In other mattress industry news, one of Canada’s largest producers of mattresses, Tempur Sealy Canada has repurposed its manufacturing to make protective face shields.  The pivot is happening in partnership with Mack Media Inc., a large-format digital printing company that developed a prototype for personal protective equipment. Kudos.


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