How Casper made buying a mattress cool

Puppies try out Casper's new dog bed
Puppies try out Casper's new dog bed

You know the feeling. You've been burning the candle at both ends, skimping on shut-eye, and now your work is suffering.

That was the subject of a conversation a while back between four men at a co-working space in New York.

"We kept coming back to the topic, and discussing how much more productive we were when we prioritized sleep, and that led to a conversation about how buying mattresses was a terrible experience," recalls Philip Krim.

The group were tired of fast-talking salespeople forcing them to test dozens of mattresses at a time.

"You feel you almost need to take a shower after going into a mattress store," quips Krim.

They decided they could do things differently, and launched online mattress company Casper in 2014 with Krim as its CEO. It's a startup with a radical approach to the mattress business.

For starters, Casper only sells one type of mattress (in four different sizes). Krim says it doesn't need more styles because it has created a mattress that adapts to the user.

"We think of this as an industry that has had too much choice for too long. There's no reason you need 70 different mattresses at a store," he claims. "You really can design one mattress for everyone's comfort."

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Casper bed

Casper tested thousands of combinations before settling on a memory foam mattress topped with open-cell latex foam. It retails from $500 to $950, depending on the size.

But Casper's big selling point is its hassle-free experience. Mattresses are shipped in a box small enough to be delivered by bike courier. Unboxing videos are rife on YouTube, showing the mattress slowly unfolding itself as it's unpacked.

Casper bike courier box
A courier dlievers a Casper mattress.

Casper also offers free delivery and a 100-night trial period.

The company's mattress has proved a hit. Sales hit $100 million last year, and Krim says Casper is on track to double that in 2016.

The startup is already looking to expand, both in terms of the geography and its products. In addition to having its own showroom in Los Angeles, Casper mattresses are now being stocked by U.S. furniture chain West Elm. It has also ventured into Europe, with a Berlin office and a U.K. launch, and has added a pillow and bedding to its offerings.

It's even growing its user base beyond human beings with a recently launched dog mattress.

The pooch bed costs from $125 to $250, and is the result of 11 months of dog sleep studies, according to Casper.

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