Monday, May 18, 2015

How to build a better mattress

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” ― Anthony Burgess, English writer, composer and author of A Clockwork Orange

I'VE BEEN lobbying for a new mattress for about a year. Paul had been waking up too many mornings with an aching back, and although we've loved the memory foam mattress we've had for years, it was plainly time to replace it.

On the one hand I was looking forward to having a brand new mattress, and on the other, I was dreading shopping for one. We both agreed that we wanted our new mattress to again be memory foam, but from there what?

I started out thinking I wanted a Tempur-Pedic, but they're pricey, and neither one of us were keen on spending $3000 or more for one. After conducting a bit of research, I considered a BedInABox brand mattress, at about 1/3 third the cost of a Tempur-Pedic, but I changed my mind when I realized they squish their mattresses to fit in a 20"x20"x48" shipping box. Somehow, that didn't seem like a good thing to do to a mattress.

Then I came across Loom & Leaf and liked what I read. It was the same price as BedInABox which was a plus, but in addition I liked that it wouldn't be swished to ship, the cotton portion of the mattress is organic, the foam is planted-based, and the mattress is made entirely in the USA. I read reviews and comparisons, and felt like Loom & Leaf was a good choice.

This isn't our bed. The new mattress inspired me to redecorate, so our whole bedroom is 
torn up. The carpet has been replaced, and now I'm deep into repainting the woodwork. 
I'll show you a picture when I'm done!

Two things I didn't realize when I ordered it: 1) I got one of the first ones made; the parent company, Saatva, had only been manufacturing Loom & Leaf mattresses for a month 2) just how good a mattress and deal we were getting.

In case you might need to shop for a new mattress, I'm sharing two articles about the company; it's actually an interesting story.

The first piece about the parent company appeared in Fortune Magazine, the second article about Loom & Leaf appeared on Huffington Post.

This mattress company's profits are nothing to snooze at

By Brittany Shoot
October 22, 2014 

Anyone who has tried it lately can probably attest that mattress shopping isn’t exactly a bed of roses. Bed-in-a-box foam mattress e-tailers like Casper and Tuft and Needle have rightly earned rave reviews for cutting both cost and hassle. But comparing foam against traditional innerspring coil mattresses is misleading. It’s the exact sort of comparison that further obfuscates an already maddening decision between a dozen bone-white rectangles that all look and seem very much the same.

In the recent tradition of a transparency-forward, online-only retail, there’s another contender rousing the rest of the industry from its fitful slumber: Saatva, which delivers its dual innerspring coil mattress direct to customers’ doors, at a starting price of $899.

With the minimal overhead of e-commerce and despite the slow buying cycle associated with huge durable goods like mattresses, the company, which launched three years ago, has been profitable since its third month. Saatva’s revenue numbers demonstrate its industry stronghold: 300% growth year over year with projected revenue of $25 million this year and $45 million for 2015.

It’s hard to understand how one direct-to-consumer mattress company could boast such staggering figures against multi-billion-dollar industry giants like Sealy and Serta. That is, unless you’ve encountered the confusing mattress-buying process punctuated by mystifying markups and obtuse labeling. Head to a mattress outlet, and you might find a one model that seems like a good fit. But try comparison shopping at a department store, and you’ll find what appears to be the exact same mattress listed under another name and sometimes bearing a different price tag. You want simplicity? Dream on.

It’s almost easier to chase monsters out from under the bed than evaluate your options. Do you know what a gel mattress is? Does the endorsement of conservative radio hosts impact your opinion about Select Comfort’s Sleep Number adjustable air mattress? Would you sleep on a camouflage-patterned Duck Dynasty bed? Even attempting to assess the toxicity of manufacturing materials, flame-retardant chemicals, and off-gassing is the stuff of vivid nightmares.

The Serta, Simmons, and Tempur-Pedic troika have long held an oligopoly in the mattress manufacturer-retailer space. If you think one name is missing from that list, it’s Sealy, which Tempur-Pedic TPX 1.04% acquired in 2012 for $242 million. Major brick-and-mortar retailers have also been tossing and turning. Last month, Mattress Firm, one of the biggest Sealy and Serta retailers, acquired West Coast rival Sleep Train for $425 million cash and stock. Mattress Firm’s public filing in 2008, the last reliable data on the subject, showed that 84% of mattress sales take place in furniture or department stores, or in specialty sleep retailers, which at the time accounted for 42% of sales.

Saatva cofounder and chief marketing officer Ricky Joshi notes that his company has basically been in stealth mode, relying on word-of-mouth recommendations and stellar online ratings that highlight the company’s commitment to customer service. Raving reviewers on Google, PriceGrabber, and mattress review sites like are largely responsible for skyrocketing sales.

Since a steel coil innerspring mattress doesn’t roll up and fit tidily into a cardboard shipping box, the company built out a robust nationwide distribution chain, served by 10 factories and 31 distribution centers. Saatva also removes a customer’s old mattress. Boxed mattress sellers tend to put the onus of removing the old mattress on the customer, an annoying pitfall and one that can add to the final cost of a new bed.

Even factoring in shipping, Saatva can keep prices lower than competitors by not blowing the budget on advertising and instead leveraging those glowing reviews. Joshi points out that mattress giants often spend more money on marketing than the actual product. A look back at Mattress Firm’s 2011 IPO prospectus, for example, shows that the company spent only $180 million on product compared to $230 million on retail, advertising, and administration in the same period.

The company also saves by manufacturing in the U.S. Offering an American-made product was also a priority from the beginning. “There are a lot of question marks from overseas manufacturers,” Joshi says. Importing from overseas is a hassle, and not particularly economical. Besides, what’s more appealing to middle America than durable domestic goods? “It’s nice to be cool in San Francisco and New York City, but we also sell in Dallas, Chicago, and Columbus, Ohio.”

It’s hard to say what kind of fierce competition it would take to wake up the legacy mattress giants. And it’s worth wondering: can an e-commerce company like Saatva permanently disrupt the luxury mattress industry? Maybe we should sleep on it.

Loom & Leaf Co-Founder Interviewed on Huffington Post

By Leo Welder

Loom & Leaf Co-Founder Ricky Joshi discusses how the luxury mattress company is taking on mattress giant Tempur-Pedic.

“Tempur-Pedic is the best selling mattress brand in the United States. Loom and Leaf in many ways pushes the technology, luxury, and environmental boundaries beyond the big players, and can do this much more affordably.”

Snapshot of the Interview:


  1. so how do you like the Loom and Leaf for comfort, etc..? Does the cooling technology really work as advertised?

  2. Hi Craig, I apologize for the slow response. I wanted to be able to take a moment to give you a thorough response. For comfort and quality, I'd give our Loom & Leaf memory foam mattress an A. My husband Paul is especially enamored. He used to wake up in pain every morning from sleeping on our old mattress. He doesn't now. I'm not sure whether the cooling technology actually works or not. Here's why: We put a mattress protector pad on (because we have three cats who tend to periodically puke!), and it's waterproof. I think the plastic over the mattress of it might thwart the cooling properties. (You know how sweat-inducing plastic against your body is.) I mean to take it off, and put on something non-plastic to see if I can then detect the "cooling technology." Let me also add that I found the customer service people at Loom & Leaf VERY helpful. In fact, I mean to call them and ask about the mattress protector issue. We also happened to buy some new memory foam pillows (elsewhere) that have cooling gel bits on one side, and these pillows REALLY work. I'll tell you what brand they are soon. (Off on a camping/hiking trip just now.) Best regards, Kelly