Disrupting Sleep: A Business Success Story

Sometimes the best ideas are born from necessity. Other times it’s an itchy pillowcase.

September 25, 2017

It began with a slap in the face after a particularly luxurious weekend getaway — “fancy sheets cost how much?”

See, Rich and Vicki Fulop wanted to recreate the luxurious sleep experience they had at a decadent hotel but immediately bumped into a wall of dollar signs. If they wanted to conk out on 5-star sheets at home, they’d have to shell out $800 (at least) for the privilege.

So, what exactly is so special about those fancy sheets?

Like a small child hoping for an ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day, the question ate at the husband and wife team to the point where they spent a year researching the textile and manufacturing industries in search of an answer.

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.34.29 PMBut what they found wasn’t flattering. Turns out most of the money we spend on top-notch bedding doesn’t have anything to do with the actual material or production costs. Instead, the money goes toward propping up a bloated supply line of giant
retailers, licensees, and distributors, thereby making the “good” stuff ridiculously expensive. Like any good entrepreneurs, Rich and Vicki smelled the business opportunity while the other established brands maintained business as usual.

Why not cut out the middleman?

Their concept was a sheets business that worked directly with leading textile factories all over the world to slot their runs into the factories’ lulls. Then, they’d sell the finished products online, directly to the consumer, to keep the costs low while also delivering a high-quality product.

“We make do without storefronts, slotting fees, distribution, and licensing,” says Rich Fulop. “We’ve cut out all the costs that don’t add value to the consumer.”
Makes sense, Rich. In 2014 the Fulops launched their company, Brooklinen, on Kickstarter and it immediately struck a high-thread count chord. Seeking $50k in pre-orders for their affordable-but-fancy bedding, they ended up bringing in more than $230k. And just 2 years later the company has grown from 3 to 17 employees and over hundreds of thousands of customers.

Why we love it:

  • You can pick from 14 seasonal colors and patterns to quickly find exactly what will tickle your fancy in just a few clicks.
  • Ever heard of a “percale” weave? Neither had we, but it makes getting into bed feel cool, crisp, and comfy.
  • If for some reason you’re worried you might not like your choice, they offer a lifetime warranty and free returns.
  • Their stuff is a fraction of the price compared to the big designer brands but just as good if not better. Plus, husband and wife teams are cool.
  • Yet another excuse not to visit a past-their-prime department store.

If you’re ready to sleep into something more comfortable, check out Brooklinen before you even take your robe off. They’re giving readers of The Hustle free shipping and $20 off your order when you use the promo code HUSTLE17. Yawelcome.

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