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Tell HN: How we bootstrapped to the #1 rated mattress on Amazon.com
462 points by johmas 1019 days ago | hide | past | web | 271 comments | favorite
About 12 months ago we founded a bed company called Tuft & Needle. The HN community has been a great source of inspiration/education and we're proud to share our progress. We recently reached the #1 "Top Rated" rank in Mattresses and #2 in Furniture on Amazon.com.

Website: https://www.tuftandneedle.com/ Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/gp/top-rated/home-garden/3732961/

Problem: Painful shopping experience and extremely high margins in the mattress industry.

Solution: We make a good bed without any gimmicks. It is comfortable, safe and attractive without falsely advertised features or fraudulent discounts.

Business: We launched with a MVP and a simple landing page to test our ideas. Then about 4 months ago, we listed on Amazon and it's caught up to be a significant sales channel on its own. In the last quarter we've had 100% month-over-month growth. We don't spend on advertising, and more than half our sales are from word-of-mouth referrals and social media.

Technical: We take a pragmatic approach with everything including the storefront, sales tools, inventory tracking and fulfillment processes. We use 3rd-party services for payments (Stripe), bitcoin (Coinbase), shipping labels (EasyPost), CRM (Intercom), etc. Stack: Rails+AngularJS+Heroku.

Lesson Learned: Our primary success factor was starting with a rough draft. We didn't like our v1 much—an all cotton tufted mattress—but that didn't keep us from launching with it. This gave us a chance to experiment with problem/solution and to start collecting feedback right away. We had to do quite a few returns at first but we iterated constantly until our customer satisfaction was high enough for us to start getting referrals.

We would really value the community's opinion. We want to get as much feedback as possible to make sure we're going in the right direction.

JT & Daehee at T&N




Being someone that considers himself literate in the mattress industry, as my wife runs a humble mattress storage and distribution firm I totally agree that the prices I could see visiting on the US are way over the top. If I lived there, well, making/selling mattresses must be a profitable business from the retail pricing I could see. Mind you I was on Silicon Valley which I imagine must be very pricy.

The website is really beautiful. Well done. It almost makes you feel I have to buy this!!! I think that's the key point.

Because apart from that... well... there's a rule in business that is you get what you pay for. Even if mattress retailers are making a fortune on margins, well you guys also have margins too. And a retail price of $299..to..$499-king tells me that your mattresses are very low end.

So the website is beautiful but very misleading. Like the infographic about the cost of making a mattress. It probably should title it "Here is how a cheap mattress is marked up". Because there is mattresses and mattresses. Tons of variations, fabrics and qualities. And well.. you're not even selling mattresses or at least we don't call that a mattress here ( Spain ) but a mat instead. It is just too thin. Less than half the thickness of a regular mattress. Then of course, the fact that is made of foam only makes it worse as with that thickness it will unavoidable deform with usage. Who tells otherwise is lying or just very new to the business plainly because all foam mattresses deform to some degree.

Then there is the foam density, that I can't see anywhere in the specs. And as you can guess when you import materials the bigger the density the more expensive the foam sheets are. But hey, people today demand cheap prices. But anyways, mattresses these days tend to have lesser foam densities as people want cheaper prices. But of course that comes with the cost of deformability and that's why mattresses these days don't last that much as they used to in the past.

One thing that tells how good your marketing efforts are is that the mattress is foldable. Someone not used to mattress would think: AWESOME. Some used would think, oh no another crappy sofa-bed mat. I'd never recommend anyone to buy a foldable bed unless for an apartment with very low space and of course... for a sofa-bed!

So my summary would be: really well done making attractive a low-end product. The marketing is excellent and you definitely found a market out there. The website is beautiful but well.... you sell what you sell, tons of half-truths on it.


Thanks for the feedback, and I understand your concerns. I'll address them below.

>> Even if mattress retailers are making a fortune on margins, well you guys also have margins too. And a retail price of $299..to..$499-king tells me that your mattresses are very low end.

We of course have built-in margins on our products, and we try to keep it as fair as possible while supporting our operational overhead. But to write off our beds as "very low end" is a misinformed assumption. We have internal pricing of well known mattress brands that are considered high end by many and they have the same if not lower costs as ours (due to volume and manufacturing in Mexico/China).

>> It is just too thin. Less than half the thickness of a regular mattress.

We have a 10-inch model (double the thickness) coming out soon. The price won't be too much more than the 5-inch, while offering the same level of comfort. But to be honest, we've never had a return for it being too thin.

>> the fact that is made of foam only makes it worse as with that thickness it will unavoidable deform with usage

Our foam should last 5-7 years before there is any deformity/compression. We've done thorough cycle tests in a lab to test this.

>> Then there is the foam density, that I can't see anywhere in the specs. And as you can guess when you import materials the bigger the density the more expensive the foam sheets are.

The foam in our bed is roughly about 2 lbs in density. There is some variance as with any foam manufacturing process. Our foams are poured and crafted in California, and 3 different layers provide a blend in density that's proved to be comfortable and durable. To give a point of reference, Tempurpedic recently dropped below a 1.8 lb density base foam, and that is considered high end. They used to use 2 lb but they reduced it to increase their margins.


> Our foam should last 5-7 years before there is any deformity/compression

5-7 years doesn't seem like a particularly long time in the context of the life of a mattress. My (limited) understanding has always been that mattresses are the sort of thing many people hold onto for decades. In that context "it'll be good for five years" doesn't sound reassuring.

If you're positioning your product on price, you could make the counterargument that with your mattresses people could afford to replace them much more frequently than they typically do, of course. Just pointing out how this marketing point would strike me, if I were a potential customer.


Thank you for the feedback.

We're not fans of holding onto mattresses for very long, of course we're biased on this; but, no matter what the material is you will develop body impressions and compression in the mattress. Be it synthetic materials or natural materials like cotton or wool. Compression can lead to degraded pressure point relief which can lead to spinal issues and discomfort.

Regarding the 5-7 years, if you look at a mattress that has a 10-25 year warranty closely you will notice that it is pro-rated. Meaning each year you own it, they will credit you less and less. This essentially breaks even somewhere around 5 years. Not to mention they make you jump through some serious hoops to prove it is damaged. We view this as a gimmick. So what we do is just provide a clean warranty at 5 years and exchange it if there are any problems. It may very well last longer but we felt at this point in time for our startup that we should stick to 5 years and evaluate whether we can extend beyond that.

Honestly, we want to see how customers will treat us when that time comes.

Thank you again for the feedback.


$100 a year for a mattress at their price is downright cheap, assuming you don't even go the full 7.

5-7 years is MTTF for just about every mattress in existence. I pitch mine after 5 years as is; Those things are dirty after 5 years of sleeping on the same surface every night.


That's the point behind mattress covers/pads. For $50/$100, you get something to put on top of the mattress to absorb the dirt. After a few years, you can replace them for a fraction of the cost of a new mattress. They can also be removed and washed.


Covers are great (I have and use one) because they keep sweat and dirt out (which kill mattresses the fastest) but they do not prevent the mattress itself from deteriorating due to constant weight.


Mattresses may be marketed for a long life span but they rarely last that long. I've had a queen size $3k mattress that lasted 8 years. Bought a $1.5k replacement that lasted 1.25 years before it had noticeable body impressions. Mattressfirm replaced it in warranty. A $2k mattress at 4 years is $1.38 per day. You won't notice a mattress is destroying your back until it's too late.


I am doing something wrong then.

We bought mattresses in the 'mid-range' ($500-600) and the springs went in the centre in 1-1.5 years. The best one we have had has been a refurbished mattress from the local charity store for $100.


We've just resulted to stacking enough foam pads on ours until I get a nice enough place to live to buy a decent bed setup. Apartment life is nice and cheap, but the nice expensive stuff is hard to justify. I bought a 50" plasma and a new laptop this month; the first new computer purchase since 2007, first new TV purchase since 2009 or so (shitty 32" lcd).


Hooray for manufacturing in California! May your business prosper and remain stateside.

We've got a European Sleepworks mattress that is likely to last a long time -- for the price, it should :-). When the time comes to replace it, I'll be buying from you.


You may not want to miss the larger point to take away from this.. ">> Even if mattress retailers are making a fortune on margins, well you guys also have margins too. And a retail price of $299..to..$499-king tells me that your mattresses are very low end."..

"You get what you pay for" is an adage you will have to take into account when considering perceptions of your product by potential customers.

Whether correct or not, most people correlate price with quality such that a lower cost (to them) product is assumed to be of lower quality. Even those with an actual understanding of supply chains and intermediaries and their effect on pricing will do this, despite that knowledge.


Perceived Value is something that is under perceived.


Every time you do something a new way, there will be people in the industry who claim that what you're selling is no good because of X. (where X = something your product is missing, or does but shouldn't do, or some other supposed flaw)

If you believe them, it can be puzzling because you already know that customers have actually been more concerned with other things. Just keep going and don't pay too much attention to anyone except your customers and potential customers.


2 lbs per cubic foot?


If that's what he meant, that it's really low. For comparison a Tempurpedic is 5.3 lbs. per civic foot for it's top layer, nearer 8 for the structural bottom layer.


In his post above, he says temperpedic is 1.8 lb. so which is it, 8 or 1.8?


The low-end Tempur Queen mattress from this page:

http://www.brookstone.com/tempur-pedic-tempur-simplicity-mat...

47 lbs / 22.22 cu. ft = 2.1 lbs

The weight listed is probably the shipping weight with packaging, so the actual weight of the foam is less. Seems like 8 lbs would be extremely dense.


"well you guys also have margins too."

of course. How can a business succeed without any margins ? The point they are making is that the margins are ridiculously high that these stores charge. They are claiming to reduce those margins.

"Here is how a cheap mattress is marked up"

I browsed through their website. They don't claim to be a luxury mattress and their point is more about a reasonable mattress for a reasonable price. Of course there never is a limit for how much you can pay for anything. Think a $15000 Honda Civic vs $100,000 BMW 7 series.

I think you are being a little too harsh in your criticism even though trying to be constructive. It may not be all marketing as Amazon reviews are pretty good. And Yes, Amazon reviews are definitely worth it (being an amazon prime member who orders at least 10-15 things a month).


You're right, I also thought after having posted it that I was too harsh. I think it was due to the fact that I partially live this business on a daily basis and found some of the facts not trustful. Specially bearing in mind the product being sold is closer to a mat than to a reasonable mattress.

I think that harshness prevented me from making clear the two points I was trying to make:

1. A warn that everything has its price. Some people will mark up expensive, some people will mark up way cheaper, but at the end there is normally no such thing as free lunch and on average you get what you pay for.

And more importantly,

2. That I believe that these guys made an awesome work around marketing. But not from a bad point but the opposite. A great website, great picutres, great pictures on Amazon too like for example showing the customer how the mattress looks like when folded and when shipped! Pretty infographics. Tons of facts about their mattress. Great choice of payments methods, etc..


Take a look at what is going on here. These guys are blowing a hole in the side of a high margin industry with a stick of dynamite and cleaning it up with their money catching machine Tuft & Needle.

The "you get what you pay for" point underscores the brilliance of Tuft and Needle's entrance into the market.

You must understand that there are industries, like mattress retailer, that have operated on artificially high margins for generations.

If you look at The company's competitive positioning you will see that they are vertically integrated, lean, and willing to blow apart the competition.

When 2 individual walk into the car dealership and separately buy an identical car. one pays full sticker, markup and a warranty. The other pays $100 over invoice. They both got the identical car; did they both get what they paid for?

I am impressed with the company's story and model. They are going to do well in the mattress business for a long time to come.

I bought a california king tempurpedic mattress from sharper image in 2003. It set me back about 1500 and at that time the other mattress manufacturers were not in the memory foam market. Today, the mattress performs impecibally.

The 5" is suitable because of their foam construction layering and density.

The real deal will be the price point on the 10" model


Sorry but what you are saying does not make any sense at all.

When you are buying mattresses from different brands, it's not the same product but with different label. There is thousands of variations. So basically it's like if your individual were looking to buy two different cars. And I don't think you believe a $10.000 car is the same as a $60.000 car even though the 60K one has way more margin for every stakeholder in the product chain.

And in this case I'm sorry to tell but it is even worse as it is like if they were selling a no-license car vs. a regular car.


I guess I'm in the minority, the website strikes me as templatey and filled with millennial narcissistic fluff (the same bogus fluff of Kickstaters with it's endless no one thought of this until we did). The amazon reviews are far more persuasive.


And on 2. I forgot customer support. I am a truly believer that customer support makes the biggest difference when running a business no matter if is online or offline.


But, to me it seems clear that they value customer service if they are directly responding to your posts here. The tools available on their website combined with the shipping and returns also underscore that.


That's why I emphasize it. I think you took my point above the other way around.


After sleeping (for consulting work) amazingly, at the Marriott Financial Center in Manhattan, I ended up inquiring as to which mattress they use. A few days later I found myself ordering a Jamison mattress for almost a grand. My rationale was- I spend 1/3 of my life here (ideally). Why skimp on it? And everyone who has slept in it has commented on the comfort of it.

And as it turns out, I had an undiagnosed sleep disorder at the time, so the mattress ended up helping with that too!

So I just wanted to say that, regardless of pricing, thanks for focusing on making a good mattress. It is probably kind of a thankless job, and/or it's not particularly glamorous, but it matters.


You can talk extensively about how low-end this mattress is, but from the Amazon reviews it seems like your industry knowledge is rubbish.

137 reviews: 124 5-star, 12 4-star, 1 1-star


You can talk extensively about how bad this book is, but from the Amazon reviews it seems like your literary knowledge is rubbish.

383 reviews: 304 5-star, 43 4-star, 17 1-star

http://www.amazon.com/The-Twilight-Saga-White-Collection/dp/...


Literary knowledge has little to do with measuring people's enjoyment of a book.

Mattress quality has a great deal to do with measuring their enjoyment of a mattress.


So as per your reasoning I take low-end products with happy customers are immediately promoted by the magic of Amazon ratings to premium high-end products.

Good to know as next time I plan to buy a car I can go for an Honda Fit ( btw, no offense intended to any owner, just took it from a list of decent affordable US cars ) as everyone knows it will the same as a Tesla S but without the 1000x margin on top. As heck, Honda Fit's got 5-stars reviews on Amazon!!!

And yes, my car knowledge is rubbish to tell people that Honda Fit is low-end.


To be fair, Amazon sends review request emails to every one of our customers who buy through that channel. These people don't get a test drive of our mattress before they get it so I'd expect we are a little more exposed than a car you wouldn't rate unless you test drove it and purchased it because you liked it.

You seem to be a little critical of us, which is totally fine. We were really looking forward to show the HN community because we wanted everyone's feedback. Could you recommend another way we could represent our customer happiness to the public?


Sure. As I said, there is many good points on your business.

However I would be way less critical if you marketed your product as a futon/mat instead of a mattress, i.e. as what it is. And although I really like how you've done your website, your positioning and the whole simplistic approach I really think there is quite a bit deceptive advertising on your website. Like for example comparing a 5" futon with a $3K mattress in the infography, or the whole treatment of the mattress industry as like all mattresses out there are comparable to yours because as explained already in several posts.

But heck, if your customers are happy.... I probably would not change it at all. But I cannot avoid being critical with it.


The infographic is based on actual numbers we have of leading mattress company's products so there is nothing false about those numbers.

We don't view thickness as a dependency of being called a mattress but that is certainly subjective.

Our 10" version is being released soon so maybe that may (or may not) earn some more credibility with people from the mattress industry, such as yourself and your wife. We were completely opposed to making a thicker bed but the reason we came to justify it was for people who have headboards and don't like the gap exposed above the mattress and the bottom of the board. Or for others who just want the look of something thicker. But comfort wise, it's completely identical to our current version and we'll be very clear about that.

We did thorough testing of mattress thickness and its correlation with comfort when we made our first prototypes. We've built mattresses from all natural cotton and wool, latex, memory foam to what we have now and just could not see any data pointing to it being directly related.

I'd also like to point out that we don't have much support from people who work or have friends in this industry for obvious reasons but that's the path we've chosen.


> The infographic is based on actual numbers we have of leading mattress company's products so there is nothing false about those numbers.

Well, those numbers are quite distant from what I know from working with several factories, not in the US but I cannot imagine the difference to be very high in production costs. There is quite a vast difference from the cost of making a cheap mattress and an expensive one. We buy mattresses from factories that might cost us $100 and others that cost us $800. Between them there is tons of other models. Put there the factory margin which these days is much much lower than it used to be and gives you a factory cost.

So your numbers, I don't doubt they are real, but they are quite a generalization. And well, I haven't searched online but can you point me to a similar product i.e. futon/mat for $3000 on any website? I'm curious about it.

As per the gimmick.... well, mattresses have been called mattresses for a long time and have been thicker than 5" for a very long time. And so have been futons. I am afraid I can't really buy your the marketing gimmick argument.


With due respect to your own industry experience (which does admittedly give me pause as to your objectivity)...

It seems to me that a 5" mattress with superior technology could easily replace a 10" mattress of traditional manufacture. It wouldn't be the first time, either - who would have thought 10 years ago that the running shoe market would successfully be inundated with a bunch of "barefoot shoes?"

However, it might NOT be so easy to convince consumers that a 5" and 10" mattress are comparable, because for decades, that industry has been slapping layer upon layer of foam and pillow tops onto its mattresses to make the mattress LOOK good and justify increasingly higher margins.

I just ordered a mattress from Tuft & Needle because I want to give it a try myself. But I suspect that, if T&N want to be successful, they'll need to find analogies like the running shoe version (which is, admittedly flawed in that barefoot trainers aren't much cheaper than standard shoes) to explain how they can produce a 5" mattress that is as comfortable as a traditionally sized one.


hi, responding to this as a u.s. consumer who is planning to purchase a new bed system in the next two weeks. am replacing a failing king size coil mat with a queen futon system. i have tried lots of beds, and in the past my best sleep and least amount of pain happened with futons or even quilts on a carpeted floor. thick mat is not necessarily better and in fact is probably worse in the long run for the spine. there are indeed futons in the 2000 to 3000 price range; check with the popular chain the futon shop just for starters. small companies making futons of wool, latex etc get into that price point quite often. anyway, hope this helps.


A lot of the quality of a mattress comes in how long it lasts, so the jury is still out on that.

Nevertheless kudos to these guys for building something high quality with low overhead!


>> all foam mattresses deform to some degree

So do spring mattresses, by the way, and aren't they the most common type?


Well, there is tons of types of springs and more importantly spring layouts. Some manofacturers will use less springs than others, and that is very important.

Personally I prefer spring mattresses over foam mattresses. They last much much longer as dangrossman commented, are more reliable and also much firmer. And also you can't leave aside the weather factor because spring mattresses are way more breathable than foam-only mattresses. We, for example, avoid selling foam-only mattresses to people that live on high humidity areas because there is a high chance they will return it with humidity stains.

Normally I would go for a pocket spring mattress ( I think that's the term in English for a mattress with individual sealed and padded springs ) with a decent amount of memory foam on the top. That way you get the firmness and breathability from a spring mattress plus the comfort of a nice soft memory foam layer.


Doesn't quality latex foam have pretty comparable breathability? And my impression was that the firmness of foam was widely variable based on the type and density of the foam.


Not even close. No matter how porous the foam is, you can't match a spring. But bear in mind this factor can or cannot be relevant depending on where you live. If you live on a dry place, it does not matter; also if you take good care of your mattress (e.g. change sides regularly, open windows to air the room regularly, open the cover if it comes with one, use a mattress protector to avoid liquids to pour in, etc.) it will not matter that much either; but if you live on a humid place well... then myself I wouldn't go for a foam-only mattress.

On the firmess you're right, it is very variable. I've been myself sleeping on a foam-only sofa-bed mattress for almost a year and it is firm enough. The issue with latex or foam is that they distort with time. It is unavoidable. Depending on the quality of what you have bought that might be years but I've seen many poorly made mattresses that are returned within months.

It also depends on the weight of the people that is going to sleep as well. My wife would be worried if you were a customer insisting on buying a foam mattress and your weight as a couple were bigger than 180kg for example. Specially if it is a wide mattress as the weight would not be distributed evenly.


Doesn't "a decent amount of memory foam on the top" greatly reduce the breathability of the spring that you say is so important?


No. Mattresses breath mainly from the bed frame area. On humid areas for example a foam-only mattress is a not a good choice if you have a bed frame with no ventilation at all, like a storage bed frame for example as you will have to air the mattress way more frequently if you really want it to last.


So a breathable frame is more important than the spring mattress?


It's very porous. If you took a piece of latex foam and blew air into it, you can feel the air come out of the other side.


Foam mattresses tend to deform and stay deformed after only a few years of use; the foam just doesn't re-expand all the way. Spring mattresses are warranted against more than minor deformation, not just defects at the time of purchase. If you buy a name-brand (Serta, Stearns & Foster, etc) mattress and after 5 years it's sagging 4" In the middle, you make a warranty claim and get a new mattress.


Have you had to use your mattress warranty? When I looked into it most warranties were pro-rated, required that you followed their mattress maintenance schedule, customer had to pay for inspection, 'normal wear' was not covered, etc, etc. This article [1] claims that actual useful lifetime of a mattress is around 1/3 to 1/2 of the warranty period.

(I ended up buying 2 awesome, cheap, non-brand name, made in the US mattresses from Restonic, which are still going strong after 5+ years).

[1] http://www.sleeplikethedead.com/mattress-warranty.html


If I can buy a product for 10-25% of the cost that lasts 33% as long, I've come out ahead.


There are some fair points here. The product is more of a futon than a true mattress. It would be interesting if they offered a higher end latex model.


What does that matter if it provides a great night's sleep?


it might matter when you need it to provide 1000s of great night's sleep


That was my initial reaction as well when visiting the website; what is that? Can't imagine it would be any good to sleep on. Sorry, an all-foam mattress really is a blast from the past. I'm sure this is better that the ones we used in the 80s, but still... Good luck though, there looks to be a market for it at least! :-)


Actually, with some of the advances in foam materials, my impression is that foam mattresses are actually a blast from the present, and possibly the future. Even most spring mattresses have a significant foam comfort layer above the springs now, and the advantages of having springs below vs. latex and some of the other higher quality foams are becoming increasingly questionable -- especially if they're not really high-end springs.


Being not from the mattress industry, a cheap simple mattress is exactly what I've been looking for (coming from someone who has been sleeping on an air mattress for 5mo). Paying any more than this for a mattress, even if a $1000 mattress is really good, seems outrageous to me (but everyone has different priorities)


I bought one of these mattresses recently. The 10+ year old spring mattress I had was on its last legs and I found myself waking up with back pain.

I happened upon an AMA on Reddit by a guy in the mattress industry and someone mentioned T&N. After some research I decided to give them a try. 30-day money back guarantee and all.

I think I knew I didn't need the 30 days after the third night. I was sold. I slept more soundly those first three days than I had in years prior.

Some things to consider:

- The smell. Its the case with ALL foam mattresses so this is neither unique to T&N nor their fault. But it goes away pretty quickly.

- If for some reason you don't like it and want to send it back within the 30-day guarantee period I have no idea how you'd get it back in the box. I think maybe they should include instructions somewhere just in case. That or provide a "Space-Bag" style wrapper that you can use.

I highly recommend trying them out if you're in the market for a mattress!


It says 5-year limited manufacturing warranty now.


I almost wish I needed a mattress! I'm so tired of scammy furniture stores, and think this is definitely a potential growth market. I'd love if you could eventually make a recliner that doesn't suck, and even other furniture as well (I'd purchase a well-made anti-allergenic pillow today). The website is beautiful, and speaks to an elegant austerity that should be pretty popular these days. Even though the price point is shockingly low, I don't feel at all like it's not still a premium product. The little vignettes at the bottom show that you're part of the handcrafting "movement". The only thing I'd like to see (and maybe I'm missing it) is how it looks/dimensions when folded, and if it works in a murphy bed. Happy for your success thus far, and wish you the best!


We really appreciate it. Thank you


> Our primary success factor was starting with a rough draft. We didn't like our v1 much—an all cotton tufted mattress—but that didn't keep us from launching with it. This gave us a chance to experiment with problem/solution and to start collecting feedback right away. We had to do quite a few returns at first but we iterated constantly until our customer satisfaction was high enough for us to start getting referrals.

Putting myself in your shoes, this seems like a scary way to go about things. I'd think, "those first returns are from unsatisfied people. They'll give the product bad reviews and that will put the score in a negative rut it won't be able to pull itself out of. Yes, the next version will be amazing because of the initial feedback, but now we'll have bad reviews so people won't even give it a chance."

Would you mind explaining how I'm thinking about this the wrong way? Perhaps you never put v1 on Amazon and that's how you avoided my concern? But doing so seems like it could limit the feedback you get on v1.


That's a great point. We didn't put our product on Amazon until we reached a high level of customer satisfaction. In the early days when we first started, we had to hustle when we had upset customers. We fixed the problems really fast to avoid them writing about a negative experience. As an example, we've provided complimentary upgrades to our new versions of the bed to previous customers.


If you avoided amazon, didn't this severely limit the feedback you could get? How did those initial customers discover your product?


Yes we definitely did experience limitations in the beginning. We heavily relied on our dotcom sales for initial traction and feedback. To test our idea, we carefully trickled in traffic for some long tail keywords from SEO and Google AdWords. We still don't do any advertising besides some branded placements on AdWords and Facebook.

Listing our product on Amazon.com created additional sales and a new market which was great. But we realize this is a 3rd-party platform which we can't control and don't want to become dependent on it.


I thought I'd seen a similar post on HN before so I searched and found https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1701914 (Ask HN: review my mattress startup, 1182 days ago) with almost no discussion, but they are still around. (I recall a post with more discussuon about a mattress startup based in DC but I can't find that post. Maybe it was the same folks.) Anyway, this has apparently been tried before, so while the idea may not be completely novel, congrats on the execution so far.

Personally when my wife and I needed a new mattress about ten years ago, I knew that mattress shopping was a miserable experience, but I had recently stayed in a Weston on business, found the mattress quite comfortable, and learned that they sold their bed. So after my trip I put my wife up for a night at a Weston, she agreed about the bed, and that's what we ended up with. I think it's much more common now for the hotel chains to offer their beds for sale, but I beleive the Weston was one of the first chains to do so.

I'm quite sure this was a great way to overpay for a mattress, but even if it was $1000 (which I think it was for the king), amortized over the decade of use a mattress is good for doesn't seem too bad.


At one point I almost went crazy researching mattresses. I like to know what I am buying, but the industry is non-transparent. The same product can have different names depending on where it is sold.

BTW, another product like this is range hoods.

I'm impressed that you tried to break into this business. I thought the existing companies would have it tied up because of their distribution channels. I did look at latex mattresses at the time, but they were an expensive niche. About the only viable alternative to the traditional mattress industry were the foam mattresses being produced overseas.


> same product can have different names

No, the same product will have different names and feature descriptions, to hinder your comparison shopping. Frankly, this kind of behavior should invalidate one's trademarks.


Over the past 3-4 years I've bought two products that were a LOT more complicated than they have any right to be.

One was a flashlight (who the hell knew flashlights could have firmware?), the other was my mattress. To this day, I'm not sure what the hell I'm sleeping on.


Do you have a link to a description of that firmwared flashlight?


They're probably talking about the "hexbright" (usb-rechargable, arduino-programmable, so you can implement UI experiments like "shake it to make it brighter" - it's also a really bright light.) Will it impact the market for boring "dead-battery storage" D-cell lights? Of course not. But if you've ever wanted to say "even my flashlight is open source..."


It's not just the Hexbright that has firmware; even a lot of the cheap Chinese-made LED torches are microprocessor-controlled these days.


I did most of my research while buying in Polish, but just check out this flashlight wiki: http://flashlightwiki.com/Main_Page


Hi guys,

Love the idea, quick point of feedback: it is unclear, from a cursory glance, whether your prices refer to bed or bed+mattress.

The floor vs. frame view is great, but the price doesn't change- so are you just selling a mattress? Should you say mattress instead? Are you calling a "bed" a mattress and the rest is a "frame?"

(Not being a jerk, actually confused!)


That's a really good point. We should do a better job at communicating that.

For clarification, we only sell a mattress at the moment. It is designed to be comfortable placed directly on the floor as it is on a bed frame.

Thank you.


Dude! You should sell them both.

I want to throw out my entire "sleeping situation" and just fix it.

With the word-of-mouth you guys have going for you, you should see about partnering with someone who sells great bed frames -- even at a decent markup -- so people can order the whole shebang and solve their sleeping situation in one go.

Or maybe include links on your website to great bed frames. I mean, I want to buy something like what's pictured on your site but I wouldn't know how to go about it.

There's actual value in solving the whole shebang, for people looking to do that, so there'd be nothing wrong with adding that as a relatively pricey option.

Just a thought. Keep up the good work. :)


I completely agree. I'll share your feedback with the team. Thank you.


While you're taking feedback about product integration, here's what I really want: a murphy bed that when collapsed has a floor to ceiling whiteboard.

I may be a unique person for saying that, but a Murphy+whiteboard would turn a small bedroom office into urban bliss.


So I am assuming this means a boxspring would be optional as well?


Just the mattress. Though your confusion is valid. I wondered the same thing before I bought mine.


Ditto on that confusion! I though it was frame + mattress.


i experienced the same confusion.



While you guys are reinventing mattresses, can you do me a favor and invent the "square king" mattress that can be rotated and flipped in a bunch of different ways for even wear?

If you make it, I promise I'll buy one.


That's an awesome idea. It would make sense to test that market once we come out with our own bedframes. We'll discuss it with the team. Thank you!


Make it a cube to get use out of those other four sides!


If my ceilings were taller, I would consider that.


I, too, will buy one of these. And three sets of sheets.


Seems like someone should try a Kickstarter for this to see if there's enough demand.


I'm ALL for online shopping and the removal of brick-and-mortar stores where they're clearly not needed. I rarely shop anywhere but Amazon Prime these days.

But.

A mattress isn't a trivial purchase (not just in cost, which is what you're disrupting, but in what it does for you). You use a mattress for a large period of your life and it has a great effect on your health (either good or bad).

Being able to physically lie on a mattress in a store provides some value in regards to feeling how hard the mattress is, how it responds to your moving around, etc.

I'm not sure I could buy a mattress online sight unseen and just "hope" it was the one for me (and my wife), hoping I didn't have to deal with returns, etc. (How the hell would I return a mattress via UPS/FedEx?)

Maybe I'm overthinking it?


You're definitely right about that. We estimate that 90%+ of our potential customers wouldn't buy our bed unless they were able to touch it and lay down on it.

We setup some really good policies to make it super easy to return without much risk. We'll have it picked up by a 3rd party before having you ship it back to us as an example.

We see ourselves moving offline in the future for sure but to bootstrap, it wasn't really feasible to do anything other than launch online.


Kudos for bootstrapping and being lean about this. Even cooler that you think 90% of people won't buy it without physically touching it and you STILL started online!

Site looks great, photos are excellent, product looks great based on all that. Having bought 2 new mattresses in the past 2 years, I know how shitty the mattress buying experience is.

Good luck to you, definitely rooting for ya!


Thank you!


I don't know. I recently bought a fairly expensive Stearns & Foster mattress and lying it for a few minutes in the store didnt tell me much. You basically end up trusting that it won't get saggy after a couple years because it's more expensive and thats basically of what you pay for. These are so cheap it's almost worth the risk. It's sort of like Warby Parker.


We bought a VI-Spring mattress last year.

Part of the conditions of the satisfaction guarantee is that you have to have certification that you lay on the appropriate demonstration mattress for at least 30 minutes.

I don't see that listed here but it's in our hard-copy, and the retailer emphasised it before purchase:

http://www.vispring.com/our-promises/guaranteed


Most of the debate seems to have centered on perception vs. price, with some very amusing points.

It seems clear that by vertically integrating they have cut out a huge chunk of price to the end-consumer. This point in particular has zero to do with mattress quality.

This also happened a few years ago in the diamond industry. Online retailers cut out the expensive jewelry chains with their 1000% markups and sold directly online at cost + 20%. As diamonds can all be graded and compared accurately we can see how for exactly the same quality you can get something for much less.

New models can maintain quality and reduce cost. It happens all the time. The main proponents of the price = quality concept are marketers who are really hoping you will pay up.

I also find it interesting that one the main critics on this thread happens to be a middle-man who stands to lose his shirt because of T&Ns business model. I feel for you, man.

Lastly, I just wanted to congratulate the T&N team on a great success in a crowded space. Great example of the lean startup. Very impressed also that advertising is $0. Wish you all the best in the future!


John, thank you for this. As many have commented, I am kicking myself that I had to buy a mattress months ago and had to go through the whole bait-and-switch, renamed-same-mattress-from-store-to-store BS.

Next mattress will be from you guys --- any king-sized mattresses in your future (or is that what the twin XL)

Again -- thank you for disrupting this corrupt business


That renamed-same-mattress-from-store-to-store BS was actually my favorite part of purchasing my bed, but this product is awesome and next time I need a bed it will more than likely be this one.


Thank you. We really appreciate the support.


I can't tell whether there's a frame in my cart or not. I'm interested in pricing with and without a frame. It's not clear to me whether the pricing and the cart includes the frame or not, and whether there's an option to do frame or not.

We just purchased a bed for our daughter a few days ago on Amazon, and totally would have purchased yours if we had realized there was a startup making beds here in the USA with a no-nonsense style. I'm honestly not sure how we missed you during that process. We had to search hard to avoid things with smelly chemicals and cheap construction like particle board, too.


I feel like a proud Granddad reading this post. JT was one of my developers at Hashrocket. :)


Don't believe the hype. This is a gimmick.

I can buy a similar mattress from one of those big bad chain stores, who supposedly marks up things up a lot, for $191 plus it is 6" thick.

http://www.sleepys.com/en/Bayside-Liberty-6-Inch-Futon-Mattr...

This mattress is made in the USA using materials from the US. It has all the certifications that tuft and needle have. Excluding using organic cotton on the outside of the mattress which should only increase the cost by $10 to $20.

This one is overpriced by Sleepy's. Checkout US Mattress with an 8" for $169.99. http://www.us-mattress.com/wolf-futon-mattress-dbd.html

For a company trying to fix the mattress industry, you need to be more transparent. How much foam is used? What is the exact density and ILD of the foam? Why so secretive? You are acting like Tempur, Sealy, Serta, and Simmons.


Hi Kindmatt,

You're comparing us to a mass produced cotton futon which has a radically different cost structure to manufacture than a foam mattress. In fact, the actual cost to manufacture that linked product, based on pricing we have for those, is around $30 to $55 for a queen. That would put that product somewhere around 500% markup at the retail price. There is also a big difference in the quality of material, as an example, if you cut open that futon--they remove the zippers--you'll see it's filled with scraps of fabric instead of new cotton batting. They do that to cut product costs further to keep the margins high. Those are being produced by Wolf Corp in Indiana who is a Serta partner. Just the quilted cover for our twin size costs more than that to produce.

Organic cotton costs roughly double. So if you buy knitted fabric at $6 a yard, organic fabric will cost around $10-12 if it's a more than 50% of the composition. So the pricing difference is drastically more than you mentioned. You typically use 4-5 yards to make a mattress cover so you're talking $25 increasing to $50 just for the cover fabric. For a futon like you linked, they're using a low oz woven twill that costs less than $2 a yard typically totalling about $8 for the cover.

The poly foam we designed currently has a density of about 2 lbs. Which is on the high end for foam quality. You can learn a lot more about densities on the Mattress Underground. I'm not willing to disclose ILD, compression modulus or formula recipes because those are currently trade secrets and we honestly don't see a good reason to disclose them at this time. Not to mention that the only people we've found that are interested in those details are competitors.

You are more than free to contact us and ask us questions. This thread is starting to get old so you might get a faster response if you email me direct jt at tuftandneedle.


I would respectfully disagree that the cost to mfg. a mattress is drastically different.

Your pricing is completely off. You can buy organic cotton fabric for as low as $6 that is 100% organic cotton certified by GOTS and you buy can knit fabrics for $12. It isn't that simple of a comparison. If you were in manufacturing, you would know, but it is easier to come up with a marketing gimmick. Tuft and Needle buys from a manufacturer and resells it just like Sit 'n Sleep, Mattress Firm, Sleepy's, etc.

Why do you say “about 2 pounds” as the density? This sounds like cop out. You are probably using 1.8 and some 2 pound. Be open and honest so people can make an educated buying decision.

You don't agree that those are good comps. How about these? A queen Ikea is $329 for 2.2 pound foam and a ½” thicker. (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00139813/) Where Tuft and Needle is $399 for a supposedly 2 pound foam. Surprisingly, most IKEA mattresses are made in the US so don’t give the made in China routine on this.

Serta at Sleepy's is $299.99 (http://www.sleepys.com/en/Sertapedic-Caine-Firm-Mattress_109...). Even if they were using a lower density, how could they be marking this 1,000% as Tuft and Needle states. Sealy has one that is 5 ¾” thick for $299.99 at Sleepy’s (http://www.sleepys.com/en/Sealy-Austin-Creek-Plush-Mattress_...).

Why is Tuft and Needle $100 more than the name brands which are made in the USA, too? Don’t give me the density because like Sealy and Serta, Tuft and Needle won’t disclose density. For sake of argument, let’s say Sealy uses a 1.2 pound and Tuft and Needle uses 2 pound foam. There is 200 board feet in a queen mattress and the cost per board foot between 1.2 and 2 pound is 25 cents. The added cost would be $50 in raw material.

This is untrue; “Tuft & Needle was founded to offer boutique-quality beds at a fraction of the cost. You shouldn't have to overpay for a good night's sleep.” Tuft and Needle is nowhere close to a boutique bed.

Finally, prove to me that mattress stores markup the mattresses 500%. If you look at Mattress Firm's 10K Report, you will see that there GM is nowhere near that. In 2012, they had sales of $1,007,337,000 with a COGS of 614,572,000. That is a 64% markup. No, sales and marketing are not included in this. They spent 245,555,000 on sales and marketing. Tuft and Needle needs to get the facts straight.


Kindmatt, thanks for the reply. There are many points here and I'll do my best to address your concerns below.

> Your pricing is completely off. You can buy organic cotton fabric for as low as $6 that is 100% organic cotton certified by GOTS and you buy can knit fabrics for $12.

I wouldn't disagree with you about being able to get it for $6 or even for nearly free when a fabric supplier has material they are getting rid of. There are varying attributes that makeup a cost other than just raw material. The numbers I was using was based on averages found in research we collected from suppliers' prices within the USA.

> Tuft and Needle buys from a manufacturer and resells it just like Sit 'n Sleep, Mattress Firm, Sleepy's, etc.

We are the manufacturer of the mattress, so the comparison to other resellers is quite misleading. With that being said, we certainly have partnered with 3rd party suppliers for the individual ingredients. As an example, we don't have our own foam pouring machines or fabric knitting machines yet.

> Why do you say “about 2 pounds” as the density? This sounds like cop out. You are probably using 1.8 and some 2 pound. Be open and honest so people can make an educated buying decision.

I'm being honest with you when stating our foam is "about 2lbs." The reason I say "about" is because foam in general has a slight variance, it's never exact. It's not abnormal for foam to be .1% more or less dense but, on average, ours is 2lbs. We don't hide that fact from competitors. For skeptics we encourage them to purchase and test the foam with lab equipment.

> You don't agree that those are good comps. How about these? A queen Ikea is $329 for 2.2 pound foam and a ½” thicker. (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00139813/) Where Tuft and Needle is $399 for a supposedly 2 pound foam. Surprisingly, most IKEA mattresses are made in the US so don’t give the made in China routine on this.

That is definitely a better comparison. Our intention is not to undercut Ikea prices and even if we tried it probably would not be possible for a while. They are a mega billion dollar company and can leverage their economy of scale. We respect them for their pricing and what we offer our customers is a different experience than simply price alone.

> Serta at Sleepy's is $299.99. Even if they were using a lower density, how could they be marking this 1,000% as Tuft and Needle states. Sealy has one that is 5 ¾” thick for $299.99 at Sleepy’s

The markup certainly depends on which product you're talking about and which retailer is selling it. If that specific Serta mattress is actually priced in a more fair manner, that would be great. There are also other smaller companies taking a similar approach as we are, which we are really excited to see. Mattress Underground has done a pretty good job of discussing companies like this.

> Why is Tuft and Needle $100 more than the name brands which are made in the USA, too? Don’t give me the density because like Sealy and Serta, Tuft and Needle won’t disclose density. For sake of argument, let’s say Sealy uses a 1.2 pound and Tuft and Needle uses 2 pound foam. There is 200 board feet in a queen mattress and the cost per board foot between 1.2 and 2 pound is 25 cents. The added cost would be $50 in raw material.

We do disclose our density but will not disclose the other specs you're wanting because those are our secret sauce. You're giving some examples of foam board foot costs but to be fair, not all foam is priced on its density. A 1.2 pound foam, as you say, may cost 25 cents but if you pour with a different ILD, compression modulas, different chemical makeup, dye, or other attributes of many, it will certainly affect the cost. It isn't black and white. This is why you find quite a few foam companies inventing new mixtures and formulas and charging different amounts for the same density. Our foam makeup is unique.

> This is untrue; “Tuft & Needle was founded to offer boutique-quality beds at a fraction of the cost. You shouldn't have to overpay for a good night's sleep.” Tuft and Needle is nowhere close to a boutique bed.

Boutique is certainly a subjective term. For some clarity as to why we use that word, we're a small team and we're offering something, that we believe, is specialised.

> Finally, prove to me that mattress stores markup the mattresses 500%. If you look at Mattress Firm's 10K Report, you will see that there GM is nowhere near that. In 2012, they had sales of $1,007,337,000 with a COGS of 614,572,000. That is a 64% markup. No, sales and marketing are not included in this. They spent 245,555,000 on sales and marketing. Tuft and Needle needs to get the facts straight.

The 500% statement I made above was based on the product you linked. I explained how I arrived at that number above. But as far as Mattress Firm, we never singled that company out or have ever looked into them. I don't know what their markup is but it's certainly an interesting question.

I see you just made a fresh HN account and are not exposing your identity in the profile. If you'd like to have a deeper conversation it'd be great to jump on a call or meet face to face if you'd like. I'd even be willing to show you around our facility if you're in the area.


I’m new to HN, but I don’t think that this takes away from the points that I’m making. I think that this conversation is best held in a public forum so people can know the truth rather than sweeping it under the rug.

It sounds like you are using the top end of the tolerance of the foam when you say “about.’ Everyone else in the industry uses the target density. If you want to be totally transparent, give the range of the density like I’ve seen when people talk about ILD or give the target density like everyone else so that people can fairly compare Tuft and Needle’s mattress. Using the word “about” makes you sound like you are trying to be sneaky.

Even though IKEA is a huge multinational company, they don’t manufacture the products. A true mattress manufacturer would be able to overcome their volume discounts and offer a product for the same price as or less than IKEA. The Mattress Underground has a list of true manufacturers who I’m sure can easily produce something for less than or at the same price as IKEA. Fox, Flexus, and Buis are just a few of examples of the real deal. These are true manufacturers!

You are not very knowledgeable in the mattress industry. Most manufacturers don’t own knitting machines and equipment to pour foam. The three largest manufacturers in the US don’t even own them. Tempurpedic buys foam from another manufacturer with the exception of their memory foam. Sealy, Serta, and Simmons buy their fabric from a weaver and foam from other manufacturers. Mattress manufacturers quilt, cut, sew, and assemble the mattress.

Technically you are a contract manufacturer. You’ve found a factory in California to make the mattress for you. Just like Apple doesn’t manufacture the IPhone, you don’t make the mattress. Matt Firm, Sit n Sleep, Sleepy’s and others do the same thing for their private label. Tuft and Needle doesn’t lease or own a manufacturer facility nor do they own a quilting machine, sewing machines, tape edge machine, etc. You are very slick. To prove my point, if you are truly a manufacturer, does Tuft and Needle own or lease a factory where it only produces product for itself and their customers? And, do you have the equipment, like sewing machines, on your balance sheet that you depreciate on a yearly basis? Just be honest and try not to twist the truth. This is problem with the mattress industry.

On Tuft and Needle’s website, it states the typically markup is 1,000%. The reason that I gave the Matt Firm example is they are largest mattress retailer in the US and the only publicly traded one so we absolutely know their markup. All the other top twenty mattress retailers operate in this manner. That type of markup is atypical. I’d bet you’d be hard press to find one with a 1,000% markup that isn’t based on some myth. Consumer Reports, http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2010/may..., even mentions that the average gross margin is around 30 to 40% which at most is a 67% markup. On the high end, which Tuft and Needle’s is not based on the comparable from IKEA and others, the markup is 100%. If you were using memory foam or latex, your argument may be more valid, but even a high density foam mattress is considered a low end mattress.

Show me one overpriced 5” foam mattress? If you are offering factory direct prices, I should be able to find one similar to Tuft and Needle for $800 in a queen given a 100% markup and that Tuft and Needle is selling the mattress to us at the same price that a manufacturer sells it to a retailer. Please don’t tell me that you sell at lower margins than retailers pay for a mattress from the big brands, who have enormous buying power that would offset your lower margins as you have previous stated in the IKEA example. At Sears, you can get a 12” gel memory foam bed on sale for $594 which is significantly higher quality than a 5” high density foam mattress. http://www.sears.com/sealy-fergus-falls-ti2-ii-ultra-firm-qu... I could go on with examples proving my point.

Tuft and Needle may offer a different shopping experience, but I think that it is mistruth to talk about the money that customer saves when he/she can buy product of similar quality and durability at a local big chain mattress retailer.

You can be a good company selling a mattress made for you. Just don’t be dishonest and twist the truth like the rest of your brethren in your industry. It is a disservice to the true small independent manufacturers.


By reading the comments on Amazon your customer support is top notch - kudos for that. Almost made me buy until I checked that is no international delivery ;)

Question: why there are only renders on the website instead of real pictures of the product ?


That's a great question. We have used 3 different photographers since we first launched and haven't been able to get the quality we wanted. So to cut on our costs, and it was really expensive using photographers + studio + models, we moved to renderings. This allowed us to depict the product as it looks but move the camera around and get the right lighting.


Wasn't there an article the other day on how majority of home indoor/decor photos are actually 3d renderings. All to save cost.


My dad has had trouble sleeping the past few years, and I attribute part of it due to comfort. Your mattress seems promising. However, (although it may be affordable for other) $400 queen-size is a heavy investment for us, so I would like to clear up some concerns first:

1. What do you think is main thing (comfort-wise) that distinguishes your product from the $200 queen-size foam mattress on amazon? What sort of feedbacks have you received in this regard?

2. You have a 30-days return policy. From my understanding, returning something like a mattress is extremely inconvenient. What are others' experience in returning your item?


I've got two suggestions. First, the foam materials; what are they? The last mattress I bought was through amazon and, having researched for a few hours, I came to know some of the basic traits foam mattresses can have (talalay latex, dunlop latex, polyurethane, high density, low density, and ways of mixing those different types within one mattress). Most online buyers will do some research, they need straight up information. You can mention quality and care over and over agian, but if you don't have some believable reason to back it up people can be put off by it. For example tempurepedic's marketing commercials and pamphlets usually mention some kind of micro-bubble foam. Which is bs, but people see that and somehow forget to look for another opinion. It's better if you give me the information than if I have to go out and find the facts or psuedo-facts from somewhere else.

Second, your website shows your "team". It also says you manufacture them yourself; not in those words, but that's the gist of it. There is no way those 6 people meet the demands of manufacturing and all the other things involved in running a product company. Nowhere does it say that the team is the whole company, but mentioning "we" so often puts a spin on the only staff you can see or hear mention of. It makes the reader think we're a small company and we do everything ourselves...and here's our pictures. Show some care for the whole company and everyone involved. I personally think very highly of companies who do that.


[deleted]


Here is a direct link to our specifications: https://www.tuftandneedle.com/bed/specs

We sourced all of our own materials from the outside fabric to our foam mixtures. We've also iterated on the design roughly 130 times since we first launched it. We try to keep a tight feedback loop on its design.

As an example, when we changed from a cotton bed to a foam bed we built our first prototype by sourcing a ton of different foams from different foam pourers and putting them all in a single room. We locked ourselves in there for a few days layering all kinds of densities and compositions until we found a feel we thought was really great.

We have done similar things with the fabric, stitching, and our policies.

We have a manufacturing license and hope to vertically integrate more of our supply production as we grow.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


I think one of the major hurdles to overcome with online mattress sales is perception of shipping. I do a lot of online shopping and have no issues with it. If I were in the market for a mattress, my first thought about online mattress sales would be "It's going to be an arm and a leg just to ship it." and would perhaps not even start the online process. Just my opinion. (From Canada so Amazon Prime and free 2 day shipping doesn't apply to me).


It really is for sure. We've had to get a special machine to package the mattress in a smaller box but we're still paying for what's called Dimensional weight. It's large enough that we aren't being billed for the weight but rather the size.

Luckily we've managed so far though and have been able to streamline some of the process. I imagine it will become easier as we grow.


Is the size of the box why you aren't using Amazon fulfillment, or is there some other reason?


Primarily because we do the fulfillment ourselves and because we don't want Amazon to take the customer service away from us.


So what do you recommend people do who would like to return it?


What type of foam do you use? My concern has always been that not enough testing has been done on the foam, and the chemicals used could leech into the both, especially if you like to sleep naked on the bed. I used to sleep on a memory foam mattress, but after a couple of years, I noticed a distinct discoloration of where I slept, and it suggested to me there was some sort of interaction between my body and the foam, so I threw it out.


You threw away a memory foam mattress because of that? Did you consider using sheets or a mattress protector? Did you know that sweat and oils from your skin will do that on any mattress, regardless of the foam or lack of? Do you normally make extreme decisions like this when it comes to your health?

I thought I understood consumers, but now you have me doubting myself. Human behavior is fascinating.


Our foam is a polyurethane foam like most other foam and memory foam mattresses. We use 3 different mixtures of foam in our bed, all of which have been offgas tested and meets the strict standards of the CertiPUR certification.

We definitely wouldn't sell something that we wouldn't want to sleep on ourselves but I can understand your concern with sleeping on something that isn't 100% natural.

If you're concerned about sleeping on foam then you might want to take a look at a more alternative option. Look for 95% natural latex foam (there is no such thing as 100% because they use glues) or for all organic cotton/wool tufted cores.


Why did you not go with latex?


Possibly speaking out of turn here, but latex allergies are not insignificant. It would take a big bite out of their potential market.


a.) use a mattress protector. they are waterproof and prevent transfer from body<->mattress.

b.) people naturally sweat and have oils in their skin that get transferred through sheets. it's normal to have discoloration where you sleep. that's another reason a mattress protector helps (easier to replace a $50 cover than a $$$ mattress).


Do you use a sheet and a mattress pad on top of the mattress?


There's some sort of interaction between your body and your bathtub, too.


> Chemical-free flame retardant, CertiPUR safe foam

Does that mean you're not using TDCPP? Is the foam you use naturally flame retardant so that you don't need a chemical agent to achieve compliance with California's strict fire safety standards?

After reading about the health effects of chemical flame retardants, I'm very interested in getting a low-emission mattress.


We do not have TDCPP in our foams. We'd never put something like that in there not to mention there was a new law passed outlawing the use of FR chemicals inside of foam.

We met the FR requirements of California, the strictest, by using a rayon/poly/sand blended material that we quilt into our covers.

CertiPUR essentially tests the off gassing to a their strict standards. The reason we went with a 3rd party for tests is because the FTC hasn't established offgassing standards yet. So to hold ourselves accountable and to give a point of reference to our customers, we had CertiPUR test in their labs.

If you have any other questions feel free to email me. jt at tuftandneedle


Here's a little usability feedback on your site:

I decided that I wanted to buy the bed but I couldn't immediately figure out how. I was looking for a link in the main menu like "Products" or "Beds" and didn't think to click the large "Buy Now" button. I thought it was just me and didn't think much more about it.

Later, I told my wife about the bed and she wanted to check out the website. She had a similar experience. She was wanting to cut to the chase and see a list of products with prices and couldn't figure out how to get there. She didn't think to click the Buy Now button either, because she assumed it was what you clicked when you had things in your cart and were ready to check out. She said if I hadn't been standing there and told her how to click the Buy Now button, she would have just headed to Amazon instead and searched for the bed.

Also, you don't ship to Alaska? I just tried to buy one but I can't.


That's really great feedback. Thank you.

We don't offer shipping to Alaska but we can make it happen for you if you'd like. Send me an email jt at tuftandneedle


I'm very interested in this mattress and we're in the market. However, I'm concerned about the 5-year warranty, as I thought it would be acceptable to expect a little more. Is that standard for foam beds, how do you differ from competitors in this regard, and can you explain why/how you chose a 5-year warranty model?


The primary difference is that our warranty doesn't pro-rate. When you see a 10-25 year warranty, those aren't true warranties in our opinion. They depreciate the credit you'll get each year and have very strict requirements (no marks on the bed, sagging must be more than 1" deep, etc). So we offer 5 years for any kind of defect and just do an exchange. We expect it to last longer than that but 5 years is the point we feel most comfortable at currently, being a new company.


You may want to consider putting a similar explanation on your website, in the /about/care section maybe. It's that kind of extra information/anticipation of a prospective buyer's question that really makes me feel like a company is being honest. That, and little things like the note you have under your comparison chart. Those are probably the small touches that will make your customers extremely loyal.


That's a really great point. I'll be sure to share this with the team today.


Well done on the website and this product, it is something I would try if I didn't already have a tempurpedic that I got for free from my neighbor.

So I would like to know if you had experience with textiles, mattresses, etc before deciding on something like this. I have always hated the mattress industry, this is actually something I wished for many times. I would have done it myself, but this is such an easy idea to shoot down in your head before you even do one bit of research.

How did you have the know-how or confidence that doing something like this was a possibility? I would think that you would have to have some knowledge of sewing, materials, etc... How did you figure it all out? Or did you already have experience with it?

I have so many ideas that I shoot down, even though they are good ideas, they either seem impossible (I would have considered this a silly idea for me to try), or way too ambitious.

Any insight into this is appreciated.


So is this a box spring? Or more like a futon? Maybe add something on up your site that has a cross section picture?


According to the Amazon listing, it's just 3 layers of dense foam with a cotton cover. The story is interesting but the only selling point seems to be the return policy. You can get more mattress for less money from Ikea or even Amazon itself, and I wouldn't want to sleep on 5 inches of foam at any price -- it's more a mat than a mattress, and is going to be even thinner once you put your body weight on it.

Their twin is $199, and less than half the height of a normal mattress. For $139 you can get a 5-star-rated 8" foam mattress with 4" of dense foam, 2" of soft foam and 2" of memory foam, delivered tomorrow with the same certifications and 5-year warranty. [1] For $229, you can get a 12" foam mattress, which is more like a traditional full height mattress. [2]

1: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006L9QN4G/ref=oh_details_o...

2: http://www.amazon.com/Signature-Sleep-12-Inch-Memory-Mattres...


We recently bought one of those inexpensive spring mattresses from Ikea. Let me just say that the thing was about as comfortable as a sack of slinkies. Would not buy again. And you can't try them out in-store either as they don't have all of their mattresses on display.


I wasn't talking about a spring mattress, but a foam mattress just like these. Ikea's start at $79.


This is so awesome! I'm excited to see manufacturing and technology coming together. Do you guys manufacture in the USA? I'm of the opinion that this type of manufacturing is what can bring jobs back to America. Good luck, I'm going to show your listing to my wife, see if we can buy.


We choose to work with suppliers who don't cut corners on quality, and a large part of that is sourcing/manufacturing in the USA.


What are the technical details of your foam construction? There are varying grades and several relevant ratings for foam mattress materials - on your specs page these are not listed.

I would be specifically interested in the relevant grades/ratings for your support core, and the same in the comfort layer.

The type of information I am interested in is that which is outlined in the relevant foam sections listed on the following pages: http://www.themattressunderground.com/mattresses/comfort-lay... http://www.themattressunderground.com/mattresses/support-cor...


As other commenters have stated, the website is really well done. My only problem, is that it seems as if the Tuft & Needle team mislead (lied) to me about when the bed was manufactured.

I placed an order on 10/14/2013. On 10/18, I got an email stating that "The first stitch is in" and "we've begun crafting your bed."

Nothing about this seemed unreasonable. When I got the bed, though, I noticed the tag says "Date of manufacture: 08/13."

So...you told me that manufacturing started 4 days after it was ordered, but really it was made 2 months prior to that.

All in all, the bed IS actually pretty good. When it was made doesn't matter to me (given that the quality is good), so I don't get what you gain from lying about that.

Maybe to make it seem like it was hand crafted just for me?


I assure you we make them to order and that bed was crafted just for you.

To give some more transparency, we do not have enough warehouse space to store product longer than a week anyway. The only thing i can think of is that we had pre-printed law labels and used those on your bed. If you email me your order number I'll personally check this for you and tell you the exact date and time when each component was made. We are a "Just in Time" factory and need to operate lean.

Once an order comes in we begin making the cover about 2-3 business days later (the first stitch) and the day we ship is the same day we put the cover on the core and package it up. If we put the cover on earlier, there is a chance it may get dirty or might be touched by someone without gloves.

I'm also willing to show you some photographs of the room where we operate and store the cores so you can see how small it is. Please let me know if you'd like to see that at jt at tuftandneedle


I'll take your word for it. It really is a nice bed. As soon as I saw the date on the tag, though, I assumed you guys were trying to make it look JIT when it wasn't.

Thanks for responding to the comment.


I'm glad it's been working out well for you.

Regarding JIT, I can see large corps trying to migrate to a process like that but for us it was the only option that was economically feasible, to be honest. We are very limited in space to even operate day to day. This may not have been the case if we were making something that was small but these beds take up quite a lot of space.

Thank you for the feedback.


The site, and the bed, look great. Congratulations.

I'd be really interested to read a follow up post detailing a little more about your story, how you guys got started, challenges you faced, what you'd differently, etc...at least the details you're comfortable sharing.


Thanks! That's a good idea. We'll follow up with a blog post and share some more of the backstory.


Great work so far!

Your bed solved a very specific problem for me, and it may be a valuable market for you to target. My job requires me to travel to different locations for long periods of time, and I needed to find a bed that was very comfortable and portable. Cots and air mattresses are poor long term solutions. Your shikibutons came up during my research as one of the best values. I purchased your mattress and a futon from shop4futons.com. When broken down, the whole arrangement packs down to a very small size. Now I sleep comfortably every night knowing that no matter where my job/life takes me I can always find a good night's rest.

Thanks and keep up the good work!


This is awesome.

Did you start this as a side project?

Also curious how you built the bed as well…definitely a great price and a very elegant site. Aligns well with your product.

I don’t know if we have any New Yorkers here, but Bob’s furniture (official sponsor of just about every NYC sports team) sells lower cost furniture, and you’d never know it based on their cheesy late night commercials, but they’re actually an extremely fast growing private company, and did a ton of growth in the furniture industry during the “great recession”

Kudos to you. You should setup a blog and track progress and tell the story. I’d definitely be a reader!


JT and I left our jobs to start a company together. We sought out a stagnant industry to disrupt and saw ripe opportunity in mattresses. Most of the products were mediocre and designed without taste, and there seemed to be a lot of greed among the major players.

So we launched with a very simple v1 product — an all cotton mattress — and then iterated from there based on customer feedback and surveys.

Thanks for your feedback!


Wow. Awesome site, and it's incredible that you've proven to be so disruptive in just a year. I've already told my friends who might be graduating and moving soon to check you guys out before trying the traditional big-margin mattress store at every other corner.

What I'm really intrigued about is how did you manage to get up and running so quickly - particularly how does one go about sourcing a product like this so quickly? Clearly you're doing something right!

Also how much time and capital did it take to launch your first mattress line?


Any insights into how you reached the top of the Amazon rankings in under a year? If half of your sales are from referrals and social media, what about the other half?


JT & Daehee, really love the concept and approach to this idea and we're actually trying to chase a very similar concept (transparent retail, cutting out the middleman and outrageous markups), but in the bridal space. http://somethingnewbridal.com

Would love to follow up with you guys specifically to chat sometime if you have the time. Thanks for the inspiration!


I'm not in the market for a new mattress just yet, but probably will be when I (eventually) move back to Australia since shipping my current mattress just seems crazy.

Do you guys ship overseas? If not, would introducing international distributors force you to introduce middlemen that significantly drive up the price or leave marketing out of your hands? Is there another way or will it just be US-only for the foreseeable future?


We don't ship overseas yet. We have to do some more growing first but it's something we'd like to provide.

The primary issue we see with expanding is that we want to provide excellent service and if we were to just ship it and have no presence there then we may not be able to execute on that.

We may need to actually have a presence in the country to follow through on the experience we're building in the USA.


I sure hope you'd be able to ship outside the US soon.

Here in Singapore, the markup on foam mattress is pretty ridiculous as well. I would love to be able to purchase a mattress at the prices that you're offering.


Very happy Tuft & Needle customer chiming in -- both my girlfriend and myself bought one, absolutely love these mattresses and the company behind them!


Well timed article since I am looking for a mattress right now and was having a coffee reading HN after going to multiple scammy furniture places


Same here, and I have found http://www.sleeplikethedead.com to be an excellent resource for researching mattresses.


Great success bookmarked that link


T&N - thanks for sharing your story. Really cool to see you going from a MVP + landing page to this in a year, that's fantastic! From a financial perspective did ya'll bootstrap or get an investor? Its neat to see non-SASS related ideas coming to fruition and shared about on HN. Wishing you guys the best in 2014 and I'll be spreading the word on your behalf.


We're bootstrapped and haven't taken any funding.

Thank you for the kind words. I'll share them with the team.


I sleep on this $400 mattress I got at Costco, so if you're telling me that your mattress is comparable to that of the big boys, this seems like a nobrainer for me. I didn't think I needed a new one until this post :)

Feedback: I really like the idea of having a boutique mattress (whatever that means) at an affordable price, a product that I can tell had a lot of thought put into.


Since there are a lot of generic mattress questions in this thread, start here: http://www.themattressunderground.com/mattress-forum/

They've coved every question and every scenario imaginable from people (typically the forum-runner) who have researched these things for years.


Agreed. The MU forum may not be the prettiest design to look at, but it's run by an honest advocate of the industry and there are many mattress professionals active to answer technical questions.


What does that forum think of this mattress?


I'd be interested in a crib mattress if it were offered. The low outgas/no retardants angle is a good one for that use.


I've had the Sleep Innovations mattress on my list to buy for a while (http://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Innovations-SureTemp-Mattress-Wa...). Any differences between the two that you'd like to highlight or comment on?


I haven't slept on it personally but generally customers really like our comfort and feel.

* We also work really hard to provide good customer service and policies.

* Easy returns, helping you find a place to recycle your old beds a warranty that doesn't pro-rate and require you to jump through hoops to qualify for.

* All of our materials are made here in the states.

* We're a small team, I think those guys are pretty huge. They supply to Costco and other stores.

Either way, it's mostly about what the perfect fit is for you. Our bed won't be the best fit for everyone and we honestly would rather help customers find what they are looking for.

I can elaborate more and answer more questions offline if you'd like. My direct line is jt at tuftandneedle


Site says "Free Shipping on all orders shipping within the Continental US", but will not let me select Alaska. Should say "Contiguous US" if this is intentional.

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_United_States


I have to find that HN thread. When some post on Warby Parker was here in the homepage, someone commented that the next "too big margin" industry to disrupt should be the mattress one. Nice going!

One question - did you guys come from a pure technical background? or did you also have significant experience with the mattress industry before?

well done!


Daehee and I are both bay area software guys. Breaking into a new industry that we had zero domain knowledge definitely wasn't easy. It took us quite a while to break in. Most suppliers wouldn't return our phone calls and the ones who did just laughed us out of the room. We had to just keep searching until we found the right people who believed in us.


"Most suppliers wouldn't return our phone calls and the ones who did just laughed us out of the room. We had to just keep searching until we found the right people who believed in us."

Would LOVE to see a blog post detailing your experience here with what you learned (you know, in the time you have in between building mattresses, heh). The experience of being rejected multiple times is applicable across so many entrepreneurs journeys.


What advice do you have to someone who wants to do something similar, and in particular, what advice do you have on choosing a product to sell?



Amazing. I just spent $440 on a king futon mattress. Nice execution. Furniture has the similar issues to the mattress industry. Expensive, and cheap quality. So many dining tables in a furniture store, but just 1 in 10 did not wobble. (yes assembly could be an issue, but mechanically not a sound design in my opinion)


Brilliant idea, website and judging by amazon, execution. Im sure you will be having a great new year!

One question: Are your beds flame-retardant?

And if so what are your views on flame retardant mattresses?

Ive read somewhere that in America all beds have to be flame retardant but recently their overall safety is being questioned (chemicals and fumes etc).


We aren't big fans of Flame Retardants. There is a big political ordeal around the need of them. As an example, FR material delays ignition by only a few seconds but produces quite a lot more smoke which is the primary killer in a fire. We should probably do a blog post about it.

As you may know, FR is a requirement and mattresses have to be thoroughly tested in a lab. We use a rayon/poly/sand blend that is inherently fire retardant. We chose that material because it is chemical free.


Good job on the website, simple, looks great!

Quick question, I bought a memory foam mattress 2 years ago and I regret it every day... I'm a 'hot sleeper', I fixed the 'waking up sweating' problem with a cotton mattress protector but it's still too hot.

Would I have the same problem with your foam mattress?


That's one of the reasons that we're not fans of memory foam. We use a foam that is breathable and that you don't sink into. Ours has a little more bounce.


I’m trying to understand what the difference is between your mattresses and say a regular mattress you buy from IKEA. Are these mattresses more like the futons laid on the floor that are very common in Japan and Korea?

Congratulations with the success on Amazon, and thanks for sharing and not posting blog spam!


Well our current mattress is more in line with a traditional mattress. We designed it to be compatible with the floor in addition to a frame, this is how we sort of broke into the market. With a niche angle.

Comparing to Ikea, our prices are only comparable because we cut our margins almost all the way down but the quality of material is very different. In other words, our bed won't sag after just 12 months.

Thank you for the kind words.


Are you saying that an Ikea mattress will sag after just 12 months, or are you actually just saying that yours won't and leaving it up to the reader to infer that an Ikea one will?


I apologize I wasn't more clear. I don't mean to come across as judgemental of Ikea. I haven't personally slept on one before other than just testing them out in the show room, but we do have quite a few customers who have replaced their Ikea bed with ours who have shared their feedback.


I have a non-technical mattress question... why can't I get a mattress that doesn't give me terrible body impressions!?!? I've gone through several in my adult life. Once they start sagging it gives me terrible back troubles. Drives me crazy this can't be solved.


When you're shopping for a foam mattress, be sure you are getting something that has a higher density foam. I'd recommend something above 1.8 lbs. When looking for memory foam you'll want something even more dense like 4+ lbs.

For body impression, unfortunately most mattresses will do this over time. This is even more prevalent with natural options such as cotton or wool. You may want to consider replacing your mattress more frequently and using a mattress protector that will keep body moisture (sweat, etc) from being absorbed into the core.


More feedback for you: the animation when loading the reviews on your site is HIGHLY HIGHLY un-necessary. It's quite annoying actually.

This is the URL I'm talking about: https://www.tuftandneedle.com/reviews


Congratulations on this. After sleeping for many years with a mat on the floor, it always seemed insane when people spend thousands on mattresses. Kudos for a minimal affordable mattress. If we replace our $200 foam queen mattress we will definitely go with yours.


Very, very cool. I've known several people that have taken a similar approach to their business to great success.

I do have one question though: do you rely on Amazon for most of your business? I've known several people who are extremely cautious of that dependency.


Congratulations on your success. I really enjoy reading your story and looking at the web site. Are you guys self-funded? I'm curious about the first few mattresses and orders. Would love to read a longer and detailed article if not a little to the text. Thank you.

-V.


Maybe we'll do a more in depth blog post about that. We are self funded entirely.

Thank you for the kind words.


Please do. I'd be very interested to read it. I've always been interested in doing a physical-product type company, but I don't want to take outside investment, and it would be excellent to hear a successful bootstrapping story.


I happen to be in need of a mattress. We're currently sleeping on the floor (we just moved) and couldn't afford a mattress on top of all the other stuff we had to buy up front.

I'm going to buy one! Awesome. They look magnificent.

(When I get my paycheck next week. Ha.)


Really loved your story. Went to ASU worked for IIS...etc. If you need outside marketing I would look at Terralever. They are there locally and are very "private". CJ and Scott will help you out tremendously. Good luck.


Have been looking to buy a new one for a while and this looks to be a great find (on HN of all the places!).

Would love to have a recommendation for an affordable(!) good looking bed frame on the site while you guys build the replacement.


We've heard customers like West Elm frames: http://www.westelm.com/shop/furniture/headboards-bed-frames/...

Our current frame is just a prototype but is something we'd like to make in the future.


did you have previous matress or furniture experience? How do you make a matress?


This looks awesome.

Does this come with the bedhead & frame, by any chance, or is it just the mattress?

If it is just the mattress, where can we get the bedhead & stand shown in the images on your website?

I love that you are taking on a stuffy old industry.


>> Technical: We take a pragmatic approach with everything

Genuinely curious why pragmatism didn't include a SAAS for the website (like Shopify) or the use of something like Wordpress with eCommerce plugin?


Well we started with a landing page with a simple form. We thought this would be even simpler than using a Shopify. Once we saw some traction I built the v1 shopping cart in about a day. One of the challenges we had was the software interfacing with our suppliers. We weren't sure if a 3rd party service would do that for us so we just built it quickly ourselves.

Daehee and I are both developers.


Don't ever think you need to apologize for writing your own code.


Awesome. Very heart-warming to learn your story of success. Shows real businesses which solves a definite pain point (that has deep conviction) can be built without external capital.

All the best for your future.


Thank you


It is really a great way of starting a business online. But,amazon is the only source for income or do you have any other sites from where you are getting more referrals (less than amazon.com)


Awesome reviews! It's probably just me but I had to look around the page for awhile to find the "shop now" link to see the pricing. Maybe making it bigger would help.


Thank you for the feedback


I noticed how the web site photos have their EXIF info still intact and the photos at the bottom (two of) are from an iPhone (5 and 4S)

I bought my foam mattress from Ikea for less.


We'll check on that. Thank you for pointing it out.

Regarding Ikea, we're not really able to compete with them on pricing as a startup and I'm not really sure that'd be a wise move for us once we could. We really just want to focus on fair pricing and a well designed quality product.


Everlane for mattresses! Cool. The full-window image on the landing page looks like a rendering to me, which feels a little cheesy. Is it actually a real photo?


Looks like most sales photos, a combination of photoshoppped elements and a mixture of photos stitched together.


Is there any chance this was inspired by Priceonomics?

http://priceonomics.com/mattresses/


Not that I can say for sure but we read HN and it may have had an influence on us if we read it.


I bought an essentia memory foam mattress years ago that still feels like new. I wonder how this considerably cheaper mattress compares in quality.


Why couldn't you have posted this two months ago before I spent $1200 on a mattress?

Great site, especially the emphasis on Truth and Honesty. Very enticing.


Good to see some people doing cool things in Tempe, AZ! Best of luck to you and your team, it seems like you have a really great product going!


The title of this article sounded to me like one of those statistically generated ones that were on here a little while ago!


We did pass it around the team to make sure it sound right. That generator must be pretty good.


How did you identify the mattress industry as needing disruption? Did you have any personal experience in this space before?


No previous experience. It was sort of random how we came to mattresses. It came out of a discussion we were having on a lunch break in downtown Palo Alto. I was raging about a bed I had just bought for $3,000+ and wasn't satisfied with the comfort.

It started from there.


Now I'm curious about the mattress industry. I have always wondered why mattresses need salesmen and dedicated stores.


It is nice to lie down on the beds and get a sense of what you want. We went to a store for our son's mattress, but when it was time for our daughter to move out of the crib I made phone calls to a couple of big mattress suppliers. They purposefully have things like a Sleepy's specific model that only lasts a year, to make comparison shopping nearly impossible. On the phone they'll map a previous model to the current model for that year (and the big ones can do the same thing across competitors). Its much easier to call two different companies in the span of 30 minutes, when you know what you want already and get a better price than you would in the store, with less time and hassle.


It's roughly because of the inordinate amount of value we derive from furniture (so people aren't all that price sensitive).


I definitely want to try a mattress and see how it feels before I buy it. Especially if it's going to cost a lot of money.


I'm reading this sentiment a lot on this thread. But it seems these guys are surely not the first to go against this trend and achieve success. Another example is Indochino (suits for men). Apple sold Macs strictly through their site way before they launched their stores.

The line of trying it in real life is getting spread pretty thin and soon will diminish against the power of social media and online customer reviews. Why would I need to try it myself when I can read tons of reviews online of people who bought the product? Surely a review will actually be more helpful than trying it myself since it could delineate facts that I may not of considered.


Really? I see that sentiment quite a lot, but I don't really think it holds. A mattress is definitely something I'd want to try before buying --- comfort, like taste, is such a subjective thing that no number of online reviews could really replace just lying on one for ten minutes.


Stores, I'd argue to physically try the mattress.

Salesmen, absolutely no reason.


Salesmen get a 10% commission on mattresses at Sears for example, so they have an incentive to push you to buy right away.


Interesting so are you using amazon for fulfillment as well?

They kind of replaced a traditional wholesale supply chain for you. Brilliant!


On what basis do you make the claim that you are the #1 rated mattress? I see that you have mattresses that are 5 star rated, but that does not imply you are the best one. According to Amazon's "Top Rated" mattresses, your brand is not even in the top 10. [http://www.amazon.com/gp/top-rated/home-garden/3732961/]


We currently are #1 in Top Rated in our category of Mattresses & Box Springs which is the category that encompasses all of those products.

We aren't ranked as the #1 Best seller which we don't mean to cause any confusion with. Those are typically Prime only products and those are ranked by sales volume.

There may also be a difference in ranking if you're in a region that we don't ship to such as outside of the USA. I'm not sure how Amazon differs rankings by country.


Some of your links open in new windows - I really hate that. Also your logo looks a little grainy on a retina screen.


Have you looked into Amazon Prime?

And I'm definitely a fan. This is perfectly timed and I'll probably be ordering one soon.


Yes, we'd love to offer Prime shipping at some point. The reason why we are hesitant to do so right now is because we want to handle our own customer service.

Thanks!


Hey, good luck. The mattress business is a terrible quagmire. Nice to see someone trying to disrupt that mess.


Do you guys have any plans for Canada?


We are available in the US only at the moment, but Canada would be the next logical expansion for distribution. That being said, we don't have a specific date on this yet as we don't want to overextend ourselves and risk the quality of our service.


Sent you a message - I like a mattress in Canada but don't want to have to order it to the US and bring it home myself :)


There are re-shipping companies that can send you orders from the US to Canada.


Do you also sale bed frames or just the mattress? What bed frame do you recommend for your mattresses?


We recommend a platform bed frame without a boxspring for the best feel.

The frame that we have in our photos is of our design but we're not really able to move into hard goods yet. Maybe once we grow a bit more.

West Elm has some nice simple designs that we like.


Great, will probably be buying a new new mattress next month. Great timing :)


That's great. If you have any other questions feel free to shoot them to me direct jt at tuftandneedle


Great job on chosen market, website and pricing. Definitely looking at this for our next bed.


How do you compare with IKEA mattresses? They always seem fairly priced to me.


What country are the materials from, and where are the beds assembled?


USA for all the materials and we assemble them ourselves here too.


What was your measurement of Customer Sat? The rating on Amazon.com?


Net Promoter Score is how we measure Customer Satisfaction. Amazon is good but not as much breadth as we'd like from our customer base.


What was the size of your N for a given month?

Net Promoter can be highly flawed due to the following:

- It's a composite index and so the margin of error (MoE) for your promoters and seperately for detractors combine to create a NPS MoE which, unless your N was sizable, could be quite large

- Due to the previous point, it's hard to trend NPS; if your MoE is +/- 10 points in two seperate periods of time, unless you had a HUGE swing in your NPS score (which is another problem w/ small N's when calculating NPS) its hard to tell if your NPS score (really) went up or down

- I've seen many cases where the NPS score has "gone up" period over period, but the number of promoters actually decreased; did you look at the data deep enough to make sure that didn't happen?


What a beautifully designed site. Do you have a designer on staff?


Thanks! Yes, all our design and development is being done in-house.


Looks pretty good, the messaging is very much like Everlane.


Would you mind doing an AMA on /r/entrepreneur?


Any plan on making a latex bed? Those are the best.


AWESOME!

Worth it just so you can avoid a freaking furniture store!


your site doesn't load at all if javascript is disabled. i recommend fixing this. otherwise, good looking site.


Any plans for UK / Europe shipping?


Why no king sized on Amazon?


We just released the king size and want to collect some feedback on it before posting to Amazon.

Amazon is really limiting when it comes to communication with our customers. This is a major pain point for us for that channel.


Any chance of a California King any time soon?


Another vote for Cal King from a tall guy!

Also, what frame do you show the bed with? It looks good together.


I need a Cal King too!


It looks like there is king size on their site: https://www.tuftandneedle.com/bed


Love the website, good job!


Deahee,

Congrats!


who makes your mattresses?


We make them and fulfill them and we source our supplies such as fabrics and foams from other factories in the US.


Thanks for the response John,

Please take a look at our website and give us a call. We sell water based, environmentally friendly, high performance adhesives for the mattress industry. We are leaders in this market and we can definitely help you. Please see the link below.

Thanks! http://www.simalfa.com/ SIMALFA 973-423-9266


Well... Tuft and Needle is rediculous name for a mattress company. But congrats to your success. Also, please switch up your renders for actual photos. The renders are quite obvious and feel deceptive.


Thank you for the feedback on the name. We came up with it while we were tufting our first few prototypes. We were using these huge needles called tufting needles.

I agree with you on the renderings. We've gone through 3 photographers and have spent so much money on it and the results just weren't that great. So we had to be a little resourceful and use 3D renderings. This gave us the flexibility to capture what the product looked like and to iterate on the environment and lighting quickly. We'll add more photos for sure as we're able.


> Tuft and Needle is rediculous name for a mattress company

I like it. It's classy, rustic, gives the impression of hand-made, and everybody likes seeing an ampersand in a nice typeface. Compare "Crate & Barrel".


I first thoughts were "matresses are tuff and may feel like needles in them."


> The renders are quite obvious

Obvious to you, maybe, but I showed three non-techie people the photos and asked them: "How do you think they get such perfect photos? Can you guess?" Only one figured it out.




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