Step one: order bed online. Step two: unwrap package. Step three: sleep.
Buying a bed online isn’t unconventional (about 10% of mattress sales are sold with the click of a mouse), but it is, however, when it comes shipped to your stoop in a box the size of a wine fridge.
Casper, the queen-sized bed in question, arrived to my house on a week day afternoon a few months ago. Quite the looker, the hunky box flaunted sailor hues of white and royal blue, as well as a bright red maple leaf (that’s one way to woo a Canadian girl).
After a few unsuccessful attempts to get the heavy-ish package inside, I solicited a neighbour’s husband who easily plopped the thing in my bedroom. A slash along the seam of the box, and Casper unfurled from its plastic sheath with a sigh. It’s true. Casper, makes an “ah!” sound when opened. (Cute premise, unless you have a blind Labrador retriever who doesn’t appreciate being punk’d.)
Casper, a sleep start-up launched on April 22, 2014, and has had sales exceeding $20-million. Since the mattresses are sold directly to consumers, this eliminates the middleman; that means savings are passed on to customers. The beds are priced well, from $650 to $1,150, and are available in six sizes.
Retail mattress sales in the US were more than $13-billion in 2013, while the global industry is expected to grow to $24.65-billion by 2017. Does the world really need more choices of mattresses?
Jeff Chapin thinks so. “When we were researching, we looked at all of the mattresses out there,” says Chapin, one of Casper’s founders, over the phone from New York, where the sleep company is headquartered.
The Casper crew finally settled on memory foam. “In terms of comfort, we thought foam materials offered a more interesting array of properties.” Chapin goes on to extol memory foam, the way “it evenly distributes pressure across the body.” But there are problems: “It tends to be very hot because it’s not breathable,” he says. And while you may be able to balance a glass of Chianti on your side of the bed, while your partner does calisthenics beside you, some people “get stuck and can’t turn over in bed.”
The Casper crew — a team of five, including Chapin; the actor Ashton Kutcher is an investor along with other high-rollers — tweaked what they liked about memory foam, creating a product that also includes latex. The result is a mattress that sleeps cool, provides healthy bounce and nicely supports the body.
It’s been nearly two months, and Casper has indeed been kind. I’ve had great sleeps in my boho-boudoir — my mattress is right on the floor, and it doesn’t ever have to be flipped. I’m still searching for the perfect bedframe to encase it in. It’ll have to be special to share space with my bed in a box.
By Iris Benaroia, lifestyle writer and Associate Homes Editor at The National Post