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Tuft & Needle mailorder mattresses

Tuft & Needle

Dec 27, 2015 | Innovation

There is no industry in America in need of disruption than the mattress industry. That’s because most mattresses are sold with a time-tested technique that revolves around smoke and mirrors. Phoenix-based upstart Tuft & Needle has taken the call to reinvent the mattress business, and they’re succeeding.

The $15 billion U.S. mattress industry is dominated by the four “big S” companies — Sealy, Serta, Simmons and Stearns & Foster. These big players produce a confusing array of products with often excessive markups.

Since its founding in 2012, Tuft & Needle has been hard at work disrupting the mattress industry’s modus operandi:

  • Simplified product line – Like Apple, Tuft & Needle offers just one mattress in a variety of sizes, avoiding the sleight-of-brand game so preferred by the industry.
  • Simplified distribution – Foregoing brick and mortar retailers lets Tuft & Needle offer better products at reasonable prices. And selling their products either direct or via further simplifies the distribution chain.
  • Simplified packaging – Tuft & Needle mattresses are shipped in small package (19” x 19” x 44”), which contains a compressed mattress that expands on opening.
  • Simplified pricing – A queen size Tuft & Needle mattress is priced at $600 even. Notice the absence of the $599.99 pricing gimmick American retailers are so beholden to.

When two former tech employees invest $6,000 in a mattress startup and end up not only selling’s highest-rated mattresses, but also the retailer’s highest-rated furniture product overall, you know you’ve got a worldbeater. On, Tuft & Needle has garnered 2,081 reviews with an aggregate rating of 4.5 out of five stars. That’s quite a feat for any consumer products manufacturer, let alone one that started making products just three short years ago.

After the company’s first full year in business in 2013, Tuft & Needle generated $1 million sales. Revenues jumped to $9 million in 2014. In 2015, the Phoenix startup is on track to generate between $40 million and $75 million in sales.

Fosbrooke Inc.

Year (of first major innovation): 2013
Innovations: Mattress
Innovation Types: Product, Distribution

Michael Tchong

Michael Tchong

Founder, Author, Adjunct Professor, Futurist

Michael is the founder of Toolhacker LLC, an innovation speaker and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, futurist, and author of “Ubertrends — How Trends And Innovation Are Transforming Our Future.” He is also the founder of four ahead-of-the-wave startups, including MacWEEK, Atelier Systems, CyberAtlas, and ICONOCAST.
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