Leesa is one of the fastest growing direct-to-consumer online luxury brands this year. It’s been one of the more innovative ones in the startup space and has recently launched a Hybrid Pillow. It’s taking the idea of sleep science to the next level. “We achieved what we intended to with this pillow by creating a product with superior design that offers customers the flexibility they need to get a good night’s sleep,” says Jamie Diamonstein, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of the growing sleep company.
The innovative approach to pillows, a commonly forgotten part of the sleep cycle, is extending the existing range of products under the Leesa brand. What’s even more interesting about Leesa is that they’ve been profitable since day 1. When David Wolfe and Jamie Diamonstein built the company in 2014, they weren’t expecting it to grow beyond initial expectations. They reached their revenue mark of $45Million in less than a year (8 months to be precise) and raised $9 Million from TitleCard to grow the business further. For both founders, its been the most exciting part of their careers.
The story is unique, in that both entrepreneurs started off towards the middle of their professional lives. They didn’t want to compete in the saturated traditional mattress market, although they knew the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. And so they decided to change the way that people feel throughout the day, through the power of sleep. David wanted to leverage the advantages of being a mature founder. It’s not every day that a founder in his early 50s starts a fast-moving company. That’s the background of the company, but its intentions are always on growth and profitability.
In 2013 David met Jamie, and the two struck up a conversation about selling mattresses online. They didn’t want to launch another competitor in the traditional mattress space and decided to create a beautiful experience online for customers who were interested in sleep enhancement. Owing to the rise of tech companies that provided data on sleep, fitness and health, there was a market gap in the sleep industry as well. But they wanted to do things differently.
“The first thing is I’m not a great believer in the whole concept of a minimum viable product. What I said was, “If we’re going to launch this business, we need to launch it like – as a successful company.” So it’s a whole process of visualizing what success looks like, and building a business.” is David‘s advice for how to start and scale up a business. They looked at how mattresses were being sold traditionally and wanted to stay away from the 70% off and 50% model to attract customers to their store. David and Jamie wanted to develop a new style of marketing that revolved around value and not deals.
They got a taste of mainstream success and were setting benchmarks after another with their innovative approach. By receiving an average conversion rate of 2.7% on all visits, with 1,992 orders and 80,000 visits over the past 90 days, they received a large part of the media’s attention early on.
The hardest part of the journey was focusing on the team on a tight deadline and growth phase. For Jamie, he had to leave his family’s mattress business after working there for nearly 27 years. David, a serial entrepreneur, took an all-in approach and borrowed the last $100K needed to launch the company. For both David and Jamie, it was a risk that they wanted to take so that they could bring their idea to life.
There were critics everywhere, and it didn’t stop them from achieving their goal. There were personal issues David was dealing with, as less than a month into launching Leesa his father had a stroke. He was trying to juggle the intricacies of launching a new business with managing the personal and emotional issues at hand. He kept believing in himself, and eventually came through with hard work and perseverance.
What’s their aim now? – to reach $1 billion in sales in 5 years! “That’s the challenge he presented me with. We just hit it off, and he said, ‘If I’m going to get involved, I want to be $1 billion in sales in five years.” David says, talking about his early conversations with James.
Leesa understands the importance of giving back. That’s why it’s implemented the One-Ten policy across all stores. They will donate 1 mattress out of every 10 to a homeless shelter that needs it. They’ve also taken onboard notable investors such as Blake Mycoskie, Founder of TOMS, Peter Graham who was Chairman of Seventh Generation, and others. Through their policies and charitable acts, they’re taking practical steps to helping the homeless.
“We had a guy in a shelter in New York just say to us, ‘You have no idea what a difference this is going to make in the lives of the men who sleep here.’ He said, “I know, ’cause I know what it’s like to sleep on a park bench.” says David, when talking about their one-to-ten program.
While there are competitors across the board when it comes to sleep enhancement, none do it like Leesa does. Leesa’s 100 nights policy, in which a user can get a full refund within the first 100 nights of using it, and its innovative approach to online marketing (influencer and podcast) made it one of the more fast-growing ones in the industry. They also stayed away from controversies plaguing the industry, with traditional brands indulging in shady practices and online brands suing bloggers and media personalities.
Leesa is staying true to its brand and making moves that can enhance the lives of millions of people. It’s eying the $14Billion mattress industry and is moving ahead to take over market share. With competitors across the board, they’re leveraging core management practices and innovative customer acquisition techniques.
Leesa has been affected millions of lives across the country. Not only are they changing the way we sleep, they’re also changing the way we donate to charity. By giving the less fortunate, a good night’s sleep we’re empowering them to go to work the next day. Leesa’s journey has been extraordinary, with multiple challenges and barriers to overcome. That’s made them more resilient and successful as a company overall. They wanted to create a great customer experience and have built a brand on that principle.