Overhauling the mattress industry might pose some serious barriers to entry for a small start-up company, but for Dan Hauber, founder of the design-focused mattress label Wright, the idea to reformulate this living essential was fairly straightforward.
Hauber, who previously worked in McKinsey & Company’s private equity group, recalls, ’the specialty I ended up doing was assessing the strengths of different brands, seeing which brands had the potential to grow or might be a greater fit for different companies, that sort of thing.'
‘Through that I did a lot in the mattress space: mattress brands, mattress retailers, the factories, components’ manufacturers,’ he continues. ‘So really this started by seeing from a business point of view, how big of an opportunity there was.’
Fitting into a new generation of online businesses, Wright trades on delivering a superior product by cutting out retailers and middlemen, thus keeping costs down. Its collection is boiled down to the essentials – just one make of mattress (for now) and a minimal range of well-made bedding, such as a down pillow and comforter, both made in Southern Ohio, and 500 thread count Supima cotton sheets, which are sewn and grown in Arizona and California.
‘It’s a broken industry,’ Hauber says. ‘People only buy mattresses once a decade so they really don’t know much about them. You start shopping by where your local store is, go there and get talked into something. People rarely know much about the brands and the brands don’t have the ability to connect with the consumer. One of the things we realised is that most of the money goes to the middleman doing a bad job of selling a product.’
Wright’s inaugural creation, the W1.27, is a supportive, yet plush memory foam mattress that was developed over the course of two years. Made in the state of Georgia, each mattress is formed by multiple layers of foam – a 1.5 inch layer of high density memory foam on top ensures a feeling of sinking and weightlessness, but that’s quickly followed by two layers that respond to and regulate temperature and a bottom base that provides strong ergonomic support and offers alignment for a deeper sleep. The mattress’ top layer also wicks away heat, thanks to ventilating crosshatch air passages and side vents that help to circulate air and increase breathability.
‘What makes a great mattress great is its balance,’ explains Hauber. ‘It has to feel really comfortable from the moment you lie down on it, but it also has to be fully supportive because you have to be able to sleep on it all night long and not sink down into it, feel stuck in it or wake up with a backache. They’re competing aims, but it’s about finding a balance between the two.’
Although the W1.27 only just launched in November, Wright is already planning to launch a coil spring mattress in early 2016, along with more bedding products and textiles, including a duvet cover created in together with Brooklyn textile designer Caroline Z. Hurley.
Each Wright mattress comes with a 15-year warranty and a 120-day money-back guarantee. Home delivery is complimentary and accompanied by a white-glove installation service, which includes removal and recycling of its predecessor. For commitment phobes, Wright offers a free 60-day home trial, so customers can sample the mattress risk-free. Those interested can also visit Wright’s first showroom space, located New York City’s Soho neighbourhood, for a quick lie down.