Tuft & Needle

Michael Tchong

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 Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com’s highest-rated mattresses, but also the retailer’s highest-rated furniture product overall, you know you’ve got a worldbeater. On Amazon.com, 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.

Website: https://www.tuftandneedle.com
Year (of first major innovation): 2013
Innovations: Mattress
Innovation Types: Product, Distribution