On a cloudy Friday afternoon, the staff of start-up mattress company Casper is recovering from last night’s rager at the modernist Hollywood Hills dream pad they’ve turned into their new West Coast showroom. “We had 175 people here last night,” one staffer tells me, apologizing for the mess. “Warren G performed in that corner.”
A few mattress samples are stacked atop one another in the living room, as if guests had crashed on the product after the party finished up. Outside in the yard founders Luke Sherwin, Gabriel Flateman and Neil Parikh, all in their early 20s, are prepping for a photo opp with Sunset Strip and downtown L.A. framing the shot. Inside the home, staffers type away on their laptops amidst the half-empty cups from last night.
Casper launched in New York City less than a year ago with a goal of finding a new kind of mattress customer: young, design-savvy, skeptical of entrenched corporate brands, willing to make larger purchases over the internet, and eager to get a bed delivered right to their apartment in a box they can walk up the stairs. “The industry structure as a whole was so right for cliched ‘tech disruption,’” says founder Luke Sherwin. “You have a couple companies that largely own the manufacturing of mattresses and regional monopolies that sell them.” Typically these transactions happen at very high-markups from brick-and-mortar shops offering limited design innovation. “They just name the different mattresses different names,” Sherwin adds.
Casper, on the other hand, is confident enough in its design (three layers of latex, memory foam, and poly foam) that it just sells a single, well-priced model ($850 for a queen), which it lets consumers try out for 100 days before committing.That policy helps reassure Casper’s mostly-online clientele they won’t get stuck with something they hate, but for those who need to try the mattress first, Casper is eager to redefine the show-room experience.
After launching in April with a $1.85-million investment from Thrillist’s Ben Lerer, they rented an office space in SoHo and put a mattress on the floor. As people came by to try it out, they realized that a cozier, more relaxed showroom space was the best way to let new customers interact with the product. Orders followed—as did $13.1 million worth of venture capital from New Entrerprise Association—and the company is now inviting the West Coast to get to know it more intimately via this house in Los Angeles.
Inside the home’s master bedroom sits a fireplace, a Casper mattress, and a photobooth for selfies while trying out the bed. Guests are encouraged to close the door, hang out, and enjoy themselves, as if the mattress were in your home—a pleasant fantasy given the zeros clearly attached to the pricetag of these digs. The experience brands the mattress not just as a vehicle toward better sleep, but toward the dreams of success that superior rest promises.
The L.A. showroom is open seven-days-a-week.