Philip Krim has done his part to hasten the end of brick-and-mortar retail. Still, the chief executive of Casper Sleep believes that physical stores will endure 50 years from now—in a different form.
Krim co-founded the online mattress retailer, which launched with a single product, in April 2014 and helped prove that consumers would buy big-ticket items sight unseen. Since then, Casper has expanded to three mattress models, a dog bed and a line of bedding and bedroom furniture. Valued at $920 million in its last funding round in June 2017, Casper said it has raised $240 million total. It faces competition from a wave of rivals like Tuft & Needle and Tempur Sealy International , both of which sell a bed-in-a-box online.
Casper has also encountered the limits of e-commerce. “There’s still a lot of the population that will never buy a mattress without laying on it first,” Krim says. In February, the company opened its first permanent retail store in New York and in August announced plans to roll out 200 locations over three years. Its products are available in 21 branded stores in the U.S. and Canada and in 1,200 locations of Target, which has invested $75 million in the company, according to Casper. The Dreamery, Casper’s Manhattan venue where patrons pay $25 for 45-minute napping sessions, opened in July. The company operates a 5,000-square-foot sleep-research laboratory, Casper Labs, in San Francisco.
Krim, 35, recently sat down with The Future of Everything to discuss retail’s uphill battle for survival and the cultural and scientific shifts coming to the way we sleep.
Eight Hours Will Be the New 10,000 Steps
The way that people prioritize sleep will change a lot in the future. It’s very common that people talk about, “Oh, I’m eating healthy, so I’m cutting out fried foods.” Or, “I’m getting in shape so I’m exercising more, I’m taking longer walks and counting my steps.” It is less common today that people sit and talk about how they’re sleeping, how many hours they got, how they did certain things to help improve their sleep. We think long-term that that [will have] equal weighting. It’ll be more and more common to brag about getting a great night of sleep or going to bed by 10:00pm or not looking at your phone an hour before bedtime. You’re seeing executives talk about it, you’re seeing athletes talk about it, you’re seeing movie stars talk about it. That’s what starts to move the cultural shift around sleep. That’s something that will take, undoubtedly, years to play out.
Science Will Show Up in the Bedroom
One of the biggest areas where we’ve done testing is around the sleep microclimate. How do temperature and humidity correlate to sleep quality? We studied this, and there was a natural point in the night where people kick off the covers to let air circulate in the microclimate around the body. That led us to working with Merino wool and other wool fibers. Wool was the best [material] for pulling moisture out of the environment, pulling moisture out of your sleep surface, which helped cool down the mattress and sleep surface and regulate temperature and humidity.