Next up in our mattress executive interview series we’re chatting with the Co-Founder of Helix Sleep, Adam Tishman, about the company’s uniquely customized mattresses, their new re-brand, and where things are headed for the business.
Also, when you finish reading, enter to win a brand new Helix mattress in the size/firmness of your choice!
I see you were involved in a few entrepreneurial projects prior to Helix, but walk us through the process of three classmates at business school hatching the idea to start selling a mattress online.
It really all started based on the similarities of our individual bad mattress buying experiences having just moved to a new city. We started to dive deeper and realized this was a common complaint among our classmates. None of us had traditional mattress backgrounds – which we thought was a good thing. A fresh perspective in an old space.
Without question the customization angle is what sets Helix Sleep aside from the vast majority of brands out there. Please explain to the importance of customizing a mattress, especially for couples.
Absolutely. The research shows what should sound obvious – people are different. We come in different shapes and sizes, and we have different preferences. This is true for every consumer category, including mattresses. At Helix, our goal is to always celebrate your unique needs and preferences by getting you the best bed for you. A lot of the other mattress brands only offer a single option, which in our mind is forcing you to pick the average bed for everyone – not the right one for you.
This is all doubly true for couples who may not like the same thing. That’s why we offer our Dual Comfort options where the mattress has two sides that each feel different.
Staying on customization, many mattress brands offer one model and that affords them the ability to keep a decent inventory to send out a product almost immediately after an order is placed. How does your team juggle inventory when each bed is based on the sleep preferences of the customer?
We’ve worked hard to create a nimble and complex supply chain that can balance our need for quick building and inventory if necessary. We’re proud that we can offer a substantially more complicated product array in similar delivery windows to all the other brands.
Along those lines, is it difficult for customers to have to wait a bit longer to receive their Helix mattress because of the customization, especially since we all seem to be accustomed/addicted to Amazon Prime in 2018?
Not at all! We deliver in 6-8 business days and more often than not it is much faster. That’s about the same amount of time it takes for the vast majority of all brands in our space in most locations. We also make sure to manage customer expectation and stay in close contact to answer any questions.
The mattress isn’t the only item that is customizable at Helix. There are also two different pillows that can be customized at home rather than in the factory. How should a consumer decide what customization option is right for them?
Our pillow design is unique in that it can be adjusted to the perfect loft, or height. Each pillow comes with 2 removable insert layers and each individual can choose the # of inserts to use. We generally recommend that side sleepers with broader shoulders use both inserts. One insert is the most common amount – good for side or back. And no inserts is recommended for stomach sleepers.
Beyond the mattress and pillows, Helix offers plenty of other sleep products, is the goal to be a ‘one stop shop’ of sorts for your customers for all things related to the sleep experience, and should we expect any new products on the horizon?
Our goal is to help each customer create his or her perfect sleep system to make you as comfortable as possible. Getting a good night’s sleep is more than any specific product, it’s finding the right balance – along with the right routine – to get the perfect night’s rest.
When going through the sleep quiz, most of the answers don’t allow much subjectivity such as height and weight, but when a consumer gets into preferences, human nature would make us think that people are unsure if they answered the question properly. Does this ever amount to a bit of hesitation from the consumer as to whether the mattress will be constructed to the perfect specifications for them?
The quiz is designed to be as helpful as possible, but there are definitely a couple questions that require subjective answers. Quantifying comfort is exceedingly difficult and we do our best to try and help consumers through the process by answers questions and crafting the quiz to be user friendly.
As much as we hope people can research a mattress and purchase online, some people feel consider it a must that they touch/feel the mattress prior to purchase. The NYC showroom has to be a benefit for those in the New York area who want to test a Helix mattress, correct?
Having a showroom in NYC is a fantastic way for customers who are local to touch and feel the product in a bedroom environment. We walk customers through the sleep quiz, explain the answers, and then build the mattress for them on the spot!
In your eyes, what is the biggest misconception when consumers begin shopping for a mattress online?
In our opinion, claims that a single mattress can be best for everyone should immediately set off a red flag.
On August 1, Helix launched not only a major redesign of the website, but a completely new line of mattresses as well. The user now has the ability to take your Sleep Quiz, but also the option of selecting one of six specific mattresses to meet their needs. Why the major change, and walk our readers through the best way for them to find the perfect mattress for their body composition and sleep preferences?
We recently launched some pretty exciting updates to our web experience and physical product based on an intense dive into hundreds of thousands of data points with the goal of improving our customer experience in our ecosystem and with our products.
In terms of finding the perfect mattress for your body type and sleep preferences, we still suggest that consumers take our Sleep Quiz which uses our proprietary algorithm to help find your match. But we know that some consumers prefer to browse directly or perhaps know exactly what they want in advance, so we want to let those consumers choose directly!
The pricing of the mattress has stayed consistent, but from the initial looks, the components seem to be upgraded. Can you speak to the new components and what the sleeper can expect from the new offerings?
We are super excited to be able to improve our mattress offering while maintaining our same price. In terms of the mattresses , we have added a few new features all while maintaining our core values on a more custom mattress experience:
- Reinforced coils on the exterior of the mattress to provide best in class edge support
- Removable zipper cover that can be machine washed
- Ultra-Cool Cover option featuring phase change material available for consumers who get hot at night
- Integrating Memory Plus Foam and Helix Dynamic Foam into the comfort layers of the mattress
- New, sleek look to the exterior with color coding
- Launching the Helix Nightfall – a mattress designed specifically for plus size and big & tall consumers
Lastly, being that you have been in the space for close to five years now, and have seen a bit of a rush of new brands, where do you see the online sleep product space heading over the next two to three years?
It’s actually been only 3 years! But in that time, the category has changed a lot. I think you’ll start to see more specialized brands and companies focused on specific niches within the market.