Marketplace: No rest yet for mattress startup Legend Sleep
November 11, 2016
Drew Gilmore had a fine job as a financial analyst in New York City, but it wasn't enough.
He began wanting more.
"I got in the mindset of, 'I don't want to be sitting at this desk all the time, doing this work for someone else when I could be doing it for myself,'" he said. "It was, 'What can I do to start this for myself?' I'll work harder, I'll work more hours. I'm OK with that because it's my thing."
That entrepreneurial attitude goes back generations in Gilmore's family. Growing up, he watched his father build a company out of their garage and would visit his grandfather's office at the business he started, too. It was important to Gilmore to carry on that legacy.
"You're in control of your own dream and your own success, which I like because I grew up around that," he said. "That's all I know and it's what I want to build, too. Whatever I put into it, I'm going to get out of it."
The dream of starting his own company in tow, Gilmore began doing research online, searching for a ripe opportunity in the marketplace. He discovered that there was a chance to build a brand in the mattress industry. He seized the chance and founded Legend Sleep, an online mattress and pillow retailer and recently moved its headquarters to Park City.
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"A lot of the big players didn't do online, and if they did do online, it wasn't very good," he said. "We wanted to get into the marketplace online, with no retailer, so we were cutting down the cost by going direct to the consumer. We ship from our manufacturing plant right to our consumer."
Gilmore launched Legend Sleep's website about three months ago, and he's hoping the quality of the company's offerings can help it make a name for itself. Legend Sleep's mattresses are made from something called talalay latex, which Gilmore said is more supportive and traps less body heat than memory foam, allowing for a better night's sleep.
"It has an uplifting effect, versus a memory foam mattress that you sink into," he said. "The uplifting effect supports your body more and gives you more comfort over a memory foam mattress. It adapts to your body's pressure. Where more pressure is applied, it's applying more pressure up, giving that stability in equilibrium."
Additionally, the mattresses are made with careful attention to detail, down to the adhesive used to seal them. Customers will pay for the quality — prices range from $3,000 for full size to $3,600 for a king — but Gilmore said they are designed to last.
"Sleep is extremely important," he said, adding that the company offers a 20-year warranty on mattresses and a 90-night trial period. "We're on the luxury end, so people look at the price tag and say, 'Why am I spending that much on a mattress?' Well, it's going to last you 20 years — if you break it down per day, it's really not much. You're sleeping on it eight hours a day."
While Legend Sleep sells mattresses all over the country online, Gilmore is aiming to establish a large presence in Park City. He hopes local hotels and rental properties begin using his mattresses, which he said would give guests a quality rest and encourage them to spread the word when they return home from their vacations.
From there, Gilmore envisions Legend Sleep's brand exploding onto the national scene, competing with large companies that are already established in the market. What Legend Sleep lacks in name recognition right now, it will make up with quality.
For example, online customers will receive Legend Sleep mattresses in better shape than the ones other online retailers offer, he said.
"They compromise quality for shipability," he said of his online competitors. "They're compressing everything, putting it in a small package so they can get it to you faster. We don't want to do that because sleep is important. … It may take us a few more days to get to you, but we're not compromising on quality. If you're going to keep it for so long, why do you want to compromise on quality just to get it two days earlier?"
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