The Ghost of a Good Night Sleep by Jenna Abdou


Whether it be your favorite Soul Cycle class, your morning cupcake (dessert lovers unite!) or the Netflix show you crave through work we each have rituals that can make or break our days. Two of mine are getting eight hours of sleep and collecting Christmas pajama sets. Thus it's no surprise that I was naturally attracted to the work Casper is doing to maximize the 26 years we spend in bed.

Aside from my undying commitment to getting my eight hours I have little reason to be intrigued by Casper. I don’t currently need a mattress, and I’m not a big shopper. Despite these circumstances, I found myself deeply immersed in their site, laughing at their firmness descriptions, and trying to decide which tweet I think is the catchiest. The award still goes to this pinned one. Major props to Lindsay Caplan, the company’s VP of Communications, for the clever pun.  







My personal experiences with Casper left me incredibly eager to talk to the company’s Creative Director, the intuitive mind behind the madness, Luke Sherwin

The team’s approach to branding is the most important topic I hoped to address in our conversation and Luke’s responses about enhancing each part of the experience, even down to the tool customers use to open their mattresses, taught me an important lesson about what it means to become a household brand. 

From the website and the ordering process (there aren’t any options), to delivery and assembly each part of the Casper experience has been tailored to ease the horrid indecisiveness that leaves you torn between Kung Pao Shrimp and Sweet and Sour Chicken. 


The Sharp and Steady is the feature that impressed me most about Casper. While fitting a king size bed in a box is certainly no easy feat it’s the company’s attention to detail that’s cementing their current and future success. 

Luke’s very open about mattresses being boring, and it’s because of this that Casper’s taken a ‘cheeky’, as he calls it, approach to their work. 

Between social media jokes (Thank you for introducing me to #WCW - Waffle Crush Wednesday), and blogs about building blanket forts the company dedicates equal time to interacting with their customers after the purchase as they do throughout the buying process. 

The personal touch, down to a hand written note in each box, has resulted in an outpouring of social engagement including YouTube videos that have amassed tens of thousands of views. Even Ashton Kutcher’s tweeting about the king mattress being delivered to your doorstep. 


When it comes to creativity, I’m most excited to share Luke’s strategy of implementing artificial constraints to get into a state of flow. 

Next time you’re working on a project adopt his approach of imposing a single artificial constraint (think money, time, or manpower) and spend the day mapping out your ideas on a white board with a partner. 

Luke assured me that while there’s no start and end point for creativity he always uses the same question to guide his work: 

What is the most creative thing I can deliver in this context that no one has ever done before?

Since launching in April the five founder team has raised $15 million from investors like Lerer Hippeau Ventures and is already bringing in millions of dollars in revenue. They even expanded to Canada in November to satisfy customers who were crossing the border to purchase new mattresses. 

While he couldn't disclose any concrete future plans, Luke promises that the startup is planning on delivering on all aspects of our nightly slumber. 

Rumor has it they’re getting into dog beds and I know one little pup who’d be more than happy to sleep in a little later. 

To learn more about the evolution of Casper tune into Luke’s 33founders episode and let us know what you think in the comments. 



Further Reading
  • How MeUndies Made Merchandising Their Competitive Advantage — When MeUndies thinks about their underwear subscription service they compare themselves to Netflix. What the streaming pioneer did for TV, the Los Angeles startup wants to do to your underwear drawer. The goal is to provide monthly subscribers with the staples they love while delivering elements of surprise - Think briefs with donuts and dinosaurs - right to your doorstep.
  • Seedling Relies on Childhood Curiosity to Inspire a Creative Team — On a recent flight home, I spent over an hour browsing a children’s play website, completely enamored by sets like Design Your Own Superhero Cape and Invent Your Own Insects. After sharing Seedling with everyone I know, despite few of my friends having children, I wondered why the brand struck a such a meaningful chord with me.
  • eero Designs Wi-Fi for the Smart Home Era — Nikhil Basu Trivedi, Principal at Shasta Ventures, recently distinguished exceptional founders by their ability to prioritize. “It all comes back to prioritization, speed, paranoia, and knowing that if you don’t iterate, even after finding product market fit, you can be disrupted by the next product,” he says.


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