Meet Novosbed, a company that sells luxurious mattresses online for a fraction of the retail cost.
Is there a bubble for half-baked startup ideas?
Yes. Yes, there is. Need evidence? A quick Google scan reveals a laundry list of business strategies that follow the same formulaic pitch construction, like:
Sometimes, that sort of derivative language is useful for quickly understanding what a company is about. Most of the time it is not. One recent example is Novosbed, a five-year-old company that introduced itself in my Fast Company inbox as the “the Warby Parker of mattresses.”
If that marketing terminology does not make sense to you, intelligible human, rest assured you aren’t alone: Mattresses are a big, bulky pain-in-the-ass. Eyeglasses are small. One product fits conveniently into a mailbox; the other does not.
I was still curious! Maybe ordering from the Warby Parker of mattresses—a description so clumsy-sounding, so lacking in self-awareness that it didn’t sound real—could make for an interesting story. (To be fair, it’s not even the first mattress company to lay claim to that title.) So, after a short email exchange with a very nice and wonderful Novosbed rep, I arranged to have one of the company’s queen-sized memory foam mattresses (the “Aria”; $999) shipped to my tiny Brooklyn apartment, which I share with my girlfriend. This was the goal: To try the mattress out for the 120-day trial period, repackage it, send it back to Novosbed, and maybe try another mattress on for size—indeed, the same way you’d try a box of Warby Parker frames, only to discover that you are not, in fact, as attractive as the perfectly cheekboned eyewear models on Warby Parker’s website.
Or at least that was the original plan. Things did not unfold that way.