Interview With Stephen Berke, Co-Founder at Mattress Startup Bedding Stock
By Racheal A. Mack
Online-only mattress companies are soaring in popularity both with consumers and investors. Millennium wanted to learn more about the smaller bootstrapped companies just entering the market. That lead us to interview Stephen Berke of BeddingStock.com, a growing online mattress company looking to compete with both traditional mattress companies and other popular mattress startups.
Co-founder Stephen Berke started working in retail sales when he was 18 years old at a local store in Port Orange, Florida. The whole thing started off as a way for Stephen to earn money so he can buy his first car, which was a used 1965 Vista Cruiser that he got at the dealership for $699.
At 25, he began working in e-commerce, which mainly involved drop shipping furniture and electronic products. This served as an excellent springboard for Stephen as he wanted to learn everything there is to know about selling products over the Internet and what it takes to run a successful online business.
When it was time for Stephen to buy a new mattress for his home, he didn’t realize how challenging it could be. He had to go to a department store and try out mattresses to see what felt comfortable. But it felt kind of weird to do that with other people there and having salespeople looking on.
After this unpleasant experience, Stephen understood that there had to be a better and easier way for people to shop for a mattress. This realization eventually led him to co-establish Bedding Stock. Stephen came up with his online mattress store’s tagline — “The new way to sleep” — to encapsulate his vision.
MM: When did you officially launch?
SB: Bedding Stock formally started doing business on June 13, 2013.
MM: What makes your company stand out amongst the competition in your own words?
SB: Many online mattress retailers you’d see these days offer a one-size-fits-all mattress. While this has its own merits as it makes the selection process simple for customers, it does, however, deprive people of their power to choose the mattress that suits them best. We believe that each person has a unique set of sleep needs.
That’s why Bedding Stock has three different mattress collections that include 11 different models so we can offer the right kind of mattress for the right type of sleeper. Also, our customers get the benefit of choosing how much they want to spend on their new mattress because we provide a wide mattress selection.
MM: What is your target market in your own words/thoughts?
SB: Everybody is welcome to visit and shop at Bedding Stock. Over the years, we’ve noticed that people buy from us for different reasons, according to our verified buyer reviews. We had one customer who bought a twin size mattress for her husband who is a truck driver. She said her husband would usually be on the road for days or even weeks on end. And her husband wanted to put a bed that fits well in his truck so he can sleep comfortably.
So we can safely assume that our customers are looking for comfort, high quality, broad selection, and reasonably priced sleep products. Let’s face it. Times are tough. Everyone wants to get better value for their money. Most folks want to sleep well, but that doesn’t mean they have to pay through the nose just to do so. That’s why we believe that we have a huge market out there, and people are just waiting for a brand like ours to accommodate their needs.
MM: What problems are you trying to solve in the mattress industry?
SB: The traditional mattress buying experience is taxing and often deters many folks who just want to get a restful night’s sleep by getting a comfortable bed. Bedding Stock wants to change this predicament and make buying a mattress as easy and painless as possible.
Also, we want to offer great sleep products that many people can afford. It’s no secret that mattresses can be very expensive. So, by directly selling our sleep products to customers, we can easily reduce operating costs and eliminate commissions of middlemen, which help us to lower our prices. Smart shoppers wouldn’t necessarily want to spend too much for something if they can buy a product that is just as good or even better at just a fraction of the cost.
MM: What are key product highlights you want to be mentioned?
SB: All of our mattresses are rigorously tested and are CertiPUR-US® Certified and OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 Certified. This means all our products are guaranteed safe and free from any harmful substances that may cause health problems to end users.
While other retailers have shorter trial periods, Bedding Stock, on the other hand, offer a 120-Day Comfort Guarantee, which allows customers to “test-drive” their new mattress.
They can also choose to return their purchase for any reason within 120 days and receive a full refund. No questions asked.
Also, all mattresses include a 20-year warranty, which is longer than what other retailers provide. Oh, and did we forget to mention that Bedding Stock mattresses ships free? Our sleep products are carefully and promptly sent to our customers’ doorstep via Fed-Ex.
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