You spend a third of your life in bed and according the Ariel Kaye, CEO and founder of Parachute Home, “your sleep experience matters.”
A few years ago the entrepreneur was shopping for bedding and found herself surrounded by stacks upon stacks of products wrapped in plastic. It “all looked the same,” she says. “I couldn’t believe that bedding brands didn’t ask me how I slept. I wanted high quality, comfortable sheets like the ones I had experienced traveling in Italy, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune or settle for the cheaper options made with synthetics or chemicals.”
It was then she realized that “there was no middle-market for modern quality bedding.” After research confirmed her suspicions that a bedding brand that connected with customers and engaged them past the point of purchase didn’t exist, she set out to develop the first of its kind: a bedding company with brand loyalty. One “that enabled people to start and end their day feeling their very best.”
“As someone who built brands in advertising,” she shares, “I recognized a true business opportunity.”
From there, the most important step to getting the company off the ground was believing in herself. “About four or five months in,” she explains, “I realized being an entrepreneur was going to be infinitely harder than I expected and that I was pursuing a path of uncertainty. I had moments of doubt and questioned if I had made the right decision.”
During the beginning stages Ariel was the sole founder with no team to bounce ideas off of or simply chat with during the day. So she joined Launchpad, a California-based startup accelerator to grow the business. “The community of mentors,” she says, “and other entrepreneurs—all ready to help and encourage me—pushed me through my time of doubt and loneliness. They reaffirmed that I had to believe in myself and my idea in order for Parachute to be a success.”
Ariel is wearing Keds' Champion Originals.
She advises that when you’re “just starting out, it’s tempting to focus on the the pieces of the business that you’re more comfortable doing, but the big problems that have big implications on the business are often the least sexy...and unfortunately for me, often have to do with numbers.” With a background in branding and advertising, Ariel needed a crash course in inventory planning. “ Not being able to anticipate demand – and realizing that I couldn’t fulfill orders so early on – felt like a huge failure. It took about six months for me to have a solid understanding of how to project our inventory purchases. It’s an art and a science.”
And now, she’s dreaming big, over the next five years continuing to expand the product offerings and plans to introduce collections for other rooms of the house. “I launched Parachute online with the intention of bringing the brand offline at some point, too.” With the recently opened Parachute Hotel in Venice, CA, the company is providing another opportunity for the community to engage.
“The Parachute Hotel was the natural next step for us – it’s an immersive, home-like space for our community. We’re not just in the business of selling home essentials. We are creating environments that add value to our community, that allow our customers to interact with us, and that hold space for making great memories with your loved ones.”
She’s committed to steering conversation around unity and community building, maintaining that even in light of recent inaugurations, “we are stronger together.”
“I realized what had been missing in my career was wanting to feel like I had made an impact. I wanted to build something from the ground up,” she says.
“Much of Parachute's success can be attributed to the female founders, entrepreneurs and creatives who have supported the brand, cheered us on, and shared our mission of bringing a great night's sleep to the world.”
On her career bucket list: giving a TED talk and hoping that women gain true equality. “To me,” she shares, “female empowerment means true equality – no longer viewing gender as a differentiator or something to be discussed in economics or politics. We’ll have achieved ‘female empowerment’ when the phrase disappears from our conversation.”
We’ll have a good night’s sleep to that.