Redefining Luxury Bedding With Parachute
Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute, the fast-growing home essentials brand, is a woman to admire. Ariel simply had enough with overpriced luxury bedding, so she took matters into her own hands and launched Parachute in Venice Beach. The brand’s mission is to fulfill consumers’ needs for high-quality bedding and a good night’s sleep, without breaking the bank. Parachute is dedicated to starting and ending your day feeling your very best, considering you spend 1/3 of your life in bed. The trade program provides exclusive discounts and tax exemptions, complimentary fabric swatches for bedding, and personalized one-on-one consultations.
Parachute has been noted as one of the “25 Hot Los Angeles Startups to Watch” by Business Insider, and has been featured in many other notable publications including, ELLE DECOR, Architectural Digest, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times to name a few. Here, Ariel shares her founding story, how Parachute is changing the $26 billion home textile industry, and what makes Parachute as a brand unique compared to the other luxury bedding brands out there.
Ariel, we’re incredibly inspired by your story – how you recognized a flaw in the bedding business and made a change with your bare hands. What was your “Aha” moment that made you realize you needed to start your own business to make that happen?
During my sophomore year at NYU, I spent six months in Italy. As a way to practice my Italian, I would go to the markets to look at beautifully detailed fabrics and talk to the artisans about how they made them. I’d hear stories from sons who were running businesses started by their great-great grandfathers. Then one night, I checked into a picturesque hotel on the Amalfi Coast. I pulled back the duvet, arranged the pillows to my liking, crawled into bed…and found perfection that I didn’t know existed. Those sumptuous sheets were softer than anything I had ever experienced.
Fast forward to 2012 when I was shopping in a big box retailer. I went in looking for bedding and found myself surrounded by stacks and stacks of products that all looked the same, and no one could tell me what anything was. I wanted comfortable, quality sheets, but I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg. I also didn’t want to buy something cheap for the sake of buying it and end up unhappy. I was overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated. I left not knowing what to buy, and I got angry – I’m going to use sheets more than any other product in my home, but no one is asking me how I sleep at night? I also realized that no one had an association with brands when they bought their sheets. This is when I had my “aha” moment. As someone who built brands in advertising, I recognized a true business opportunity. They say if you can’t find it, create it. And so I did. In January 2014, Parachute launched with an assortment of Bedding essentials.
Photo by Parachute
They say if you can’t find it, create it. And so I did.
Parachute’s office and showroom are based in Venice Beach, CA – rock on! How have Venice vibes influenced Parachute’s design and brand vision?
I grew up by the beach in L.A. but lived in New York for 10 years. I decided to return to launch Parachute because I was looking for renewed inspiration and a change of pace. The relaxed, laid-back vibe and sense of community in Venice Beach are integral to both Parachute’s brand aesthetic and work culture.
Parachute is in great company, surrounded by some of L.A.’s best food, artists and shopping. There’s also a phenomenal interior design movement happening here in L.A. – world class architects, artisans, decorators, etc. It’s exciting to be a part of that. Oh, and the weather doesn’t hurt either. I love that you can relax on the beach almost year round, and our color palette is inspired by the natural beauty of our surroundings. There was no question this place should be Parachute’s home.
Venice also celebrates health and wellness in a way that I appreciate. We have many yoga studios, fitness centers and juice bars within walking or bike riding distance of our headquarters. I view sleep and comfort as a critical part of health and wellness, and I love that our brand provides a product that enhances the sleep experience and upholds the values of our community.
Photo by Parachute
Based on your knowledge of the industry, what are some modern day issues impacting the $26 billion home textiles industry?
People who want luxury bedding have been forced to pay too much for it. There is insane markup in this category — there are bedding brokers, licensing fees, and all kinds of intermediaries between the manufacturers and the stores. By buying directly from the manufacturer and delivering straight to the consumer, Parachute is able to circumvent all those markups and pass along those savings to customers.
What makes Parachute bedding different than other luxury bedding?
Parachute is changing home textiles – a category that had no brand loyalty until now. While many consumers remember where they bought their bedding – a department store or big box retailer – there wasn’t a brand that was connecting with customers and engaging with them past the point of purchase.
We’re providing a modern alternative to what had been around for ages. Our key differentiators are quality, craftsmanship and comfort.
Quality: Our home essentials are Oeko-Tex certified and made of the finest textiles, combed with precision to remove all impurities and dyed naturally.
Craftsmanship: We work directly with the best factories all over the world to offer our customers a superior product at a lower cost.
Comfort: We offer thoughtful design details that are uniquely Parachute, such as Pillowcases that have a back envelope closure.
Wellness: Our blog shares interior design inspiration, sleep and wellness tips, and helpful information about caring for your home essentials.
Photo by Parachute
Parachute is changing home textiles – a category that had no brand loyalty until now.
In your opinion, how does quality bedding affect health and wellness?
You use your bedding every night, and it comes into direct contact with your body, so it’s extremely important to look for all natural options that are safe for your skin. But beware of the term “organic”. Companies frequently manipulate the term when labeling their textiles. Fibers grown organically – but processed with toxic chemicals – may still carry the organic label. “Wrinkle free” or “permanent press” labels should be avoided because manufacturers treat these fabrics with formaldehyde resin, a toxic chemical. Instead, you should look for bedding that is Oeko-Tex certified, meaning no harmful chemicals or toxins are used. And yes, all of Parachute’s home essentials are Oeko-Tex certified! You spend ⅓ of your life in bed, so your sleep experience matters.
What makes Italian bedding so special?
We travel the globe to locate the best mills to make our Bedding. Our Percale and Sateen fabrics are made of the finest long-staple Egyptian cotton and spun in one of Tuscany’s world renowned mills. These artisans have been weaving world class linens for over 80 years!
Our Linen is produced in the Guimaraes region in northern Portugal, where textile production has thrived since the 18th century. By collaborating with expert craftsmen, we’re able to deliver a premium quality product that upholds the high standards and heritage of that region. Our partners’ passion for textiles is demonstrated through their attention to detail. Trust me, you’ll feel the difference.
Photo by Parachute
You spend ⅓ of your life in bed, so your sleep experience matters.
Tell us about your partnership with the UN’s “Nothing But Nets” nonprofit…
Social responsibility has been implicit to Parachute’s business model from the start. Our dual intent is to provide a luxurious sleep experience and to give back, which is why we partner with the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets, an organization providing safe sleep to those in need.
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign created by the United Nations Foundation to prevent malaria, a leading killer of children in sub-Saharan Africa. For every Venice Set sold, we donate one life-saving malaria prevention bed net through this campaign. You can also join our efforts to raise awareness and make an impact by contributing a $10 donation to Nothing But Nets at checkout.
What is Parachute’s best-seller?
Our best-selling Venice Bedding Set bundles your sleep essentials for comfort, ease and convenience. This luxurious set includes one Fitted Sheet, one Duvet Cover and Pillowcase(s). Forty percent of Americans sleep without a Top Sheet, so why pay for something you don’t need?
Photo by Parachute
The Parachute blog is a destination for people to learn how to “wake up happy from now on”. What kind of content and ideas can interior designers pull from your blog?
Our blog shares sleep and wellness tips, helpful information about Parachute’s collection of home essentials and interior design inspiration – like Desert-Inspired Design Tips, Styling Bedroom Artwork and 5 Ways to Style a White Bedroom.
How does Parachute typically work with interior designers?
We are proud to offer exclusive trade pricing and services. Our Parachute Trade Members receive 15% off retail prices and tax exemption with resale license, complimentary fabric swatches for Bedding and one-on-one service from a Parachute team member.
Photo by Nicole LaMote
What should interior designers learn and understand before sourcing bedding for their clients?
Parachute takes a modern approach to classic bedding design. Our unfussy style and neutral color palette – inspired by the natural beauty of our Venice Beach surroundings – appeals to a variety of design aesthetics. Our customers are 48% men and 52% women!
It’s been quite a year…what’s Parachute’s focus for 2017?
While we’ll continue to expand our assortment of home essentials, what I’m most excited about is bringing this physical and experiential version of Parachute to our customers in more cities around the world. Whether that’s through additional retail spaces or another Parachute Hotel, we want to be where all of our customers are. We’re dreaming big.
Photo by Nicole LaMote
Are you an interior designer in search of an easy interior design software and project management tool to run your business? Learn more about Ivy here.