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How This Mattress Company Got the Attention of New York Jet Eric Decker This is what happens when a direct-to-consumer luxury mattress maker and celebrity backers get into bed together.

By Michelle Goodman

This story appears in the February 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Adam Friedberg
Sweet dreams: Leesa mattress founder and CEO David Wolfe.

In 2013, David Wolfe spotted a business opportunity. Nobody likes flopping down on 30 mattresses in a showroom, he figured. They just want an affordable, comfortable mattress. Wolfe suspected that if he scrapped the showroom and sold a single model, he could lower the price and sell directly to weary sleepers. So he teamed up with Jamie Diamonstein of Paramount Sleep, an 80-year-old family-owned mattress manufacturer. By March of 2014, the duo had a prototype for their business, and a name: Leesa. To their frustration, they also had a competitor: Casper beat them to market with the same idea, nearly $2 million in seed financing and a lot of hype.

What's a mattress salesman to do?

"We ordered their mattress," CEO Wolfe says. And he was convinced his sleeper was superior. "We put theirs in our storage unit and thought, "Well, that's not going to be a problem.'" And although the business of direct-sales mattresses has only gotten more crowded since then, Leesa came out strong. After launching in early 2015, the self-funded startup was on track to sell more than 30,000 units (priced between $525 and $990) and generate close to $30 million in sales for the year. "We've been profitable since our very first month," Wolfe says.

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