More Than a Mattress
How SleePare’s Innovative Business Model Reduces Global Waste
Shanir Kol is a seasoned entrepreneur and business world revolutionary. Originally from Jerusalem, Israel, he moved to the United States in adulthood, launching a fast-growing business career. Today, the world knows him as the CEO of SleePare—a multi-million dollar company dedicated to improving the lives of consumers by giving them the mattresses they need, at the price they want, and with the white-glove service they crave.
But, just as SleePare is so much more than a mattress store, Shanir Kol is much more than a company CEO. As an entrepreneur, his mission to match customers with their perfect mattress has another goal: to diminish returns and—in turn—save thousands upon thousands of mattresses from going straight into landfills. This strategy has already made a tremendous positive impact in the counteraction of worldwide waste, contributing to the lowering of the carbon footprint of the global mattress industry.
SleePare is a national mattress retailer that specializes in high-quality, individualized service to help clients select, review, and purchase the ideal mattress for their home and family. Through the comprehensive website and partnering company showrooms, SleePare has created a "hybrid" shopping experience that gives customers the best of both worlds: the personal touch of a brick-and-mortar mattress store and the convenience of an online marketplace.
Under Kol's leadership, the company has effortlessly immersed itself into the U.S economy, partnering with top mattress brands—such as Nectar, Helix, Winkbeds, Puffy, Brooklyn Bedding, Dreamcloud, and more. These mutually beneficial partnerships allow the companies to serve more customers while simultaneously treating each guest with a VIP experience.
As the founder and CEO of SleePare, Shanir Kol trains his team to go above and beyond to create a supportive, welcoming environment for every customer—allowing them to make well-informed and risk-free decisions when selecting any of his merchandise. This mission is made possible thanks to the company's "Try and Buy" model, an innovative approach made popular in the e-Commerce industry by Shanir Kol himself.
The SleePare Revolution
While traditional mattress-purchasing processes often involve a time-consuming (and typically exhausting) endeavor that doesn't always result in the ideal product, the SleePare approach boasts a personalized, easy, and stress-free experience designed to find the customer their ideal mattress—without jumping through hoops.
After looking over customized product recommendations on the SleePare website, shoppers gain access to an online booking system—where they can reserve an in-person time slot at their nearest SleePare showroom. There, guests are welcomed into a calm, no-pressure atmosphere where they can test the mattress of their choice without interruptions.
But, make no mistake: SleePare experts are just around the corner to answer any questions or address any concerns. They can even help pair the guest with a specific mattress based on their preferred sleeping position, sleep challenges (temperature regulation, sleep disorders, etc.) and other lifestyle preferences—taking the time to educate them based on their needs. This part of the store model brings in that human connection customers often love about a traditional, in-person shopping experience.
This customized approach has drastically enhanced customer satisfaction. Despite a flexible 3x100 Satisfaction Guarantee (100% satisfaction within 100 days, or 100% return), very few customers end up returning their purchases. In fact, SleePare's hybrid business model has reduced the rate of return to about 5%. That's more than 70% of the typical online mattress shopping return rate.
Each year, approximately 6 million mattresses are sold online in the United States alone—and around 20 million worldwide. Of these millions, 20% are returned to suppliers—leaving over a million nearly-new mattresses clogging up landfills, with each product occupying about 40 cubic feet of space on a quickly dwindling planet. That's the equivalent of about 150 UPS trucks filled, top-to-bottom with mattresses. While this disposal procedure has a good intention—since used mattresses are difficult to clean and, therefore, to disinfect for safe use by a later customer—it also leaves a non-biodegradable mess that is already having a detrimental impact on the planet. Even biodegradable mattresses don't decompose nearly as quickly as they need to, due to their immense size, and they cannot be compressed as efficiently as other trash. Such a massive landfill occupancy significantly contributes to negative ecological and environmental effects and hazardous working conditions on a global level.
“Mattresses are huge. There’s a lot of materials and resources that are needed to make one mattress and I don’t think people are fully aware of that,” said Kol in a recent interview. “A lot of C02 is involved in the packing and the transporting process and the numbers are so big when you think of all of those mattresses that are manufactured and almost immediately going to the landfill.”
The issue has only intensified with the adoption of more convenient and cost-effective shopping concepts, such as the "bed in a box". In this approach, a flexible mattress is rolled and compressed into a shippable box, facilitating immediate online purchase and delivery directly to a customer's doorstep.
While, in theory, this idea seems marvelous, it created a whole new problem. Now, customers were able to "impulse buy" a mattress and have it shipped out in days, making it much more likely that they would purchase a product that wasn't the right fit for them. Plus, the increase of resources used to design, source, produce, pack, and ship these new, more convenient products, resulted in a significant increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Then, after all that work, an estimated 20% are still returned—only to be thrown straight into landfills rather than being repurposed or recycled. In the end, this booming market creates more problems than it solves—contributing to the global waste pandemic in spades.
Thankfully, many mattress retailers are starting to see the error of their ways. While not all companies seem to be as concerned as they should be about the health of the planet, waste-reducing strategies—such as the "Try Before You Buy" model—are demonstrating to market-hungry retailers that materials saved means money saved—which means a higher profit margin.
Miles ahead of many of its competitors, SleePare has made the reduction of waste a top priority—in stark refusal to contribute to the environmental crisis. In addition to helping tens of thousands of people improve their health and sleep quality with an informed mattress purchase, the company has already formed initiatives to help clean, sanitize, and donate used mattresses to those in need. In this way, they're hoping to help even more people and reduce waste at the same time.
Proof in the Padding
Since the initial concept was born in 2017, all the way through its official founding in the next year, SleePare has been exponentially growing—establishing a place in the communities of five major U.S. business hubs. Starting with a single physical location in downtown Manhattan, the absolute flood of positive public feedback led to the opening of a second showroom (Washington, D.C.) the very next year. The company's momentum has only increased as they established a showroom in midtown Miami (2020) and another in Boston metro (2021). After only five years in business and over 10,000 mattress sales nationwide, they opened a 5,000-square-foot showroom in mid-city Los Angeles. As of today, SleePare has built two additional showrooms—one in New York City (New York) and another in Tysons Corner (Virginia)—and generated over ten million dollars through a combination of direct and affiliate sales.
If this kind of proof isn't enough for you, we urge you to look, once again at that whopping 5% return rate—a clear indication of SleePare customer satisfaction. Guests have driven for hours, covered hundreds of miles, and even crossed state lines just to meet with SleePare experts—and experience the company's quality stock in person.
“I just can’t believe it,” Kol says. “I see people visiting us from two states over and take the full day to drive here and then drive back home the full 3,4,5 hours away which is really overwhelming which I didn’t see happening. But people are really concerned with sleeping well and their health so they take the effort and it’s great to see.”
Seeing the company's success, and the immense satisfaction of their customers, has been especially gratifying to Kol. Not only has he been able to help nurture the U.S. economy and support hundreds of American workers, he has been able to be of greater service to the public by helping them improve a function that is so vital to our mood and overall health.
“I’m being told by people how happy they are just to be able to use our services and I don’t think a lot of businesses get that reaction from customers on a daily basis, so that’s really rewarding every time,” Kol says. “Meeting people in the store and seeing how happy they are just to learn that we exist makes me happy every single time. When I meet people in the stores and the first sentence out of their mouths is ‘oh my god I’m so happy you guys exist I’ve been going crazy for so long looking for a mattress’.”
Fortunately, in Shanir Kol's eyes, this is only the beginning. His current plan for the company is to have over 30 total locations, spanning across the United States and Canada, by 2023. This includes a showroom in at least 22 metropolitan areas within the U.S. In doing this, Kol hopes to give more than 90% of American residents access to the revolutionary SleePare experience. With this current trajectory in mind, Shanir Kol expects to be able to help over 40,000 American citizens choose the right online mattress and obtain the quality of sleep they deserve each year.
Within these aspirations, it is not difficult to see one of Shanir Kol's greatest strengths as an entrepreneur: his motivation to consistently progress and advance.
“Obviously when you are operating in over five states there are constantly challenges,” says Kol. “You need to have that internal strength to keep going and not let yourself get tired or slow down with all of those challenges that you face every day.”
Despite this cautious outlook, it is clear that Kol is determined to do more. We look forward to seeing the impact he and SleePare will continue to have on the economy, the health of humanity, and the state of the planet.