From a Crazy Idea to a $45 Million per Year Business: The Story Behind Beddy's

On the surface (close to eight years after its two founders launched their initial campaign on Kickstarter), it sure seems obvious now:

  • Produce something kinda like a double-sided sleeping bag that's the size of a bunk bed mattress, but
  • Design it so it has sides and a bottom that function like a fitted sheet, and
  • Voilà, making up a bunk bed would instantly be easier and faster, right?!?!

Except few inventions are ever as easy as they appear on the surface.

That was just one of the lessons shared recently by Angie White, Co-Founder and COO of Beddy's, during her presentation at the ACG-Utah breakfast meeting in January.

It Began with Messy-Looking Bunk Beds

A self-described "risk-averse," rule-following, full-time mother of four, White was a pretty serious recreational runner who had completed three full marathons and many half marathons.

Her running partner of choice was her personality opposite, yet long-time friend, Betsy Mikesell.

One day back in 2012, White listened as her running mate shared a story about a project she had been working on.

Beddy's Co-Founder's, Angie White (L) and Betsy Mikesell [photo from the Beddy's Kickstarter campaign, downloaded 8 February 2022].

The tale started with Mikesell expressing her frustration about the fact that her twin sons apparently found it impossible to make their bunk beds look halfway decent after sleeping in them the night before.

White became intrigued as she listened to Mikesell explain about her fruitless research into possible solutions on the Internet and the preliminary work she and her mother had had in crafting some self-sewn sleeping bag like contraptions.

Not long after the two "partners," Mikesell and White, were informally in business together, figuring out the best design options and finding the longest possible zippers for this new type of zippered bedding, first for their own families and over time for their friends and extended family members.

Dozens of prototypes later the two co-founders wondered if perhaps they might have stumbled into a business idea, a product that other moms might be interested in purchasing.

It was, but White and Mikesell also discovered that if they were going to get serious about commercializing Beddy's (the name the two co-founders had come up with for their company), it was gonna take a serious truckload of cash to place that initial product order or MOQ (Minimal Order Quantity).

The amount needed: $250,000.

Two home equity loans of $75,000 each and one successful Kickstarter campaign later, and White and Mikesell had their first MOQ on order.

Except the two friends soon realized they would not be able to drop a shipping container into the street in front of their Riverton, Utah homes, but instead would need an actual physical building to house their products and business.

So they found a warehouse in West Jordan.

Beddy's Co-Founders (Betsy Mikesell and Angie White) standing in front of boxes of their initial zippered bedding products ready for shipping to their first customers on 5 September 2014. (Image downloaded from the Beddy's Facebook page 6 February 2022.)

Then their first products arrived, got labled and shipped, and as chroniclers are fond of saying,

"The rest is history."
Beddy's explanatory product photo downloaded from the company website 8 February 2022.

NOTE:  Here's a short amateur customer testimonial video showing how simple it is to use Beddy's zippered bedding in real life.

Beddy's Then and Today

In summary,

  • The initial germ of an idea behind Beddy's sprung to life in 2012;
  • The first Kickstarter campaign hit its goal of $100,000 on 17 April 2014;
  • The first shipment of zippered bedding from Beddy's went out the door on 5 September 2014;
  • Sales in 2014 were $215,000;
  • During the eight years of sales, Beddy's has expanded its product line to include options for Twin-, Full-, Queen- and King-sized beds, in a dizzing array of color and style combinations;
  • In 2021, Beddy's revenue topped $45 million;
  • The company now has 30 full-time employees working for it; and
  • Beddy's has its own 70,000-square-foot warehouse under construction.

Along the way, Mikesell and her family moved to Tennessee, but (as expected), the two co-founders talk daily, sometimes multiple times per day.

Four Lessons Learned by Beddy's Co-Founder, Angie White

During the Question and Answer period following her ACG-Utah presentation last month, White was asked if Beddy's had ever accepted outside investment dollars.

The short answer was "No," but it led to her explaining the first of four lessons she had learned during the Beddy's journey.

It turns out she and her partner had dived deep into discussions with a potential investor, a deal that failed to reach completion.

But because of that experience, the two partners found the person who would become Beddy's current Chief Financial Officer.

So ... four lessons learned, and shared, by White are:

  1. Blessings can come from failure;
  2. Listen to your gut;
  3. Celebrate each other's successes; and
  4. Surround yourself with people who know more than you do.

In closing, I thought you might find it fun to hear/see the two Beddy's co-founders describe their journey.

So here's a short YouTube video as Betsy Mikesell and Angie White describe "How Beddy's Came To Be."

Beddy's Co-Founders, Angie White (L) and Betsy Mikesell (R) tell the story of "How Beddy's Came To Be." Downloaded from the company's YouTube account 8 February 2022.

Publisher's Note:

Due to limitations with our current publishing partner when highlighting featured images at the top of our stories, we thought you might appreciate seeing a full-sized copy of the original concept illustration design for Beddy's, so here it is.

Full-sized copy of the concept design illustration for the initial Beddy's zippered bedding (as shared on the company's Facebook page 17 February 2014). Image downloaded 8 February 2022.
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