Mattress startup Purple Innovation on Tuesday said that Joseph Megibow is set to become CEO on Oct. 1. Sam Bernards stepped down as CEO in March, and co-founder and Chairman Terry Pearce has served in the interim while the board, with the assistance of an executive search firm, looked for his replacement.
Most recently Megibow was an independent consultant to private equity firm Advent International, but he has experience in traditional retail and with digital companies. As senior vice president and chief digital officer at American Eagle Outfitters from 2012 to 2015 he oversaw the "transformation and growth" of American Eagle's e-commerce, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive. Before that, he held several senior roles at online travel site Expedia.
In June, Purple expanded its partnership with Mattress Firm to 16 stores in San Francisco, after adding sales the previous month through the brick-and-mortar retailer's Chicago stores. The tie-up began last year when Mattress Firm began selling Purple mattresses in Sacramento, California; Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C.
While best known as one of several mattress startups, Purple calls itself a "comfort technology company," emphasizing its science-based design and manufacture of products "to improve how people sleep, sit and stand." In addition to mattresses and pillows, the company sells various types of cushions through several channels, including its own website, traditional retail partners like Mattress Firm and third-party online retailers.
The company says that it's profitable, reporting some $190 million in net revenue last year, two years after the launch of its first mattress. But it faces fierce competition. Casper, which is staking its brand on the idea of sleep itself, is pulling ahead of the pack. Both are doing battle with Leesa, Yogabed and Tuft & Needle, which have forged their own partnerships, and in the case of Tuft & Needle, been acquired by a more traditional player.
Target, for example, displays and sells bedding from Casper on its site and in stores, and reportedly almost bought the company outright for $1 billion. Williams-Sonoma brands West Elm and Pottery Barn have also partnered up with Leesa Sleep. And in February, Casper opened its first stand-alone store, with plans for 200 announced in August.
The newcomers tout material innovations that they say make their mattresses superior to traditional ones, but they've also simplified their assortments and sales pitch. For years, mattress manufacturers and retailers kept consumers on their toes by selling various models and versions of mattresses at a variety of prices, instituting a series of sales and markdowns that made it difficult for consumers to price compare.
The new companies cut through all that by eschewing special sales or markdown events in favor of keeping their "mattress-fits-most" offers in basic bed sizes at one price each and offering long try-out times and free returns. But, despite liberal try-out and refund policies, they are also increasingly turning to brick and mortar to make choosing a mattress easier.
Megibow arrives after "an exhaustive six-month search," Pearce said in a statement, adding that "we are very confident that we found the right person to lead Purple into the future and take Purple to the next level."