We’ve all heard the unfortunate expression, “beauty is pain.” Well, now there’s a comfortable and luxurious pillow that’s disproving that theory; Meet NIGHT, a company with a mission to take ordinary sleep products and give them extraordinary beauty benefits. Their innovative beauty pillow promotes healthier skin and hair, all while you’re asleep! We just had to know more about how this (magical) pillow came to be, so we caught up with NIGHT co-founder Kalle Simpson.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING 5 YEARS AGO, BEFORE NIGHT?
KS: I spent my entire career in the bedding category working for the biggest manufacturers in the world, selling products to the biggest retailers in the world. I was able to gain hands-on experience in sourcing, manufacturing, product development, sales, licensing and retail. And, most importantly, I saw so much opportunity to do things better.
IS NIGHT YOUR DREAM JOB?
KS: I never dreamed of growing up and selling pillows. But, if my 8 year old self woke up in my current position, she’d be pumped! I did always know that I wanted to build and lead a company – there’s such a high from creating something out of thin air. And, an even bigger high from getting to be authentic while doing so. Authenticity is the first pillar of our core values. We only offer product that we’d be comfortable asking our mama to pay for (a rule we have written on our product development board). We only partner and work with awesome humans that believe in our cause. And, I get to put my heart, soul and personality into every detail of our business. I don’t know what could be better than doing that every day (and night!)
WHEN DID YOU HAVE YOUR “AH HA” MOMENT OF NIGHT?
KS: There have been many “ah ha” moments, but one of the biggest was during our initial development of the product, when we discovered that we had this unbelievable beauty story to tell. I was working with super high-end materials with the intent of creating an insanely comfortable pillow, and realized: one, how beneficial the materials we were using (silk, foam, etc) are for your skin and hair, and two, how damaging other bedding materials are for your skin and hair. Your pillow spends more QT with your most precious beauty assets – your skin and hair – than any other consumer good by far. Of course, it’s impacting you, so why not design it for the impact to be positive?
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS BUSINESS CONCEPT AND DID YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE IN IT PRIOR?
KS: The idea came during the decade I spent working in the bedding industry. I was frustrated a lot about the lack of innovation, quality and general excitement. And, how little influence females had in the category. 90%+ of bedding purchase decisions are made by females, but it’s men who are in large part developing and marketing these products. I wanted to bring the business into this century in all aspects.
HOW DOES THE NIGHT BEAUTY PILLOW WORK?
KS: It’s actually two parts: our Airlight memory foam pillow and the TriSilk pillowcase. The Airlight memory foam pillow is the perfect combo between the feeling of a soft, lofty down pillow, but with the support of contouring hypoallergenic memory foam. This perfect balance of support, comfort + hypoallergenic qualities makes all the difference in sleep quality. It is literally the most comfortable pillow I’ve experienced (and, I’ve sold millions of pillows during my career). The TriSilk pillowcase is made of this super, duper fine quality mulberry silk – it was sourced from a couture supplier and I was literally told “it’s too nice for bedding.” We added a smidge of spandex in the material to make it custom fitted, preventing bunching and yielding the smoothest sleep surface possible. This perfectly smooth, silky surface removes friction and tugging– preventing bed head, dehydrated skin, fine lines and skin irritations. It’s also hypoallergenic, which helps with everything from allergens to breakouts. And it is intentionally only offered in our signature black hue, which negates light (a key factor for melatonin stimulation). Every detail of this product is designed to promote better sleep, comfort and beauty benefits.
WHAT RESEARCH WAS INVOLVED IN CREATING THE PILLOW?
KS: I was so overzealous with creating the initial product. First and foremost, I wanted a pillow that was absurdly comfortable. So, we started sampling every material we could think of (down, down alternative, foam, fiber, etc) and passed these out to friends, family and slept on them ourselves. It took hundreds of tries, but when we received the final samples of the air light foam, we knew we had gold. At the same time, we were working with resources around the world to develop the fabric and turn it into a pillowcase. I was set on using silk for the beauty benefits and the luxurious feel. But, wanted the finest silk possible – something that had never been used in bedding. We also needed to make strong relationships with the manufacturers. So, a lot of time was spent visiting the plants learning what was possible. There was a lot of thought in the user experience as well – creating packaging and collateral that supports the uniqueness of our offering. At one point, I even insisted on including a piece of chocolate in the packaging – and, met with six chocolate companies and paid a ridiculous price to include non-melting chocolate suckers. 2.5 years following our launch, I’m still researching and evolving our original product. It’s a never-ending process.
HOW DID YOU FUND NIGHT?
KS: I’m a big believer in bootstrapping. It’s crazy how scrappy and efficient you become when it’s your personal funds or debt. And, how much more creative and autonomous you can be when you don’t have investors breathing down your neck. Therefore, I took on a business partner who brought an infusion of capital in the form of a loan from an angel investor. This combined with very symbiotic partnerships with the manufacturers and every penny ever made prior to NIGHT got us off the ground.
NAME 3 OF THE SCARIEST MOMENTS YOU HAD WHEN DOING THIS.
KS: The first was taking money. I’ve never borrowed or spent large sums of money. It was very scary to see the funds transferred to the business account and start spending that money before producing revenue. But, feeling that level of fiduciary responsibility made me that much more committed to our success and scrappy in our initiatives.
The second was old employer drama. I was once told, you’re never going to do something big without stepping on someone’s toes. Early on, we ran into drama due to misgivings from my former employer. We weren’t totally unscathed by the experience, but we did indeed prevail. And, that level of drama just reinforced what I already knew…we were onto something great with NIGHT.
And the third scariest moment is TV appearances. Recently, I’ve been pushed to do national TV appearances. And, while I know plenty of people who would relish in that, it’s uncomfortable for me to pull away from being the behind-the-scenes doer and fill the role as figurehead. The great thing about having a passion is that it almost always drowns out or dilutes the fears. And, then you end up conquering things you’d never have done otherwise.
WHAT IS YOUR PIECE OF ADVICE TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO STOP WHAT THEY’RE DOING AND CREATE THEIR “DREAM JOB”?
KS: Jump and grow wings on your way down. This may sound irresponsible, but it’s crazy how much you’ll rise to the occasion and how much momentum the universe will give you when you start taking action and risks to reach your goals.