The Prius of the Mattress Industry? - OZY | A Modern Media Company

The Prius of the Mattress Industry?

The Prius of the Mattress Industry?

By Lorraine Sanders


Because if you’re lucky, you spend half of your life sleeping. 

By Lorraine Sanders

My dog ate my mattress.

I came home to my barrel-chested, four-legged best friend standing shiftily outside my bedroom, as I assessed the damage: piles of filler and exposed coils coming out of 2-foot-hole in the middle of our queen. What I needed, other than dog Prozac, was a replacement.

I was lured by some signage I’d seen about the mattresses being made with green tea.

First-world, gainfully employed dweller that I am, I’d never considered the possibility of suddenly not having a bed. Nor had I ever really even thought about my mattress, which was actually my husband’s from before we’d met. It was always just there — and was now unsleepable. Seeking a cheap, easy solution, my husband and I trolled for a Craigslist special and lucked out. We found a guy with a mattress he’d bought the day before from one of those big chains with a catchy commercial. His girlfriend hated it. We drove over immediately. Everybody wins.

Except we didn’t. For several years, we tossed. We turned. When one of us rolled, the other jiggled. It was like a waterbed — except it wasn’t. So, for the first time, we went to an actual retail location to test-drive mattresses before we bought, brand-new.

We ended up at Keetsa, at the time a new arrival to San Francisco’s SOMA district that purported to carry eco-friendly mattresses. I was lured by some signage I’d seen about the mattresses being made with green tea. A local company selling eco-friendly mattresses that somehow involved green tea? So San Francisco. I had to investigate.

illustration of layers involved in the mattress with pointers connected to each layer

Diagram of Keetsa Cloud mattress

And here’s what happened: That night we both slept like teenage boys. (Which is to say, deeply and far too late and without a care in the world. Not at all like the babies you usually hear about in these situations.) The $838 Keetsa Cloud has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in the 21st century. Another was banning a certain canine from my bedroom when I’m not at home.

Even cooler (and arguably more eco-friendly): Every Keetsa comes packaged in a box that easily fits in the trunk of most cars.

But I wasn’t the only one to be seduced by a sound sleep. Since opening its first showroom in San Francisco in 2007, the company has grown, expanding its airy, wood-accented show rooms to Berkeley, then New York and Los Angeles. The brainchild of company president Dannie Lee, a UC Berkeley alumna, Keetsa aims to strike a balance between eco-friendly and practical.

“It’s a really good happy medium,” says Andy Babkes, a Keetsa sleep consultant and early employee. “I almost see this as the Prius of the mattress industry.”

Well, uh, except that the mattresses are manufactured in China.

But like Babkes says, Keetsa products are something of a hybrid if not a completely organic sleep solution. However, it is made with foam that subs in green tea extract instead of chemical deodorizers and replaces 12 percent of the petroleum oil standard in many foam mattresses with plant-based castor bean oil. With prices that start at $449 for a twin, Keetsa mattresses incorporate natural organic cotton covers, hemp-blend fabric and ECO-certified natural latex rubber. Fire protection comes in the form of natural wool or nontoxic fire retardants, depending on the style.

Even cooler (and arguably more eco-friendly): Every Keetsa comes packaged in a box that easily fits in the trunk of most cars.

No more precariously balanced mattresses strapped to your car’s roof. No more sweaty delivery guys maneuvering a monster-size package up your stairs. Each Keetsa mattress is compressed under 12,000 pounds of pressure, and then folded and rolled into a nearly comically compact version of its normal self.

Unboxing a Keetsa mattress is such an event that newlyweds, singles, college students and kids have posted hundreds of YouTube videos of themselves doing it. Albeit in part, because Keetsa will throw in a free pillow for every fun little iPhone film, too. 


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