The Mattress Advisor team spoke with Carly Griffin (Co-founder), Amanda Rudie (Co-founder) and Carolyn Graven of Zonkd to learn more about what makes their bed-in-a-box mattress different from the rest.
MA: What inspired you to start Zonkd?
Zonkd: We met in Raleigh while working for a manufacturing company that supplied all the parts for big-name mattress brands. While we were working there, the bed-in-a-box companies really started to take off. We saw a disconnect between quality and pricing in the products being offered and thought, “We could do this, and do it better.” So we made it our mission to bring quality to the bed-in-a-box industry.
MA: This industry is becoming very crowded. What made you decide to get in on the bed-in-a-box craze?
Zonkd: We were very aware of what we were getting into, but we had the right connections and had first-hand knowledge on how to do it right. We were different from a lot of the other mattress startups because our background was actually in the sleep industry. We were personally involved in every aspect of designing our mattress because we had the vision for what it should be. We hand-picked every single material and made decisions to include the dual-cooling system and personalization aspect of the mattress. We were very much focused on delivering a quality-made product to consumers.
So we made it our mission to bring quality to the bed-in-a-box industry.
MA: In your opinion, what makes Zonkd different from other mattresses?
Zonkd: Our biggest differentiator is the value we offer for the high-quality mattress that we’ve created. We didn’t skimp on materials but we’re still competitive in price. Our personalized comfort options are another differentiator for us: it’s not just one size fits all – customers have the option of choosing from three different firmness levels based on their preference and sleeping style.
The materials we use are also natural and eco-friendly. We knew we only wanted to work with companies that were Certi-Pur certified. Our mattress doesn’t give off a chemical smell when you open it like many mattresses do.
MA: What type of sleeper did you design the Zonkd mattress for?
Zonkd: We built our mattress to address a lot of the problems we were seeing in the industry. We did a ton of research on things people didn’t like about their mattress and the sleeping issues they had. For example, a common customer complaint about memory foam mattresses is that it’s too hot – so we added a cooling copper layer to our mattress. We heard that spring mattresses were causing pressure point and joint pain, so we used latex for more bounce and support. Offering a range of firmness levels also helps us give more personalized support to different types of sleepers – not just one.
MA: We heard that you had trouble compromising on what the ideal mattress should be. How did you come to an agreement on the design?
Zonkd: We started by working with multiple vendors and actually rejected many of the initial designs because we didn’t think they were good enough. We landed on our current design by trial and error. We wanted it to be perfect but realized that only having one firmness option would not be perfect for everyone – so that’s how the different firmness levels came into play. We realized that customers need options, just like we did.
We wanted it to be perfect but realized that only having one firmness option would not be perfect for everyone.
MA: where did the name “zonkd” come from?
Zonkd: It actually came from an internal brainstorming session we had. We thought it was different and fun so we went with it!
MA: what do you enjoy most about running this business?
Zonkd: We love the challenge – every day is different and we love finding creative ways to think through solutions. It’s also really rewarding to see the product that we created come to life.
MA: what has been the biggest challenge so far?
Zonkd: Our biggest challenge has probably been getting out name out there. We know our product is solid – we believe in it – but we are still a startup so we need to visibility for other people to believe it too.
We don’t think this has been a challenge yet, but people do tend to be surprised when they meet us – we are a team of women and that is unusual in this business. But the reality is that women still do most of the shopping and we have tremendous attention to detail – so we think that insight and strength help us in the long run.
MA: tell us about your partnership with wrenn house. why did you choose this organization and What impact do you hope to make?
Zonkd: When we first launched, we started looking into ways to get involved in the community. We’re from Raleigh and we were building this business here so we wanted to give back. We know when you have a bigger purpose, it shows in everything you do.
So we started to talk about the things we were passionate about and a common thread was children. We learned about Wrenn House and it aligned really well with our passion and our business. We could provide them with our products and offer better sleep.
They have so many programs that help kids and women find safety and get off their feet so this was really important to us as women, community members, and business owners. Right now we give a pillow and duffle bag per child, but in the future, we would love to outfit the Wrenn House shelter with mattresses.
We know when you have a bigger purpose, it shows in everything you do.
MA: What advice would you give someone who’s in the market for a new mattress?
Zonkd: First we’d say to really think about what your personal preferences and budget are. There’s still some skepticism around shopping for a mattress online but it’s so easy to compare different products and do research in the comfort of your own home. Plus, the trial periods allow you to see for yourself if you like the mattress, or you get your money back – it’s a win-win!
MA: what’s next for zonkd?
Zonkd: Our goal is to become a one-stop shop for all your bedroom needs. We are working on developing more bedding products like accessories and a foundation. We’ve also considered a physical experience offering especially since it’s still a market where consumers don’t get the idea of buying online. It would be less of a mattress store and more like a Tesla showroom.