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Making the Bed Beautiful: The Sheet Society Story | #109

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The Sheet Society Story
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Nathan Bush is a director at eCommerce talent agency, eSuite. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.

Co-Founder of trailblazing bed linen label The Sheet Society, Hayley Worley has combined a tactile passion for working with fabric, colours and trends, and a desire to craft a universally ‘wanted’ product with flair. After identifying that bedding was a category in need of (desperate) innovation, she began to grapple with the idea of revolutionizing the way consumers shop for their sheets.

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Co-Founder of The Sheet Society. The numbers guy, with a passion for incredible CX. The technical and operations side of TSS and all the boring bits that make everything work. Loves a chat about tech stacks.

Hayley and Andy started The Sheet Society because they wanted to make the worst job in the world easier and more stylish.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Hayley and Andy Worley from the Sheet Society.  Hayley and Andy started The Sheet Society because they wanted to make the worst job in the world – putting sheets back on the bed – easier and they wanted to bring beautiful design into the bedroom. They started four years ago with a $20K investment, shooting web content on iPhones and selling their car to pay for stock and now are generating over $15m of sales, have a retail store, a team of 50 and operate out of a 3,500 square metre warehouse in Melbourne. Stay tuned until the end where we get a special Add To Cart exclusive (ive ive ive) on a big move for The Sheet Society. 

It’s a bit of a myth isn’t it really? People say ‘start up’ money, I feel like we needed alot more money to keep going, but no-one talks about ‘keep going’ capital.”

Hayley Worley

Questions answered in this episode include
  • Which element of building the brand required the most effort?
  • What’s been your biggest growth lesson?
  • What are your tips around managing cash flow?

Why sheets?

Hayley: “I had a really shit experience in a department store buying a set of sheets, where they were wrapped in this little plastic brick of a block and I thought I was buying quite a conservative color, but then I got home, it had this neon orange piping around it and I was so disappointed and unfolded it, and I was past the point of being able to return it. 

And I just thought, “Why is the experience of shopping for sheets so different to the experience of shopping for clothes?” When you buy a new outfit, you take it into the changing room, you take off all your clothes and you try on something that you haven’t paid for yet. I just couldn’t understand why those two experiences were so different and so we set out to build the business of making sheets.”

Organic vs Targeted

Hayley: “So, we knew from the get go that we weren’t going to be able to generate the type of following that we could organically, and we haven’t done those tactics about creating a blog and then selling something afterwards. We were a little late to the game in that. 

But it’s been a bit of a blessing because we realized early on that our time and money was better spent just paying for the correct targeting and actually using digital marketing the way it’s intended, and it’s actually a great tool if you’re willing to actualize that cost in your first margin. 

That was a really turning point for us, I feel, we factored  our first margin of cost of goods and cost to sell those goods on digital channels. And yeah, paying for that has really changed the game.”

Same but different

Hayley: “When we first started working together we wrote a list of what business functions there were and who got final say of those business functions and that was actually really helpful because we had a few heated conversations and disagreements and it was like, “Oh, you’re going to win this one, aren’t you?” But we’ve got a really opposite skillset, which is really funny because we’ve got really similar personalities.

Andy:  “We actually didn’t know that when we started. It was just the areas we naturally fell into. I mean, Hayley, she’s a brilliant creative, but I noticed early on that some of the more technical and financial side, the numbers side of the business just needed so much more focus and I just naturally slip into that side, which is what I love and I leave Hayley to all the creative stuff.

Hayley: “I know what pisses Andy off, when I’ve got these big ideas and haven’t really thought them through financially.”

Andy: “Well, when it’s refined, it’s a possibility. But that’s it, yeah. You throw amazing ideas at me and expect a yes straight away and I immediately think about all the things that are going to go wrong. It takes me a week of really honing it in and say, “Yeah, let’s do it, but this is how we’re going to do it.”

Links from the episode:

Signet & Lush (sponsored)

Shopify Plus  & Tropeaka (sponsored)

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