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Selling Sheets Without Mentioning Thread Counts

Parachute wants its sheets to land in your home.

Ariel Kaye got into home décor while attending New York University, where she liked to zhoosh up her apartment with items such as bookshelves made of reclaimed wood. When she studied abroad in Florence, she practiced her Italian in the textile markets, and while pursuing a master’s in media studies at Manhattan’s New School, she started a design blog. “I was the person at a bar who, when people asked me what I did, I would say I was an interior designer. Even though I wasn’t,” says Kaye, 33. In reality, she worked in public relations, then advertising, where she witnessed the rise of online direct-to-consumer companies such as Warby Parker.

Millennials might have had a go-to brand for eyewear, but Kaye realized they didn’t have one for sheets. She’d finally found her calling with home goods. “I had never had a brand ask me how I slept at night,” she says, noting that people can run hot or cold. “I felt like the bedroom was a place where I could drive loyalty.” After a European trip during which she visited 15 factories, Kaye introduced Parachute Home in January 2014. Within a week, sales went from three sets of sheets a day to 50, thanks to rapturous coverage on design blogs. Today, Parachute’s roster of products includes not only sheets (its signature Venice set starts at $219) but also linen napkins ($30 for two) and looped bath rugs ($49), and Kaye is chief executive officer of a company with 31 employees and $30 million in projected revenue for 2017. While homeware giants such as Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. are closing outlets, Kaye is starting to build an offline footprint for Parachute, putting branded hotel suites on top of its stores.