produced by ANNA KOCHARIAN
photos courtesy of PARACHUTE
If you ask us, there’s nothing quite like sinking into a bed outfitted with crisp, clean sheets. For a spot where we spend so many hours of the day, comfort is a basic necessity. Ariel Kaye, Founder and CEO of Parachute, knows a thing or two about the simple luxury of fine bedding. Long intrigued by the interplay of design and wellness, Ariel established Parachute to fulfill consumers’ needs for high quality bedding and a good night’s sleep. The Venice-based brand prides itself on offering bedding composed of a smart design that doesn’t break the bank. Kaye, who has racked up over 10 years of experience in brand development and advertising, utilized her insights to craft Parachute’s unrivaled impact in the bedding and bath verticals. We caught up with Kaye to get the lowdown on Parachute’s inaugural brick-and-mortar and how the brand’s unique aesthetic has evolved ever since. Take a look!
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I am inspired by the outdoors – the casual beauty of my Venice surroundings and the neutral tones of Southern California’s landscape. This is reflected not only in my personal style, but also in the Parachute brand aesthetic. Hiking, sunset yoga, or even a quick walk along the beach can rejuvenate me. I’m also inspired by my team at Parachute – their collaborative spirit, enthusiasm, and ideas keep me going!
FROM A PRODUCT PERSPECTIVE, WHAT ARE THE UNIQUE FACTORS THAT SET PARACHUTE APART?
Parachute is unparalleled in the quality, design, and comfort of our home essentials and, as a brand, in our commitment to social responsibility. By finding, and working directly with, the best factories around the world, we’re able to deliver a premium quality product that upholds the high standards and heritage of that region.
Instead of focusing on shifting styles and trends, we design each item to complement our entire assortment of home essentials. We appeal to the modern shopper by offering timeless pieces intended to be layered, mixed, and matched.
I always say that we are in the business of comfort, so we will stay true to that as we move into other home categories in the future. We take comfort seriously.
We sleep better knowing Parachute is doing its part to protect the planet. We’re committed to manufacturing products that surpass the most stringent safety and environmental protection standards. Our home essentials are Oeko-Tex certified, meaning they’re free of synthetics and chemicals, and our manufacturer’s Responsible Down Standard certification ensures our down comes from humanely treated ducks.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF THE MATERIALS USED IN PARACHUTE’S LINE OF BEDDING?
Currently, we offer Bedding in Percale, Sateen, and Linen. Both Percale and Sateen are made using the finest long-staple Egyptian cotton – the difference is a result of how they’re woven.
We often compare our Percale to the perfect white button down shirt, cool and crisp to the touch. This fabric goes through a stonewashed process which gives it a soft texture and a more casual appearance. Percale is also very breathable and will get softer with continued use. Many brands use synthetic finishes to expedite this process, but this is something we have chosen to avoid.
Our Sateen is extremely soft and smooth. We call it a matte Sateen since it doesn’t have the overly shiny appearance typically associated with the fabric. It’s lustrous, elegant, and the more luxurious of our fabrics. Sateen is also naturally more wrinkle resistant.
Linen is a natural fiber made from the flax plant and is a stronger and more durable alternative to cotton. Our Linen is garment dyed and washed to relax the fibers, resulting in a softened fabric which becomes more supple with each wash. Light and airy, Linen is perfect for balmy climates and those seeking a classic, casual appearance.
CONGRATULATIONS ON OPENING YOUR VERY FIRST STORE IN VENICE! WHAT WAS YOUR INCENTIVE FOR MOVING TO A RETAIL SPACE?
E-commerce was the perfect place for Parachute to start. It removed geographic restraints and allowed us to reach a lot of people. We quickly developed an engaged online community, connecting with our customers in an impactful way. However, there is something special, and different, about an in-person connection. A physical footprint offers another way to tell the Parachute story.
Opening a retail space was something had I thought about from the beginning. Bedding and bath towels are an intimate part of a person’s daily life, so our Showroom Store enables our customer to touch the products and discover their quality firsthand. These tactile experiences are challenging to accomplish when confined to only a digital space.
A physical space also allows us to serve more people – some individuals prefer a physical retail experience, and we want to be where all of our customer are.
The Showroom Store allows us to meet our customers in-person and to discover how they physically engage with our products. We’ve already learned so much through this face-to-face interaction, and our goal is to continually implement these findings and improve the customer experience.
WHAT INSPIRED THE DECOR AND AESTHETIC OF THE STORE?
We worked with interior designers, Scott Horne and Peter Dolkas, to design our new Showroom Store. Our primary goal was to design a place that reflected the aesthetic of our home essentials. We chose a neutral backdrop for the Showroom Store and layered in texturally rich elements like wood, river rocks, and cacti to showcase the color palette of our home essentials.
Our goal was to create a lounge environment – a place you and your friends would want to hang out in all day. We decorated with pieces from local artisans and decided not to display actual beds. Instead, we showcased our bedding vertically on textile racks and on a couch decked in our Linen.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT OF THE SHOP?
When Peter, Scott, and I were brainstorming about designing the Showroom Store, we knew we needed to have a statement piece – something identifiable and different. They decided to go with a custom rose gold mirror, which quickly became everyone’s favorite feature of the space. The eye-catching mirror not only makes the space feel larger, but it also beautifully reflects natural light. Selfies strongly encouraged (#ParachuteOnRose).
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS PEOPLE MAY HAVE ABOUT BEDDING?
Thread count isn’t important – in fact, it’s largely a marketing gimmick. What actually matters is the caliber of the fabric. Parachute uses 100% long staple Egyptian cotton and 100% Linen, which translates to softer, stronger bedding that lasts over time.
Also, organic doesn’t mean what one may think. Companies frequently manipulate the term “organic” when labeling their textiles. Fibers grown organically – but processed with toxic chemicals – may still carry the organic label. “Wrinkle free” or “permanent press” labels should be avoided because manufacturers treat these fabrics with formaldehyde resin, a toxic chemical. Instead, you should look for bedding that is Oeko-Tex certified, meaning no harmful chemicals or toxins are used.
WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO SEE PARACHUTE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW?
Over the next five years, we plan on opening new physical locations. We will be expanding our assortment of home essentials beyond the bedroom and the bathroom. We will continue to introduce new, texturally-focused bedding items such as cozy throws and duvet cover sets. We launched our first Bath collection in the beginning of March 2016, and soon, we will be expanding that category with robes, shower curtains, and more! We are also growing our hospitality collection, allowing our customers to enjoy Parachute while visiting their favorite destinations around the world!
We publish a blog chock full of inspirational stories and info about Parachute’s products. Check it out!