Vicki and Rich Fulop are the husband and wife duo behind Brooklinen, a direct-to-consumer startup offering fair-priced bed linens and home accessories. The couple was inspired to launch Brooklinen after a fateful stay in a hotel, where they encountered a set of luxurious sheets. When the duo returned home and tried to purchase their own decadent sheet set, they were appalled by the $800 price tag. With no backgrounds in textiles or manufacturing, the couple spent a year researching the industry, visiting factories and testing fabrics and launched Brooklinen through Kickstarter in 2014.
“We were inspired by the desire to create distinctive, beautiful bedding that was luxurious without costing a fortune,” Rich Fulop said.
“High-end, designer bedding was gorgeous but overpriced, while the options at big box-stores were confusing, overwhelming, and unreliable in terms of quality,” Vicki Fulop said. “So we began researching the bedding industry and found that it was very opaque and antiquated. Retailers were selling high-end bedding at up to 10x markup, inflating thread counts, and operating on bloated supply chains that added to cost but not quality.”
“We wanted to create something completely different — a modern and inviting shopping experience and a brand that delivered a beautiful, well-made product at an accessible price,” Rich Fulop said. “And we knew we could do that by cutting out the middle-men and traditional retail channels, and instead selling direct-to-consumer.”
The couple funded their launch with Kickstarter campaign, aiming to raise 50k, but ended up selling just under $250k in sheets.
“We had found our factory and engineered our perfect sheet by then, so we used the money from the Kickstarter to fund our first production run,” Vicki Fulop said. “The Kickstarter launch was great because it was a test of how many sheets we could sell, to confirm we truly were on to something.”
The duo spread the word about Brooklinen through Kickstarter as well as friends, family, and bloggers. Nearly two years since launching, Brooklinen has amassed over 50,000 customers, all shopping direct-to-consumer on Brooklinen.com, and grown a full-time staff from 3 to 17 employees.
Vicki and Rich Fulop launched Brooklinen by combining skills they had garnered from each their each of their professional backgrounds. Rich Fulop is a former financier who lost his job during the Great Recession and went to NYU’s Stern School of Business on a full scholarship, and Vicki Fulop is a lawyer-turned-Public Relations executive with experience on building brands and garnering press.
“We feel very fortunate that we have been given the opportunity to work together and make a product that people love as much as we do, and we just want to keep making those people happy,” Rich Fulop said.
“We have separate roles and responsibilities within the company, but it’s great to be able catch moments and joke around in-person throughout the day,” Vicki Fulop said. “We share a passion and creative vision. It’s definitely exciting and fulfilling to have your partner be as enthusiastic as you are about your work.”
Vicki and Rich Fulop have big plans for the future of Brooklinen and have recently expanded their collection to include a new candle collection and several new luxurious throw blankets.
“The blankets are made to make you want to get snowed in,” Vicki Fulop said. “They are minimalist and understated in aesthetic, and sumptuously soft. The blankets are available in Baby Alpaca, Lambswool, a Cashmere and Lambswool blend, and Pure Virgin Wool.”
“We also launched four candles, each designed with a scent to transport you to a magical time of day – be it Wake, Afternoon Delight, Magic Hour and Nightcap,” Rich Fulop said.
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I’m a native New Yorker who has been working in the fashion industry for longer than I care to mention. I recently joined Soko, an ethical and sustainable jewelry company featuring items handmade by artisans in East Africa. I cover female, Millennial entrepreneurs and modern luxury brands on Forbes.com, with an piqued interest in ethical and sustainable sourcing.