Thomas Edison of bedding

Thomas Edison of bedding


Los Angeles is a terrible market. It's an idea that's unsolicited in elevators and buffet spreads, while you're waiting for the barista to make you a Chagachino. In recent years, friends of Emmy-nominated writer (The Office) and creator (Jury Duty) Lee Eisenberg have expressed their interest in his latest project, a new kind of duvet cover. I was exhausted from his verbal abuse. Mr. Eisenberg promises that you will no longer have to shove your unwieldy comforter into floppy, cramped sleeves with hard-to-see corners. My head nodded, but my eyes also rolled. “Everyone acknowledged there was a problem,” he recalled recently. “I don't know if anyone recognized me as the person to solve it.”

Eisenberg currently sells hundreds of “Tell You So” copies for about $200 each. While traditional duvet covers open on one side, requiring bed makers to awkwardly slide the comforter into his one insertion slot, Eisenberg's Nuvet opens on his three sides. He likens the traditional duvet cover design situation to “He's got two slices of bread and he's trying to crush meat and tomatoes.'' He explained, pressing his palms together horizontally. “That's a really stupid way to make a sandwich.” Nuvette is open-faced, he said.

The fast-rising bedding king was sitting at his desk in Studio City, working on a new job: producing a yet-to-be-announced Apple TV series. He had a mostly silver beard and wore an olive-colored polo shirt. Behind him, a bare corkboard was dotted with colorful thumbtacks. He explained that part of his scattered approach to Nube's pitch was to convey the idea to enough people that he would feel obligated to deliver. “I also felt that if I talked to enough people, eventually someone would say, 'Oh, you should talk to my cousin, they own Bed Bath and Beyond.' ” he said. Close: Eventually, someone connected him with Anum Teri, an entrepreneur whose family runs a textile factory in Pakistan. Today, nubet is made there.

Eisenberg learned that a woman had patented a similar design. He bought her for $15,000. (She had originally asked for six numbers. “At that point I said no,” Eisenberg said, “and said, 'How important is that patent?'”) He and Teri began collaborating over Zoom, learning about subjects like zipper manufacturers (YKK is the pinnacle of the industry), flanges (the little overhangs that hide zippers), and cotton variations (long-staple I chose Supima, which is a high-end type). Soon, to the surprise of many in Hollywood, they had a prototype ready for friends and family to test. “We felt that if we could fix something, we could do it,” Eisenberg said. “That's just the way production works in Hollywood.'' Employees who had previously been skeptical were convinced. “I could hear some kind of happy laughter,'' he says. “If a dentist starts a hot dog stand, you'll think, 'Oh, that's surprising.'”

The pursuit was not completely nihilistic. Eisenberg's father was an Israeli immigrant who ran a fledgling children's clothing store in the Boston suburb of Needham. In high school, young Eisenberg belonged to an entrepreneurship club and ran a business that printed company logos on pens and mugs. His earnings amounted to $14,000. (He was a top salesman.) “My notes app on my phone is full of 'Shark Tank' ideas,” he said. His friends sometimes encourage him to focus on writing. “I get anxious if I don’t spin 15 plates at a time,” he said.

Some gave significant support to this particular plate. Christie Smith, a friend of Hollywood's manager, suggested the portmanteau name for Nuvets. (“A New Way to Duvet!”) Eisenberg's wife, journalist Emily Jane Fox, came up with the tagline: “Less fighting, more cuddling.” (He calls her Nuvet's “her shadow COO.”) Her famous friends and collaborators, Brie Larson, Mindy Kaling, and Rainn Wilson, give her social media free promotion I participated in.

“Wait a minute,” Eisenberg said. His phone rang with an alert from his Shopify, the sales platform he uses. “We just had a sale!” he announced. A king-sized white Nuvette was being ordered in the Tampa area. “It’s nice to see the fruits of my labor,” he said.

We held a demonstration using Zoom. At her home in Los Feliz, Eisenberg showed off the navy model (Nuvette also comes in seafoam green) spread out on her bed. The corner flipped up to reveal a white comforter neatly placed inside. He prepared to close it with obvious pride. “It's hard to do with one hand,” he admitted, putting down the phone. After 20 seconds, Nuvet is closed, no longer struggling, and ready to snuggle. How long does it take to put on a traditional duvet cover? “About four or five minutes,” he said. Hopefully, he explained, Nuvette will become synonymous with large cotton bags in the same way that Kleenex is with tissues. He showed off one of his favorite features. It's his two internal tags that say “Feet Go Here” that allow the user to properly orient the bedding. “I wanted it to be as dummy-proof as possible,” he says. “Basically, that’s what it means to me.” ♦



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