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Avocado Exec Explains ‘Radical Transparency’ and ‘Farm-to-Bedroom’ Mantra

Inside Avocado Green Mattress’ New York City flagship store, soft blue light emanates from within a curtained room in the middle of the sales floor. Inside, a customer lounges on one of the company’s beds, bathed in multicolor lights filtering through the dimmed space, accompanied by music.

This is Avocado’s immersive audiovisual Sleep Experience, a fixture of the sustainable mattress brand’s physical retail outlets, two of which have opened in as many months—the NYC location, and most recently one in Seattle.

Dubbed “Experience Centers,” these stores are designed to be the antithesis of the stereotypical, high-pressure mattress-selling model with staffers who don’t work on commission, warm lighting, and an assortment of complementary lifestyle products.

“We design our Experience Centers to be the ideal version of a home: warm, welcoming, comfortable, inclusive,” said Mark Abrials, Avocado co-founder and chief marketing officer. “We want to share our ethos and products, so we encourage customers to talk to our brand experience advocates and to spread out on our mattresses and toppers, feel our lavish throws and sheets, rest their heads on our luxurious pillows, and touch the textured, reclaimed wood of our furniture.”

That’s just one of the things that Avocado has done in an effort to set itself apart from other mattress brands. Launched in 2016 by Abrials, Jeff D’Andrea, Dan D’Andrea, and Jay Decker, the company started after Jeff and his wife came up short in their search for a mattress made of natural and organic materials that they could actually afford.

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Avocado's new Fifth Ave. store in New York City offers an experiential sleep center.
Inside the Sleep Experience room. Courtesy

After extensive research and product development, they were able to create a mattress that met all their expectations for non-toxic construction at an affordable price—starting at $699 for a twin and $899 for a full.

“We practice radical transparency and a ‘farm-to-bedroom’ approach—we co-own a latex farm, factory, and wool collective in India and Guatemala, from where we source and process raw materials,” Abrials said. “We handcraft mattresses in our own GOTS-certified Los Angeles factory, and our materials and finished products are GOTS-certified organic.”

Having an ownership stake in the raw material producers that supply its mattresses helps Avocado better control its supply chain, as well as reduce costs for production.

“Unfortunately, most truly organic mattresses are extremely expensive,” Abrials said. “But by owning our own farms and cutting out the middlemen in the supply chain, and by selling directly to our customers, we’re able to sell entirely organic mattresses that meet the highest standards of comfort, durability, and safety, all at an affordable price.”

Avocado’s mattresses also are GreenGuard Gold certified and Made Safe certified. But the company’s dedication to sustainability goes beyond the construction of its beds. Avocado was one of the first Climate Neutral-certified brands, and the company works to reduce its carbon footprint by offsetting more than the sum of its scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, and advocates for legislation that will help fight the climate crisis through its partnership with CERES and the American Sustainable Business Network.

“As the first Climate Neutral-certified mattress maker, and now as a carbon negative company—we reduce more greenhouse gasses than we produce—we’re doing it in a way that’s true to our B Corp Certification, seeking a true balance between purpose and profit,” Abrials said. “Nobody else is doing that.”

Avocado's new Fifth Ave. store in New York City offers an experiential sleep center.
Avocado’s growth has already taken the firm into categories beyond sustainable mattresses. Courtesy

Last year, the company expanded its organic and sustainable offerings beyond mattresses to include apparel and beauty products with the launch of Hass as well as Reed + Gwen in October. The Hass line includes organic cotton basics like T-shirts, as well as alpaca sweaters, and Lenzing-certified modal leisurewear, made with non-toxic dyes in a GOTS-certified facility in Los Angeles. The Reed + Gwen line features plant-based beauty products such as scrubs, body oil, and bath soaks.

According to Abrials, the expansion into apparel and beauty falls into Avocado’s overall vision of being a sustainable lifestyle source.

“At its core, Avocado Green Brands is an advocacy platform for social and environmental responsibility,” he said. “Now, we’re doing the same with apparel and beauty—through Hass and Reed + Gwen, we can be a greater force for good.”

Creating that full lifestyle experience plays a big part in Avocado’s expansion into brick-and-mortar retail, too. The company operates nine retail outlets—five in California, and one each in New Jersey, New York City, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Avocado plans to open new locations in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Palo Alto, Calif.; and Brooklyn in the third quarter of 2022.

With a retail model of “Experience Centers” rather than traditional mattress selling, the company sees these physical outlets as a means of not only selling product, but immersing customers in the Avocado lifestyle.

“We’re expanding our Experience Center locations because we want to share our vision for healthier homes—and a healthier planet—with more people,” Abrials said. “At our stores, we want customers to get to know Avocado’s ethos.”

Avocado has branched out into sustainable products other than mattresses.
Avocado stores introduce customers to the brand’s sustainable lifestyle ethos. Courtesy

The company also offers a hybrid shopping experience via its virtual retail service. Consumers can schedule a 30-minute Zoom call with one of Avocado’s customer experience team members, who share information about the company’s products and answer questions.

In the six years since it launched, Avocado has experienced tremendous growth. The company merged with California mattress maker Brentwood Home in 2018, and today Avocado stands as one of the largest mattress e-tailers in the industry. But while it’s following a growth trajectory, Abrials said Avocado remains focused on its core mission of sustainability.

“Sustainability is fundamental to who we are—it’s why we exist,” he said. “From the beginning, we just wanted a new kind of mattress. One that was greener—better for people and the planet—affordable, and comfortable. It was a simple idea rooted in a much bigger vision. As Avocado continues to grow—from bedding, to furniture, to bath, to clean beauty, and responsible fashion—we approach our work with the same singular purpose on which a few friends founded the company: to be one of the most sustainable companies on Earth.”