With COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, you might have found yourself sleeping more than usual and indulging in daily naps. These increased hours of sleep have people reexamining their bedding products. ettitude creates some of the softest sustainable bedding, pajamas, bath towels, and lifestyle goods from its proprietary CleanBamboo™ fabric. As the name suggests Bamboo fabric is made from bamboo (which is a grass) and requires significantly fewer natural resources to harvest when compared to alternatives. ettitude’s CleanBamboo™ is produced using a non-toxic solvent to create a fine fiber and the production cycle is centered around sustainability. For example, its closed-loop system recycles and reuses 98% of the water and solvent. As a result, the final fabric consumes one-tenth of the water compared to conventional cotton sheets, and stills feels soft and silky.
LA TechWatch caught up with Cofounders Phoebe Yu and Kat Dey to learn more about this direct-to-consumer sustainable bedding brand. During the pandemic, despite having to close its pop-up store on Abbot Kinney, ettitude’s main driver of revenue, direct sales from its site, has remained strong thanks to its anti-microbial bedding. ettitude originally launched in Australia but expanded to Los Angeles in the fall of 2018. ettitude plans to use this recent Seed funding to expand its product line.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
ettitude raised USD 1.6M in a Seed round. The financing round is led by Drumbeat Ventures, a fund investing in breakout brands with a strong sense of purpose and set of values that, together, serve as the foundation of their business model and organizational culture.
Drumbeat is joined by TA Ventures, a European female-founded fund focusing on technology innovation, and Metropolis Ventures, a global venture fund focused on early-stage technology and digital-first companies.
ettitude is a sustainable lifestyle brand offering home essentials that are soft on your skin and gentle on our planet.
Using our proprietary CleanBamboo™ fabrics, our bedding, sleepwear, and bath range are as soft as silk, as breathable as linen, and at the price of cotton.
Combining the world’s most sustainable plant – bamboo – with the cleanest lyocell technology, ettitude’s CleanBamboo™ fabric is the world’s first lyocell made from bamboo and is one of the most sustainable textile materials of the 21st century. CleanBamboo™ is produced with a closed-loop system that recycles and reuses water, making it a highly sustainable alternative to cotton and linen, while being an affordable and easy to care for alternative to silk.
How is ettitude different?
ettitude’s CleanBamboo™ fabric is produced using organic bamboo from FSC-certified forests. Bamboo production is listed as #35 solution to climate change by Project Drawdown thanks to its efficiency in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere and regenerating degraded lands.
Unlike other plant fibers used in textiles, such as organic cotton, conventional cotton, flax, or trees, bamboo (technically a grass) requires significantly less water and land to produce the same yields of fiber.
Unlike previous bamboo fabrics (which the FTC regulates manufacturers to label as “rayon” or “viscose”), which use and leach toxic chemicals, such as carbon disulfide, sodium hydroxide, and sulfuric acid into our environment, ettitude’s CleanBamboo™ fabric is produced using a non-toxic solvent to produce a fine fiber. Also, unlike previous production methods which only recycle 50% of the solvents and water, our closed-loop system recycles and reuses 98% of the water and non-toxic solvent. The resulting fabric consumes one-tenth of the water compared to conventional cotton sheets and feels supremely soft and silky.
As members of 1% for the Planet, we donate 1% of our CleanBamboo™ bedding sales to environmental non-profits
What market are you targeting and how big is it?
The U.S. home furnishings and soft goods market is projected to reach $79.4B by 2024 (Goldstein Research). ettitude is targeting conscious consumers, in the U.S. and globally, who are looking for better quality bedding and lifestyle goods which are better for them and for the planet.
What’s your business model?
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
In mid-March, we closed down our Abbot Kinney retail pop-up store, but our e-commerce business has remained strong as our message of comfort at home, sustainability, and health has resonated with our community. We have also emphasized messaging of our anti-microbial Charcoal bedding and sleepwear, which has been scientifically proven to kill 99.9% of microorganisms.
What was the funding process like?
While we were working on our financing round prior to Covid-19, the March financial crisis severely derailed our process as even the most committed investors became wary of making new investments with looming economic uncertainty.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge in March and April 2020 was navigating the uncertainty that everyone faced regarding the immediate impact on capital markets and the medium- and long-term impacts on the economy.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We focused on the financial sustainability of our business, whether the funding round was to come together or not. Our business unit economics are solid as we have been self-funded up until 2018; the purpose of external funding has always been for additional growth and product expansions. Our revenue is primarily ecommerce driven and our supply chain is tightly controlled. Finally, we are addressing a large market and helping to solve one of the greatest challenges we face as humans – climate change. We were happy to find a thought partner in our lead investor, Drumbeat Ventures, which focuses on mission-driven companies with strong internal cultures.
We focused on the financial sustainability of our business, whether the funding round was to come together or not. Our business unit economics are solid as we have been self-funded up until 2018.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We plan to launch a few more bedding and lifestyle products, focusing on our core pillars: comfort and sustainability.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Especially during a time of crisis, focus on viability and survival vs. growth at all costs. What areas of your business are driving the greatest profit that you can focus more of your internal resources towards? Which ones are opportunities that can be postponed and be explored later? Which ones can you stop spending resources on? What products or services is your business uniquely positioned to offer during this time and how can you bring them to market efficiently? If your existing business is severely impacted, how can you pivot? How can your brand stay top of mind and helpful for people during this time? Even if your product or service is not relevant right now, what value can you bring, so that customers remember you positively whenever you resume your regular operations? How can you find optimal solutions and do right by all of your stakeholders, including your customers, your team, partners, investors during this period?
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We plan to continue leveraging our core competency of developing and launching functional, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle products using innovative textiles.
What is your favorite restaurant in LA?
Phoebe: E.P. & L.P. (Australian owned Asian fusion restaurant).
Kat: The Butcher’s Daughter, a plant-based restaurant, which was right next door to ettitude’s Abbot Kinney pop-up store.
You are seconds away from signing up for the hottest list in Los Angeles Tech! Join the millions and keep up with the stories shaping entrepreneurship. Sign up today