Interview with Betsy Mikesell, CEO of Beddy’s
“There has to be a better way.”
This was the phrase Betsy Mikesell constantly repeated while making her twin boys’ bunk beds. When trying to show her boys how to do this, she quickly realized it’s almost impossible to make a bunk bed — especially a bunk bed up against a wall. So, she got to work and created her prototype of Beddy’s (bed-ease). And as they say, the rest is history.
She bought bedding materials, including the largest zipper she could find, and with her mother’s help and several remakes of prototypes, she launched her company.
Beddy’s has revolutionized the way its customers’ make their beds with the company’s innovative and patented zipper bedding system that goes on like a fitted sheet. The bedding includes smooth zippers with easy-pull zipper tabs, a soft Minky lining, a sewn-in sheet-bottom sheet, zippers that run along both sides of the bed, comfort panels that extend out, so the user feels like they are sleeping in traditional bedding and matching pillowcases and shams.
How did you get started in the industry?
I started talking with family members and friends and discovered they had similar frustrations, and were interested in the bedding system I was developing. I quickly realized I had a product that could revolutionize the way people made their beds. I spoke with my friend, Angie, who was interested in being my business partner, and we got started. We did a Kickstarter campaign to get part of the funding for our first purchase orders, along with using home equity lines of credit to help pay for it. A crowdfunding campaign was the perfect way to test the market to make sure people wanted this bedding.
We funded $108,000 in 40 days, and the business took off from there. Since then we’ve doubled our business every year!
What recent professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
Company highlights include Beddy’s ranking in Inc. magazine of the 5,000 Fastest-Growing Companies two years in a row. Last year, we were ranked ninth in Utah. We have also been on the Mountain West Capitol Utah 100 list for two years.
We were chosen by Google to represent Utah in the Google Economic Impact Report. Google company officials asked us to join their CEO to speak with policymakers in Washington D.C. about how Beddy’s uses digital tools for exporting.
Facebook also selected Beddy’s to be the focus of a case study because the company has been so successful marketing on its platform.
I still can’t get over the fantastic opportunities that have come our way since starting Beddy’s.
What drew you to Utah?
I was born in California but moved to Utah when I was a toddler, so I consider myself a native. Utah is a great place to raise a family! I love that there is so much to do, from skiing in the winter to hiking in the summer.
What do you like most about living in Utah?
I love Utah. Every time I travel, it reconfirms this. The mountains and the weather, so many beautiful places to visit and the air is refreshing and clear.
What do you like most about doing business in Utah?
There is such an entrepreneurial spirit in Utah, and small businesses throughout the state are willing to collaborate and share ideas. So many individuals helped us get to this point, and the community is very supportive and wants to see new ideas and businesses succeed.
What is your primary challenge of doing business in Utah?
The hardest part about doing business in Utah was not knowing the amazing support systems available throughout Utah. From the World Trade Center to the Goldman Sachs 10KSB program, I wish I would have known about these resources sooner. I think Utah is the best place to start a business!
What is your personal business philosophy?
I have two business philosophies:
Keep believing in yourself because things will get hard, and you’ll want to quit. But don’t give up.
Jump on the rollercoaster. Believe in yourself and your idea and then hold on tight and enjoy the ride. There are going to be more ups and downs than you’ll ever imagine, and the highs make it all worth it!