While working as CEO for the Australian mattress company A.H. Beard, Paul Longman kept hearing the same thing from the market: people loved the comfort of a conventional mattress but wanted the adjustability of an air bed. From this, Longman saw a growing opportunity to provide the best of both worlds in a mattress, and in 2017, he and his wife moved from Australia to Springfield to start isense.
Mattresses with adjustable firmness typically use two adjustable air chambers for support with comfort layers built on top. What sets isense apart is it is built with not only the pocket coils and foam of a traditional mattress, but also 14 adjustable air chambers embedded into the foam. Using the isense app, you can remove air to make the mattress more plush, or add air, which compresses into the foam, to make it firm. Longman notes that while a traditional mattress is limited in its ability to change, an adjustable bed can grow and change with you, whether you’re dealing with an injury or other variables. “That’s the benefit of getting the bed home and finding what’s right for you,” Longman says. “What’s right for you today is not necessarily what’s going to be right for you over the course of the next 10 years.”
For the first three years, Longman tried launching isense as a wholesale-to-retail business, with a heavy emphasis on isense’s unique technology, but he just wasn’t seeing the gains he’d hoped for. “We thought the innovation aligned, but we came to realize you need one of two things to really make it at the high end of this market: either a big fat checkbook to buy your way in or you need substantial traffic,” Longman says. “We just had technology, and we realized that that wasn’t enough.” So, in January 2020 Longman repackaged isense as a direct-to-consumer online business.