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The latest news on We're Obsessed from Business Insider
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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    InsiderPicks_Spotlight_leesa1As part of an ongoing series, each week Insider Picks features a product or store that’s poised for big things. The subject of this week's "We're Obsessed" segment is an online mattress company called Leesa Sleep.

    With more and more mattress companies starting up and taking the direct-to-consumer approach, the less customers are going to traditional store showrooms to buy their beds. This approach has proved itself a good shift for customers, who were often getting the short end of the stick from commissioned showroom salespeople.

    But with so many disruptive mattress startups to choose from, each with their own version of the one-size-fits-all mattress, the market is maybe a little overwhelming. How is one to decide? Is there an option you should go with if you sleep on your back / your stomach / your side? The online mattress industry still lacks clear, easy-to-access comparison information.

    Rest assured, though, there are some great options to consider. Leesa Sleep is one of them.

    Cofounders David Wolfe and Jamie Diamonstein launched Leesa in 2014. The company has picked up significant momentum since then, and the reasons for its success are simple: An excellent customer service model and a universally comfortable mattress. 

    Like its competitors, there’s no awkward showroom scene and you get to try your mattress in your own home for 100 nights risk free. "The direct to consumer space is totally different [than the traditional retail market]," Diamonstein told Business Insider. "We're able to offer a no-pressure selling environment with total transparency. There are no middlemen and no heavy demands placed on us. Each Leesa mattress is ordered by the customer, and then produced and shipped within 3-5 days." 

    Leesa_unbox edit

    Leesa's mattress is also genuinely solid. "Leesa developed a memory-foam-based mattress that was intended to improve on the market leader," Wolfe told us. "For all its undoubted benefits in terms of pressure relief, there were three major drawbacks to the market leader. It slept hot (heat), you would sink into it and not be able to move around (bounce), and it was incredibly expensive."

    According to Wolfe, "Leesa's mattress fixes all these problems with a solid base layer of foam and two layers of specialty foam on top of that, which provide the benefits of memory foam in the middle layer and cooling and bounce on the top layer."

    The company claims its mattress can comfortably accommodate all body shapes and types of sleepers, and that, because of its original design, you don't have to choose between a firm or a plush mattress. Tech Insider reporter Rafi Letzter reports backs these claims up, confirming Leesa is perfect for his side-sleeping, back-aching, medium build. Letzter also notes that "back sleepers with large buttocks and more heavyset stomach sleepers might also appreciate the brand's softer cushion". 

    The reviews site Sleep Like the Dead has this to say about the differences among sleep styles, if you're unsure where you fall on the mattress spectrum:

    BACK sleepers tend to prefer medium to firm firmness. Back sleepers often do not require a soft mattress because pressure on the body is more evenly distributed than is the case for stomach and especially side sleepers. Back sleepers with large buttocks in proportion to the rest of their body may prefer medium (or even soft) firmness as opposed to firm to minimize pressure.

    SIDE sleepers (especially those of average to below average size) tend to prefer medium to soft firmness. This is due to the fact that pressure tends to be focused on the hips and shoulders, a fairly small surface area. If a side sleeper has shoulder pain, it likely means they have too firm a mattress and/or too low a pillow.

    STOMACH sleepers (also known as front sleepers) tend to prefer medium firmness. Too much firmness for these sleepers can result in pressure on the knees and front of hips, while too much softness can cause the sleeper to sink too far into the mattress perhaps undermining neck / head alignment and or ease of breathing.

    Girl on BedIf you're current mattress isn't doing you any favors, and you're ready to forgo those sketchy showrooms, have a look at Leesa. For those who want to sleep a little easier (literally and figuratively), the mattress should prove itself good value all around.

    As an added incentive to shop, the company also donates one mattress to a shelter for every 10 it sells. And if you live in the New York City area, you can soon check out the mattress in person. The company has plans to open its first storefront in SoHo on April, 28 2016.

    Leesa's mattresses are available in the following sizes, and for the following prices: twin ($525), twin XL ($625), full ($790), queen ($890), king ($990), California king ($990). Click here for more purchasing information.


     

    SEE ALSO: These sheets are one of the best purchases I’ve ever made — here’s why

    SEE ALSO: This is the best online mattress to buy for every type of sleeper

    DON'T MISS: This wake-up light could make getting out of bed in the mornings a little less painful

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    4x3 insider picks ridiculously handsome manAs part of an ongoing series, each week Insider Picks features a product or store that’s poised for big things. The subject of this week's "We're Obsessed" segment is an American-made men's clothing company called Buck Mason.

    Every guys should fill his closet with quality button-down shirts, jeans, tees, chinos, and so on. You want outfits that are sturdy, comfortable, and professional-looking for the workplace, while also having casual gear for a night out on the town.

    Buck Mason wants to help you toward that goal. The clothing brand was founded on the idea that “the best-dressed man is the one whose character is apparent in the way he wears his jeans.” Buck Mason makes clothes for men that look relaxed while being durable, and pride themselves in having clothes that fit to your body, giving you the comfort to be you. Its shirts, pants, and sweaters are hand-crafted, American-made, and extremely wearable. Add just one piece to your collection and it will likely become a favorite very quickly.

    If you are looking for some essentials to fill out your closet, Buck Mason is a great place to start. For the guy who is looking for a classic, all-American look rather than the latest thing coming down the runway, meet your new favorite clothing company. Below, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite current offerings from Buck Mason.

    Browse around maybe you’ll find your new favorite shirt. In the company's own words:"The garments we design aren't meant to be different, they're simply meant to be perfect."

    SEE ALSO: We tested what might be one of the best pairs of driving loafers out there

    DON'T MISS: Guys, this is the one thing you need to keep your dress shirts clean

    White Pima Crew Tee

    Buck Mason first gained some national attention when the Wall Street Journal called its crew neck tee one of the best shirts in America. Put one on and it's pretty apparent that the attention was well-deserved.

    White Pima Crew Tee, $28.



    Light Blue Perfect Oxford

    This light blue oxford was the first shirt I got from Buck Mason, and it is now a highlight of my closet. It's an agreeable summer look that doesn't get in the way, and is extremely comfortable.

    Light Blue Perfect Oxford, $108.



    Slim Fit Jean

    Jeans are the quintessential American pant and Buck Mason takes its denim very seriously, providing a premium look and feel for a fraction of the price tag you might expect to pay for such a pair.

    Slim Fit Jean, $135.



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    2Q== 11Leesa is a company out to change the way people buy mattresses. We’ve covered them before in this space, noting their convenience, comfort, and value, but today the mattress brand has a deal that is worthy of your attention:

    Starting today at 12 p.m. ET and running through July 4, Leesa is offering $75 off all of their mattresses plus a $25 Target gift card with every purchase.

    While the direct-to-consumer model has quickly become popular among mattress companies, it’s safe to say that Leesa is one of the companies to consider with your next purchase, and with this deal, its products only become more enticing. Not only do you save yourself the trip to the showroom and some cash, you’re also helping to give back, as Leesa donates a mattress for every ten they sell. The offer is even risk-free, with customers able to try out the mattress for 100 days before making a final decision.

    Although it might not seem like it, your mattress is one of the most important purchases you’ll make. You spend a third of your life sleeping, and putting some money toward being comfortable for 33% of your life seems like a worthwhile investment. Leesa’s comfort it well-established;  Tech Insider reporter Rafi Letzter reports claims Leesa is perfect for his side-sleeping, back-aching, medium build. Letzter also notes that "back sleepers with large buttocks and more heavyset stomach sleepers might also appreciate the brand's softer cushion". 

    If you are in the market for a new mattress, or if you’ve just realized you’re tired of being tired and think the time is right for a change, now is the perfect time to order a Leesa mattress and try it out for yourself. Just use the code "FIREWORKS100" at checkout to get $75 off and a $25 Target gift card.

    Leesa's mattresses are available in the following sizes, and for the following prices: twin ($525), twin XL ($625), full ($790), queen ($890), king ($990), California king ($990). Click here for more purchasing information.

    DON'T MISS: These sheets are one of the best purchases I’ve ever made — here’s why

    SEE ALSO: This is the best online mattress to buy for every type of sleeper

    READ THIS: This wake-up light could make getting out of bed in the mornings a little less painful

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    WNSC Lifestyle Fitzroy 11As part of an ongoing series, each week Insider Picks features a product or store that’s poised for big things. The subject of this week's "We're Obsessed" segment is Bellroy, a company making quality, slim wallets that slip into your pocket with ease.

    It’s important for every guy to have a solid, reliable wallet. There are so few things that you have on your person everyday, so when it comes to your wallet, watch, and phone, it’s worthwhile to invest in something good. These are the items that you instinctively hit your pockets to check for before you leave your house, the bar, or anywhere else where your valuables might’ve shuffled around.

    Founded in 2010, Bellroy hatched a business plan based on a simple thesis: wallets are too bulky, and we can make them more beautiful, slim, and functional than anyone else. In the past six years they’ve been holding to that promise, constantly creating newer, smarter ways to access your most valuable goods.

    Below, we've collected some of our favorite products from Bellroy. Take a look around and see if one might be right to add to your back pocket.

    Adelgace su billetera 1

    SEE ALSO: We tested what might be one of the best pairs of driving loafers out there

    DON'T MISS: Guys, this is the one thing you need to keep your dress shirts clean

    Micro Sleeve

    The slimmest offering from Bellroy, the Micro Sleeve is perfect for anyone who fancies themselves a minimalist. With two slots to hold your most used cards and a pocket for cash, the Micro Sleeve provides one of the thinnest silhouettes available to your pocket.

    Bellroy Micro Sleeve, $64.95, available at Amazon.



    Note Sleeve

    This Note Sleeve is more roomy than the Micro, but will still fit flush in any pant pocket. It's available in a ton of colors, so you can personalize it to your liking, and comes with primary card pockets as well as space for both your cash and change.

    Bellroy Note Sleeve, $89.95, available at Amazon.



    Slim Sleeve

    The slim sleeve is probably my favorite on this list, as it opens and holds your goods in an order that feels instinctive and natural. Two primary card access slots are great for your ID and credit card, and a slim pull tab makes it easy to access all of your lesser used cards in the right interior pocket. And you even still have room for some cash.

    Bellroy Slim Sleeve, $79.95, available at Amazon.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    6a197641 615f 4f2c a406 cfec48186924As part of an ongoing series, each week Insider Picks features a product or store that’s poised for big things. The subject of this week's "We're Obsessed" segment is a clothing startup called Everlane.

    Quality basics for reasonable prices aren't so easy to come by anymore. Plain, white T-shirts go for as much as $45 at traditional retailers like J.Crew— and chances are, these shirts will only last you a season or two before needing to be replaced with something less shabby-looking. It's an unfortunate thing for shoppers; knowing what to buy and from where is all too tricky these days, and quality is often hard to judge on looks alone. 

    Everlane isn't a traditional retailer though. According to Business Insider's retail reporter, Mallory Schlossberg, the online clothing startup has a few great things going for it. Its quality basics for men, women, and kids are key. So, too, are its clear, millennial-friendly values and tech-savviness. Schlossberg, as well as editors at Re/Code and Racked, have deemed Everlane the next big thing in retail.

    While many retailers are trying too hard to be different and trendy, Everlane is quite literally sticking to the basics. If J.Crew and Banana Republic's tanking sales are any indication, the basics are what customers want. And Everlane has them in spades — from $15 cotton pocket tees to $58 oxford shirts, from $68 slim pants to $45 crew sweatshirts. 

    Unlike traditional retailers, high clothing markups are also nonexistent at Everlane; instead, the company promotes transparency. On its website, the retailer breaks down how much it costs to make its clothing (labor, materials, transporting the apparel, and duties). It compares its prices with those of traditional retailers. The hoodie sweatshirt pictured above, for instance, is $58 at Everlane, and Everlane claims traditional retailers would sell it for $100.

    To give you a better taste of what Everlane is all about, and why we're into it, we collected nine of our favorite men's pieces for spring. Have a look and see if anything catches your eye. While we've chosen to focus on guy's clothes and accessories here, there are great women's and kids' sections to peruse, too. 

     

    READ THIS: Every guy should be wearing this type of watch in the spring and summer

    SEE ALSO: Guys, these are the most comfortable jeans you'll ever wear

    DON'T MISS: This military-style jacket is everywhere this spring — and these are the best ones out there

    The Cotton V

    Milled in Los Angeles, this high-quality T-shirt retails for $18— and that feels reasonable. 

    The Cotton V, $18. (Traditional Retail: $45)



    The Slim Fit Poplin

    These button-downs look smart, and are made of lightweight cotton poplin, which will keep you much cooler than other fabrics in the spring and summer.

    The Slim Fit Poplin, $55. (Traditional Retail: $95)



    The Slim Pant

    A simple pair of chinos is a great alternative for days when you don't feel like putting on jeans. Depending on the color and fit you choose, Everlane's are easy to dress up or down. 

    The Slim Pant, $68. (Traditional Retail: $140)



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    InsiderPicks_Spotlight_luggageAs part of an ongoing series, each week Insider Picks features a product or store that’s poised for big things. The subject of this week's "We're Obsessed" segment is a direct-to-consumer luggage company called Away.

    Everyone should own a quality piece of luggage. Whether you’re a frequent business traveler or someone who only gets away for a few short trips a year doesn’t matter. At some point, you’ll be going somewhere and in need of something to safely stow all of your stuff.

    If you can afford the premium, I highly recommend giving smart luggage a try. I took long weekend trips to the Caribbean in May and Fort Collins, Colorado last weekend and tested out a carry-on suitcase from an up-and-coming company called Away for both jaunts. And it blew every other suitcase I've used out of the water. Once you go smart with your luggage, you won't want to travel any other way.

    Founded by two former Warby Parker alums, the direct-to-consumer startup bills itself as "first-class luggage at a coach price."  Starting at $225 for Away's hardshell carry-on size, that's hundreds of dollars cheaper than the brands I'd compare it to — high-end brands like Tumi and Rimowa whose carry-ons typically retail for $500 or more. The startups mid- and large-size cases go for $275 and $295, respectively. That's not bad at all. Especially if you want something more than halfway decent.

    unspecified 1

    The reasons for Away's quick rise in the luggage industry are simple — its products rival some of the best brands in the space and house cool new 'smart' features. 

    On top of that, customers love how durable, flexible, and ultra lightweight the suitcases are and how premium they look for the price. They're good value any way you look at it. As someone who's extremely discerning when it comes to buying everything from bed sheets to hoodies (it's my job, after all), I'm comfortable saying Away's carry-on is hands down the best suitcase I've ever used. 

    As for my favorite features about the carry-on suitcase:

    • The carry-on's body is spacious enough for a three- or four-day weekend's worth of stuff, with a handy compartment for my MacBook Air and a laundry bag for my dirty clothes. 
    • It comes with a removable interior 10,000 mAh battery and two USB ports, which means charging up at the airport is more convenient than ever. 
    • Its exterior is water-resistant, capable of protecting my stuff from wet grass, dirty floors, and sudden summer showers. And it looks great to boot!
    • Its four 360° spinner wheels make moving around the airport a breeze. 
    • There's also a TSA-approved combination lock built into the top of the bag — the zippers slot right in. This was added peace of mind when I ended up having to gate-check it on my way to Fort Collins, CO due to lack of overhead space on my flight.  

    unspecified 2

    Now, I realize a $225 suitcase won't win everyone over, but if you value style, convenience, and durability, as I do, this will be a practical travel companion for future trips

    Away's suitcases are available in four great colors and in the following sizes and bundles: carry-on ($225), medium ($275), large ($295), carry-on and medium ($450), carry-on and large ($475), all three ($695). Click here for more purchasing information.

    DON'T MISS: These sheets are one of the best purchases I’ve ever made — here’s why

    SEE ALSO: I tested what might be one of the best weekend bags out there

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Insider Picks Spotlight avi 8 2As part of an ongoing series, each week Insider Picks features a product or store that’s poised for big things. The subject of this week's "We're Obsessed" segment is AVI-8, a company bringing beautiful pilot watches to the masses.

    Finding the right watch is no easy task, especially to those new to the industry. You can play it safe and go for something simple, or if you’re lucky, find a timepiece that matches your style in a personal way. Mostly, it’s important to find a watch that you will be excited to wear, and it helps when you can find a great one at a reasonable price.

    AVI-8 prides itself in making quality pilot watches of all sorts, and making them affordable. While we have covered some more simple watch looks in this space before, AVI-8's are a bit bolder and feature add-ons that serve purposes in addition to telling time. These add-ons (called “complications” in watch parlance) can be anything from the date to moon phases to chronographs. Complications allow you to more personally tailor a watch to whatever information you’d like to see every time you look down at your wrist. For WWI and WWII pilots, these complications were common, as it was often important for more information to be readily available to them than simply the time of day.

    While I still enjoy the look and simplicity of a watch free of complications, it’s easy to see the appeal of pilot watches with a bit more to display, and AVI-8 has worked for years to create a product that is beautiful, functional, and accessible to all consumers. Below we’re highlighting some of our favorite looks from the company.

    While you browse, keep an eye out for complications that you’d like to see on your wrist. Whether you're looking for a stylish gift to give your dad for Father's Day, or a nice piece of new wristwear for yourself, AVI-8 is a great place to start you search.

    SEE ALSO: 22 gifts your dad actually wants this Father's Day

    DON'T MISS: This brand's affordable pilot watches are excellent choices for stylish guys

    AV-4041-01 Hawker Hurricane Japanese Quartz Brown Watch

    This Hawker Hurricane has some pop to it, with its silver-on-white aesthetic immediately drawing the eye in. It comes complete with chronograph functionality and a small date indicator.

    AV-4041-01 Hawker Hurricane Japanese Quartz Brown Watch, $180, available at Amazon.



    AV-4011-05 Hawker Hurricane Stainless Steel Watch with Brown Leather Band

    The forest green face of this Hawker Hurricane is a nice change of pace from what you might be used to seeing in watches. Additionally, the piece works as a chronograph and includes a tachymeter on the ring, which can be used to measure speed, if you're interested in bringing back some old school math skills.

    AV-4011-05 Hawker Hurricane Stainless Steel Watch with Brown Leather Band, $164.50, available at Amazon.



    AV-4036-04 Hawker Hunter Analog Display Japanese Quartz Black Watch

    The blue-on-black look from the Hawker Hunter is immediately pleasing to my eye. This watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters and works as a chronograph. It also comes with an additional nylon strap, if you want to switch up your style every once and a while.

    AV-4036-04 Hawker Hunter Analog Display Japanese Quartz Black Watch, $189, available at Amazon.



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    ac6a3e30 dde5 4181 8cc6 dc93ccb1bbe3

    As part of an ongoing series, each week Insider Picks features a product or store that’s poised for big things. The subject of this week's "We're Obsessed" segment is a men's dress shoes startup called Jack Erwin .

    Dress shoes pose a conundrum for many guys: On the one hand, you want your shoes to be comfortable and of high craftsmanship; on the other hand, you don't want to have to spend upwards of $500 on a pair to get those features.  

    Paying for quality is smart, but not everyone can (or wants to) spend more than $200 on a pair of black lace-ups or loafers. This notion resonated with Ariel Nelson and Lane Gerson, cofounders of the wildly successful men's footwear company Jack Erwin — so much so that they quit their day jobs to start this venture.

    "We built Jack Erwin because we couldn't find the shoe we wanted— so really we are the best representation of our customer. We focus on what we would want from a brand and go with it," Nelson and Gerson told Business Insider.

    Since launching the direct-to-consumer company back in 2013, Jack Erwin has come to offer 16 different "well-made, beautifully designed shoes at an affordable price," ranging from suede driving loafers to leather bluchers and boat shoes. In keeping with the mindset of company's namesakes (Nelson and Gerson's fathers, "two men who appreciate great shoes, but who will never pay more than $200 on a pair"), the most expensive three pairs in its collection are just $220. The other 13 are less than $200. 

    For today's wolves of Wall Street, that's a deal. For comparison's sake, the average Salvatore Ferragamo loafer will set you back at least $500, if not $600 or $700. Even Allen Edmonds dress shoes, which are by and large what the majority of finance guys wear (or aspire to wear) on a daily basis, run closer to $400 a pair on average.

    Accessibility is a very much an issue in the men's dress shoe market; and it's one Jack Erwin is tackling — not only by offering its customers affordable prices, but by accompanying those prices with style and comfort that can rival much pricier pairs. "After the break in period, comfort is very important," Gerson explained to us. "To really look good and feel good you have to be comfortable. We have worked with our factories in Spain to find high-quality leathers that soften as they wear. We've increased the flexibility of our insole boards and leather outsoles, and we've introduced rubber sole options to further address comfort and durability," added Nelson. They just look great on top of that. 

    If you're in the market for new oxfords for work, or casual loafers for weekends, have a look. All signs point to Jack Erwin being a solid investment. 

    DON'T MISS: 6 of the best wallets you can buy for under $100 right now

    SEE ALSO: We tested what might be the best dress shoes out there

    READ THIS: This startup makes the most comfortable pair of underwear I’ve ever worn

    Joe

    The "Joe" is your classic black lace-up — a staple for every guy's closet. The cofounders told us one to two wears should be enough to fully break them in. 

    Joe Cap-Toe Oxford (Foster Collection), $195.



    Hubert

    You may need up to five wears to fully break in these Goodyear-welted bluchers, but after that, the leather should begin soften and conform to your feet. Their a brogued overlay and traditional long-wing details are nice touches for the modern gentleman who's concerned with style as well as comfort. 

    Hubert Long Wing Blucher (Sullivan Collection), $195.



    Archie

    The "Archie" is your classic penny loafer, which should go well suit suits and jeans alike. It, too, is Goodyear constructed.

    Archie Penny Loafer (Sullivan Collection), $195.



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    12291965_1705057203065295_1135822248652483878_oAs part of an ongoing series, Insider Picks features products or stores poised for big things. The subject of this spotlight is an online mattress company called Helix

    In the past few years, direct-to-consumer companies have flourished thanks to innovations in technology, advertising, and branding. Through niche targeting and strategic use of social media, companies that would’ve had to rely on storefronts in earlier years can now market and ship their products directly to customers.

    One surprising market that has flourished in this space is online mattresses. Shopping for mattresses was once awkward and inconvenient; laying down in a warehouse with a sales clerk next to you is hardly the best way to judge your level of comfort.

    While we’ve already covered Leesaand Tuft & Needle mattresses in this space before, there is another competitor that is probably worth your attention as well, especially if you are in the market for a new one.

    Helix specializes in bringing a mattress custom made for you right to your home, with the goal of providing you with unprecedented levels of comfort. After filling out a questionnaire with information such as your height, weight, firmness preferences and sleeping style, Helix will develop your very own sleep profile, which will be analyzed to optimize the performance of your mattress.

    Screen Shot 2016 07 13 at 4.24.31 PM

    The experts at Helix know sleep better than I do (which is impressive, as I sleep more than most people I know), and when it comes to the recharging process that consumes about one third of your hours on earth, it’s probably a good idea to listen to the experts, or at least hear them out. Whereas Casper and others have focused on making a mattress that works for everyone, Helix, for a slightly higher cost, wants to make one customized specifically for you (and your partner).

    One of Helix Sleep's main selling points is the ability to create a split mattress for couples. In their research, they’ve found that most couples are drawn to these split beds, which customize each side of the bed for a different type of sleeper. This fact in itself suggests to the founders that there is a market for their product, that people want "custom."

    On top of that, Helix, like the rest of the mattress startups, offers a 100-day risk-free trial period, during which you can test out your bed to make sure it’s the mattress that’s right for you. Even if you are torn between brands, you have the chance to sleep a month or two on both mattresses before you’re locked into your commitment.

    If you're considering buying a new mattress, and you're ready to forgo those sketchy showrooms, have a look at Helix. More than anything, buying a mattress is easier than ever, and for that, we are thankful.

    Helix's mattresses are available in the following sizes: twin ($600), twin XL ($700), full ($850), queen ($995), king ($1,195), California king ($1,195). Click here for more purchasing information.

    This article was originally published on 7/13/2016.

    DON'T MISS: These sheets are one of the best purchases I’ve ever made — here’s why

    SEE ALSO: This wake-up light could make getting out of bed in the mornings a little less painful

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    2a88d9b2 b077 457f 9267 952e6cf13612As part of an ongoing series, each week Insider Picks features a product or store that’s poised for big things. The subject of this week's "We're Obsessed" segment is a direct-to-consumer men's dress shoe company called Paul Evans.

    There are a handful of direct-to-consumer men's dress shoe startups that have cropped up in the last couple of years — we've even written about some of them before— but each is focused on a different part of the $6 billion global men's dress shoe market.

    While Jack Erwin targets the affordable end of the shoe spectrum, Wolf & Shepherd seeks to draw guys in with comfort first, and Awl & Sundry goes after more fashion-forward consumers, Paul Evans competes on the luxury end of the market, drawing comparisons to the likes of Berluti and John Lobb in terms of style and craftsmanship. However, Paul Evans' cofounders, Ben Earley and Evan Fript, make the argument that their company's price point is much more attractive than the aforementioned luxury brands because of its direct-to-consumer business model. We're inclined to agree with them.

    CEO and cofounder Fript told Business Insider: 

    [Paul Evans'] goal from the beginning has been to help men everywhere step up their shoe game. And to do that, we had to go direct. There are plenty of brands out there that produce mediocre-quality footwear with retail price points up to $1,000; we didn't want to be another one of those brands. Our focus has been on creating very stylish, high-quality products produced in the finest footwear factory in Italy and selling them internationally and directly to our customers via our website.

    While Paul Evans' shoes are far from what anyone would call "cheap," they're an amazing value for the price you're getting them at, which is generally around $350-$400 for oxfords and loafers and $400-$450 for boots. That's hundreds less than what you'd spend on a typical pair of Ferragamos, but you wouldn't know that based on looks alone. 

    2Q== 1

    That value extends far beyond style, color, and price. As Manhattanites who walk everywhere, Earley and Fript have made comfort a primary focus as well. "What's the point of spending money on a product if you can't use it?" Fript asked us. "We have been focused on comfort from the beginning and construct all of our shoes using the Blake construction method. It's an Italian tradition and results in a very light, flexible, and comfortable shoe, plus you can get our shoes resoled as needed."

    Since launching the company in August 2013, Paul Evans has come to offer 17 different shoe styles — ranging from Italian calfskin leather oxfords and Chelsea boots to suede Penny loafers and chukkas. They've got guys comfortably covered no matter the occasion. And, if cared for properly, these styles should last for many, many years. 

    If you're in the market for new oxfords for work, or casual loafers for weekends, have a look at some of our favorite picks below. All signs point to Paul Evans being the right investment. 

    DON'T MISS: These are hands down the most comfortable dress shoes you’ll ever wear

    SEE ALSO: 13 essentials every guy needs for fall

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    The Cagney Cap-Toe Oxford

    Every man should own cap-toe oxfords for when he needs to wear a suit and tie.

    The Cagney Cap-Toe Oxford, $399.

     



    The Newman Chukka Boot

    Fript recommends a chukka boot for non-work events where you still want to look good, but don't want to feel too formal. 

    The Newman Chukka Boot, $399.



    The Martin Wholecut Oxford

    For wedding season, Fript also recommends owning a pair of Paul Evans wholecut oxfords to go with tuxedos.

    The Martin Wholecut Oxford, $399.



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    romane stretching_1024x1024_9d7f1e9f ddba 4775 8bbd 5d17e4e8bd89_1024x1024A set of high-quality sheets is a must-have for any bedroom. They look great, they feel even better, and they can genuinely offer you a better night's sleep for the third of your life you spend doing just that. I've said as much in previous articles.

    With so many options to choose from, though, shopping for a set can be confusing and overwhelming if you don't know exactly what you're looking to get.

    Brooklinen is a direct-to-consumer bedding startup that's making choosing so much easier today. It's also an Insider Picks favorite.

    For 51 weeks out of the year Brooklinen never, ever puts their products on sale. However, this week is the exception to that rule when everything in the store is on sale.

    Readers can take advantage of Brooklinen's Cyber Monday deal and get 10% off orders over $250, 15% off orders over $350, and 20% off orders over $450, plus free shipping and a free $35 scented candle. 

    Launched on Kickstarter in April 2014 by the husband-and-wife team of Vicki and Rich Fulop, Brooklinen offers its customers high-quality sheets and super reasonable prices. I'll go so far as to say Brooklinen's sheets are the best bang for your buck on the market. 

    Price aside, it's the look of them that sold me when I first purchased the Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle back in September 2015. Vicki Fulop said it best in an interview with Business Insider: "The sheets are simple, classic, clean, and timeless." I don't know about everybody else, but that's exactly what I want in my sheets. Brooklinen's whites, grays, and navys look mature and understated.

    I'm also happy to report that after over a year of use, my Smoke Stripe and Windowpane sheet bundles (these are both primarily white bundles) have yet to yellow in the wash; they're still as crisp white as they were the day they were shipped to my door. And they've only gotten more comfortable over time. 

    What I recommend:
    Classic Hardcore Sheet Bundle or Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle and Mid-Plush Down Pillows

    Cost: $179.25 or $228 for Queen-size bundles, respectively; $69 apiece for standard-size pillows (read Insider Picks' full review of Brooklinen's pillows here)

    What you get: Flat sheet, fitted sheet, duvet cover, and four pillowcases

    Comes in sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king

    Comes in colors/patterns: 10 solid colors and patterns that can be mixed and matched to your liking

    Great for: Anyone looking for great-looking, high-quality sheets and pillows for an affordable price

    If you've been on the fence about making your first purchase, looking to get a second set, or want to give an extra comfortable and useful gift, now is the time. 

    You can check out Brooklinen's full collection here.

    DON'T MISS: Cyber Monday has a lot of great tech on sale, but these are the gadgets actually worth buying

    SEE ALSO: This bedding startup's pillows are some of the best I've used, and they're worth every penny

    READ THIS: Amazon's Cyber Monday deals are just getting started — these are the ones you should care about

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    unnamed 3_720As part of an ongoing series, each week Insider Picks features a product or store that’s poised for big things. The subject of this week's spotlight is a tech-accessory maker called Anker.

    The tech accessory market is as dense as it is big. It's a cluttered space, where thousands of similar-looking products in a handful of useful product categories are trying to get your attention. In that kind of environment, it's hard to get noticed, but Anker caught my eye and has kept me as a customer since I started using their products in 2014.

    Anker specializes on making low-cost products in what I call the "essential tech accessories" market. Formed in 2009 by former Google employees, Anker claims their vision is to "create a world where mobile truly means mobile. A world where nothing holds you back from where you want to go, or what you want to do." This explains their heavy coverage of cables, USB batteries, and portable Bluetooth speakers. 

    The way Anker separates themselves from the pack is by focusing on quality and customer support, both of which I've experienced firsthand. Their packaging is good enough to be considered Apple-like, and each time I buy one of their products I'm reminded of the attention to detail. I've never received an Anker product that has been in anything less than perfect condition.

    But, sometimes things break. Hey, it happens. I'll admit that if I spent under $10 on an item and it broke after a few months, I probably wouldn't bother trying to get it replaced. I'd think twice before buying another product from that company, and wouldn't recommend that product or company to my friends and family, but it's not a huge loss. But Anker goes out of their way to tout their 18-month warranty on all of their product's pages. So, when one of my keyboards stopped working after only nine months, I sent an e-mail to their customer support system.

    My e-mail was sent on a Friday, and I received a response the following Monday. Then, I went on a trip for a week and only got around to sending a follow up e-mail a week later. The same support representative responded promptly, and, because the keyboard I bought wasn't being sold anymore, I received a no-questions-asked refund. I wasn't asked to send the keyboard back for inspection.

    The only information I needed to provide was my Amazon order number, the product's serial number, and my home address (presumably to send me a new unit if possible.) My refund was processed quickly and I spent that money on, unsurprisingly, a new Anker keyboard. 

    Having pride in the presentation and durability of their products makes Anker easy enough to recommend, but their excellent customer service pushes them over the edge. In a space where many companies like to remain virtually nameless, faceless, and not responsible, Anker's approach is a breath of fresh air.

    While I've highlighted some of the products that I've used or think are most useful, I can vouch for the overall quality of all Anker products; they haven't let me down yet.

    SEE ALSO: 50 must-have tech accessories under $50

    DON'T MISS: I've written about a bunch of great smart-home tech, but these are the gadgets I use every day — here's why

    Quick Charge 2.0 Dual USB Car Charger

    I only use one device in the car, but if I decide to add another, or be really nice to whoever is riding shotgun, I'll pick one of these up. Supporting quickcharge for devices that can take advantage of it is a nice touch. 

    Anker Dual Quick Charge 2.0 USB Car Charger, $19.99, available on Amazon



    SoundCore Sport XL Portable Bluetooth Speaker

    This is my favorite small Bluetooth speaker. Its sound is clear, even when loud, and it's become a permanent fixture in my kitchen. Plus, it's waterproof and dustproof, so I don't worry about taking it by the pool or beach.

    Anker SoundCore Sport XL, $59.99, available on Amazon



    PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger

    I don't go on a trip without an Anker battery. It saved my bacon during an unexpected overnight layover in Germany last year, and a delayed flight to Florida earlier this month. Capable of charging your phone multiple times, Anker's batteries charge quickly and work solidly. 

    Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger, $21.99, available on Amazon



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    fe51253e 2b29 4944 a110 5587d7745544As part of an ongoing series, each week Insider Picks features a product or store that’s poised for big things. The subject of this week's spotlight is a direct-to-consumer home essentials brand called Parachute.

    Everyone should own a set of bed sheets they'd be comfortable showing off if they had company over to their home. It's a sign of maturity that conveys you're living in an adult space now, not a dorm room.

    You spend about a third of your life in bed, too, which is all the more reason to cough up the money for something as essential to your home as sheets. 

    If you decide to skip the trip to the mall and go the direct-to-consumer route, which is traditionally more cost-efficient for companies and consumers alike, there are some great options to consider — Parachute is one of them.

    Parachute sells great-looking, no-fuss, luxury bedding at a reasonable price. To give you an idea, it's queen-sized Venice sheet sets retail for $299 (for percale and sateen) and $399 (for linen) and include a duvet cover, a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. That's a considerable amount less than industry standards like Frette, which markup sheets by as much as 220%, according to The Wall Street Journal

    "You might also be surprised to learn that half of Parachute’s customers are male" founder and CEO Ariel Kaye told Business Insider. This can probably be attributed to Parachute's "minimal style and natural color palette, which appeals to both men and women." 

    Navy SateenThe neutral sheets complement a variety of design aesthetics; they're also amazingly comfortable — this is going to be the most important factor for the majority of shoppers.

    Since not everyone is knowledgeable about the vagaries of fabrics, though, we asked Kaye to break down the differences among the brand's percale, sateen, and linen sheets, and who they'd be most suited to:

    • Our percale is cool and crisp to the touch — we often compare it to the perfect white button down shirt. This fabric goes through a stonewashed process which gives it a soft texture and a more casual appearance. Percale is also very breathable, making it appropriate for hot sleepers, and it will get softer with continued use. Many brands use synthetic finishes to expedite this process, but this is something we have chosen to avoid.
    • Our sateen is extremely soft and smooth. We call it a matte sateen since it doesn't have the overly shiny appearance typically associated with the fabric. It's lustrous, elegant, and the more luxurious of our fabrics. Sateen is also naturally more wrinkle resistant.
    • Our linen is a natural fiber made from the flax plant and is a stronger and more durable alternative to cotton. The fabric is garment dyed and washed to relax the fibers, resulting in a softened fabric which becomes more supple with each wash. Light and airy, linen is perfect for balmy climates and those seeking a classic, casual appearance.

    Graphite Essential Quilt (1)If your bed sheets could stand to be upgraded (and they probably can), have a look at Parachute. Your living space should complement the thoroughly grown-up achievements of your daily life, and this brand is a good value all around.

    For those who'd like something quick, easy, and all-encompassing, go with one of the Venice bedding sets. For those who'd prefer to customize their sleep experience, check out Parachute's separates section, which lets create your own set piece by piece. All told, neither option should put too big of a dent in your wallet. 

    Parachute's bedding is available for twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king-sized mattresses. 

    DON'T MISS: These are the sheets I sleep on every night, and I’ve never slept better

    SEE ALSO: 20 must-have tech accessories under $20

    READ THIS: 25 awesome and weird things we bought using Amazon Prime

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    BI Insider picks brooklinen 4x3

    • As part of an ongoing series, Insider Picks features products or stores poised for big things. The subject of this spotlight is a direct-to-consumer bedding startup called Brooklinen
    • From November 20 - November 24, you can take advantage of the following Black Friday deals: Spend $150 and get a free $35 scented candle of your choice; spend $250 and get a candle plus 10% off; spend $350 and get a candle plus 20% off; and spend $350 and get a candle plus 20% off.
    • Take advantage of Brooklinen's Black Friday discounts here.

    I've waxed poetic on why everyone should own a high-quality set of bed sheets before. They look great, they feel even better, and they can genuinely offer you a better night's sleep for the third of your life you spend doing just that. The only real argument to be made against them is their price. 

    Luxury bedding doesn't come cheap. Even in the direct-to-consumer space — which is leaps and bounds more affordable than traditional retailers like Frette, which marks up its sheets by as much as 220%— finding genuine "deals" and "good values" is next to impossible. You still end up spending somewhere around $300 or $400 on a new set of sheets from startups like Parachute and Boll & Branch. The missions of these companies are steps in the right direction, and their products are excellent, however, their price points are still pretty high for most shoppers.

    Brooklinen is different.  

    Launched on Kickstarter in April 2014 by husband-and-wife team Vicki and Rich Fulop, Brooklinen is quickly gaining a reputation for its high-quality products and reasonable price points.

    "The outcome of the [Kickstarter] campaign was extremely successful," Vicki Fulop told Business Insider. "We set our goal at $50,000, and we wound up selling $237,000 in sheets. It was surreal — we couldn’t believe it."

    The company pulled in $2.5 million in 2015 — it's first full year in business — $25 million in 2016, and is on course to do more than $50 million in 2017. And what's more, 20% of Brooklinen's customers (myself included) also reorder from them. That's the kind of meteoric success you just can't argue with. 

    The reasons for Brooklinen's quick rise in the bedding industry are simple: Customers love their sheets — how they feel and how they look — and they love the value they're getting from them even more. As someone who's been sleeping on their sheets for two years now, I'm comfortable saying they are hands down the best sheets I've ever put on my bed. Perhaps more importantly, they didn't cost me a small fortune either.

    stacked sheets on chair_4297bdc0 2395 4610 aeb9 1db925385224_1024x1024

    I like Brooklinen's Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle. For queen beds like mine, the bundle retails for $228 and comes with a duvet cover, a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and four pillowcases — i.e. everything you need. They also sell a Classic Hardcore Sheet Bundle that retails for $195 and includes the same items if you're not looking to spend as much.

    Below are the specifications for Brooklinen's Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle according to its website:

    • Sheet set includes: 1 duvet cover, 1 flat sheet, 1 fitted sheet, and 4 pillowcases
    • 480-thread-count sateen weave is guaranteed to provide a better sleep experience with each use
    • Made from 100% long staple cotton that is Oeko-Tex certified to be free of harmful chemicals
    • Fitted sheet features a 15-inch-deep pocket that accommodates/fits most mattresses

    Price aside, it's the look that really sold me on them. Vicki Fulop says it best: "The sheets are simple, classic, clean, and timeless." I don't know about everybody else, but that's exactly what I want in my sheets. Brooklinen's plain whites, grays, and navys look mature and understated. 

    I'm also happy to report that after two years of use, my Smoke Stripe and Windowpane sheet bundles (these are both primarily white) have yet to yellow in the wash; they're still as crisp white as they were the day they were shipped to my door. They've only gotten more comfortable over time, too. 

    Further, Brooklinen's practices sit right with me. "We do not have a store-front, we don’t pay slotting fees, licensing fees, or distribution fees, and we are trying to put as large a percentage of the cost into the materials and construction of our sheets as possible," Vicki Fulop told me. "We have also chosen to work with partners who are located in developed countries that have free trade agreements with the US. This enables us to avoid paying tariffs on the sheets we import, while also ensuring that our partners manufacture responsibly and treat their workers fairly." I'm of the mindset that it's small businesses with values (and products) like Brooklinen that we, as customers, should be supporting. But that's just me. 

    Luna in bed_79903e44 09f0 49fd bd9a 4de4b5fb0a7f_1024x1024

    If your bed sheets could stand to be upgraded (and they probably can), head over to Brooklinen and have a look. Your living space should complement the thoroughly grown-up achievements of your daily life, and this brand is a good value every way you look at it.

    Brooklinen's bedding is available for twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king-sized mattresses. My recommendation is to go for one of the company's all-inclusive sheet bundles, but you're also free to buy just a duvet cover or couple of pillowcases.

    Brooklinen Classic Hardcore Sheet Bundle (Queen), $195

    BrooklinenLuxe Hardcore Bundle Set (Queen), $228

    This article was originally published on 5/5/2016 and has been updated. 

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    SEE ALSO: This bedding startup's pillows are some of the best I've used, and they're worth every penny

    Join the conversation about this story »