WITH NO EXPERIENCE IN MANUFACTURING, THIS CITY COUPLE FOUNDED ONE OF COUNTRY’S FASTEST-GROWING DIRECT TO CONSUMER COMPANIES
BY EVAN MONROE
During the summer of 2012, newlyweds Vicky and Rich Fulop, while on vacation in Vegas, had one of those common observations and determinations that also, almost universally, don’t get acted upon. “What amazing sheets!” they observed of their hotel linens. “People in the city would go nuts for these.” After inquiring, the couple discovered that the sheets commanded an eye-popping $800 price tag, and in time became convinced that they could offer the same quality at a radically reduced price.
Neither had any background in manufacturing, let alone textile making, though there was significant brainpower to apply. A 2003 graduate of New York University, Rich spent four years in the finance industry until the 2008 recession forced a career rethink. He returned to NYU to sharpen his entrepreneurial skills at Stern School of Business, on a full scholarship. Vicki, an American immigrant from Belarus, also graduated from NYU (in 2007), then went on to Brooklyn Law School, earned her law degree there, and ultimately pursued a career in beauty and fashion. Her first professional position within that realm was at Tory Burch, followed by stints at a beauty PR agency, for which she publicized brands Lancôme and John Frieda, among others.
The e-commerce company they ultimately founded is Brooklinen, headquartered in Dumbo. From the beginning, the concept was, as the pair explained, “to create a modern and inviting shopping experience something that was minimalist, clean, simple, and effortless.” Its foundational principle was disarmingly simple: utilize high-end manufacturing processes for sheets, towels, blankets, pillowcases, and other linen items, along with accessories like candles, but avoid the expense of brick and mortar retail locations and typical multimedia marketing campaigns. Such upper-tier maker processes include the use of long cotton fibers, which can be spun into stronger, finer yarns and produce smooth and supple weaves; single-ply yarn, which likewise produces finer, stronger threads; and of course, an enviable thread count (the number woven together in a square inch of fabric). Both were quick to add, however, that buyers shouldn’t be deceived by the last figure.
Offices (not retail location): 81 Prospect Street / brooklinen.com