Parachute CEO Ariel Kaye On Bringing A Holistic Approach To The Textile Industry

October 4, 2021

The Crunchbase “Female Founder Series” comprises stories, Q&As and thought-leadership pieces from glass-ceiling-smashers who overcame the odds and are now leading successful companies.


Ariel Kaye is the sole-founder and CEO of Parachute. Since its launching in 2014, Kaye has evolved Parachute from a small digitally native offering of premium bedding into a beloved lifestyle brand with 11 brick-and-mortar locations across the country.

Under Ariel’s leadership, the brand has launched numerous collaborations with premium retailers and artisan makers including Crate & Barrel, Madewell, A.L.C., OSEA and more. Prior to Parachute, Kaye worked in advertising at top firms including Digitas and Goldin and received her bachelor’s degree in media studies with honors from NYU, then further pursued her master’s in media studies from The New School. Kaye currently resides with her husband and two young children in Los Angeles. 

In this Q&A, Kaye shares her journey to becoming a founder, what changes she needed to make to keep her company growing, and what advice she has for other women beginning their entrepreneurial journeys. 

Ariel Kaye, Founder and CEO of Parachute headshot
Ariel Kaye, Founder and CEO of Parachute

Q: What issues did you see in the home goods and bedding field/profession before you started your company?

I saw customers growing increasingly aware of the benefits of a good night’s sleep and the impact it can have on their overall wellness. However, there wasn’t a bedding or home brand that was connecting with shoppers in a holistic way–and there was no brand loyalty in the market. Furthermore, I wasn’t able to find the type of quality, design and shopping experience I was looking for without spending an arm and a leg. I knew if I could build trust in this category the sky would be the limit.  

 

Q: What inspired you to start your company and what problems were you trying to solve?

I was a super-consumer of home goods, and when it came to bedding, I couldn’t find a single brand that was high quality, affordable, or easy to buy. I also realized that no one had an association with brands when they bought their sheets. As someone who built brands in advertising, I recognized a true business opportunity–there was a serious void in the market. This is when I had my “aha” moment. 

We wanted to provide a more holistic approach to shopping for home textiles. We want to design the best home essentials and partner with the best craftspeople around the globe to make them. I want people to know us as a brand that is consistently great, avoids shortcuts and always delivers a quality product. We’ve created a community dedicated to comfort, both online and off. 

 

Q: What is your advice for other female founders at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journeys?

A great piece of advice I received and would encourage others to take to heart: Talk to everyone–you never know who is going to point you in the right direction to help you achieve your goal. Ask questions, seek out a network of other entrepreneurs who are a bit further down the process from where you are to learn from their experiences. You have to be your own biggest advocate and be relentless in your determination–get out of your comfort zone.

 

Q: How did you network and make the connections you needed to succeed? What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as the founder when speaking to investors?

I was very fortunate to join Launchpad, an accelerator program, where I was quickly introduced to investors, mentors and other entrepreneurs who were all extremely helpful in getting my business up and running, and who continue to support me today. 

When I started talking to investors, I received feedback that the way I talked about Parachute was too relaxed and my overall energy was too chill. I shifted my pitch to show my hustle, drive and unrelenting passion. Every time I spoke to a potential investor, I made sure they didn’t leave the room without feeling my intensity and excitement. I was determined, and although starting a brand is extremely challenging, they needed to know I was never going to give up.

 

Q: What do you find most rewarding about your experience as a founder so far?

Creating something that people care about and that has an impact are my favorite parts of being an entrepreneur. Our customers are at the center of everything we do, from developing new products that help them start and end their days feeling their very best, to creating unique and engaging shopping experiences right in their neighborhoods. Thinking of the looks on our customers’ faces when they touch or feel our products for the first time, or find the exact inspiration they are looking for in one of our stores, is extremely rewarding.