Trailblazers to follow: Mark Aramli of BedJet
By Bob Curley
Mark Aramli describes himself as “a perpetually sweaty, hot sleeper,” which might be more than you want to know about this Newport entrepreneur except that this perpetual discomfort led him to invent one of the coolest (and hottest) sleeping aids on the market: BedJet.
A device that regulates in-bed temperature, BedJet works by pumping a stream of cooled or heated air between the sheets. A “cloudsheet” that takes the place of the topsheet on the bed has special chambers that diffuse air onto the sleeper. “We’re not just blowing air into the bed,” says Aramli.
Got a bedmate with a different degree of sleep comfort? No problem! Studies show that half of couples habitually fight over the thermostat ,but BedJet can operate in two zones, so each person gets a good night’s sleep.
Aramli, a Connecticut native, once worked on climate control systems for NASA and wondered, “How is it I helped astronauts be comfortable in the most hostile environment in the universe and I’m hot in my own bed?” A stay at a luxury hotel where guests were provided heated towels reinforced the idea: “It would be great if I could press a button and get the temparature I wanted… I was fixing a problem for me.”
Having lived everywhere from Milan, Italy to Santa Monica, California, Aramli was looking to put down roots close to his family but in a walking city close to the ocean. He relocated to Newport — “my last and final stop” — and began designing his dream device. The concept landed him an appearance on the “SharkTank” television show.
“I went in pretty hopeful, but they chased me off the stage,” says Aramli. “It went as far south as it could go. Fast forward eight years, and it’s in the top 10 most-successful fails from the show.” But while the celebrity judges weren’t fans, Aramli found plenty of believers in Rhode Island, and they helped him raise more than $1.2 million via Kickstarter to launch the product.
BedJet, which retails between $300and $900, depending on the model chosen, is now sold in 40 countries. The company has shipped more than 200,000 units, and sales have increased every year since it was founded. “It’s the largest homegrown company in Newport,” says Aramli.
BedJet can cool a bed in 10 seconds or heat it to the desired temperature in one minute, and Aramli envisions a day when millions of people have a BedJet in their home. Home air conditioning, he notes, didn’t even exist until the 1930s — nor did air conditioners in cars.
“Do you remember the first time you sat in a heated car seat? Now everyone heats their home and car, and 100 percent of cars have air conditioning, many have heated seats, and we’re headed toward cool seats,” says Aramli. “This is the future of the bedroom.”
Aramli says BedJet’s customers include menopausal women beset by hot flashes, chemotherapy patients struggling with night sweats, and anyone else whose sleep is chronically disturbed by temperature issues. The company has landed a few high-profile clients — the New York Jets purchased BedJets for their entire team — but sales are mostly word-of-mouth.
Marketing is limited to online, but BedJet is one of the top-rated products in Amazon’s mattress category, says Aramli.
People who are willing to spend $1,000 or more on a mattress or an adjustable bed won’t balk at the cost of a BedJet, Aramli says, and there’s a cost-savings and energy efficiency argument to be made in its favor, too.
“Why cool or heat your whole house at night when all you care about is between the sheets?” Aramli asks. “You can easily lower your air conditioning by 40 percent, pay for BedJet in less than a year, and sleep better.”
With sales of BedJet increasing 25 percent year-over-year, Aramli is looking at the next big thing in sleep — an adjustable bed that incorporates BedJet for the ultimate in controllable comfort. “People’s behavior in the bedroom has changed,” says Aramli, with more people watching TV or even working in bed.
With 15 employees in Newport and firmly established roots in the community — the Aramli Foundation has donated more than$120,000 to Aquidneck Island charities that provide housing and support to low-income families —Aramli is grateful for the support he’s received in his adopted hometown, where he’s a recent addition to City Council and serves as an At-Large Councilor. “I’m most proud that we’ve done this in Newport and with the local talent here,” he says.
“I sleep great,” says Aramli.