Woolly, a magazine from Casper.


BEDTIME STORY: At a time when publishers are dropping print editions with alarming frequency, to hear that a venture-capital-backed online mattress retailer is launching a magazine seems, in 2017, to almost make sense.

Casper, the mattress-in-a-box purveyor, is launching Woolly, a quarterly that stems from the idea that Casper sells more than just mattresses, or even sleep — but also relaxation and comfort.

“Most Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, and even when they are lying in bed, it’s this never-ending cycle of checking the news feed, staying on top of Twitter, nonstop Instagram. There is something really important to not just sleep, but relaxing and winding down and unplugging. And we think that’s so important to wellness and comfort,” said Lindsay Kaplan, Casper’s vice president of communications and brand engagement. “It’s a frenetic world and it’s very hard to chill out, and Woolly is a place to humorously speak to the elements of wellness that people look to find some safety in this crazy world.”

The title boasts brightly colored illustrations; irreverent first-person pieces with headlines like “the best comfort food is all of them” by the magazine’s editor, John DeVore, and a coloring book section where adults can celebrate accomplishments like flossing and paying bills. It definitely offers a quirky take on wellness and, perhaps not surprisingly, owes something to McSweeney’s, the San Francisco-based publisher founded by Dave Eggers, who lent Casper expertise and support on the project.

“When we were beginning to brainstorm this idea, I was on Instagram and I saw that someone had posted an avocado toast photo that looked perfect. All of my avocado toast has looked ugly. And I thought, ‘well, why can’t we celebrate people who are just doing the best they can and taking photos of their ugly avocado toast,'” DeVore mused. 

The first issue, which is available for $12 on Casper’s web site and will be included with some mattress orders, had an initial print run of 30,000 copies. Of course, not having to rely on selling advertising is an undeniable luxury.

“We want it to live on your nightstand, on your coffee table. The intention was for this to be unthrow-away-able, for someone to get a copy of Woolly and not feel the pressure to read it today or tomorrow but take a moment and put your phone down and read some print,” Kaplan said.

The magazine itself may be intended as a physical alternative to social media, though it may inevitably end up on Instagram, styled just so on a bedside table.

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