What’s More Exciting Than a Rug Business?
Patton Janssen (’24) | Nov 10, 2022
After stepping down as the CEO of Peloton in February and as executive chairman in September, John Foley got to thinking on the beach; “Trying to sit on the beach for a week, I was thinking about it, because I couldn’t help myself.” ‘It’ is his latest endeavor into the rug industry with a direct-to-consumer custom-cut rug business called Ernesta, which he is launching beside a team of co-founders and former managers from Peloton. The company recently received $25 million in Series A funding in a round led by Addition with participation from True Ventures and other investors. With Ernesta, Foley is hoping to expand the custom rug category of the domestic rug market, filling the gap between home decor retailers and high-end custom rug sellers.
While it may not seem like it, this pivot for Foley has been in the back of his mind for “the better part of 20 or 25 years.” During his time at Peloton, none of his friends were interested in supporting his rug venture, but he remained fixated on the idea and determined to bring it to life. Now, with time on his hands, Foley has declared that he is ready “to do this company by myself.”
Hisao Kushi, one of the co-founders of Peleton who is on the Ernesta team, told Forbes that “rugs may seem like a potentially uninteresting category, but there’s probably at least one in your house.” With a veteran crew by his side, it will be interesting to see how Foley bounces back to build his vision of a custom rug business that he hopes will later be seen as “one of the great design brands in the world.”