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Scott Jagow: I’m guessing Wall Streeters have had a few sleepless nights lately. Maybe they should look up a man named Nicolas Ranco. He’s got a new business in Manhattan that sells . . . naps. From our Entrepreneurship Desk, Jaime Bedrin reports.
Jaime Bedrin: The idea came to Nicolas Ranco during a rocky business trip to Asia. By weeks’ end, he was willing to try anything to help him relax and fall asleep — including a visit to a place hawking what he thought might be some type of alternative medicine.
Nicolas Ranco: I saw, you know, office people and managerial kind of people going back and forth between these places and the office, the same way we go back and forth between Starbucks and the office in the U.S.
A quick glance through a window revealed the stores were selling the opposite of a jolt of caffeine. Ranco saw 10 reclining chairs, all occupied by people napping.
Ranco started to see the Japanese napping everywhere, even in meetings. He realized Japan’s corporate culture not only accepted, but encouraged midday breaks. And that sounded to him like an idea worth importing.
He started with the color yellow. Ranco thinks it’s so calming that he named his business after it. Step into the Yelo in Midtown Manhattan, pay $12, and you get 20 minutes inside a private soundproofed room, or cabin, as Ranco calls it. Wrap up in a cashmere blanket, breathe the purified air and listen to whale cries.
Ranco: The size of the cabin is 78 square feet. The shape of the cabin here is like a cocoon, it’s like a honeycomb.
The light in the cabin has a purple glow — it feels like the inside of an airplane. There’s no tipping, because that’s way too stressful. Ranco says he’d like to see naps as part of the daily routine in America, just like they are in Japan.
But Mitchell Langbert, a professor of business administration with Brooklyn College, says that’s highly unlikely:
Mitchell Langbert: I think our culture is so geared towards the type A personality, towards hyperactivity and excessive competition, that napping is not something that’ll catch on in our competitive economy.
But New Yorkers seem to embrace the idea. Ranco has already signed up Time Warner and the Alvin Ailey Dance Company for corporate memberships.
In New York, I’m Jaime Bedrin for Marketplace.
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