Sporting a Good Night’s Sleep

Michelle MarciniakA good night’s rest comes easy for former Tennessee Lady Vols standout Michelle Marciniak (’95), who has crafted bed sheets from the same breathable fabric that she once wore as a basketball coach at the University of South Carolina.

Found nationwide at Bed Bath & Beyond (a queen sheet set retails for $199.99), SHEEX, the world’s first luxury bed sheets made from performance athletic fabrics, are engineered to help people “Sleep Better and Play Better.”

The magic isn’t in the high-thread count, but rather in the moisture-wicking and temperature-control technology found in athletic wear. The sheets keep you cool without worrying about kicking off the covers in the middle of the night.

“You sleep like a pro,” says Marciniak, who, along with a host of other world-class professional athletes, now sleep on nothing but SHEEX. “The sheets feature the latest innovations in breathability, temperature control, moisture management, and comfort, so you get a good night’s sleep.”

Marciniak… jumped on the entrepreneurial train, and the two called the dean of the university’s business school the next day.

In 2007, inspired by the feel of a pair of athletic shorts, the then University of South Carolina basketball coach Susan Walvius mused that she would love to have “some sheets made of this stuff.” Marciniak, an assistant coach at South Carolina at the time, jumped on the entrepreneurial train, and the two called the dean of the university’s business school the next day.

From the basketball court to the classroom, business students conducted market research for what would become the South Carolina-based SHEEX company.

Marciniak and Walvius quit their coaching gigs and conquered a steep learning curve (“It took us nine months just to find the right fabric,” says Marciniak. “We had to wade through a lot of hideous samples.”). The lifelong athletes continue to transform sleeping with their bedding, which includes a baby and travel collection.

Already in the midst of creating a sleepwear line, Marciniak says, “We want to own the space between 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., and create any and everything that you can sleep on, sleep in, or sleep under.”

The 1996 Final Four MVP may have left the court after her career as a coach and WNBA basketball player, but she has not sidelined the tenacious motivation she honed while playing hoops at Tennessee.

With determination at the core of SHEEX, Walvius monitors the bottom line of the company while Marciniak builds relationships with mentors and investors.

“Susan is the play-by-play announcer, and I’m the color analyst,” says Marciniak. “No different from the game, we live and breathe SHEEX.”

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