Hillary Benton is hatching a plan to stay in bed.
“Starting a new lifestyle blog called Diet Coke and Klonopin where I will share secrets on how to minimize your time spent out of bed,” the 26-year-old Brooklyn-based marketing professional tweeted in August.
Some tips she shared in advance of the proposed blog launch included stowing all morning and evening skin care products in a nightstand basket, setting up a coffee-making station within reach, and avoiding the shower. “Showering requires being upright, as well as being SPRAYED with WATER!” she points out. “You can lay down in the bath, throw some bubbles in, almost as good as bed.”
Later, over the phone, Benton says she was joking about starting the blog but serious about everything else. “Staying in bed is something I feel very strongly about,” she says.
Benton is not alone — she’s part of a big and profitable demographic of young women who sleep. Or, more broadly, stay home, in bed, acting as the center of what we can call the homebody economy. The hit novel of the summer was Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation, a story about a beautiful 26-year-old New Yorker who comes up with a plan to spend only 40 hours awake in a four-month period. The plan is mostly drugs, but her goal is to emerge refreshed and renewed, “bolstered by the bliss and serenity [she had] accumulated.”
“The narrator — relatably enough — is passionate only about sleeping,” Jia Tolentino wrote in her review for the New Yorker. “There is something in this liberatory solipsism that feels akin to what is commonly peddled today as wellness.”
>“Staying in bed is something I feel very strongly about”
A January analysis using 10 years’ worth of the American Time Use Surveys conducted annually by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that millennials spent 70 percent more time at home than the general population. As with everything millennials do or don’t do, this is annoying to some people, and the New York Post ran a headline in June 2016 announcing “Millennials don’t deserve NYC.”
But it’s an opportunity for others. Younger Americans who are ensconced in their homes and uncharmed by nightlife, with all its associated “effort,” are also spending more money on food delivery than they are in restaurants and talking about self-care in terms of the products it involves.
They’re the reason that nascent alcohol courier apps in limited markets can partner with Netflix, and the reason the fiercest and dirtiest brand rivalries are now between mattress-in-a-box companies. They’re responsible for the boom of Korean skin care in the United States, which is why the K-beauty e-commerce site Peach and Lily now has a line of face masks available at its Target mini shop, which sold out the first day.
The economy built around it is made up of clothes and home goods and streaming services and courier apps and millennial-friendly zero percent APR financing on a set of luxury sheets.
Obviously, anyone who makes a living via the delivering of things benefits from the homebody. It would be inefficient to run through them all, but just know that Postmates makes $1 billion worth of sales annually, GrubHub (which owns Seamless) was valued at $2 billion when it went public in 2014, and there is a ridiculous number of alcohol delivery startups that essentially all have cutesy names that sound like a euphemism for peeing or sexual harassment (Thirstie, Drizly, Tipsy, and so on).
Saucey (gross), an LA-based alcohol courier app that will also bring you cigarettes, ice cream, and Doritos — all in 30 minutes or less — launched in 2014 and has since raised $10.2 million in funding and expanded throughout California and into Chicago. “The new going out is staying in,” marketing director Danielle Silveira tells me. “Why go out and wait in a line? Sit back and chill on your couch with Netflix … or Hulu or Amazon or any streaming service.”
Nobody wants to drive to a grocery store in LA, she argues — especially during a heat wave. And now that Saucey is in Chicago, it’s relevant to point out that nobody wants to go outside when it’s cold. Basically, nobody wants to go outside.