Peloton founder’s new career: rug cutter
Rugs. They cover floors, they’re places under which troublesome things get swept, and sometimes they’re pulled from beneath people’s feet. They’re the better half of the name Rugrats.
Rugs are in the news because the founder and former chief executive of Peloton Interactive is reinventing himself as a rug merchant. Last week John Foley introduced himself as CEO of Ernesta, a direct-to-consumer retailer of custom-fit rugs.
Ernesta’s name, he explained in a letter, was intended as a placeholder but over time “became something we cannot part with.” It is meant to evoke the word “earnest,” said Foley, who aspires for his rugs to be as “economical and understated” as an Ernest Hemingway passage, perhaps one like this from The Sun Also Rises.
“The count was looking at Brett across the table under the gas-light. She was smoking a cigarette and flicking the ashes on the rug. She saw me notice it. ‘I say, Jake, I don’t want to ruin your rugs. Can’t you give a chap an ash-tray?’”
Rugs and, yes, ashtrays play a role in the story of another Ernesta honoree: Bob Marley, whose middle name was Nesta and whose music sounds better when floors are covered, Foley noted. In addition, Marley’s music “transformed a genre and made the world brighter.”
“Goals that we share,” Foley wrote.
Foley left Peloton’s board in September after the exercise-bike maker posted billions of dollars in losses and its stock price lost 90% of its value.
Two Peloton co-founders, Hisao Kushi and Yony Feng, have joined Foley at Ernesta, which is expected to officially launch during the spring of 2023. If they do a better job with rugs than they did with Peloton, maybe the red carpet will be rolled out for them.