Coltrane Tait takes classes in Stern, pulls all-nighters in Bobst and makes the usual trek to MCU Park in Brooklyn for NYU baseball games. He is also the co-founder of a start-up aimed at providing New Yorkers with an alternative to buying a bed.
Tait’s company, Washington Square Sleep Company, partnered with Nova Sleep Co. to offer rentable pillows and mattresses to New Yorkers. The company offers three mattress options and its services include free delivery, installation and pickup.
“I believe every person moving into their first NYC apartment should rent a mattress,” said Tait, a Stern senior. “If you buy a new mattress and end up moving away from NYC within three years, you almost always end up throwing away that mattress. Nobody buys used mattresses, and I’m pretty sure they’re illegal to sell on Craigslist.”
Thrown-away mattresses take up unnecessary space in landfills because they cannot be compressed and are difficult to take apart. Tait believes renting a mattress alleviates many of the problems surrounding mattress waste in the U.S.
“It costs less, helps solve the issue of mattress waste in NYC and our company does all the delivery and installation for you,” Tait said. “Every single one of our customers so far has said our service is amazing.”
While he is focused on growing his business and graduating college, Tait is also making his name on the baseball field. He finished last season with a .277 batting average and a remarkable 1.000 fielding percentage. Still, Tait sees room for improvement.
“I definitely need to work on being more patient,” Tait said. “You know, it’s my last season of baseball ever, so I’m leaving it all on the line. Definitely be more patient, like swinging at less balls. I get really aggressive and get really eager about hitting fastballs and then someone will throw me a curveball and I’ll just miss it, and that’s how I strike out a lot. This offseason, I’ve been working on seeing the ball longer rather than deciding super early.”
His teammates know that Tait is up to the task.
“I’ve been here for three and a half years; I transferred after my freshman fall and he’s definitely the best leader we’ve had here on the team so far,” CAS senior Grant Otto said. “He just cares about the team, and he’s really a people person, and overall just a really good guy. Everybody on the team respects him, literally every person. He’s probably the best leader I’ve had so far.”
Tait’s ambition and hard work are what make him so successful, according to Head Coach Douglas Kimbler.
“Cole is a high character guy,” Kimbler said. “He is respected, he is loved.”
Named as one of the team captains for this upcoming season, Tait also plans on improving as a leader.
“I think the most important thing is just, for one, having fun because if you’re not having fun and you’re playing baseball at NYU, it’s really easy to just quit and go do something else,” he said. “Second thing, to make sure they’re working hard and having fun because the most fun thing about being on a baseball team is winning games with your teammates. If you’re not working hard, you’re not going to win games.”
Tait’s leadership skills and business savvy make him a good partner, according to CAS sophomore and Washington Square Sleep Company co-founder Sosh Behnia.
“He catches on to things and perceptions of things better than I would,” Behnia said. “He thinks of really good new ideas for new directions to take or better ways to cut down costs. He takes an idea and converts it into his own style, and it’s really fun to watch.”
Managing his own company along with dealing with the rigors of being a student-athlete is a daunting task, but the experience has taught Tait how to effectively manage his time.
“So far, I learned that I have to schedule as specifically as possible,” Tait said. “I can’t just say, work on the company for three hours, because I’m just going to get lost in the important tasks. If you give yourself specific tasks, for example, email 50 clubs within a two hour gap, it will be more specific goals. That is essentially the power of specific scheduling.”
In his senior year, Tait has high expectations — for both baseball and business.
“Teamwise, it’s really only one goal and that’s just make regionals and get this NYU baseball team to its first regionals ever,” Tait said. “[For the company], I want to get the name out there as much as possible, throughout the next school year, so Sosh can take it over fully and see a lot of the returns next year.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, print edition. Email Arvind Sriram at [email protected]