The Sleep Company is India’s leading comfort technology company and the creator of the revolutionary SmartGRID mattresses. The aim of the company is to offer customers the best sleeping experience that uses science and ergonomics to create the ultimate comfort and optimal support to the body.
Today, The Sleep Company offers a premium product, based on years of meticulous research that is light years ahead of its competitors. While the technology is in itself based on cutting-edge developments in the field of material science and sleep science, the raw materials are also sourced meticulously from Japan to ensure quality and durability. Made of a super-stretchy polymer, the smart mattresses from The Sleep Company change their softness as per different body types, weight or sleeping position. It is designed to cushion the hips and shoulders while providing firm support to the back. Unlike a memory foam mattress, it does not retain body heat, remaining cool on hot days. The ultra-elastic material ensures that the mattress does not sag and retains its shape longer than any other mattress. The Sleep Company aims to further expand its grid-based creations beyond mattresses to include a gamut of comfort solutions from pillows to seat cushions and beyond. The biggest focus for The Sleep Company, however, is its customers. With that at its core, the company adopted a completely D2C business model; combining the power of the digital marketplace (Amazon and Flipkart) with its own website.
Priyanka Salot–Co-Founder -The Sleep Company in conversation with MediaNews4U on the importance of sleep and much more…
When was The Sleep Company launched, and as the first digitally-enabled company how has the journey been?
The Sleep Company, a digitally native comfort technology company, was founded in November 2019. Our aim was to transform the way people sleep and sit through our patented SmartGRID design and tech. As a digitally-enabled company, we have incorporated technology at every aspect of our operations. It extends from the extensive research and development of our products to a digital-only marketplace. It is instrumental in our D2C approach where we directly sell to the consumer and access their feedback. At the same time, digital tools have also allowed us to track our performance, including the returns on our ad expenses.
Today, The Sleep Company is acknowledged as a major disrupter in the mattress industry which last saw innovation more than four decades ago. We offer a premier product using cutting-edge sleep and material science. The response from the market has been tremendously encouraging with a consistent upward trajectory in growth and sales. It reinforced our belief that the consumer was looking for world-class comfort products like ours.
Since inception, we grew by 10x during the lockdown, are among the top four brands on Amazon, and the highest-rated mattress brand in the digital marketplace overall. We also recently introduced a slew of smart comfort accessories that include – seat cushions, back cushions, and adjustable pillows based on our SmartGRID technology as well as knitted blankets. This coupled with our biggest festive season sale now puts us on track to achieve a 100 CR run-rate by November 2021 (exactly two years since inception).
Another testament to our growth is the pre-Series A funding of INR 13.4 CR we’ve raised from Fireside Ventures which will have Mr.DipanjanBasu, Partner and CFO at Fireside Ventures, joining our board, as well as participation from LogX Ventures and VarunAlagh, Co-Founder, Mamaearth. Raised in order to strengthen our product, team, and brand awareness, The Sleep Company has grown from a small team to more than 100 now, with 20,000+ customers. In fact, we’ve even launched our first brand campaign with our first-ever ambassador Anil Kapoor who was our customer, first.
The USP of The Sleep Company?
The Sleep Company offers two distinct USPs, an innovative and disruptive product, and end-to-end comfort solutions.
Our biggest USP is undoubtedly our cutting-edge products. Where most mattress companies are still relying on memory foam, which appeared more than four decades back, we offer a cutting-edge product based on our patented SmartGRID technology. The design utilizes a super-stretchy smart gel that takes the shape of the body at smaller points like shoulders while staying firm at the bigger surface areas like the spine. This allows the mattress to cushion our body, providing a restful sleep, while providing adequate support to the back.
The Sleep Company is also the only company in the mattress industry that includes end-to-end comfort solutions, from manufacturing to final delivery at the customer’s doorstep. We are a digital-only company with a D2C business model.
What was the aim of launching a D2C company when people still want to touch and feel products?
Our aim in launching a D2C company was to create a platform where the consumer could directly reach out to us. By removing the middlemen, we were also able to minimize the usual supply chain inadequacies. A digital platform also ensured that our products were accessible to any interested buyer and not dependent on retailers or suppliers. We do offer a 100-days trial period for those who prefer to touch and feel. We know that our product is so good that a trial period will only reconfirm its quality.
On the whole, this strategy has also evolved with the changing profile of the consumer. The internet is where they go to do their research and to shop for products. Of course, the pandemic has now further accelerated this change and we find that even brick and mortar stores are now going online in order to survive. Our decision to be a digital-native D2C brand proved highly prescient. When other businesses were struggling to widen their online reach, we were already well entrenched in this space! With that said we will be venturing and testing more omnichannel approaches for the customers in the future, to further augment our presence and reach of our highly in-demand products.
In today’s stress-filled life and lifestyle, most are sleep-deprived. As a company what are your ideas and products to enhance better sleep?
According to a survey conducted by Fitbit, India is the second most sleep-deprived country in the world. This not only affects our productivity, it can also have a cumulative impact on our health and has been associated with chronic diseases like diabetes, heart conditions, and cancer. We have all experienced the effect of a bad night’s sleep. I realized how prolonged sleep deprivation can take a toll when as a new mother I found myself unable to get a good night’s sleep. The reason I realized was an uncomfortable mattress and when I tried to look for a better alternative, there were none to find. The last time anyone came up with an original idea, it was in the 1960s!
This is where the idea of The Sleep Company germinated. Months of traveling around the world and intensive research in sleep and material science revealed how the lack of innovation in this area was actually harming the common person through inadequate sleep.
We subsequently developed our patented SmartGRID design. It utilizes a special super-stretchy smart gel arranged in a grid that perfectly cushions smaller surfaces like shoulders while staying firm under large surfaces like the back. The result is a mattress that cushions you while ensuring proper support, thereby reducing any back problems. It also eliminates any heat build-up. In short, we have a mattress or rather an innovation that facilitates comfortable sleep for a long time.
Our product development is a crucial part of our effort to enhance not just sleep but comfort as a whole. Our ambitions for comfort tech solutions go beyond mattresses and we are actively working towards introducing our grid-based disruptive creations to a broader range of products within this market. We recently introduced smart sleep accessories which included seat cushions, back cushions, and adjustable pillows based on our SmartGRID technology. Furthermore, applications of the SmartGRID technology go beyond just home furnishings and encompass any and all seating solutions e.g. cars seats, gaming chairs etc.
Today many brands are experimenting with consumers and promising sound sleep. Your thoughts?
In the last few years, we have seen the emergence of brands that are increasingly focusing on bringing value by improving the customer’s comfort. It is always advisable to check these claims and not believe them blindly. A buyer should find out how such a product will function, what makes it unique, and if it is backed by scientific research. For instance, all the relevant information on The Sleep Company’s products can be accessed through our website, and to complement the theory we offer the chance to experience its value with our 100-day free trial as well.
But on the whole, it’s also indicative of the emergence of a demanding buyer who is conscious of the importance of a good night’s sleep and wants products like mattresses to facilitate his/her quality of life. It shows that the new-age consumer is willing to research and make an informed decision to pay for a quality product. We must welcome this shift in thought as it will lead to more innovation and competition in this space.
The pandemic crisis set many businesses back, how did you personally and as a leader cope with the situation?
The pandemic had a pretty drastic impact on many businesses, severely affecting the supply chain and retail. At The Sleep Company, we were able to minimize this impact through our well-established D2C model. As a digital-only company, we were able to ensure that our products remained accessible to the buyer.
We continued to sell our products through our own website as well as Amazon and Flipkart. Established a few months before the lockdown, the startup has witnessed consistent profitability since its inception, recording 65% of its revenue from the top 35 cities in the country and even seeing a remarkable 10X growth during the COVID period.
What would be the company’s roadmap for the D2C markets?
We want to keep building on our D2C market by connecting with the users through multiple channels, including social media as well. We have been driving the conversation on the importance of sleep and engaging with the targeted consumers through various touchpoints. In fact, more than 30% of our leads come from social media.
What is the message you want to give your consumers when it comes to getting good sleep?
Our message has been that everyone deserves a sound sleep. Given that we spend almost a third of our time sleeping, it is high time we paid attention to this very crucial aspect of our life. A good night’s sleep is critical for our physical and mental health. It allows our body and mind to rest and rejuvenate. Multiple studies have proven that lack of adequate sleep can have a crippling impact on our overall health. Hence, we should make the effort to create a comfortable and restful atmosphere in our bedrooms.
What would be the marketing initiatives for the festive season?
We introduced the ‘Great Indian Sleep Sale’ for the festive season which saw a 45% discount across all platforms as well as products and featured a new range of smart sleep accessories – seat cushions, back cushions, and adjustable pillows based on its Smart GRID technology as well as knitted blankets.
How are you planning and marketing the initiative?
Our festive sale was extensively promoted across all digital and social platforms with a special promo video from our brand ambassador, Anil Kapoor shared extensively to further amp up the excitement. In fact, the contribution of our marketing initiatives paired with the festive season hype has been immense towards the growth of the business as it alone has contributed to an astronomical revenue run rate of 100 Cr.