For good health, sleep quality is more important than quantity
Choosing the right mattress should be a decision made with utmost care and looked at as a long-term investment for mental well-being
There is more emphasis on the promotion of healthy sleep today. In the future, mattress companies will not only convey the functional features of their products and focus on brand-building, but will also attend to the positive impacts of a good night's sleep. "Consumers are more open to paying for quality products," says Harshil Salot, co-founder, The Sleep Company, in an exclusive interview with Bizz Buzz.
Do you think the mattress industry plays a vital role in blooming India's perfect lifestyle?
Sure, the factors contributing to the quality of sleep and not just quantity, is the key to achieving a good night's rest. Moreover, sleep, along with nutrition and exercise, not only contributes to your beauty but also helps in maintaining good mental health, which is essential in actively executing everyday chores. Sleep is crucial to fight diseases, develop immunity, as well as build our metabolism and prevent chronic risks. That knowledge in itself should prompt us to want to invest in technological innovations to elevate our sleep experience. Choosing the right mattress should be a decision made with the utmost care and looked at as a long-term investment for your mental well-being. Good sleep often demands discipline and requires lifestyle changes.
What trends according to you are going to dominate the mattress industry?
There is more emphasis on the promotion of healthy sleep today. In the future, mattress companies will not only convey the functional features of their products and focus on brand-building, but will also attend to the positive impacts of a good night's sleep. Consumers are more open to paying for quality products. From mattresses simply being a needed product for sleep, consumers today are particular about the specifications for the type of mattresses, such as international-level comfort, elegance, classy finish, luxury, and better support. The rise of luxury mattresses, the influence of hospitality and real estate, and the functionality of products are some of the trends sure to amplify India's mattress industry.
What are the key growth drivers in this industry?
Consumer-driven factors such as increasing population, rising urbanisation, and improvement in institutional infrastructure (housing, hospitality and healthcare segment) are key growth drivers for the entire home and living industry, including the mattress market. However, the high share of branded players in the mattress market can be attributed to the efforts and investments made by mattress players to increase consumer awareness about quality mattresses through the development of retail infrastructure and marketing activities.
There are many mattress star-ups in the market today. What sets The Sleep Company apart from its competitors?
The Sleep Company's mattresses are different from other top mattress brands in India as they are not made out of memory, latex, or spring foam but newly-invented SmartGRID technology with hyperelastic gel-like material designed in grid texture, which has been patented by us. It is specially developed by a DRDO scientist to help you sleep better and smarter. It is the only technology which gives you softness that relaxes your pressure point and firmness that supports your back.
As a successful digital-first brand, what was the reason behind The Sleep Company launching exclusive brand outlets?
The Sleep Company's digital-first approach has helped to expand the reach and accessibility of our revolutionary innovations to a wider audience and has also helped highlight the unique grid structure of the brand's patented SmartGRID technology. It also serves as an important experiential touch point for customers, adding a much-needed touch-and-feel element to the D2C brand's extensive online presence. The company's owned and operated (COCO) store functions on a phygital (omnichannel) model where customers can cash and carry small products from the store while placing orders online for their SmartGRID mattresses that get delivered to their doorsteps.
Why have you focused on the Southern Belt to start your physical expansion? How has the pandemic affected the business?
In terms of geography, Southern India dominates the mattress market with about 30 per cent share of the market, followed by the North, West and East regions of the country. Hence, for us, it was a no-brainer that we should start off with the southern belt.
The pandemic shook up a lot of businesses all across the world. We have learnt some of the best lessons through this crisis and have understood new layers of customer demand. Amidst all this disruption, we have managed to survive, innovate and serve our customers. In all this push and pull, the healthcare sector has been prioritised by both the government and the layman. The increased focus and spending in the healthcare sector provide an excellent opportunity for the mattress and bedding industry. The pandemic has emerged as a blessing in disguise because people all over the world now have the time and temper to reflect on their lifestyles with a particular focus on enhancing their overall wellbeing.
Do you think that the Indian sentiment has moved favourably towards lifestyle technology?
Yes, surely. In India, the technological revolution is well underway. Companies are changing the way we perform everyday tasks with their state-of-the-art products which don't just do a very thorough job but also turn out to be more cost-effective in the long run. Technology is making Indians feel much younger, healthier and more emotionally connected. Also, it positively impacts their ability to improve their overall health. For instance, a good quality mattress is about much more than comfort. With the right mattress, you are likely to see a wealth of benefits to your overall health. Our patented SmartGRID technology with hyperelastic gel-like material designed in grid texture is one of the many steps in upgrading the Indian lifestyle through quality sleep.
Using your patented SmartGRID technology, you have already entered the mattress, pillows and comfort chair segments. Are there plans to broaden your product offerings further?
We aim to position The Sleep Company as a 360-degree comfort tech solution provider and include a gamut of comfort solutions from pillows to seat cushions, gaming chairs and beyond. With this focus, we have recently introduced smart comfort accessories, including seat cushions, back cushions and adjustable pillows, based on its SmartGRID technology. We also have a Smart Adjustable Recliner Bed, a state-of-the-art futuristic technology that promises comfort whether one is sleeping, sitting, enjoying your favourite TV show, or just relaxing. Scientifically designed by NASA, Zero Gravity reduces the pressure on your spine thus reducing neck & back pain & improving blood circulation. Similarly, we plan to keep up with disruptive creations under a broader range of products within this market, including beds and chairs, particularly workplace seating. Our vision is to pioneer comfort solutions, based on patented SmartGRID technology and is founded on sleep science across Asian markets like Japan.
The Sleep Company has been a D2C brand from the get-go. Do you plan to stick to that or is there a possibility of you catering to more commercial segments like hospitality or airlines?
The mattress industry has emerged in the market, offering premium quality mattresses and other allied sleep products for Indian consumers. Mattresses always play an important role in the hospitality industry as comfort is a prime factor. People always look forward to a comfortable stay and the mattress plays a major role in their overall satisfaction since a good night's sleep helps rejuvenate the body. In the coming year, the boom of the hospitality and tourism sectors will converge to create demand for high-quality mattresses that can facilitate the need for the same by concerned consumers.
Our aim is to become the world's best comfort-tech brand and make our consumer's sleep comfortable. Right now while our focus is on bringing in new products & technology which will enhance one's life & sleep, we would be open to expanding into different avenues so as to offer our consumers the best sleep.
What are the mattress innovations that could radically improve the quality of sleep?
Today 8 out of 10 individuals complain about having varying severity of back, neck, and shoulder pain. To ease the pain and sleep well, orthopaedic mattresses are the best option. One can very easily find a memory foam mattress, which is a self-proclaimed answer to alleviate back ache. However, that is not true, memory foam is an outdated feature that wasn't made for this sector in the first place. Moreover, in the long run, they start sagging under body pressure after some time. We have a couple of products that are undoubtedly effective in this regard- Smart Ortho is made out of hyper-elastic gel-like material using SmartGRID technology, which provides the best support for the spine and helps maintain body alignment by reducing back pain.