Kabir Siddiq made an interesting observation while managing the east India branch of a traditional mattress business, run by one of his friends. Mattress buying was neither a family experience, such as a sofa or a TV, nor one that needed expertise, for instance, a smartphone. People mostly choose a decent mattress in an affordable price range. On top of this existed other problems in terms of logistics and delivering mattresses in buildings without service elevators. The product also demanded warehouse space for middlemen, such as wholesalers, distributors and retailers, which further shoots up the price of the mattress. Siddiq saw this as a huge opportunity to introduce a mattress that fits in a box instead.
Box mattress was already a popular concept in the US, but it could not be replicated in India. For one, the size of the box had to be smaller considering the logistics and delivery hassles.
Focusing on comfort, support, durability and temperature control, Siddiq launched SleepyCat as India's first box mattress company in August 2017. These mattresses could be roll-packed into a box one-third of its size. Expecting to sell 10 mattresses, Siddiq listed five variants of the mattress, 10 in each size, on Amazon. To his surprise, the units sold out in a month. Following this, SleepyCat sold out its next 200 units in 21 days.
The SleepyCat mattress has an inch of gel memory foam instead of regular memory foam, helping temperature control and a five-inch durable high-density base foam to provide support and bounce. It also comes with a netted outer cover that can be removed and cleaned. "These features make the mattress more breathable," points out Siddiq. By adopting a factory-to-door step model, SleepyCat has been able to deliver to places as far Leh-Ladakh and Andaman and Nicobar islands.
The start-up has sold 2,000 mattresses till date and currently sells about 500 units monthly at an average ticket size of 17,500. As of now, the company has 50% of its products manufactured and imported from China, and the rest from its own unit in India. "We hope to make it 100% from India soon," Siddiq says, hoping to grow 3-5x in the coming months. "Currently we only have one product which one can order in all standard Indian sizes. We work with three courier companies to offer free shipping across India," he adds.
But what about competition from established mattress brands or other online companies? Siddiq isn’t worried much about it. "Traditional mattress companies such as Kurl-On are very concentrated on their industry which involves all the middlemen. Even if they want to go online and sell direct from the factory, it will lead to a conflict of interest. Also it's very hard for them to shift focus and get into a single brand image," he says. In case of online players, he believes being the first entrant in the space gives SleepyCat a headstart and an edge over others in terms of brand recall.
Sleepycat which has clocked a revenue of 3.5 crore till date, expects to sell about 1,500 pieces per month by August at a monthly revenue of 2.7 crore. It plans to introduce a new product to upgrade the existing product in terms of fabric, and launch one more variant of the existing product to cater to the luxury segment. At the end of the day, if mattress buying still seems to be a daunting task, why not call SleepyCat instead.