When a successful family business is running smoothly, why would anyone in the family want to disrupt it? “That is the best thing to do from within than have an outsider catch you unawares,” said Gaurav Zatakia, co-founder and CEO, Flo Mattress. The startup launched in late 2018 has been generating revenues since its launch, claims Zatakia.
Zatakia’s father, Gunjan has Hush – a premium mattress brand. It had just a B2B vertical earlier. Zatakia started a B2C vertical for which he interacted with customers and marketers to know about preferences and also understand the nuances of the market.
Talking about his passion for the mattress segment, Gaurav shares how he hit upon starting off on his own. “There was just one factor that was not bringing in the youth to this market to buy our product. The price of Hush was a bit steep. I knew I had to do something to get them to buy our mattresses simply because of their expressions after trying out our product in showrooms. It was almost like children feel after watching a magic show,” he said.
With no scope for rejigging the price of Hush to cater to the youth given the fact it was marketed as a premium product, Zatakia decided to work on delivering a similar product with the same level of comfort but at a price point that would bring in the millennials.
According to a survey by RedSeer, a market intelligence firm, the high share of branded players in the mattress market can be attributed to the efforts and investment made by mattress players to increase consumer awareness about quality mattresses through the development of retail infrastructure and marketing activities. While doing his research and development into the making of his own product, Zatakia found from his interactions with the youth that working for long hours from their desks, the millennials oft-voiced complaint was about aches in the back and neck region. “If their pain could be eased with a good mattress and at a price point they could afford, that would be an option the millennials would consider,” he said. ” And that’s how Flo was born,” he said.
Before Flo was launched the team led by Gaurav spent over a year testing different combinations of every raw material in the hopes of ending up with one perfect mattress that would work for the average Indian consumer. What this exercise threw up was that there wasn’t a single mattress that would work for everyone. Thus Flo came up with two variants: the Ortho which is firm and does not contain any memory foam. It is designed for anyone with back issues that need extra support, and the Ergo features a top layer of pressure-relieving memory foam.
The business model
With the wave of direct-to-consumer brands disrupting multiple industries in the West, cutting out unnecessary middlemen and re-imaging supply chains by leveraging the power of the Internet, Flo has chosen that path. The consumer can buy the mattress online. The company claims to having sold over 10,000 mattresses, generating more than Rs 15 crore in revenue. The price points start from Rs 10,000 for a single bed (6 inch) and the 8 inch mattress costs Rs 15,000. A king-sized bed would cost Rs 19,500.
After ordering the mattress, the customer can use it for 100 nights and if it does not match up to the claims made by the startup, it can be communicated to the firm which will take it back. “There are no questions asked for returning the product,” said Zatakia, adding this was done to inspire confidence in the product. The return rate has so far been 3 percent, he said.
The mattress market in India is around $1.7 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10 percent to reach $2.5 billion by 2022, according to Redseer. Flo is looking at garnering 10 percent of the market over the next 5-10 years.
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