Eve: Disrupting the mattress industry

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and how your entrepreneurial journey began?  

I started at Accenture as a Management Consultant and then joined Rocket Internet in 2008. I started out as the Founder/CEO of their Price Comparison Engine in Poland. In 2010 that company pivoted to become City Deal Poland and I started out as the CEO but for personal reasons requested to be moved to City Deal UK. City Deal was then acquired by Groupon a few months later.

You worked at Groupon UK, what was your role? 

I was part of the founding team team of City Deal in EU and moved to become part of the Senior Management Team in UK. My specific roles included: In charge of National/E-commerce team, In charge of all cities in South of UK excluding London (Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford, Bournemouth etc) and setting up and building the Affiliate Marketing Team.

How have you used your experience and role at Groupon to launch Eve? 

While in charge of the national deals/E-commerce team at Groupon we saw a big challenge when running product deals vs the more traditional services deals (gym passes, haircuts etc) Groupon had started out running, as margins on Products especially in e-commerce are so low.

However we saw that some categories were perfect for Groupon discounting as the margins were so high and 1 of those was mattresses. Mattresses became one of the best performing product categories on  Groupon, Living Social etc, and we thought with my business partners if there is so much margin there it’s a product category that needs disrupting. And it’s a big category too!

After leaving Groupon I set up my 1st online mattress business (www.zenbedrooms.com) with my friends and we used all those learnings from Groupon to build that company. We ended up selling 75,000 mattresses online over 3 years in 16 countries plus 200,000 additional bedding products like pillows, duvets, beds etc.  

Pitch Eve in a sentence: 

Every great day starts the night before

Where did the idea for your business come from? What motivated you to start it?

The mattress market is huge. In the UK its close to £1bn. Globally it’s close to £20bn. Everybody needs a mattress and the current industry is stacked against the consumer - complexity of choice, extortionate prices, poor quality products and a complete lack of brands.

Our thinking from the outset was to take the learnings from our previous company Zen Bedrooms and from day 1 map out what the perfect consumer experience would look like for somebody who wants to buy a mattress - Unbelievable comfort, ease of buying and returns, fair pricing, super clean online sales process etc.

And we wanted to wrap it all up in a great brand that consumers could trust and relate to. 

What makes your business stand out from others like it? 

a) We believe Eve is the most comfortable mattress ever made. We developed the product over 4 years not in a lab with labcoats, bunsen burners and microscopes but iterating with real customer feedback over 75,000 sales.  

b) We are a direct to consumer mattress brand. This means we control our own distribution and supply chain, so we control the sales process end to end for consumers meaning we can optimise it from start to finish. We also ignore High Street retail outlets as a distribution channel and sell only online. This means practically for the consumer - we are cheaper, deliver faster and have more favourable trials and returns processes, without sacrificing on product quality.

c) Eve is the first company that ever took branding seriously with mattresses - currently there are no aspirational brands in the space. We think that’s important as not only do great brands offer consumers a stamp of trust, we think when developing a great product it’s important to be obsessive about every aspect of the process - from the product composition, to the design, web experience, product packaging and our own processes around manufacture and delivery. It seems strange to us that other companies claim to develop great mattresses and then wrap them up in ugly materials and sell them wrapped in cheap plastic or brown paper boxes - that seems lazy! 

Would you say Eve are the game-changer in the industry?

Having been in the space for years I  honestly think Eve is a COMPLETE game changer - please see answer above

What was your first big breakthrough? 

We don’t believe in breakthroughs because they are not sustainable - we believe in 10% improvement every day. For us developing the perfect mattress has been 4 years of relentless hard work, user testing and process optimisation. 

You're prime minister for a day: What would you change for small businesses? 

I would love more people to see entrepreneurship as a legitimate career path straight out of Uni. Starting your own company shouldn’t feel like a massive risk, the government should push that message. 

What’s the big dream - what are you hoping to achieve?

We want to create a global household brand for sleep. 

Visit Eve to discover its range of mattresses or connect with the business via its Facebook page.

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