The duo created a business model that was centred around the customer’s needs, factoring in comfort and support as the main criteria. “This industry is quite traditional so we started looking for mattress manufacturers and sleep experts. We pitched our idea to them personally. It was basically a direct-to-consumer business model, where we bring the manufacturer on board with us and we sell through our online platform directly to customers,” explains Chong. “This is so we can bypass the middlemen such as the warehouse, showroom and salesmen. These add markups to the mattresses which make them so expensive,” adds Tan.
Despite naysayers scoffing at their inexperience, Tan and Chong managed to find a manufacturer who believed in the potential of their business model. Next, they approached potential customers — “We did a survey with people who were looking for mattresses. We went mattress shopping with them and asked about their needs and what they were looking for. It was almost a year of research and development,” says Chong.
Joey Mattress — the name of their business — worked closely with the manufacturer to create a mattress that stripped away all the gimmicks in the market. “There are additions like horse hair and sheep’s wool — things that don’t actually help you sleep [better],” Chong says. They began ordering stacks of materials, such as memory foam, latex and springs, to do their testing. “We stacked them together and created different prototypes. We sleep-tested them for many nights. We did this with sleep and foam experts from the manufacturers’ team,” explains Tan.
After experimenting and getting friends and strangers to test out a few prototypes, they came up with a mattress technology called J-foam. This in-house creation is really what sets Joey Mattress apart from its competitors. “The top layer is the comfort layer, which is around 8cm thick. It is a layer that lets your heavier parts sink in. We don’t want you to sink too deep; that is why we have the bottom part — the J-foam support — which is where all the alignment aid comes from. You don’t sink in too much, it’s just enough to let the shoulders and hips get the pressure relief that they need,” explains Tan. J-foam is breathable, durable and features zero-motion transfer technology so that what happens on one side of the bed will not be felt on the other.
As the marketing director, Chong initially found it quite difficult to get customers to trust their brand when they launched in March. She countered this issue by creating fun content — such as videos of a person doing a backflip on one side of the bed but a wine glass on the other side barely moves — to advertise their products.
Joey Mattress was created with the aim of simplifying mattress shopping: easy to buy, to try, to return and easy on the wallet. The business’ website is easy to navigate, and the only choice you have to make is the size of the mattress. “Mattresses all seem the same after you try five or 10. I think trying a mattress in a showroom for five minutes is really not enough. You will be committing to that decision for 10 years, and you don’t get to return it after a month when you think you don’t like it. We are providing real value, and we are so confident of our product that we give a 99-day trial period,” explains Tan. Dissatisfied customers can return the clean mattress in exchange for a full refund. They have not had a single return so far.
With Joey Mattress’ direct-to-consumer business model, they have managed to sell their product for half the market price. The single bed is RM1,250; super single is RM1,595; queen-sized bed is RM1,895 and king-sized is RM2,395. For an additional RM150, they will even take away your old mattress.
With your nightly reprose on the line, having the most comfortable cushioned companion around is crucial, but finding the right one is a challenging adventure. “What I want to do with this brand is convey the idea that mattress shopping does not have to be so exhausting,” says Tan. Joey Mattress’ customer service has had exemplary reviews as the company goes the extra mile to provide a good experience and differentiate it from other popular delivery services. Customers can even track their orders. Joey Mattress will be launching a revolutionary pillow at year-end and hopes to expand the business nationwide.
This article first appeared on Sept 30, 2019 in The Edge Malaysia.