Entrepreneurship is the new thing which is continuously adding up to the need and requirements of the time. As a matter of fact, when thinking different and innovative is the essential key to survive the market, two young minds have come up with a state-of-the-art lifestyle solution and its supply of the same.
In an Interview with Insight Success, Ankit Garg and Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, the Founders of Wakefit have given some insightful answers of their futuristic thoughts and vision.
- Kindly brief us about the company and its products/ services.
Launched in early 2016 and headquartered in Bangalore, Wakefit is one of India’s unique startups that research on sleep and spine support to create innovative products. The company has a unique customer insight led R&D mechanism that conducts extensive interviews to understand people’s sleep patterns and preferences and designs products based on the same. The research and interview process began in 2015 and since then, Wakefit has interviewed thousands and ensured millions of hours of blissful sleep to its users.
Wakefit is a direct to consumer brand that sells only online, through their own website and marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart. We have a centralized manufacturing unit in Bengaluru, along with fulfillment centers in Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai. Since we ship mattresses directly from the factory to the customer’s home, there is no artificial inflation of prices due to middlemen. We have a very professional support team and a 100- nights risk-free trial so that customers can make the purchase without any worries. We have partnered with various logistics partners for logistics. As an Amazon and Flipkart bestseller, we live to create sleep solutions that help your body heal as you sleep.
- Brief us about the proactive Founder/CEO of the company and his/her contributions towards the company and the industry. What kind of ethics, principles and manner of working does he/she observes while running the business?
Being in a family that ran a small foam testing setup, Ankit Garg indulged in discussions of foam formulations and testing while growing up. He worked with Bayer, one of the world’s largest chemicals companies, after completing his BTech (Chemical Engineering) from IIT Roorkee. However, the entrepreneurial bug bit him soon and he ventured out with Wakefit.
He says, “Since foam and chemicals were my strong suits, I decided to quit my job and look for opportunities in the mattresses space. I realized that there had barely been any innovation at all in this category for many decades.”
Ankit leads the product innovation and research where he is deeply involved in designing the best technique for continuous delivery of premium quality products to the customers.
Chaitanya Ramalingegowda has 16 years of experience spanning entrepreneurship, management consulting and marketing. He has studied MBA from ISB Hyderabad and a BE (Computer Science) from National Institute of Engineering. Before Wakefit, he was a management consultant in North America working with Fortune 50 & 100 clients. He has also been an entrepreneur and has worked in larger growth stage startups in product and operations functions.
Chaitanya handles marketing and customer interface led research team where he mentors with his calm demeanor and enables every individual to push boundaries and think innovative solutions.
This obsession to keeping customers happy has enabled the company to be loved so much by the large customer base. Secondly, they believe in being ethical and maintain high integrity in creating the products, by manufacturing high quality products while the industry is flooded with adulterated cheap products.
- Kindly describe the mission and vision of your company. Tell us about your journey since inception of the company.
Since inception in 2016, we strengthened our R&D with customers’ inputs and feedbacks. With all the efforts and research put together, we figured out that we can also relieve our customers of extra- burden and pay for what the product is worth. For us, sleep is a serious business and in no time with our team, we impeccably created one mattress for all body- types using memory foam as one of the key ingredients.
Over the course of R&D, we found out that there is rampant fraud in the market in three ways:
- The foams that are generally used in the mattresses were largely adulterated. Next time think twice before shelling out for a memory foam mattress!
- The different layers of foams that are stacked one against another is just another advertising gimmick with no additional benefits
- There’s no rocket-science in manufacturing high-quality foam for it to cost very high. Foam manufacturing is a well-known standard process all across the world
Wakefit’s mission is to democratize sleep for one and all with premium quality sleep products at affordable pricing. The mission was to educate customers that this category too can be purchased online. The sole KRA was to deliver customer experience at their doorstep. This journey involved breaking the myths of the industry, that this category of products cannot be bought in an e-commerce model. The firm engaged in high-quality educational content through innovative formats – text, video and graphics – as well as pioneering policies to push through this barrier, such as a risk-free 100 night trial period.
Remember it’s not the quantity of sleep but the quality that matters. Good sleep is as important to the body as good nutrition and exercise. In this day and age of stressful lives, Wakefit makes sure that customers reap the benefits of an 8-hour sleep in just 5 or 6 hours available to them.
- Mention some of the awards, achievements, recognition and clients’ feedback that are not able to you.
Wakefit was chosen among the Top Coolest Startups of 2018 by Business Today by an eminent panel of venture capitalists (Accel Partners, Fireside Ventures, Pi Ventures etc.) and industry experts (PwC)
It has also been nominated as a finalist among the famous stalwarts like Hyundai, Star India, Thomas Cook and Cipla Health for SABRE Awards (a well-respected awards category for the PR industry) 2018 in marketing to consumers (new product) category for innovative marketing campaigns.
Our customers are our ‘Influencers’, in fact, they go a step ahead in becoming our ‘Brand Champions’. With 4.8 star rating, we have customers from Leh-Ladakh and some even with disabilities. Our biggest strength is the reinforcement of what our DNA has been since inception – which is, obsessively listening to customers. This year, the festive season sales were the biggest till date for all e-commerce companies and we were excited to be a part of it. We saw over 12X growth in orders during this period.
- Share with us how you contribute to the textile industry and how it is helping its clients in their business growth.
In terms of behavioral trends, with home furniture purchases being research-intensive “considered” purchases, 80% of shoppers research home and furniture online before they purchase, with millennials most likely to shop on smartphones before, during and after a store visit. Therefore, with the shift in consumer buying behavior, home furnishing category is an attractive new avenue for the online players in the market. Wakefit ventured into this market in 2016, to tap the untapped segment in the country. From traditional retailers to digital companies, everyone is geared towards creating products tailored to complement the ever-changing consumer needs. Home and furniture segment is not immune to this shift. Every brand big or small is focusing on leveraging the digital advancements and for providing superlative shopping experiences.
India’s only sleep solution destination, planning an array of launches in the coming months we are going to leave our customers delighted. We are adding more products like quilts, bed linens, maternity pillows, travel pillows and neck pillows to our existing line of products.
- Share your point of view on the current scenario of the Industry and its future.
The India mattress market will grow at a considerable CAGR rate thus reaching over INR 100 billion by 2020. The India mattress market is booming consistently and is estimated to become INR 14000 crore market in FY’2021. The shift in consumer perspective, where the focus now is a functionality of the product and health.
Wakefit is pioneering the online route by claiming more than (estimated) 20% market share on the online platform. We are upbeat in our R&D and our goal is to be known as India’s only sleep solutions destination. Currently, there are over 10 companies that started up in our space, after seeing our growth over the past 3 years.
- Share your experience and brief us about the tactics and strategies to win people’s trust.
We really care about how people sleep, and we really want to better this everyday experience that we often take for granted. Our mattresses are deeply researched upon so that sleep is optimized and caters to the needs of the sleeping body. Quite simply, we genuinely are passionate about – what our customers want, how can we ease the shopping experience, what doubts they have, what comforts them – we are constantly involved in approaching and resolving their queries.
Our strategy to win trust both with internal and external stakeholders is to focus on building more awareness about the company with PR and brand campaigns. We also strive to continuously improve our processes such that despite the spike during festivities, we maintain our customer promises of quality, delivery timelines and experience.
For us, every customer feedback matters. While the good feedback encourages us, we take in negative feedback with zest as well — this paves the way to better our products that are discerning and hones in on all the additions that we can bring about.
- What are the major contributing factors behind your company’s success?
Customer delight and the resulting reviews are the major contributing factor which inspires and encourages the company to strive and aim for bigger goals. With over 4000+ reviews from all over the country, they work like a catalyst to achieve and aim for more.
Another contributing factor is our team that constitutes only a few people where everyone pitches in whenever needed. We work very closely with each other at every level. Every individual associated with us clearly has a huge impact on the success of the organization and in shaping the business. The most important thing is that everyone is working towards a larger vision and purpose of creating the dynamics of a new industry.
- How do you see your company in the future ahead? What can be expected from your company in the coming years?
Our future plans are to continue to double down on providing great sleep comfort to customers despite growing over 150% year on year. We believe that the best marketing campaigns in the world are those that are led by customers, where they share their Wakefit experiences and go on to become our brand champions. This always speaks more than a paid advertising campaign.
Wakefit has received more than 4000 positive online reviews, which ensures that our support team is providing timely customer assistance. Our belief is customer service is our reputation management.
- Kindly describe your company in one sentence.
India’s most trusted and comprehensive sleep solutions’ company.
- If you have to list the key factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?
Our customer led R&D is our biggest asset where we have invested 750+ hours. Post our launch in 2016, we reached out to over 100 customers directly for feedback. The current line up of Wakefit products available in the market is the 12th iterated version of the original prototype that we had launched in 2016. Creating valuable sleep and customer experience with branded products and world-class customer service is our USP, while our R&D remains an ongoing exercise.
Our pricing strategy has not only challenged the age-old method of transferring the inflated cost burden to the customer but has won customers who can now afford a premium branded product. We eliminated middlemen and avoided an expensive offline presence. Wakefit mattresses are shipped to customers’ doorstep right from the warehouse and to top it, customers avail risk-free 100 nights trial policy and 20 years warranty- best in the industry warranty period.