Sunday, a ‘sleep-focused’ startup, offers internationally certified mattresses and pillows through its website and a store in Bengaluru.
At a glance
Startup: Sunday Mattresses
Founder: Alphonse Reddy
Year it was founded: 2015
Where it is based: Bengaluru
Problem it solves: Mattresses with healthy design
Funding: Rs 40 lakh
Technology has entered every nook and corner of life, and your sleep is the latest to embrace it. Bengaluru-based startup Sunday Mattresses uses technology to build mattresses that help you sleep every day as if it were a Sunday.
Sunday was launched in 2015 by Alphonse Reddy, a graduate of BITS, Pilani, and INSEAD business school, France, with an initial investment of Rs 40 lakh from family and friends.
Originally from Madanapalle village in Andhra Pradesh, Alphonse, 38, has worked with Flextronics, Sasken, and Delta Partners. He had earlier founded Fabmart, an online marketplace for sleep-related products, under Madanapalle Retail Private Limited. Sunday is its other business unit.
If you are a working professional, you tend to the longest time in bed when you are home. Sunday wants to make that time as relaxing as possible and aims to offer exceptional customer service to that end. Their products come in the price range of Rs 9,999 to Rs 49,999, with 100-day returns and a 100-percent refund policy.
Indian customers tend to spend more on the cot than the mattress. But whether your cot is teak, mahogany or steel, it does not affect sleep. What matters is the mattress – its material, spring, thickness, texture etc.
“It is not easy to choose a mattress. Medium firm mattresses are the best to maintain the natural curve of the spine. But elderly people prefer harder mattresses. Youngsters are more open to experimenting,” Alphonse says.
Thanks to its advanced backend technology, Sunday gets massive data on how people choose their mattresses. This, in turn, helps product innovation. For instance, due to customer feedback, Sunday moved from their initial two models of soft mattresses at Rs 25,000 to more items in the lower price range.
“We launched after 15 months of ideation because we did not want to take the easier route. The quality of raw material we wanted was not available in India. We learnt about the industry from travel and trade fairs,” Alphonse says.
Sunday is particular about the quality of its mattresses. To avoid ill-effects on a customer’s health in the long term, they ensure that there are no carcinogenic chemicals in the raw materials set by European standards.
They also have LGA certification from Germany, something Alphonse claims no other Indian brand has. This certification shows how long a mattress can last. On a scale of 1 to 100, 50 is the pass figure; Sunday claims to have 99.
Basic need, exceptional service
Although a mattress is a basic need for everyone, Alphonse says that they have received more interest from educated, tech-savvy youngsters who are open to new ideas – mostly working couples. He stresses that their focus is on NPS, not GMV.
“Customer happiness matters to us more than other metrics. We want to up the experience, not just the mattress, unlike other mattress companies that are our competitors,” he adds.
Sunday’s mattresses are designed by a domestic and international team after extensive research. According to Alphonse, all key raw materials are certified by European agencies (Euro Latex, Oeko Tek 100). Their latex is sourced from Belgium, and Alphonse claims that Sunday’s Latex Plus mattress is the first fully certified mattress in India.
Besides mattresses, Sunday also provides pillows, protectors, and toppers. Alphonse claims that they have sold 25,000 units in less than two years, with just digital marketing and word of mouth. They provide a warranty of five to 10 years.
Furthermore, while most mattresses’ and furniture brands take 7-14 days for delivery, Sunday takes half that time, and provides same-day delivery in Bengaluru through its own network. Alphonse says Sunday delivers to 17,000 pin codes across India through third parties.
The Sunday team comes with a collective experience spanning across companies such as Fabmart, Flipkart, KFC, Peter England, etc. Alphonse says that they do not hire from the traditional mattress industry, as their mindset will be different.
Sunday retails online through its website, and has an offline store in Bengaluru. They plan to open one more brick-and-mortar store in Bengaluru, and later Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai Pune, and Delhi. More than a distribution centre, these are meant to be experience centres.
Curiously, Sunday does not sell on any online marketplaces although it would have increased their revenue.
Alphonse explains, “When you buy a mattress online, you tell your friend ‘I bought it from Flipkart, or Amazon.’ Their delivery and experience may not be the same as what we can deliver. The brand name won’t make a mark then. We don’t want to be just another mattress.”
However, Sunday plans to sell on online marketplaces after they reach a target sale of one lakh units through its own website. The startup does not give discounts unlike other e-tailers, as they believe that quality is what matters the most. Their average ticket size is Rs 25,000.
Alphonse claims that revenue has grown 50x since inception, despite little increase in manpower. The team of 15 actively uses AI and automation. In Bengaluru, they have four trucks which do about 10 deliveries in a day.
“We deliver mattresses the way Uber sends a car – with real-times updates and clear directions for the driver. The customers’ review decides drivers’ incentives,” Alphonse adds.
Sunday already has two warehouses in Bengaluru, and one more is coming up. Backend data is updated real time so that production partners can also be notified on stock.
Profitable in one year
Sunday became profitable in 2016-17, with 10-15 percent monthly revenue growth since its launch. Alphonse claims that they are generating 100 percent annual returns on capital.
Now in the middle of fund raising, Sunday is implementing some ideas without sales or discount. “We are cash-flow positive. Our manufacturing and R&D is in India. It gives higher cost efficiency and provides more employment,” Alphonse adds.
Sunday re-sells returned mattresses for a value price point. This service, however, is not available online. Alphonse says their returns are less than 5 percent and happen in seven days; so the mattresses are barely used. Also, when you buy a new mattress from Sunday, if demanded by the customer, they will also take the old mattress to dump.
In India, Alphonse says, only 30 percent of the mattress industry is organised. “Not enough attention is given to the product in this sector. Standalone mattress stores are coming up only now; online sales are increasing. This is a good sign,” he says.
The overall market net worth for mattresses in India is $3 billion. So, about $1 billion worth of the market is up for grabs even with competitors like Wakefit and SleepyCat, who also focus on the ergonomics of sleeping. That’s what Sunday is aiming for.