Eve Sleep: Jas Bagniewski

The serial entrepreneur discusses the lessons he learned from his previous business and how his start-up plans to disrupt an ineffective market

Name: Jas Bagniewski
Company name: Eve Sleep
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 14/02/2015 
Website: www.evemattress.co.uk

Tell us what your business does:

Eve set out to create the most comfortable mattress in the world at a price that’s fair for everyone. Traditionally memory foam has been the premium material in the mattress world, shaping itself naturally to the sleeper’s body and providing support.

We built on the existing foam technology by combining premium memory foam layers with latex which adds ‘bounce’ and a cooler sleeping experience. We are so confident of our product that we only sell one mattress, in all sizes. We are also sure that everyone will love our product as much as we do, so we offer all of our customers a 100-night sleep trial.

By selling only online and cutting out the traditional retail middle men, we are able to sell our mattress at a third of the price you would pay for a premium mattress on the high street.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

We had the idea to sell mattresses online a few years ago and launched another mattress company in the space, where we sold 75,000 mattresses online in 18 countries – we took our lessons from this and asked the question “if we started from scratch, what would the perfect mattress purchasing experience look like?”

The idea for Eve grew organically from that and then through years of product testing, customer feedback and reviews, we feel we have created the ultimate mattress.

How did you know there was a market for it?

We knew how significant the market was through our previous experience in the space.

What were you doing before starting up?

My background was with Rocket Internet as a Founder and Country Manager for several of their e-commerce projects. Before that I was a consultant at Accenture.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Yes, I have always wanted to start and run my own business.

How did you raise the money?

We pitched some of our VC contacts who loved the business model, our team and our previous traction with selling mattresses online.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

What’s really interesting about buying mattresses is how bad the existing experience was for consumers, and this showed that the market was ripe for disruption.

Mattresses are crazily over-priced, with consumers often paying 10 times more for products than the cost of manufacturing them. The product offering is super complex, consumers don’t really understand terms like foam density, ILD ratings or the relevance of NASA when buying a mattress, plus there are no real brands in the space, just massively overpriced commodities.

People just want a great product at a fair price. So our business model was to create a great brand that stands for everything we believe a mattress should be, and to sell it directly to consumers and only online. This means we can sell a premium product at a third of the price.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

We’re really early in the process but so far things have been going well. I’m sure there will be more issues to come though, I don’t think any start-up goes on to become a successful company without a few obstacles along the way.

What was your first big breakthrough?

I don’t really like the idea of breakthroughs to be honest, we just try and do 10% better each day as it’s more sustainable in the long term.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Be very focused on the tasks that need to be done instead of the tasks you want to work on.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

I want Eve to be the global household brand for sleep.

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