Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Being Different With Joey Mattress
Crunch Spotlight is a Crunch-driven initiative aiming to add value to and inspire both our community and industry leaders across the nation through interview-style articles. Join us as we discover more about the story behind different industry leaders’ lives and journeys towards where they are now, and how they have transformed into the people they are today. We hope you get inspired by these stories and realize that you are capable of achieving your goals, too.
Next up in our Crunch Spotlight series, we had the pleasure of hearing from Winson Chong, the co-founder and CEO of Joey Mattress. He founded the company alongside his partner-in-crime and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Joey Tan. (Now you know where the name Joey Mattress comes from!) Winson sets big goals for the company, manages operations and also makes sure there’s enough cash in the bank, while Joey leads the marketing team to make people fall head-over-heels in love with Joey Mattress.
During the pandemic, it’s almost expected that businesses will go through a tough time. Winson, Joey and their team struggled tenaciously for a whole month after selling out and having to stop production due to the restrictions and concerns of safety during the pandemic. Now, they’ve bounced back and are ready to keep going to satisfy their customers, one mattress at a time.
1. Tell us more about Joey Mattress. What makes your company tick?
Joey Mattress is a young, online direct-to-consumer mattress startup. Our idea started with a problem: The traditional way of shopping for a mattress sucks. The salesmen are pushy, prices are way too high and there are way too many options. We wanted to make mattress shopping easy. Easy to buy, easy to try, easy to return and easy on your wallet!
2. Why do you think mattress shopping has been so difficult for consumers? How does Joey Mattress aim to solve this problem?
The traditional mattress shopping experience is confusing for customers because tricky features are disguised as benefits. Customers don’t need horsehair or 7 different layers to have a good sleep. Most of the time, these features are included just to jack up the price of the mattress and don’t really add any comfort or support.
Pushy salesmen are of no help either. Most of the time, they try to sell you the most expensive mattress model that your budget can afford, instead of the one that best suits you. Not to mention, 5 to 10 minutes of testing out a mattress in a showroom is not really enough to help customers make intelligent decisions.
We aim to solve this problem by providing an entirely different mattress shopping experience, starting with the mattress itself. We don’t carry tons of confusing mattress options, we sell only one type of mattress. Thousands of hours of trial and testing went into perfecting it. Then, we cut down the middleman and sell directly to our customers through our website at a fraction of the price. The buying process is very simple and it takes only 3 clicks on our website. To make it easier, all our products come with a trial policy that lets you properly test them out for 99 days at home. Like it? Keep it. Don’t like it? Return it for a full refund, no questions asked!
3. What are important aspects and tips consumers should pay attention to when buying a mattress?
This isn’t really a tip, but rather it’s a reminder to always remember that the mattress feels more comfortable at the store because your body is tired from all the walking. It definitely is a great experience to be able to feel and touch the mattress. However, from our experience, first impressions aren’t that reliable when you’re shopping for a mattress.
So, make sure the mattress that you decide to buy comes with a return policy! Double-check on the return policy to find out whether you can return the mattress hassle-free if you don’t like it.
Other than that, listen to what your body tells you because all bodies are different.
4. We feel that Joey Mattress has such strong branding–there’s just something about that iconic blue tone that immediately brings a certain sort of calm and restfulness, but yet also a bright youthfulness and vibrancy that matches your brand perfectly. How important is this branding to your business?
We worked our best on getting the branding as “on point” as possible. Branding is very important to us because we run an online-only business model, so we have to work extra hard to be on the top-of-mind of our target market. We think that it’s working, though, so we’re glad that the hard work we put into our branding is paying off!
5. We took a look through your Instagram profile and really enjoyed the energy you bring to your platform and business (especially the memes while you were sold out during the lockdown)! Would you say this youthfulness and playfulness makes your brand and product more appealing to your audience? Why did you choose to take on this tone for your business?
We’re glad you enjoyed them! We try to do things that amuse our audience and target market, and we do think that our unique, youthful and playful vibe makes Joey Mattress more appealing to our audience.
We decided to take on this tone for the business to contrast with existing mattress brands in the industry; most of which, we think, position themselves as very calm, cool, collected and refined.
Our target market consists of youthful and adventurous people, between the ages of 25-34 years old. They would always be on the lookout for new things to explore and try out. We think that they would appreciate a brand that tries to be youthful and adventurous as well! So, we try to do things that they might enjoy, such as posting memes and having slightly suggestive (but amusing) one-liners such as “Trust us, we are good in bed”. It’s always important to try to be relatable and relevant to your audience, after all.
6. Have you received any industry or recognition awards? What are some achievements that you are particularly proud of that you would like our readers to know about?
In a short span of 2 years, Joey Mattress has become the most reviewed online mattress brand in Malaysia! Our mattress has over 860 verified customer reviews and more than 300 people raving about their Joey experience on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and more. On top of that, Joey Mattress is also the most searched Malaysian mattress brand on Google. We’re really excited and proud of that achievement!
7. What is the most important non-negotiable value that your brand holds?
Dedication to customer satisfaction, for sure. Without customers, our business can’t survive. So, we always put our customers first and try to do as much for them as we can. By putting that value first, the right decisions for our company will naturally follow.
8. Are there any people or organizations you look up to that have influenced or inspired both you and your business? How exactly have they influenced or inspired you?
I personally look up to Jeff Bezos. He’s the pioneer of e-commerce and reading his autobiography, called “The Everything Store” gave me some insights on how to run Joey Mattress. One of the inspirations that I drew from him was to focus on customers, not competitors. This is how we were inspired to come up with our brand’s non-negotiable value.
9. Since you function with the online-only business model, how has the pandemic affected your business?
During the first nationwide lockdown in March 2020, we faced the same challenge as many businesses of having zero revenue and fixed overhead expenses. At that time, our focus was on reducing our cash bleed. Being an online-only business definitely did help as we’re able to scale down or pause many recurring expenses with ease, so we managed to reduce our expenses by over 70%.
In June’s lockdown this year, we started to stock up on inventory with hopes that it’ll be enough to last us through the lockdown. The good news is our inventory sold out within 2 weeks. The bad news: the lockdown lasted for 3 months! It was almost like going through the same challenge in March 2020 all over again.
We deployed the same plan of reducing cash bleed. Then, we hibernated until August since the lockdown was something that was out of our control. In August, Joey decided that even though we didn’t have any stocks to sell, we should still engage with our followers to show them that we’re still alive and healthy. So, that’s when Joey and her team started making memes and posting them on Instagram. That worked pretty well, and it kept us entertained for sure!
10. For most young Malaysians, starting a business is extremely scary. It’s a big risk to take and success is never guaranteed. What was your journey like starting your own business? What are some key challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?
It was definitely difficult to challenge the status quo of the typical mattress shopping experience when we started 2 years ago. People weren’t used to the concept of buying a mattress online, so it was kind of like swimming against the current with our vision to start an online, direct-to-consumer mattress startup with only one type of mattress.
Our family and friends asked us critical questions about our ideas that we don’t have answers to. One of the questions was:
“Why would anyone pay so much for a mattress before they even know what it feels like?”
We still don’t have the answer.
There were certainly a lot of doubts, but we truly believed in the benefits Joey Mattress could bring to the table. We knew we had to work hard to earn the trust of our potential customers, so we did everything ourselves from picking up calls, arranging deliveries to getting our story shared on news sites. Slowly but surely, word spread, people started to trust us and we’re getting busier by the day sending out each order with love.
11. We often hear that the entrepreneurial journey is a lonely one. Were there peers, mentors, coaches or programs that you joined that supported you as you grew the business?
It indeed is a lonely journey, but the Coach and Grow Programme kept us company. It’s a programme designed and executed by Proficeo, as a public-private partnership with Cradle to nurture entrepreneurs via coaching by industry experts and entrepreneurs who have walked the path before. It’s very hands-on and we learned invaluable lessons from our mentors in many areas from finance to HR to management. Besides, we got to meet many like-minded entrepreneurs and it’s really fascinating to hear their stories, too!
12. What skills have been most useful to you thus far? What would you say is the most important skill for our readers to have in the working world?
For us, the most useful skill to have is to be a good listener. As a leader, this skill not only helps you understand your team better, it’ll earn their respect. As a business partner, you’ll see things from more perspectives and your discussions will become more constructive and productive. Lastly, as an entrepreneur, it lowers the possibility of making costly mistakes of selling products that you think the customers would want, not what they actually want.
If you want to learn more about improving your listening skills, try reading this article about how to learn active listening skills!
Joey Mattress truly inspires us with their tenacity, pride and joy in what they do. They don’t shy away from the difficulties that come with being different; instead, they are brave enough to challenge the status quo and embrace the things that make them unique. Let’s learn to accept our unique traits and styles, stop comparing ourselves to others and start being courageous enough to truly believe in the impact we can make where we are.
For more Crunch Spotlight articles, check out our previous article in collaboration with Bash Clothing on how to build confidence and self-love.
Joey Mattress is a Proficeo alumnus and part of Proficeo’s #KitaMall initiative. Proficeo puts together all the best local products and services for you to discover in one place. Join us in supporting homegrown Malaysian brands at KitaMall today!