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Let’s be honest, the mattress business may not seem like the most fascinating niche in the startup world; especially at a time when industries like technology and tourism are transforming so quickly. But statistics show an undeniably interesting story about a mattress company called Emma, recently confirmed as the fastest growing startup in Europe.
How did it happen, and why did Emma scale so incredibly quickly?
Sleep is one of the bare necessities and pleasures of life, and Emma produces quality, reasonably-priced mattresses that help customers meet this essential need. However, the company has plenty of competitors who achieve the same goal. The product itself can’t be the only factor that led to the remarkable rise of this startup, right? Making a claim that there is one particular reason for any startup’s growth is likely shortsighted, and is an oversimplified perspective that is bound to leave out some influential factors.
So, let’s take a closer look at how Emma mattresses carved out a unique space in the industry and experienced exponential growth as a result.
Unmatched growth within Europe’s startup scene
Founded in 2015, this German startup recently expanded into France, Spain, Italy and 11 other countries across Europe, selling more than 120,000 mattresses in its first two years of operation.
The company’s revenue grew an impressive 14,315 percent in 2018, which was more than double the amount of many leading startups in other countries. Even bitcoin company, Luno, trailed with 12,369 percent growth.
As a result, Next Web awarded Emma the “fastest growing startup” title, solidifying Emma as the biggest name in the European startup world.
What makes the company unique from its competitors and worthy of such an expansion in just 3 years?
Striking the perfect balance: Quality, affordability and simplicity
Sustainability requires a variety of moving parts fitting together in the right place at the right time. It requires consistent effort, strategizing and a sprinkling of luck. Emma has taken a unique (yet relatable) approach to winning the heart of the average consumer. And they’ve executed this specifically through their marketing, product offerings and values.
First, plain old quality. Emma offers affordable mattresses, a money-back-guarantee, a 10-year warranty on every mattress and a 100-night trial option. The company has won the endorsement of Which? Best Buy, one of the most well-known product research companies in Europe, as well as similar review companies in France, the Netherlands, and other countries.
Next, simplicity. With varying levels of firmness, gel layers, foam layers and springs, choosing a mattress has quickly become a science that most consumers don’t care to figure out. They just want comfortable, pain-free sleep. Emma worked to simplify the answer to the question mattress buyers have: What mattress will suit me? Three different “bed-in-a-box” options are offered: the flagship Emma One, the premium Emma Air, and Emma Original.
Lastly, affordability. This brand wouldn’t have experienced such rapid growth if it were not competitively priced.
Fueled by the “why” behind the product
In addition to striking the right balance, Emma places emphasis on the importance of quality sleep rather than the boring details of memory foam mattresses. In other words, the brand succeeds by focusing on informing its customers about why quality sleep matters, and how their product can improve the quality of their sleep.
The company puts the “features vs. benefits” argument into practice: Don’t tell your customer about your product. Instead, tell them what the product will do to improve their life. It’s the benefits provided, or the quality-of-life shift that the product promises, that draws attention and makes a difference. This goes double in the mattress industry, where the product details themselves could literally put a customer to sleep.
This isn’t to stay that higher-quality features are unimportant, but reveals how Emma used its “why” instead of its “how” to reach consumers. Sleepopolis, a sleep product review company, credited the startup’s growth to its ability to emphasize quality sleep as a primary source of health and wellbeing, something that immediately connected with customers.
Emma set out to solve a widespread problem (sleep deprivation) and embraced a much-needed cultural shift (humans need more and better sleep). The message has clearly resonated and catapulted the brand from a humble startup to the fastest growing startup in Europe.