- Sonno is a mattress brand based in Malaysia that lets users try out mattresses for 100 nights before deciding whether to make a purchase.
- Boasting an Italian-design, their mattresses are made in China and feature premium materials such as latex and memory foam. Stand-out features include movement dissipation technology and construction that omits spring coils.
- All mattresses come in a compact box and will inflate upon unwrapping. Prices start begin at RM1,799 for single sizes, and go up to RM3,199 for king sized mattresses.
For all the talk of healthy living, it’s still surprising how little emphasis is placed on quality sleep. After all, we spend a third of our lives in slumber, and in that time our bodies take the much needed opportunity to repair, recuperate, and ready ourselves for the activities of the next day.
Which is why everyone needs a good mattress on which to rest.
But for most, the process of picking out a good mattress requires individuals to go through the hassle of visiting a store, and making their final decision after only trying out each mattress for a handful of minutes. And all this without considering the fact that these mattresses can cost a pretty penny.
Aiming to provide a better alternative to that process, Malaysian-based Italian native Fabio Miceli founded mattress brand Sonno (which translates to sleep in Italian) in November 2017 with the unique proposition of letting customers try out a premium product before actually committing to its purchase.
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More For Less
Designed in Italy and manufactured in China, Sonno’s mattresses incorporate materials such as latex and memory foam, and promise to provide premium sleep at competitive prices.
Among the features boasted by Sonno’s mattresses is the ability to dissipate motion—allowing couples to sleep peacefully without being woken by each others’ movement—and lack spring coils.
Leveraging on the speed and efficiency that e-commerce provides, Sonno adopts the try-first-buy-later model that has become popular with brands such as Casper and Tuft & Needle in the United States.
Those in the market for a new mattress can order one from Sonno’s website, get it delivered for free, and then use it for a period for 100 nights before deciding on whether to keep it. If unconvinced by the product, Sonno will arrange to have the mattress picked up for no additional cost.
A single mattress starts at RM1,799 and a queen at RM2,699 and a king costs RM3,199.
“In doing all these, we sell directly to the consumer. We’re fully online, and we cut out the middle man,” he explained.
“All these helps us save on cost and provide our products at a very competitive price.”
“Plus, the way we package our mattresses also helps us save greatly on shipping fees,” he added. “We pack our mattresses into boxes, which make them compact and easy to move around. They inflate into full-sized mattresses when customers unpack them.”
“Shipping wise, these boxes take up a sixth of the space of a traditional mattress, and you can imagine how much we save on deliver both internationally and locally.”
Grabbing At Opportunity
While the concept of letting consumers try a product for free may seem risky, Fabio has enough confidence that his model has all the right ingredients to do well in the long run.
“I think people will like our concept because it makes the process so easy,” he said. “The ease of getting it online, plus the benefit of being able to test it extensively will hopefully be able to get people interested.”
“Plus it also helps that we have a product that people actually think is great.”
Fabio went on to detail some the reasons he thinks Sonno can do well in the local market, including the huge opportunity for mattresses in Malaysia.
“Asia Pacific has the largest share of the global mattress market, which is worth US$30 billion,” he said. “This is because of the increase in home-ownership, a growing population, and an awareness of health concerns that may move people to replace their mattresses more often.”
“For these reasons, the mattress industry in this region—Malaysia especially—is pretty exciting.”
Fabio then explained how Sonno’s business model fit in perfectly with these conditions, and noted how it does better than the traditional methods of buying a mattress.
“People used to go to dealers, test a few mattresses for a couple of minutes, and then force themselves to decide which one to get there and then,” he said. “Our model eliminates the hassle and uncertainty, and gets people to know the product before committing.”
And so far, this method has been working out for Sonno quite well.
Within six months of being operational, Sonno’s revenue has hit six figures, with their goal to hit RM1 million by the end of 2018 looking quite probable.
Speaking on the challenges of growing his business, Fabio touched upon the subject of trustworthiness.
“Investing in a mattress costs more and involves more commitment from consumers,” he explained. “So for us to be able to have a reputation among our target audience, the best way to go is through the internet and word of mouth.”
In this respect, Sonno is targeting the younger tech-savvy crowd—the ones who are always on the internet, and who are active on social media—and is using channels such as Facebook, Instagram, as well as getting social media influencers as a medium to get recognition.
And in addition to these techniques, Sonno is also partnering with co-working spaces—starting with Common Ground—to let people try out their mattresses in sleep pods for 45-minute intervals.
“By letting people actually test out the product, we can quickly build trust with potential buyers,” said Fabio. “And so far, reviews have been great, and our return rates have been much lower than expected.”
Discussing future plans, Fabio says that Sonno hopes to begin entering new markets within the coming years.
“Ideally, we would like to enter more markets as time progresses,” he said. “We hope to enter Singapore by the end of 2018, and then other countries shortly after.”
Additionally, Fabio also aims to keep improving on his product, and will continue to work with Sonno’s design team as well as manufacturers to stay relevant within their markets.
“This is all part of a company’s growth, you can’t expect a product to last forever,” he said.
“You always have to seek out new materials, new designs in order to stay relevant. So this is what we will continue to do.”