How I Succeeded: Sleeping Duck’s Selvam Sinnappan

How I Succeeded: Sleeping Duck’s Selvam Sinnappan
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How I Succeeded is a new series on Lifehacker where we ask business owners for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Selvam Sinnappan from Sleeping Duck.

Lifehacker’s How I Succeeded series, brought to you by Telstra, offers expert advice to help small business owners. For more on how Telstra helps make it easier for you to do your thing, visit

Current gig: Co-founder, Sleeping Duck
Location: Richmond, Victoria
Current mobile device: OnePlus One
Current computer: Asus Intel i7 laptop
One word that best describes how you work: Diligent

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Gmail, Google Calendar, Excel.

What social network do you find the most useful?


What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?

Don’t forget what made you successful. At Sleeping Duck we started with a relentless focus on customer service, with the aim of creating a memorable customer experience. We phoned all our customers upon delivery as well as 40 days later to check in and see how they were finding their mattress. This level of attention surprised and genuinely delighted many of our customers, which led to a significant amount of word of mouth referrals. As the business has grown quickly, it’s been imperative that the customer experience still remains at the forefront of what we do.

What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?

The emotional rollercoaster that you’re put on as a startup founder doesn’t end or get easier, as there are always new challenges to solve. For example, having found product/market fit, Sleeping Duck’s priority has now shifted to building a team and the operations to successfully scale the business.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?


What’s your sleep routine like?

I’m usually in bed by midnight. My Sleeping Duck Titan mattress gives me a restful sleep and then I’m normally awake at 7am. I’ll check emails first thing and respond to anything urgent.

What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?

The problems and challenges you face in a startup will rarely be black-and-white or have a clear-cut answer. You need to accept that most of the time you’ll be working with imperfect information and an incredible amount of ambiguity. In this type of environment it’s important to continuously test and iterate your ideas.


  • I wish I knew about these guys a few months ago, would have given them a go. All the best!

  • My missus bought a mattress from them, and they have excellent customer service. You pay a bit more for the product, but so far there has been no buyers remorse.
    She wasn’t sleeping well on the mattress, and when they did their follow up call, they simply offered her her money back without a quibble.
    Instead, she wanted to try it some more as she likes the mattress, so they sent her a topper pad for free to see if it would help her sleep better.
    Given we had to just about threaten legal action with a previous company we’d bought a mattress from, it was a most welcome change of attitude.

    They’ve just increased their refund period from 60 days to 100 days, which says a lot about their confidence in the product.
    Certainly can’t fault their customer service ethic.

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