Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Dylan Tollemache, CEO and co-founder of Onebed.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
At onebed, we focus on sleep. While we sell mattresses, our main goal is helping people to sleep better. We have designed an affordable sleep solution for everyone, and we’ve made it simple. We’ve designed a mattress we believe to be so perfect, we only sell one.
Our team discovered through our own testing that there’s a certain comfort level that fits almost every sleeper. Once we found this comfort level, we set out to reengineer the supply chain to bring this perfect mattress to consumers for the cheapest possible price.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
Unlike all our competitors, we don’t have millions of dollars to throw at advertising. Knowing this, we put all the focus on product development. Our growth comes from harnessing the power of social media and relying on the strength of our product to sell itself. We really believe in our mattress, and I think our customers see that. Our main driver by far is social media and referrals from previous customers.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
As a small startup entering a 3 billion dollar industry, our biggest challenge is tackling big mattress companies. For decades these mattress magnates have been running the scene with gigantic markups and huge advertising budgets. Our challenge is to fight these deceptively convincing advertising campaigns and show people that you don’t have to break the bank to get a good night’s sleep.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
We cut out every unnecessary cost in the supply chain to bring our customers an extremely comfortable mattress at the cheapest possible price. Unlike traditional mattress companies, we sell exclusively online. We cut costs by eliminating commission based salesmen, expensive showrooms, retail markups and expensive gimmicky marketing campaigns. We then pass on these cost savings directly to our customers. The only things we don’t cut costs on are our customer service and of course, our end product.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
This may seem beige, but for me it’s Facebook. I live and breathe Facebook. It’s how I connect with our customers. As the CEO, I’m still heavily involved in customer service and reply to comments and messages for hours on end each day. It’s my core belief that the only way to a successful business is really connecting with your customers and understanding their wants and needs.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Hands down, it’s to do what you love and believe in what you do. Fall in love with the journey, not the destination. I’m a firm believer that success comes from passion combined with obsession – not hard grueling work just to bang out a buck.
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