Simon Moore wants to help UAE residents sleep better. Considering that around 90 percent of the country is sleep deprived, he seems to be targeting the right area through a platform that allows customers to personalise a rather underrated product in their homes – beds, and in particular, mattresses. Helmii, which is the Arabic word for ‘my dream,’ is an online start-up where residents can choose any fabric, colour and foot style either through the website or through fabric swatches sent to their home.
According to Moore, too many options with ‘confusing terminology and special technologies’ in the mattress industry has long frustrated customers. Moreover, trying it in the unnatural setting of a store often leads to unsuitable purchases. Through Helmii, customers can try the simply-explained yet high quality mattress at home with the firm’s 40 Nights Promise feature that allows them to refund it if they don’t get their promise ‘dream sleep’.
Where did the idea for Helmii come from?
We felt that there was a gap in the market to give customers more choice. We felt that the market had become very stale in that the industry does the same thing time and time again. For example, it only does sales and discounts.
It felt like the industry had not moved with the times. All the mattresses look the same. They have the same old style. We wanted to create some-thing that felt new and contemporary and our Helmii mattress reflects that.
Why does the market need a platform like Helmii, and what makes it different?
The key to Helmii is helping people create their dream bedroom and dream sleep. You can walk into any furniture store in the UAE and buy a bed, but it could be in the wrong size, the wrong colour or a fabric you don’t like. With Helmii, we remove all that. You can have any size, fabric, colour, foot style and foot colour you like. You can customise pretty much every part of your bed and create your dream design, all from the comfort of your own home, any day, any time.
What are some of your biggest challenges for Helmii?
One of our biggest problems is staying in stock of mattress. It has proved so popular that it’s currently sold out, and we are waiting on our next delivery, which is being made and shipped as we speak.
How is the concept funded?
We have completely funded the company ourselves using our savings, but with a clear commitment to keep our cost base low and pass these savings onto our customers.
What are your expansion plans for the company?
We would like to build the brand here in the UAE over the next 12 months and build a reputation based on price, service and quality and then scale it up to serve the wider GCC over the next 5 years.
What is your ultimate vision for the firm? Where/what do you see it growing into?
Everyone deserves a great night’s sleep. So, we want everyone to sleep on a Helmii mattress, in their dream bed.
Was there ever a time when you felt like giving up?
We love what we do, and it has always been a dream to create and build a brand that people trust and love. We made mistakes in the first year but we’ve learned valuable lessons that have made us stronger. We started this project with the belief that you should never regret the things you do, only the things you don’t do. This inspires us every day and helps us negotiate the challenges that life presents.
If you could go back and do one thing differently with Helmii, what would it be?
I never reflect too much on the past. I believe you have to make a decision based on what you know at that time. You make the best decision you can and then work to that. If it doesn’t work out how you planned, then you move on while using the experience and knowledge you have gained to make the best decisions possible and keep moving forward. Life and business are about knowledge and experience. Use both to the best of your ability.
What are some consumer trends that you have noticed?
People love to share their style and learn from each other using social media. Being able to personalise something allows people to showcase their style and design ideas. This is why we wanted to give customers the tools to create a bed that is bespoke to them. On a product level, at the moment, people cannot get enough of our velvet fabric. It is a very luxurious fabric which is very soft and tactile. In fact, it is perfect for a bed.
What are some of the challenges faced by the regional retail home sector?
I think that to a certain degree, people are becoming tired of the trend of constant sales and discounts. They are starting to become distrustful about the validity of these discounts. This is why we decided to introduce a low-price policy. We wanted to be transparent with our customers from the beginning and say with honesty that this is the best price we can supply this product at. People are also looking for good service and this is not rocket science. It is just about doing things well.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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