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Sales & Growth


Global competitors with deep pockets? Do the simple things brilliantly

Michal Szlas, founder of OTTY Sleep, faced the challenge of going up against global competitors
As a small business, Michal Szlas knew there was the opportunity to be more personable on social media

Name: OTTY Sleep
Location: Leeds
Employees: 12
Founded in: 2016

The problem

When they expanded operations into Germany and the Netherlands, boxed mattress company OTTY Sleep was up against a whole load of global competitors. One of them had just had a £75m investment, whereas OTTY was on a shoestring budget. To continue selling their mattresses at an affordable price point – up to £200 less than the competition – OTTY needed to find a way to level the playing field.

The solution

With their budget limitations in mind, the business decided to focus on profitability, not turnover. Many of their competitors would post high turnover figures, but as CEO Michal Szlas pointed out, digging a little deeper often revealed annual losses with the hope of turning a profit in the next two or three years. “Making a loss is a luxury we can’t afford,” Michal said.

OTTY’s first step was to ensure the basics were up to scratch, so they worked on simplifying their purchasing cycle. With so much choice, Michal wanted customers to come to the OTTY website and immediately understand what made their mattress better than others. To support this, they set up a round-the-clock online chat system, which catered for customers in different time zones. 

OTTY took advantage of being a smaller business and developed a more personable presence on social media. They tried to make a memorable impression by answering funny questions with a light-hearted response that would add colour to the brand. To build brand visibility and get mentions in ‘top mattress’ articles, the company employed an in-house PR team.

The results

Michal believes OTTY’s dedication to product development and customer service has helped the business to succeed against global competitors. “The focus has clearly worked, as we’re one of the only profitable boxed mattress companies in the sector,” he says. The business now has 12 staff at their Leeds HQ, with plans to expand further into Europe over the next twelve months. 

“Do your research to find out who your customers are, what they’re prepared to pay and the best way to reach them. And don’t follow the crowd – sometimes it’s better to swim against the tide, so don’t be scared to do what you feel is best.”

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