Will transit from a mattress to a home comfort company in 2019: Ashutosh Vaidya, Kurl-on

Vaidya, CMO of Kurl-on, talks about partnership with IKEA, expansion plans and marketing strategy for the year ahead in a chat with exchange4media

Ashutosh Vaidya, CMO, Kurl-on

Leading mattress seller Kurl-on, which has been in the business for the past 56 years, has recently ventured into home comfort products. In a chat with exchange4media, Ashutosh Vaidya, CMO, Kurl-on talks about expansion plans, marketing strategy and partnership with other brands. 

Edited Excerpts:

Kurl-on as a brand has come a long way, from being known as India’s largest selling mattress brand to becoming a leader in cutting-edge technologically-driven home comfort products. What are the challenges that the brand faces on an everyday basis?
Kurl-on is a very old company and has the strong DNA of a mattress, hence the transition from a manufacturer to a fashion furnishing is a challenge. There has been a transition at the back as well as the front-end. One can handle transition on the front-end through media; we can always try and change the perception of what we are. Transition on the back-end is a different ball game altogether because changing the mindset of people is little tricky. 

What is Kurl-on’s business and marketing strategy for 2019?
When you ask someone about a mattress they will probably say Kurl-on. In 2019, we want to convert this awareness into a high-market share. We will transit from a mattress to a home comfort company, will try to make Kurl-on from a very tech product to a fashion product. We will place things around Kurl-on and create a medium which basically addresses fashion. We are planning to open multiple flagship stores where we will show the mattress in an exciting form. We are tying up with companies like Portico, Obsession and Iris so that their products will retail from our stores. 

You will soon find us in airlines so that more and more travellers come to know about us. You will strongly find our presence in the press and social media. Last year, we did not have consistent presence on TV but now we will work on it as well, mostly into GMC and new space. We will retune our media focus to adjust ourselves in the marketing strategy.  

Tell us about your partnership with IKEA and why did you think of collaborating with one of your competitors?
We want to learn from IKEA, about their best practices and how their processes are built. IKEA brings in a lot of knowledge of a consumer from a global point of view. I don’t think they are competitors, I think they are large format retailers and they are looking at a consumer who wants to buy things and set up houses in a DIY kind. Their product understanding is amazing. 

Any expansion plans in India and international markets?
Kurl-on operates with 9 factories in India, spread across different regions. We are expanding three more factories in Bhubaneswar, Guwahati and Anantapur. We operate with about 1,300 franchise stores and now we have opened 65 stores. By the end of this year, we will have around 100 stores. We will showcase mattress and home-comfort in a new way. 

What is the company’s focus on new product lines?
We have launched ‘Mattress in a Box’ and ‘STR8’ technology mattresses. ‘Mattress in a Box’ or those packed in an easy-to-carry box can either be purchased by customers online from the comfort of their homes or easily carried back home from any of the Kurl-on brand outlets. 

Kurl-on reported a turnover of Rs 1,050 crore in 2017-18. What are you aiming for in FY 2019?
The company clocked about Rs 1,050 crore in revenue last fiscal and expects to grow to about Rs 1,300 crore this fiscal. In three years, the company plans to clock Rs 2,000 crore in revenues. A key growth driver will be Kurl-on’s strategy to further expand its market share by increasing focus and catering to the next Gen, the young Indian consumer with a slew of innovative products and technology, besides launching exclusive, high-end products for the premium and affluent market. 

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