A good night of sleepgoes far – into a good and productive day

Abhishek Sharma, Founder, Bhagwati Foam Industries

Gives a lowdown on why now is the best time to serve customers with products that add to health in their lives. He also shares why nonstandard sizes, regional advantages, in-house manufacturing and GST have played as strong factors for changing the face of the industry

Q Tell us about your forte and history in the foam industry? How did you start and what made you focus on the foam industry when you begin?

The company was conceived in 2007 and started operations in 2008. My father was into retail and distribution of foam. His experience, spanning a good 45 years, is a strong advantage for our company. When I joined, we decided to do backward integration in manufacturing. With his vast experience, we could offer a good range of products, with strong technology-driven products.

We could cater to good customer experience. We are now very knowledgeable on good technology and manufacturing expertise. For us, everything is manufactured in-house here. Our forte lies in consistent quality that we supply, along with dedicated service and dedicated research & development. The R&D team looks into what products should be tested, tried regularly and brought in to the market as and when they are required.

Q You are strong as a regional player? Any plans for expansion?

We are active in Maharashtra, Gujarat and some parts of Madhya Pradesh and Telangana. We do intend to take our products to southern and northern parts of the country. Through e-commerce, we are able to reach out to pan-India areas, and easily. We have practically covered the entire country. But we also want to extend our retail network to cover the more regions.

Q What are the opportunities and gaps in the industry – from your experience here, so far?

Firstly, the opportunities have come up well in tier-2 and 3 cities. A good level of demand have come from these cities. They are showing high consumption levels. A lot of new towns, construction and infrastructure are coming up in the country. In the pandemic, a lot of people moved to bigger spaces due to the work-from-home trend. People who are buying bigger houses are spending more. People have also realised after the pandemic that life is uncertain. They want to buy better quality sofas, furniture and mattress. People pay attention to comfort now.

The opportunity is now big on health. We, as an industry, have a big chance to make the most of these trends, this heightened awareness and healthorientation. We can make products that help to improve lives of people and help them to sleep healthier. Plus, a lot of opportunity has opened in the online space. Tier 2, 3 cities and exports can also contribute a lot in many industries – now that some countries do not want to depend on China.

Q And gaps?

Non-standard sizes are still a challenge for the industry. We need to work a lot on that as an industry. If bed manufacturers can align well with the industry, it will eventually help the customer. When production costs go down and efficiencies improve, that is a good result of such alignment. Also, slowly the unorganised segment is coming into the organised ambit – specially after GST. Things are getting more streamlined.

This was a gap earlier but now it is an opportunity. Now everyone is on the same platform and slab. It is now one country and one rate. These are such gaps that are filling well now. We, as an industry, should try to educate the customer more on sleep-health. We need to create awareness on the advantages of productivity, efficiency and overall health that come due to a good-night’s sleep.

ISPF is an industry body which promotes importance of sleep and role of mattress for a Indian consumers. ISPF plays very important role in connecting Indian bedding industry ecosystem. ISPF also acts as bridge between India and international players.