Don’t Just Buy. Think and Buy

CM Hariraj, M D, Coir-on Foam Products
Interview with Mr. CM Hariraj MD,
Coir-On Foam Product

Q What is it like to be a player with a 30-year legacy? What has the journey been like?

When we look back 30 years, what’s interesting to note is that the mattress industry was quite a small sector. Now it has grown 300 to 400 times. Earlier people thought of a mattress in a conventional way – they thought of cotton, then rubberized mattresses and then foam mattresses. Now a combination of various formats is doing well. Coir mattresses have the value and privilege of a natural product. Those who enjoy the comforts of coir mattresses will ask for that only.

Maybe the young generation is experimenting with spring mattresses or other forms. The industry has a lot of potential. The demand is growing and the comfort connotation is also expanding and changing with times. Costs going up – that’s a bit of a worry. Also, non-registered players use different materials which is a concern from the angle of quality and customer comfort. But overall, the industry is doing well.

Q What shifts have influenced your strategy in a big way – the shift from Coir to PU Foam or Memory foam?

Manufacturing of coir is a lot of work. It is a tough industry in terms of appliances and manufacturing problems. Rubberized coir production is struggling with some challenges like pollution. So many people have shifted to other formats. Spring and foam manufacturing are relatively easy and possible with limited labour and manufacturing investments.

Spring mattress manufacturing is simple. Foam mattresses are also easy in terms of fabrication and cutting. Foam can also be compressed and sent in boxes and other models. Many players are in these two areas only. People do not know much about the thickness of materials. Consumers can get lost in good finish and tapestry. What is the life of the product – that is a question they should be asking? Coir- as we emphasize – is about quality and comfort. It also has applications in agri-areas.

Q What makes your company different from the other mattress brands?

I cannot claim a hundred percent that we are better than everyone else. But we are pioneering with a legacy of 30 years. Gradually, we have evolved to this level with a good scale every day with 60 percent coir and the rest of the scale towards spring and foam. Being a pioneer is a privilege. Our road is steady and strong.

Q According to you what are some of the emerging opportunities for the Indian bedding industry in India?

The young generation has different purchasing methods and mindsets. That’s where compression in a box helps. Coir mattresses cannot address this category as well as spring and foam mattresses do. So, some alternatives have better potential as per the new demand for easy access and transport that is emerging.

Q How do you see Indian consumers’ buying behaviour evolving further in the next 12 months?

The pandemic has affected a lot of lifestyle choices. Online business has seen a big impact and it will pick up. Costs can be reduced to some extent and the advantage can be passed on to the customer.

Q One challenge in India – is the dominance of an unorganized mattress sector. How to move customers to an organized segment?

When the customer wants to buy a mattress, one should study the mattress – what is the format, the manufacturer, its reputation and quality. Do not just compare costs and directly buy from the place where it is cheaper. That’s not the right approach. Think of the overall life and strengths that branded options offer. Take a decision which is based on proper discretion and knowledge.

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.