Just with rubberized coir mattress we cannot survive

Mr. Muhammed Kunhi,
Managing Director, Sulfex Mattress and Furniture

Mr. Muhammed Kunhi thought of starting a mattress company in 1994 after exploring several other business options when he was in the Gulf. Today Sulfex mattress is one of the largest-selling rubberised coir mattresses in Kerala. Mr Kunhi, MD of the company has shared his company’s plans and the current state of the rubberised coir market in India

Q Kindly share your 30 years of mattress business journey

I was working in the Gulf and decided to start a business. I thought of entering the mineral water business, manufacturing PVC pipes, Amusement Park etc. But I didn’t get any technical know-how on these businesses. However, I got a better understanding of mattress manufacturing through the local market. This is the reason for the creation of Sulfex. I created the mattress business in Saudi Arabia and India as well as running both at the same time.

Q Your business presence is mainly in Kerala. Do you plan to take it to Pan-India?

Definitely. We are already available almost across south India– in Goa, Bangalore, Mangalore, etc. We are purely a family-owned business now & in the future, we are planning to get some partners with whom we can share our business. We are already looking for a company having both exposure and experience. Even we are checking the possibilities with American or European companies because nowadays such companies can start it with 100 percent direct investment with any partners. We are the no. #1 mattress company in Kerala. “A man who succeeded in Kerala means he can diversify his business then he can grow it everywhere in India.” We may start some business in Gulf countries since my roots are in the Gulf – Saudi Arabia & Sharjah. Since we got a very good name in Kerala we may do it in Gulf countries also.

Q If I look at the per capita consumption of mattresses, Kerala is the highest. What are the factors contributing to this?

There are a few reasons for this. Over 30 percent of the population of Kerala is connected overseas either in the Gulf or Europe or America. What is happening around the world is happening in Kerala too. There is a rise in income levels, the literacy rate is also high and the replacement cycle of mattresses is fast. Consumption of mattresses may be more but number wise Kerala is not number one.

Q What are the innovations we can expect from your company Sulfex on the product side?

Just with a rubberized coir mattress, we cannot survive. We are planning to provide all kinds of mattresses like PU foam, Spring mattresses, memory foam, natural, and latex for the consumers. We also have a huge capacity factory for manufacturing. We are looking for some partners and investors with whom we can partner and also looking for mattress manufacturing on a turnkey basis.

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.