15 June 2024, 07:50
By Furniture News Jun 06, 2024

Getting personal: Steve Adams, Mattress Online

Steve is the CEO of Rotherham-based Mattress Online, one of the UK’s leading online mattress retailers. The business, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, is increasingly pursuing a ‘clicks and bricks’ expansion strategy through the acquisition of physical stores, while maintaining its best-in-class approach to digital sales.

How might a child describe what you do?

Boring, probably! After nearly 19 years I have seen many reactions from younger generations, and most are rather unenthusiastic – a career in beds can’t hold a candle to a fireman, soldier or police officer, and rightly so.

What’s the biggest long-term challenge you face?

Letting go. After being at the reins for so long, and with a fast-growing, highly capable team who are more specialised and smarter than me, it’s hard to let them crack on independently. I guess it’s my version of FOMO.

If you had 10 x your working budget, what would you spend it on?

Twenty bricks- (clicks) and-mortar stores.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

From the Bedroom to the Boardroom.

What does ‘work/life balance’ mean to you?

At the moment a stretch goal, I live and breathe Mattress Online, and while I try to lead by example and promote a healthy balance of work, family and relaxation, it’s one of my biggest challenges personally.

Who’s been your most influential professional mentor?

Steve Kelly, my ex-co-founder, taught me everything I know about beds and the industry, and that is rather a lot.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Buy Tesla shares, always listen, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

What’s been your best day in business to date?

The 28th March 2019 – the signing of my MBO of Mattress Online.

What’s the biggest myth about our industry?

That we simply make and sell stuff for the home. Deep down, we are a key part of our customers’ wellbeing journey, especially in the mattress sector. A good night’s sleep is the cornerstone to a healthier and happier life.

What should everyone in our industry either stop or start doing?

We should all be working together for a sustainable future, even if that means our prices going up.

Where do you see the industry going in the next 5-10 years?

An even bigger proportion of customers are moving online, but with an expectation of a hybrid retail mix, where they can experience an online brand, offline. Wayfair and Amazon are moving forward with their offline retail strategy.

This interview featured in the May issue of Furniture News magazine.


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