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A Good Sleep Guaranteed: The Eva Story | #202

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Nathan Bush is a director at eCommerce talent agency, eSuite. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.

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Amanda’s previous career was as a clinical neuropsychologist, where she specialised in the diagnosis and assessment of dementia across both clinical and research settings. Initially she helped out after hours at Eva, but soon enough took the plunge and went all in.

You can contact Amanda at LinkedIn

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Ken’s previous career saw him work as an electrical engineer within the trucking and manufacturing industry. He had several marketplace businesses where he experimented with the direct-to-consumer model on a smaller scale. Armed with customer-centricity at their core and making the process of purchasing furniture much simpler, Amanda and Ken set about building Eva.

You can contact Ken at LinkedIn

Amanda and Ken talk mattresses, markets and metrics

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Amanda Niu and Ken Lau, Co-founders of Eva, a Melbourne based furniture and homewares brand who are disrupting the usual suspects in the space. Not only do they have beautiful design, amazing customer reviews and B Corp certification – they also offer a 365 day money back guarantee. In this episode we dive into how that guarantee came about and how they had the confidence to make such a strong customer promise. We also explore Ken and Amanda’s backstories – neuropsychologist meets electrical engineer anyone? And, in possibly the most important piece of information you can get on Add To Cart, we dive into the secret world of the mattress industry and share how to select the mattress that’s best for you.

“2020 and 2021 was all about growth at all costs, but 2022 is a different ball game.

Ken Lau

Mattress shade

(Ken) “So it is a little bit shady, isn’t it? I think I’m going on record right now to say that I think some brands do try to keep it that way. But actually being in the industry is really, really simple. I think the first thing that I’ve learned is lots of brands out there are having sales and saying, “Hey, I’m selling a queen mattress for the price of a single.”

So just think about that. How much margin do they have when the customer actually pays the full price of the queen during non-sale periods? Think about it again. If they can sell it at the price of a single how much margin do they have? Kind of shows there’s a lot of middle men in the industry. Obviously, with middle men, there’s a lot of fat that is in the industry and lots of margins and markups essentially.”

What the customer wants

(Amanda) “It’s quite a long process, 12 to 18 months with just one product. The reason why it takes that long is because we want to make sure that the products that we put out to the world are products that actually are what the customer wants. That involves a lot of market research, competitor research through to even interviews with customers and non-customers to understand their preferences. 

From there, we also do user testing. So thinking about the prototypes that we make here in Australia, in Melbourne just around the corner. We actually get friends and family and people in the office to just come on and try. How do you assemble this? Did you like the way it was assembled? Was it easy? Was it hard? How did you think about the back of the sofa? Is it comfy? What would you change?

We infuse that all the way through from the first prototype through the next prototype through hopefully the final golden sample. We’re like, “Okay, this is the one. This is the one that we’re going to launch out to the world because we’ve done so much research and so much testing.” That’s when we do finally launch, we are pretty confident with the product we’ve put out.”

Tik Tok

(Amanda) “It’s a little bit of a vanity metric. But I think it’s also thinking about why we use that channel. So each channel has different purposes, whether or not it’s at the top of the funnel or middle or bottom funnel. For TikTok, we do see it as a brand awareness channel. So really right at the top, getting our name out there, not necessarily thinking about targeting mattress-specific users or mattress-specific people who are in the market. 

It’s kind of part of our shift away from being just a product-focused business or a brand to one that is more holistic. We are here for home  lifestyle. So when they’re ready and they want to purchase a product in the home, hopefully we’ll be that front of mind for them.”

Questions answered in this episode include
  • How did you come from neuropsychology and electrical engineering to eCommerce?
  • What does your TikTok content creation process look like? 
  • What’s the secret to buying a great mattress?

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