Annual turnover is topping £16 million and growth is already up 24 percent on last year’s record for the family firm JBJ Midlands, based in Leicester, which along with the MNM brand also has a flooring division and two high street stores featuring both product categories. MNM’s wide choice of major labels, fast delivery and low prices combined with the offer of a sleep trial have struck a particular chord over the past two years, says director Simon Johnson, whose father Trevor founded the business 30 years ago.
“People spend a lot of time with their mattress, we concentrate on these rather than full bed sets. Customers now have peace of mind about ordering a big purchase online. Many prefer our sleep trial offer to bouncing around in a showroom. No chatbots for us though when they go to our site, we have real people answering queries 12 hours a day,” he declares.
“We were early digital adopters 15 years ago and we’re good at reacting and adapting our offering online. We respond to customers’ feedback, for example how important it is for them to know the weight of a mattress.
“We now deliver from Scotland down to Jersey. All this has stood us in good stead as we absorbed the impact of Covid and coped with a big increase in customers – business doubled within a month. Last year was a huge leap. We think it marks a permanent change in people’s habits. Buying a mattress online is no longer unusual and we’ve seen a much bigger variety of customers too.”
It has been the same for the company’s forward-thinking approach about storage. Having taken a risk some years ago to build their own super depot, this is reaching full capacity, so they are now bringing more sites on board in the North, the Midlands and Gloucestershire.
Most mattresses MNM sells, such as Hypnos and Sleepeezee, are made in the UK and the company works with a recycler. “Supply availability has stabilised for UK-made products,” adds Johnson. “Trends now suggest customers want UK produced goods, sustainability and recyclability. We have always been strong on low prices, another factor increasingly important for households this year.”
The company, which employs more than 50, operates its own delivery fleet and is currently recruiting for more drivers and adding more vehicles. “Investing in this side has cemented our reputation for reliability,” says Johnson. “That has paid off and we now deliver on behalf of manufacturers too. They know we can meet customers’ expectations.”
After halting selling into Northern Ireland because of post-Brexit problems, the business is now trialling a new courier. And MNM is determined to make a reality out of its sweet dreams to develop its own label mattress brand and even manufacture itself in the UK one day.
“We’ve had two demanding years, our overheads continue to increase, but there is more light now at the end of the tunnel,” says Johnson.