Rising and shining enterprising sibling trio.
By Natasha Sethi
Sleepwell Industries is a third-generation family business established in the year 1999, currently managed by Pooja Dudhoria, Yash Raj Dudhoria, and Vikram Dudhoria, an enterprising sibling trio who decided to pursue their predilection and ardour for entrepreneurship by taking on the family business.
A mattress company that offers a variety of sleep solutions to several types of markets, including the hospitality market, retail market, and individual customers, Sleepwell Industries provides private labelling for local and international brands, as well as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and original design manufacturer (ODM) services to customers interested in designing and customising products to meet personal needs and wants.
As the manufacturing and the parent company, its subsidiary companies are Dreammaster, SleepHappy, Kingkoil, and iDream. Dreammaster revolves around the B2B segment of major hotel chains around Southeast Asia, including Hilton Worldwide, Accor, and Marriott International.
After decades of acquiring Dreammaster, they expanded from wholesale to retail and completely rebranded their business three years ago. “A big change was when we launched SleepHappy, our first e-commerce B2C company,” I was informed. “Besides mattresses and bedding, SleepHappy also offers additional accessories including head boards, bed bases, and toppers.” In 2019, the Dudhorias introduced the Kingkoil franchise to the Thai market, a branch that focuses on luxurious and high-quality mattresses. “Our goal was to provide our customers with the deepest sleep and maximum comfort through our mattresses and accessories,” they said of Kingkoil, and indeed this seems to be the motivation behind their seemingly indefatigable drive to expand. Their latest subsidiary is iDream, an online and offline enterprise that designs and crafts ergonomic pillows specific to all sleeping needs.
When asked why they decided to join the family business and expand on it, they told me, “as we grew up, our father would discuss his business passionately over meals, and we would hear the exciting stories of how we got into different hotel chains and how many projects we were bidding for.
“On top of that, sleep has such a big impact on our health: the average person spends 26 years sleeping in their life. We understand how vital it is and how much of a difference we can make to a person’s life by offering the right sleeping solutions for them.”
Pooja, being the oldest sibling, was the first of the three to actively partake in Sleepwell Industries. Her involvement in the business began almost six years ago in the summer of 2015 as a Junior Manager at Dreammaster. After graduating from NIST in 2012, Pooja did her undergraduate degree in Economics and Accounting at the University of Reading, and completed her MBA at Sasin School of Management three years ago. Prior to her involvement in the family business, she interned for the business development sector at Impressius Thailand and at Sleepwell’s partner company Standard Textile in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Her current role in the enterprise is Executive Director, and her professional responsibilities include overseeing day-to-day activities, performance improvement, the development of organisational culture, supervising department heads, and directing the organisational strategy.
Meanwhile, her brother Yash is a 22-year- old recent university undergraduate from Cass Business School where he studied a BSC in Management, and he finished his high school at Bangkok Patana School (BPS) in 2017. Yash’s involvement in the family establishment began since his school days. He worked under several supervisors and completed business- related tasks, among other responsibilities. At present, he works as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Sleepwell Industries, coordinating with the office and the factory,
assisting in product development, and running daily operational tasks. During my interview with him, Yash mentioned that he plans on continuing his role as COO as his full-time occupation. “My passion is to educate myself and gain more knowledge of the mattress industry in order to be able to help expand the business even further,” he explains.
Like his brother, Vikram also graduated from BPS in 2017. He is currently in the final year of his bachelor’s degree in International Management at King’s College London, during which he partook in an exchange program at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. When he was still in high school, Vikram used to spend his summer breaks acquiring knowledge, gaining experience, and developing his proclivity for the business world. His journey at the family business started off with him being involved in the workplace culture and the Human Resources (HR) side of things where his duties consisted of interviewing employees, assisting in the recruitment process, and the furtherance of workplace culture within the different divisions.
His full-time involvement began when he got back from London last year. As for now, alongside finishing his undergraduate degree, he also works as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Sleepwell Industries. His position as CMO incorporates handling digital marketing in relation to lead generation, managing traffic and advertising conversion, setting up efficacious Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), aiding in major corporate decisions and managerial performance evaluations, and overseeing the company’s fiscal activity.
When asked what someone with so much on his plate enjoys outside of work, his answers are similarly lofty: “attaining knowledge on digital marketing skills,stock trading, and cryptocurrency.”
Although the driven trio have their individual roles within the business, they also have shared roles when it comes to creating marketing campaigns, brand strategising, and creating quarterly strategic plans. The professional responsibilities were divided based on strengths, professional, experience(s), and independent skills acquired during job training.
During the interview, I asked them to divulge the advantages and disadvantages of having siblings as your business partners. The three disclosed that belonging to different age groups, working with people you trust, and sharing the same values is vastly beneficial: “being of different ages, we have fresh perspectives and insights to share. One major virtue of working together is really knowing and trusting your business partners; sharing the same values both professionally and personally. We manage different divisions within the company, which is advantageous in the sense that we have more time and incentive to focus on expanding our businesses. Moreover, being in a family business ensures stability, commitment, and gives us flexibility. While non-familybusinesses tend to have very clear job responsibilities for every role, family members will sometimes be required to wear several different hats, taking on tasks outside, which is exciting because every day isn’t the same at work.” As for the challenges, the acclaimed philosophy of not mixing your personal and professional life may be slightly more difficult to follow in the case of working with family. “We sometimes get into heated discussions and disagreements with each other, but it eventually gets resolved by evaluating the arguments in a logical manner,” I’m told.
Last year, alongside their leadership roles at Sleepwell Industries, the three also launched a mask business of their own called Mask On BKK, which was a considerable success. With the aim to combat the rise in unemployment rate in Thailand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they implemented sustainable job creation where they provided the less fortunate with the opportunity to earn a steady and secure income.
When asked about the most challenging factor of being in the mattress industry, they revealed that as they were the first to move the mattress-in-a-box concept into the hospitality and retail segment, “it was a challenge for customers to grasp the idea and get behind it.” As for the most rewarding thing, they informed me that opportunity for growth is the key benefit, “since the mattress industry is constantly growing and transforming. Every day is a new challenge and it requires us to consistently attain new skills in order to survive and successfully compete.”
In terms of their future plans, the trio aims to expand their business and attain international recognition. “We are driven to become the global leader in sleep products and services by increasing our business partnerships and increasing our brand awareness within the industry on an international scale,” they said. In the end, the sibling trio couldn’t have said it better: “Helping our customers feel healthier and happier is what helps us sleep at night!”