"Being in the mattress industry there's one thing I can surely tell you. It's not a mattress that puts you to sleep, it's a Clear Conscience"
Sabina Huseni Bhanpurawala
Now, who doesn't like to sleep like a baby? We all do. A soothing sleep on a mattress that adapts to your body is all you need after slugging through the day full of hustle. It not just rejuvenates your body but also preps you for the next day.
For more than 40 years, Foam Home has dug out every possible innovation to ensure that you have a 'good night sleep'. Founded by Huseni Bhanpurawala, the company has for over four decades engineered mattresses that are inspired from space technology, chemistry, and a lot more to guarantee that spine alignment and bodyweight distribution are as good as they can be. The family-owned business has maintained the status of one of the most reputed mattress manufacturing companies in the country since 1978.
Presently under the competent leadership and supervision of Sabina Huseni Bhanpurawala, CEO, Foam Home produces the largest range of bedding products across all their iconic experience centres across India. In her headship, the company has successfully introduced various mattress technologies like the High-Density foam, Memory Foam, Gel Foam, Feather Mattresses and the unique Foam Contour pillow.
THE WOMAN GUIDING THE FORCE
Sabina Huseni Bhanpurawala, CEO, Foam Home (India) Pvt. Ltd hails from a humble, hardworking and reputed background. She graduated from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, completed Masters from Sp Jain Institute of Management, and Executive Program from Harvard Business School. Prefers being surrounded by dynamic and enterprising people, Sabina does not enjoy stagnancy, the swift pace of moving ahead drives her. At Foam Home, she takes care of the marketing, franchising and HR departments.
MORE THAN JUST A COMPANY
Foam Home is the only Indian company to hold over 20 Global Patents on a mattress technology developed thanks to their experience and knowledge of the category. They house over 20 different types of mattresses, each capable of extreme customisation. The products are manufactured as per European standards and the materials used in the production process are all of very high quality and specifications.
"Over the years we have partnered with Global Industry Maestros like Rectiel, Latexco, Bekaert, Lava, Technogel etc. and introduced highly sophisticated mattresses in the Indian market. We also have over 15 types of pillows each distinctly designed for specific requirements like support to the knee, spine and neck" added Sabina.
SABINA'S ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY
Sabina always looked forward to being a part of the discussions of the family business that automatically made way to the dinner table. For someone who loves pace, nothing was better than to apply the zest to one of her own. Her ambitions were higher than limiting to be a homemaker, the idea of being a businesswoman excited her; she fought her limits, got control of the situation and made it happen.
Sabina states, "I was fortunate to have this platform that was the air beneath my wings. Moreover, Foam home was such a reputed brand all along, it's built with a lot of values and ethics, I am blessed I was born into the family that built such a prestigious label."
Foam Home is a niche mattress company. Niche because they cater to a class of customers who realise the importance of sleep and well being. Most of the clients comprise of educated individuals, doctors, surgeons, politicians, celebrities, business families, reputed architects, and interior designers. Since mattresses are a product you experience, no form of advertising in as effective as a word of mouth. Most of their clientele has grown organically through references. Contrary to the typical mattress stores in India, their stores are designed in a clean sophisticated fashion where clients can comfortably try out the mattresses to make a well-informed decision.
The advantage of being in a family business is that you work as a family and they don't always have to be connected by blood. Foam Home is one big family and the employees are the extensions, with salesforce being the face to the world. Everyone shares the same passion and values taking pride in stating that every single worker who joined, in the beginning, is still associated with the company. This sort of relationship comes out of faith in the management and trust in each other. Foam home is all these people put together who value honesty, quality and service equally.
Amongst other challenges the biggest one lies in the fact that the Indian consumer doesn't consider sleep important, educating the consumer is one of the biggest challenges. Earlier the client would demand the education on the materials and products, thanks to the internet now, consumers have a lot of information on them. When selling a mattress we need to consider a lot of factors such as age, weight and lifestyle of the user, clients, on the other hand, will ask for what the internet states are the current trends. This makes it a longer process to close a transaction.
Sabina further states, "When we started manufacturing in the early 90's we had entered a market where giants were already established, an entry in such a scenario would have been almost impossible. But I believe it was this difficulty that helped us carve our niche in the market and build our entire model around it."
"I started working at the early age of 15. My dad always told me that there was never a substitute for hard work and that to be different you have to do things differently. Amongst the many things I wanted to be in life, Successful was one of them. My family's support and their open-mindedness in allowing a daughter to be this involved is something I am extremely grateful for" states Sabina.
Sabina was included in every business deal by her father, soon after her graduation, she joined the SP Jain Program in Management and that was a life-changer. She was a part of a class full of young heads, buzzing with fire in their bellies and the will to do something in life. The energy was contagious, there was cross-learning, and an opportunity to grab multiple perspectives, all these micro-decisions fuelled her journey to success.
GENDER PARITY (OR NOT)
The basic rules for success are common irrespective of gender – Hard work, patience and ethical practices. However, we can't deny that India is a patriarchal society and women do need to deal with some effects to that. Nobody needs to waste their energy in trying to change perceptions about women, mind your business and that will take care of the people around.
Sabina emphasizes, "There's one thing I notice in women and I too had resorted to that path for some time, we as women feel the need to be like men. I don't see why we need to do that because as women we have natural traits that make us natural leaders with very unique leadership skills, like what a woman can do with poise and politeness a man may need to raise his voice for. So it's very important to use what we have rather than waste energies trying to emulate others and try doing work their way."
"Fortunately these skewed opinions weren't in my immediate circle. I was lucky to have been surrounded by open-minded educated people who believed it's about capability and not gender. Never once in my life have I been stopped from trying something I want to do on the basis that I'm a girl" asserts Sabina.
The skewed mindsets are just one of the many obstacles entrepreneurs often face in their journeys. Sabina had the fortune of strong family support backed with the freedom to make her choices. As an ambassador for the Asian Institute of Family-owned Businesses, she has had a chance to interact with many young girls who were not encouraged by their families and had to move on with their lives. She strongly feels that she was fortunate, many aren't, but one has to fight it out rather than let circumstances drive you around.
THE DECISION MAKING & FUTURE
In 2017 the manufacturing unit of Foam home was completely gutted down in a fire, it was a tough time because it meant starting all over again. At this point, Sabina felt the weight of the responsibility after she realised the effort that was going to go ahead in rebuilding the plant, but moving ahead strongly, she didn't lose hope, she hadn't come this far to quit.
Sabina asserts, "Keeping my doubts aside, I held onto my ambition and today we have built a factory twice the size of the one we had earlier and far more advanced and sophisticated."
Today, with the new factory and new products, there's a lot to look forward to. The Ergoshell technology has tremendous potential globally and on the domestic front new segments and new geographical territories. They continue to focus on the niche segment too by bagging a lot more prestigious projects and households.
India is still considered as the 'Gadda' nation where people still sleep on coir and cotton mattresses. From this Industry, comes a mattress technology that has received over 30 Global patents, it's the most amazing feeling. The world is an oyster and Sabina has aced it with several awards, to name a few;
Sabina wraps adding, "Define what you want and how much do you want. There is no limit to growing, but it's important to define how far you want to go and grow. Not every client is your client, it's important to define your market, your path and your destination. One can keep running around endlessly and tirelessly, worse, it won't even be satisfying. Clarity of your goal is of utmost importance."