Oketcho Oketch - Managing Director of OrthoBed UK Limited trading as UnikBed
Great Companies: Please tell me something about the business and how did you come up with such an idea?
Oketcho Oketch: UnikBed designs and manufactures individually customised and healthy solutions for good quality sleep. In addition we offer Sleep Ergonomic Training to companies who want to improve their employees’ productivity. The products originate from Finland. The founder suffered from Scoliosis and wanted to improve the quality of his sleep.
My wife and I came across the products when we were researching for a solution to elevate my sleep deprivation due to my cardio pulmonary disease. After a careful consideration and a detailed ergonomic sleep assessment we concluded that this particular product could solve my sleep issues and my wife's chronic back pain.
After a relatively short period of time I realised that my wife was no longer complaining about her chronic back pain and my sleep quality had improved that was when I knew that the bed was doing what I was told it was supposed to do. Few weeks later I sent my wife back to Finland to arrange a contact between us and the manufacturer.
Great Companies: What are the various services and products provided by your company?
Oketcho Oketch: Ergonomic Sleep Assessment , Ergonomic Sleep Training, Individually Customised (Bespoke) Mattresses, Carbon Fibre/Temperature Regulating Bed linen, Ergonomic Pillows.
Great Companies: Why should one choose you over others in this field?
Oketcho Oketch: We use UnikLab 3D®- mattress measurement system, which carefully measures the pressure that a body creates on the mattress and produces 3D-pressure charts of the body. In addition to the UnikLab 3D® measurement system, we carry out three additional sleep assessments. The results of these assessments and the pressure charts are sent to the factory physiotherapists and ergonomists who have the knowledge of human anatomy and physiology to design a customised sleeping surface to support the individual musculoskeletal structure.
In addition to the sleep ergonomics we consider the sleep environment, temperature regulation, improved sleep hygiene, allergens and sleep comfort. All our mattresses and mattress toppers have removable covers that can be washed at 60°C. One of our mattress toppers has a 3D-mash material which can be washed or steam cleaned to improve the sleep hygiene.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Oketcho Oketch: Sleep is a very personal and sensitive issue for many. Lack of sleep and effects of it can be even more personal and many people are either unaware that some of their health issues are caused by lack of sleep or they feel that they have already tried all the remedies on the market.
Although the concept of sleep ergonomics is not new, our products have been on the market since 1985, many have not yet heard about it let along experienced it.
Many view a bed as a piece of furniture even if it has the capacity to be so much more. We spend one third of our life in bed, what happens while we are asleep has a significant our day to day performance.
Not sleeping properly can mean that both your body and brain don’t function properly the following day. It could impair your attention span, concentration, strategic thinking, risk assessment and reaction times. This is even more important if you have a big decision to make, are driving, or are operating heavy machinery. So getting good quality sleep can help you to stay sharp and focused all day long.
In short we sell sleep and not furniture. Our body is an amazing, complex system that needs restorative sleep. To get this sleep, the body needs individually customised sleep surface and not furniture. Researchers agree that sleep is a biological need, like eating and drinking. Sleep performs many restorative functions in our body, and plays an important role in effective functioning of brain. Sleep affects our memory, linguistic and mathematical skills, speech, creativity, innovative and adaptable thinking, and lots of other cognitive skills.
Another issue we face is convincing people that one does not fit all, which is a current trend in bed industry. We at UnikBed believe in protecting your back and increasing your restorative REM sleep.
Great Companies: What do you think are the few main things which are most important for a successful business?
Oketcho Oketch: My answer is the 3Ls which are love your work, love your product, and love the people you serve. People do business with people because they love them; it is that personal connection that will make you different. In addition to the personal connection you need to show that you have the knowledge and the knowhow. One thing I have learnt over the years is that for customer to be convinced, the sale person has to be convinced that the product he/she is selling can solve the customer’s problem. In other words you have to love your product to sell it to another person. Best value for money; we consider combination of factors to meet the customer’s needs. We consider cost, quality and sustainability to meet our customer’s requirements. The business to be successful you need be innovative and look for new and fresh opportunities within your network of connections, partners and acquaintances. Know what they prefer, need and require and combine that knowledge into a product or service that benefits them for years to come. Form lasting connections based on trust and quality. Maintain your customers or service users while expanding your customer base. Put quality above quantity.