Friday, July 24, 2009

Here's a house - and a $50k mattress

(SINGAPORE) Hersing Corporation's Harry Chua does not want to sell you just a house - he wants to sell you a mattress along with it, as well.

Two months after Hersing's quiet opening of the Dozz Mattress showroom at its headquarters in Toa Payoh, the holding company of real estate agency ERA is going for gold.

At a private launch today with guests from the Ferrari and Lamborghini jet-set, it will be launching a mattress with a 22-carat gold cover from Italian brand Magniflex that will cost as much as $50,000.

This new venture will sit alongside Hersing's eclectic assortment of dealings in the real estate, storage and money transfer industries.

In 2003, Hersing - which holds the local franchises for property broker ERA and remittance agency Western Union - set up a wholly-owned self storage firm, Storhub, which has since grown to five locations in Singapore.

To Jack Chua, Hersing's president, the group's move into mattresses makes perfect sense. 'After buying a house, the customer needs a mattress. We're just providing them with a customer service,' he said.

With 18 mattress brands, the showroom has seen a 30 per cent increase in monthly revenue since its soft launch in May.

The group expects the showroom to break even this month, according to Hersing's founder and chairman Harry Chua.

The latest feather in its cap where the mattress business is concerned is Hersing's clinching of the exclusive distributor rights for the Magniflex brand for South-east Asia.

The group is currently looking into the mega-retail mattress store concept for its foray into the rest of Asia.

While $50,000 will get buyers a super king-sized Magniflex Gold - a personalised mattress with gold thread in its cover - normal Magniflex mattresses also retail at the showroom from a less eye-widening $1,298.

To date, more than 100 units of the Magniflex Gold have been moved globally, with the gold thread being touted for its anti-bacterial and anti-static qualities.

Despite the current downturn, Mr Harry Chua is unperturbed by the prospect of offering the Rolls Royce of mattresses to the Ferrari-owning crowd.

'If you can pay a million dollars for a car, what is $50,000 for a mattress in which you spend eight hours a day? I think we will do very well. As well as Storhub,' he said.

With the financial market currently displaying volatility, perhaps the monied classes can be persuaded to put their money in mattresses instead of under them.

Source: Business Times, 24 July 2009

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