Emma Interview

Emma Sleep Interview With CEO Dennis Schmoltzi (2024)

Last updated: 23.02.2024 Reading time: 8 Min.

Emma Sleep was co-founded in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2015 by friends Manuel Müller and Dennis Schmoltzi.

Today, Emma is an award-winning company - and it's been the UK's most-awarded sleep brand for four consecutive years.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Dennis to discuss the company's inception, its ethos, and its ambitious plans for the future.

Let’s dive in.

Emma CEO Dennis Schmoltzi

Developing Emma Sleep

To begin, we discussed the evolution of Emma Sleep into the beloved mattress company it is today.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

"I'm incredibly proud of how much Emma has developed over the years - our fantastic growth is a testament to each and every person who has worked hard to get us to where we are today.

We started small in Frankfurt, Germany, and now have over 1,100 colleagues across the globe, with offices not only in Frankfurt but also in Lisbon, Manila, Mexico City, and Bucharest.

We have transformed people's sleep in more than 30 countries worldwide."

What were your biggest mistakes in building Emma Sleep, and what has been the most challenging?

"There have been challenges over the years, of course, and decisions have been made that may not have worked out how we had hoped.

However, we see these as opportunities to learn.

Emma Original mattress
Emma Sleep is best known for the Emma Original mattress.

For instance, we recently introduced several operational changes to elevate the customer experience, including new systems, products, and platforms.

However, we faced technical challenges that were simply unforeseen, causing a knock-on effect that impacted some of our customers.

When these things happen, we work hard to find solutions to ensure it never happens again, and we take learnings for the future to ensure we’re constantly improving what we do.

In this case, we perhaps tried to make too many changes at once, and, instead, it might have been more effective to implement improvements one by one."

How do you develop new products and ensure their quality, safety, and durability?

"Our product development revolves around customer feedback, shaping new ideas, and refining existing products.

We ensure quality, safety, and durability through comprehensive testing of materials and product performance.

Continuous customer engagement post-launch also allows us to improve constantly.

Testing mattresses
The in-house testing lab ensures Emma Sleep products are top-notch.

Our specialised teams conduct rigorous testing in our in-house sleep lab before these are independently tested by external partners, ensuring our products meet both global and Emma's stringent quality standards."

How do you balance localisation and keeping Emma's core brand identity when introducing region-specific products?

"Our approach strikes a balance between a unified global strategy and adapting to local markets.

We have a dedicated global brand team steering the overall strategy, complemented by regional experts who understand the nuances of each market.

We aim to align with local preferences when introducing region-specific products while ensuring our core brand identity remains intact - we strive to cater to regional habits and expectations while staying true to Emma's brand essence."

Working at Emma Sleep

We wanted to learn more about what it takes to be the CEO of the UK’s most awarded mattress company and where Dennis gets his inspiration.

What does a typical day in your life as Emma’s CEO look like?

"No two days are the same.

To begin, I could start my day on a completely different continent; as mentioned earlier, we have offices in Frankfurt, Lisbon, Manila, Mexico City, and Bucharest.

I really value being able to spend time with “Emmies” in each location, getting fresh perspectives on business opportunities, needs, and challenges – we have such a wealth of talent that it’s important to connect with as much of that as possible."

Did you know? The Emma Sleep team are called “Emmies”.

What career or business advice would you give your younger self?

"Ten years ago, when we embarked on this journey, I tended to be risk-averse.

Over the years, my co-founder Manuel has been a crucial influence.

I've learned from him the importance of not overcomplicating things and the value of starting, trying, iterating, and learning along the way."

Is there a company you admire and look to for inspiration?

"In the dynamic landscape of startups and scale-ups, I find inspiration in those doing exceptional work, particularly those adept at building greatness with less conventional funding.

While specific companies stand out, my primary wellspring of inspiration comes from individuals.

Entrepreneurs, leaders, friends, and our dedicated team all contribute to my learning journey.

Within our ranks, we're fortunate to have exceptional leaders from whom I glean valuable lessons every day."

Marketing insights

Hundreds of mattress brands are available, but we wanted to discover what sets Emma apart from the herd.

What is your vision for the brand, and how does Emma set itself apart from its competitors?

"At Emma Sleep, our vision is based on awakening the best in people through quality sleep.

We invest in continuous innovation and technological advancement, underpinning our distinctive edge in the market.

Our commitment to innovation serves as the bedrock, enabling us to continuously meet and exceed customer expectations while ensuring accessibility to premium yet affordable products.

Moreover, our in-house team of sleep experts plays a pivotal role in pioneering a reimagining of the sleep landscape through their robust knowledge and extensive research.

People researching
The company has an extensive team of sleep experts.

This collective effort sets Emma apart, allowing us to redefine the sleep experience with a unique blend of expertise and innovation."

What are the key trends and challenges you currently see in the sleep market, and how is Emma adapting to these?

"In the current landscape, technology profoundly influences how we approach various aspects of our lives, including sleep.

In response, Emma Sleep launched the Emma Up app, which empowers individuals to actively monitor their sleep patterns.

This technological innovation aims to offer users deep insights into their sleep habits, ultimately contributing to improved sleep quality.

Our primary focus lies in leveraging technology to help individuals comprehend and optimise their sleep, prioritising their overall well-being."

Customer influence

Customer feedback is a big part of Emma Sleep’s journey and development.

Let’s find out more.

Emma Sleep seemingly aims to target a broad market. Could you share insights into how different customer segments influence your product development and marketing strategies?

"At Emma Sleep, our mission revolves around the universal need for quality sleep.

While diverse markets may present nuanced preferences, our core ethos remains consistent – a good night's sleep for everyone.

We place immense value on the feedback loop from our customers.

Customer service
Emma Sleep values customer feedback.

This insight influences our product development and marketing strategies.

We constantly refine our offerings based on customer feedback, nurturing a culture of continual improvement."

Which steps are you taking to address increasing customer complaints and improving customer service?

"With increased product demand, a rise in customer complaints is natural.

We've responded by introducing new systems, products, and platforms to enhance the overall experience.

Admittedly, this expansion has brought its own set of challenges, and we're actively working to address these teething issues.

Our commitment remains steadfast to elevating our customer service standards."

Sustainability and sleep health

We were curious about Emma's role in the growing trend of mattress companies prioritising sustainability and overall sleep health.

Which risks to Emma Sleep do you worry about the most?

"Sustainability stands as an increasingly significant focus on a global scale, and, at Emma Sleep, we're dedicated to this cause.

Identifying and addressing risks related to sustainability and environmental impact remains a key priority for us.

Woman on eco-friendly mattress
Emma is continuously working towards more sustainable products.

We're continually refining our portfolio to make it more sustainable and aligned with global sustainability goals.

Our commitment to sustainability is steadfast, and we're continuously enhancing our efforts to further this crucial initiative.

For this reason, our goal is to be net zero by 2030."

How does Emma contribute to raising awareness about the importance of quality sleep for everyone's health?

"At Emma, our dedication to promoting and educating on the importance of quality sleep is evident through various channels, such as our Sunrise by Emma blog curated by our team of sleep experts, along with press, events, activations, our social media, and via the Emma Up app."

Woman using sleep meditation app
The Emma Up app is a personalised step-by-step sleep programme.

Does Emma pursue any philanthropic or community efforts?

"We actively engage in philanthropy by donating mattresses that might not be suitable for refurbishment, aligning with our sustainability goals and supporting local communities.

While we've contributed to local charities, we're exploring long-term partnerships to expand our impact on a global level and are eagerly anticipating new possibilities in the upcoming year for our philanthropic endeavours."

The future of sleep and Emma

Finally, we checked in to see what plans Emma Sleep has for the future and how they see the sleep market evolving over the next few years.

Where will the European sleep market be heading in the next 5 years?

"Well, predicting the future is a bit like forecasting dreams – you never know exactly where you'll end up, but it's bound to be an interesting journey!"

Which sleep markets outside of Europe are the most interesting for you to pursue, and are any big launches coming up in 2024?

"Beyond Europe, we've established a robust presence in Central and South America, the US, Canada, and throughout the Asia Pacific region.

As for future endeavours, our focus remains on continually enhancing our existing markets and fortifying our presence.

While I can't share specifics about 2024, our team is constantly exploring opportunities to expand our reach and offerings."

And as a final question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

"Leading the world of sleep!"

Thank yous

We’d like to extend a big thank you to Dennis for taking the time to answer our questions.

We’re excited to see how Emma Sleep develops over the next few years.

You can find out more about Emma mattresses in our reviews below.

Alternatively, learn more about Dennis by following his LinkedIn profile.

Emma’s top UK products:

Contact Emma UK

Customer service: To contact Emma UK directly for complaints, support, or queries, please e-mail them at support@emma-mattress.co.uk, visit their live online chat, or complete their online contact form.

Registered office: Emma Matratzen GmbH, Wilhelm-Leuschner-Str. 78, 60329 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Frequently asked questions

Holly

Holly Matthews

Senior Content Writer

Holly has been a content writer at Sleep Hero UK since 2021. With an MA degree in literature and previous experience working at a leading UK bed retailer, she is committed to using her skills to guide others towards making better sleep choices.

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