Simba Sleep has been at the forefront of the UK’s mattress in a box craze, managing to lead the charge in a booming industry. James Cox and friends Andrew McClements and Steve Reid formed the company in summer 2015, with the launch following a while later in February 2016. Simba’s progress has been remarkable when you consider that this sector fired up in 2014, with New York’s Casper becoming the major trendsetter. There are 2 mattresses pitched at www.simbasleep.com as well as beds, duvets, pillows and various sleeping accessories. The 2 designs are both hybrids, but we are paying attention here to the central option and not the premium Luxe release that sells from £1299.
Moonpig’s launch in summer 2000 went ahead amidst the dot-com bubble and so expectations would have been modest at this point. Who would have thought that several years later they’d dominate the UK’s online greeting card market with a 90% market share! The founder was Nick Jenkins who many people know from his Dragons’ Den stint. Nick Jenkins sold this booming business in 2011 to PhotoBox. Since this £120m deal, PhotoBox have managed to keep www.moonpig.com flying high. Through this site they sell several thousand cards and a range of gifts. There was close to 3500 results in the birthday section that highlights the excellent choice available whether you’re seeking a personalised or standard design.
Wonga is the payday loan king, famed for their flexible loans that many people are familiar with through their mainstream TV ads. This has been a controversial lender that has faced troubled times, but their early innovation and market profile has to be admired. In this comparison we have faced them off with 4 worthy high flying competitors in the subprime loan sector. These are Cash Asap, QuickQuid, SafetyNet Credit and WageDayAdvance.
We’ll begin taking a look back at the beginnings and rise to fame of this subprime giant, as well as addressing the ins and outs of their service. Wonga’s story began back in the year 2007 and so they have recently hit that critical 10 year milestone. The founder was Errol Damelin who was intent on making this project stand out in what was at the time a rapidly growing market online. They didn’t have the budget back then to invest in major ad campaigns and so innovation was required in those early days to truly make their mark. The approach taken was to deliver a more fast and flexible route to funding.
If we take a step back to the early roots of the industry, it was the year 2003 when the first web-only payday lenders started popping up. retail had kick-started much earlier noting The Money Shop’s first store that opened in Nottingham in 1996. Of the first web dedicated brands, it was PaydayUK who would soon become the major force. They and their rivals however offered simplified monthly-only products. It would take a while to get up and running, but soon enough www.wonga.com would become the primary destination for borrowers who had short term borrowing needs. A customer could for the first time choose their exact repayment day here (rather than pay for a full month).
Any amount to the £1 could be selected between £1 and £400 by new users with £1000 being available once trust had been demonstrated. Flexible amounts like this were rare, with most rivals requiring at least £80 or £100 to be requested. Wonga’s service was also very speedy with promises of an instant decision and a 15 minute payment, guaranteed. When you also factor in 24/7 customer support, it was unsurprising that this lender had become the first choice for many. Big profits were earned and there was heavy reinvestment in radio & TV ads, as well as football kit sponsorships (Blackpool, Hearts and Newcastle). As they become bigger, the cracks did begin to appear.
Mistakes would hand the firm with expensive fines and loan write-offs, but price capping was the big elephant in the room. Problems would magnify and across 2015 they took on a huge loss after tax of £76.5 million. Big changes had to come and this is exactly what we have seen through more responsible lending (Wongability scheme), staffing changes and sales of the Group’s other ventures (BillPay and Everline). They also pulled out of Canada (the brand remains active in Poland, South Africa and Spain). The service has changed a lot also, noting their Flexi Loan (3 and 6 month terms), new amount options (£50-£600 with £2000 on reloans) and 24/7 support was cut back.