What do international cricketers, Formula One drivers and the captain of the England football team have in common? Answer: their beds.
John Tuton, 40, is the man responsible. The beds are Mammoth.
Tuton developed the first prototype Mammoth foam mattress for himself back in 2009, after a rugby injury forced him off work for months. Not only did it improve his sleep, it aided his recovery and rapidly got him back to work.
Several months later and a lot of hard work and the result was Mammoth, a company that has worked with physiotherapists and medical professionals to develop mattresses designed specifically to relieve the body’s aches and pains.
The Tottenham Hotspur squad sleep on the mattresses while staying at the Club’s state-of-the-art private player accommodation
The firm has been going for 10 years, quietly but determinedly growing its fan base among the world’s sports elite.
It now has formal partnerships with the British Athletes Commission, professional rugby clubs, the Professional Golfers’ Association and the Professional Cricketers’ Association.
But, of course, the firm doesn’t just sell to professional sports stars – which would be a bit of a small market to limit yourself to – its mattresses are also winning fans among those who suffer from back and neck pain and want a good night sleep.
Mammoth’s cheapest mattress sells for £229 through a partnership with Argos, while its most expensive cost more than £1,000, and the range is sold through more than 200 firms across the UK.
This is Money caught up with John to find out more about how he started Mammoth and is trying to grow it into a successful business.
Why did you start your business?
My background is in working with world leading healthcare companies, specialising in medical beds, seating and back care. In this environment, comfort technologies are critical.
After my rugby injury, I decided to use my knowledge to develop the first prototype Mammoth. Just 15cm thick, the mattress used the same foams as the spinal injury beds I worked with, optimising pressure relief and temperature.
A few short months later, I was able to get back to work and health and fitness.
This led me to develop our first Sport mattress – the Mammoth Elite Sport – consulting with leading coaches and physiotherapists who work hard to ensure every marginal gain possible for their athletes.
From our initial success, Mammoth grew with the aim of helping anyone and everyone sleep better, feel better and make the most of every day.
Why launch a mattress firm?
John Tuton, Mammoth founder, age 40
I have always had a passion for health and wellbeing.
During my time in healthcare, providing medical equipment for seriously unwell patients, I discovered how getting the right mattress can really make a difference to your life.
One particular case still stays with me to this very day, and is a constant reminder of Mammoth’s driving purpose to help everyone make the most of life.
I had been called in by doctors to help an elderly patient in a critical condition due to severe pressure wounds caused by a fall and subsequent long period in bed.
With traditional prescribed methods failing to help, the outlook was bleak.
As part of her treatment, I recommended using a new technology within a pressure relieving mattress and cushion, proven to stimulate circulation and blood flow.
The results were amazing and within a couple of weeks she was out of bed and then shortly after that, she was enjoying days out with her children and grandchildren.
The thank you letter from her family was so moving, it made me realise what I wanted to do for the rest of my career.
After my own injury and the difficulties I had getting a comfortable night’s rest, I had my own ‘eureka’ moment and realised; why should anyone wait until pain or poor health strikes to get maximum rest and recuperation from their mattress?
Mammoth’s technologies have been scientifically tested and shown to improve sleep by the UK Centre of Sleep Research
How do the Mammoth mattresses work?
Our Medical Grade™ Foam and PostureCell® technologies were designed specifically to help people enjoy better sleep.
These technologies have been scientifically tested and shown to improve sleep by the UK Centre of Sleep Research.
Evidence shows that a lack of proper support and overheating are the two biggest obstacles to getting an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
So that’s why it was important to us to develop products that help alleviate these issues.
Our Medical Grade™ Foam was developed from healthcare to ease aches and pains, and return people to good health.
Our mattresses provide plenty of pressure-relieving postural support through our PostureCell® technology, and it is naturally cooling – so it won’t heat up and neither will the user. It’s also hypoallergenic.
Our developments and innovation have meant Mammoth is now an NHS award winner, recommended by health professionals and endorsed by elite athletes, national teams and their governing bodies to help them sleep better, be better and perform better.
Who are your mattresses for?
Anyone and everyone. But our health and comfort technologies have also attracted the attention of many elite athletes and organisations.
Mammoth is now an NHS award winner, recommended by health professionals and endorsed by elite athletes
We’re proud that the Tottenham Hotspur squad sleep on our mattresses while staying at the Club’s state-of-the-art private player accommodation.
The likes of England captain Harry Kane to the elite of Formula One, sleep on a Mammoth!
Handfuls of gold medal winning Olympic athletes sleep on our mattresses too, thanks to our partnership with the British Athletes Commission.
Both the BAC and elite rugby are part of our pedigree over the past 10 years and more recently, we have added professional golf (the PGA) and cricket (the PCA) to our range of partnerships and endorsements, truly affirming Mammoth as the go-to provider for those who choose optimum health.
England football captain Harry Kane is one of Mammoth’s higher profile clients
What have been your biggest challenges?
In the beginning, we had challenges, as many firms starting out do. I had to spend my life savings and pay my mortgage on credit cards to set up the business.
Everything I had was invested into the business and I even had to go on honeymoon on a shoestring budget.
It wasn’t just making sure we had enough money to start operating, it was getting suppliers and manufacturers to take us seriously for prototyping.
It was a long process and I had to go back to employment for an interim period to keep the business going.
I learnt the importance of backing yourself, working hard and making sure you go into a sector you enjoy, because it is a big part of your life.
I took a risk and although we had some difficult times in the beginning, the sacrifices have been well worth it.
How have you differentiated from the competition?
As experts in health, sleep, comfort and wellbeing, our mattresses are scientifically tested by the UK Centre of Sleep Research and shown to improve sleep.
CV: John Tuton
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Academia: BA (hons) Business Management, with Sports Science from Newcastle University Business School
Sport: Rugby and athletics
Business: acute and private health care medical device and clinical services provision. Business Development Executive specifically – hence such a strong sales, customer services and quality culture within Mammoth Group.
We were the first to test actually test a mattress in relation to sleep – over and above the statutory requirements around fire retardancy and longevity.
This meant undertaking a rigorous product development and testing process – the Mammoth way.
It was then validated by the country’s finest experts in health and elite sport.
Our award-winning technologies are recommended by health professionals, including the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, who we have been working with for the past five years.
Our partnership with the CSP helps inform our product development and strengthens our reputation as leaders in health and comfort.
Our mattresses are used by professional athletes across a wide range of sports, but we have developed our technologies further so that we have a full range of mattresses, with different feels, textures and levels of support, so that everyone who values wellness can choose the right Mammoth for them.
How is the company doing today?
This year, Mammoth is celebrating its 10th anniversary, we’ve navigated a challenging retail environment and reinvested in our brand and message.
Thanks to strengthening our team, resource and capability, identifying talent and plenty of hard work, we are delighted to be in an exciting period of growth.
Our sales for the first quarter of 2019 were up a huge 29 per cent versus 2018 following the launch of our new products – Rise and Shine.
The launch of the new products has simplified the buying process, strengthened our consumer proposition and made our leading technologies available at a broader range of price points.
In 2019, we announced an exclusive partnership with Argos, which now stocks Wake – our beautifully simple mattress using healthcare technology to ease aches and improve sleep.
It is also our lowest price point, starting at £229, making our comfort technologies more accessible than ever before.
We also recently branched out into seating. Celebrity Motion Furniture now offers the only chairs and settees in the industry to feature our unique, pressure relieving technologies.
What are your plans for the future?
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy pictured: Mammoth recently partnered with the Professional Golfers’ Association, as part of a range of endorsements
We have exciting growth plans for the future. We are on a mission to make our brand, technologies, expertise and know how more easily attainable to more people.
The growth of our expertise and health services in business is creating a platform to share knowledge, educate and enable healthier and more productive workforces. It’s also spreading the word about Mammoth and has presented a whole new sales channel for us.
We have plans to grow Mammoth internationally as there is a big appetite for what we do overseas. We have had early success in Asia and the United Arab Emirates, which is organic.
This year, we will see an international strategy realised and next year we begin executing it.
If you could ask the new prime minister for one thing?
In the current climate of uncertainty, creating a stable and positive economy is vitally important to protect retailers and consumers.
We need people to feel good and spend both online and in store.
What’s it like to sleep on a Mammoth mattress?
By Sarah Davidson
I have struggled with back and neck pain for years after punishing my body as a teenager obsessed with ballet and contemporary dance.
I’ve had my fair share of injuries – a torn hamstring, a herniated disc in my neck, a broken elbow and wrist. I see a chiropractor fortnightly, still, seven years after my neck injury, and have always found it tough to get comfortable during the night.
My attic is littered with abandoned pillows – orthopedic, ergonomic, memory foam – none has really helped alleviate what has become intermittent, but chronic neck pain.
I was therefore more game than most would be when Mammoth offered to let me test drive their Shine Advanced mattress.
Given my previous experience with bedding designed to support, I was a little sceptical that this mattress would fare any better.
You don’t get that horrible sweaty feeling that normally accompanies memory foam mattresses
I shouldn’t have been. It’s been a couple of months since I started sleeping on a Mammoth mattress, and (excuse the pun) it’s made a mammoth difference.
I haven’t suffered a lapse in my neck (which has a habit of seizing up every six weeks or so) since and I’m sleeping far better than I was – particularly given how hot it’s been these past few weeks.
The cooling tech, however it works, really does work. You don’t get that horrible sweaty feeling that normally accompanies memory foam mattresses. What a relief.
One downside worth mentioning is that the foam smelled really strongly for the first few weeks – not horrible, just, hospitally. Tip – turn your duvet down to leave the mattress to air during the day; the smell disappeared within a week or so of me starting to do this.
For me, mattresses are one of the most boring things I have to spend money on, right up there with loo roll, gas and council tax.
But with prices starting from just a couple of hundred quid, I think Mammoth has managed to elevate the experience of acquiring a new mattress to at least the same level of pleasure as brand new bed sheets hold for me. Quite an achievement.
I’m better rested, pain-free and far better tempered as a result.
I’m a convert. More than that, the test drive made me an evangelist for Mammoth, having already recommended it to both my parents and my brother.
TOP BANK ACCOUNTS FOR SMALL BUSINESS START-UPS
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.