Shaper: Jas Bagniewski

Show aired on 9th September 2017

Transcript

Jas Bagniewski

Jas attended Westminster School before going to the University of Manchester. Following this, he studied an MSc in International Relations at UCL, and an MBA at the University of Cambridge.

In 2005, Jas worked as a teacher at Manasarovar Academy in Nepal, where he taught English and Maths to Tibetan refugee children. He subsequently worked as a consultant at Accenture, focusing on the Financial Services and Utilities industries, and was a member of the senior management team at Rocket Internet, a Berlin-based incubator, where he launched price comparison websites PlaceMniej.pl and CityDeal UK. He became Country Head at online fashion company Zalando UK in 2008 before co-founding of Zen Bedrooms, a memory foam mattress business.

Jas founded eve Sleep in 2014.

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We sort of stumbled across the idea of mattresses really…

We decided to focus much more on the brand and much less on pricing and discounting and the commodity aspect of mattresses and build a more premium and aspirational brand.

It was more opportunistic than it was greatly strategic. We just saw the product work and we figured out how to scale it and then we just pushed it as hard as we could.

I think Westminster and Cambridge… all that stuff gives you a good all round education but there’s nothing really tangible that I would take from that that I would apply to what I do now.

My parents are quite traditional… they were incredibly proud that I was working at Accenture and when I told them I was leaving to join this little rag tag bunch in Berlin they were really worried. They thought I was crazy.

I flew over to Berlin to meet Alex and the other guys at Rocket and within about an hour they offered me the job of founding and running a business for them.

Somebody who is willing to walk away from a career in consultancy and do a start-up now is either crazy or really tenuous, and to be honest I just didn’t even know that the recession was happening.

We very much like to have a culture, a sort of meritocratic culture. If somebody’s good enough we give them the responsibility and we see how they deal with it.

Obviously when we have periods where it doesn’t go well I get much more stressed but I really trust the people around me…I take a lot of comfort in just being able to lean on a lot of really, really good people.