This November we celebrate the 10th color-case.jpg of our brand being present on the market, i. e. Massaggio massage chairs and the entire Rest Lords company. It may seem like a short period of time for some of you, in a marriage it’s called the tin color-case.jpg – which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but on the other hand, 10 years of marriage is a lot these days ;) And that’s how we look at our work with massage chairs, especially on a rather difficult Polish market. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity, I have decided to openly tell you how it all started and how it’s been working to this day with enormous success… although the path taken was not always easy. However, there’s something that has kept us on the surface and allowed us to continue to grow.
So, the short history of our past decade step by step
It all started in 2009, when two graduates of economics began thinking about a joint business. The idea came from Germany, where you could see our neighbours enjoying massage in such coin-operated armchairs in shopping malls. I was an accountant and Grzegorz was a sales representative. We thought that it could be a cool, non-engaging (and that’s where we were wrong) idea for a business. Having researched the European market, we decided early on that we should look farther, and in massage chairs sector farther means Asia. That’s where the huge massage chair industry is concentrated, as we were about to find out. After a number of attempts to establish relations with manufacturers, we came across the one that convinced us to use its product and seemed to be the most professional and friendly towards a then insignificant partner.
Thanks to our own funds set aside during our studies we were able to buy a dozen or so coin-operated chairs. After the import procedure had been completed, the chairs were shipped to us, which was already a big surprise. And now the best part – our first “warehouse” was one of the rooms in Grzegorz’s apartment on the 3rd floor :D These beginnings, as it turned out, were quite painful, because the concept of coin-operated massage chairs wasn’t well received…
Despite our sore wallets, we sat down together to consult and drew conclusions. We enjoyed our cooperation (although we were discouraged from forming a company), we proved ourselves as partners and in our opinion we were able to organize everything professionally and we also had a great contact with the manufacturer. And following the footsteps of Arya Stark, we said to “Not today” and together with the manufacturer we made plans to create our own brand – Massaggio. It took us quite a long time to refine our design, components, details and functions, and so, we ordered the first massage chairs under our own brand for the last of our savings. These were Conveniente (today we offer its third version) and Esclusivo (today we sell its second version).
Again, it was not easy… We had to deal with the whole legal aspect of running our business, the accounting, marketing, sales, etc., and there were still only two of us and we had our own separate jobs. Together we were selling the chairs, unloading containers, doing the accounting, setting up marketing and visiting the customers in our first 2003 Ford Transit :D Despite said difficulties, this time the sales started to rise dramatically. On one occasion a customer who bought a second chair from us looked at us and said, “You again? You will never develop if you do everything yourself. I don’t want to see you again next time.” So we started to look for co-workers… We experienced different ups and downs, made good and bad decisions. Our first multi-brand called Świat Foteli, was created then.
Finally, we visited Japan and China in search of new models, features and design inspirations. The outcome was electrifying. Everything changed – we were ready to make key decisions. With the new models, based on our already extensive experience and observation of the needs of Poles, we worked out the brand’s image strategy with the godfather of Rest Lords – Tomasz Niewęgłowski. I resigned from my full-time job, then the chief accountant and with I started to work on the new brand with great enthusiasm. We approached everything in an entirely different way – guided by the principles of highest quality, reliability and precision. That’s how the period of swiatfoteli.pl came to an end and restlords.com was born, with thoroughly developed products, own photo sessions and a blog, which explained to our clients, step by step, the commonly unknown, unpopular features of massage chairs.
Again, the beginnings were not very successful… Despite the gigantic increase in work time (with my full commitment), greater financial resources, professional knowledge and accumulated experience – we faced various problems in the first six months – and the sale “stood still”… It was quite frightening – but I think we just had to grow up in the eyes of the customers, because after just 6 months of work on perfecting the website, the product and the approach, we started to expand again at a fast pace.
A few words about our team and our values
It is hard to find valuable colleagues with whom you are able to cooperate actively and with full motivation. We have had many attempts to start cooperation, but unfortunately it often fell apart – these were good people, but with objectives different from ours. Nevertheless, we succeeded and found “the A-team”. – …an energetic team great to work with…
The first partnership we formed that has survived to this day was with Marek. Together we travelled across Poland several hundred times – GPS gradually became redundant. However, smile is present on his face at all times, he demonstrates an incredible willingness to work and an above-standard, positive and true partnership attitude towards both the Customer and himself. We have always tried to understand, listen and talk every problem through. Some time later our first office, on Kasprowicza Street, welcomed Piotrek, who brought in his expert knowledge of e-commerce and jointly, with full dynamics, we began to improve and develop our approach, advertising and communication with the Customer. Nowadays Piotrek is in charge of marketing campaigns and, as we say, he creates roads leading to our “home”. Soon after Piotr, Marta appeared in our ranks, who took care of copywriting and processing orders, performing each task extremely scrupulously with extraordinary reliability – there’s no place for mistakes here :) Together with Marta we continue to discuss articles to be published on the blog, which are later developed by Marta, and we also work together on various issues related to running a company. She and Piotr know everything about the company ;) Next, Damian came to assist us in deliveries and by providing Marek with support they have created an incredibly energetic team, which infects us with optimism in the office and shares it with our customers at deliveries. Nothing’s impossible for these two – they consciously engage in the most difficult, long and demanding routes. Last year saw the addition of Ireneusz, who took care of the aforementioned “home”. He is constantly developing our website, detecting any errors, introducing changes and updates – it is he who “fights” with the coders’ different state of mind. The last, recently employed and longest sought-after member (it wasn’t easy… ;) of our team is Monika; she spreads the knowledge about massage chairs and tells our clients about them making use of her pleasant voice. It is impossible not to list again the Godfather of Rest Lords mentioned above. We have been cooperating with Mr. Tomasz to this day, consulting most of the key decisions and using the vast amount of know-how at his disposal. Our work focuses on constant striving for perfection – this is reflected at the stage of product selection, product description, presentation on-line, inviting the customer to the website, conversation, delivery, and even during occasional maintenance.
I have recently spoken to the owner of an Indonesian company that sells massage chairs there – it is a different culture, different challenges and much greater interest in massage chairs. Hendra told me that he employs 1,200 people in his showrooms, delivery teams and sales offices. When I told him about our staffing, he laughed out loud, but after adding the information on the quantities we sell, he opened his eyes and stated it’s amazing what we do. Our team is small, but with great potential, and we are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved and highly motivated to continue to expand.
All of the elements listed above constitute the values of our company that we have developed over the years and that we all try to follow on a daily basis. It is not a corporate fantasy of a CEO, it is no ecological concept – it is the organically developed principles of our work we once wrote down. And it’s precisely this, as well as surrounding ourselves with the right people, that we consider to be the key to the satisfaction of our Customers, to pleasant workplace and the success of our business. With this mindset, acting as a guardian of our values, I would like to begin the next 10 or more years of our company’s ongoing success, which I sincerely wish for myself, our co-workers and our Customers.