Eve Sleep’s Cheryl Calverley reflects on issues with ‘wildly inaccurate’ data

On reviewing the mattress company’s data processes earlier this year, it became apparent that a lot of “assumption” had been built in, Calverley said at last week’s IPA Effworks 2022.

Man analysing dataIf there’s one thing Eve Sleep’s CMO turned CEO Cheryl Calverley wishes she’d done differently when she joined the direct-to-consumer (DTC) mattress company in 2018, it would be to interrogate the company’s data and data practices more vigorously.

After kicking off a review of the firm’s data models in January, Calverley discovered that some of its data was “wildly inaccurate”, she told the IPA’s EffWorks 2022 conference last week.

“Not being a massive data head, when I [joined the business] I didn’t start ploughing through all the data pipes,” she said. “I wish I’d known how shitty our data was.”

On review, it became apparent that a lot of “assumption” had been built into Eve Sleep’s data, Calverley explained.

“I’ve been making decisions on wildly inaccurate data for two and a half years,” she said.

“If I could go back in time, the first thing I would do would be to ask all the difficult questions – really difficult questions – and be a right knob about data [I] make decisions on.”

Calverley was promoted from CMO to CEO in May 2020, as the business looked towards its “next phase of growth”. The company went public in 2017.

However, like many startups and small businesses, Eve Sleep has struggled through the economic turmoil of the last two and a half years, which began with the onset of Covid-19 and has continued thereafter with skyrocketing inflation rates. Describing the events as an “economic tsunami”, Eve Sleep today (17 October) called in administrators.

The company’s share price has dropped by over 90% this year, as it has reported declining revenues and profits. In its interim results released last month, Eve Sleep posted an 18% year-on-year decline in UK revenues, against a homewares market estimated to be down 23%.

Gross profit was down 33% to £5.1m, while marketing contribution (or operational profitability) fell from £0.7m to a loss of £1.2m.

“The scale of Eve was simply insufficient to withstand the economic tsunami that has gathered momentum over the past six months,” Calverley has said.

“We have moved heaven and earth to seek a way forward as an independent or acquired business, but ultimately prevailing market conditions just do not support that.”