Sophisticated Simplicity – 3 Businesses That Excel With Everyday Products

The world seems to get more mind-boggling by the minute.

And as we’re bombarded with info on Bitcoin, AI and complex computing algorithms, it’s easy to forget that it’s often the simplest ideas, developed to make life more stress-free, that stand the test of time.

Jack Russell and his toilet paper rolls

But a lot of smart thinking powers the popular, practical and straightforward products we use in homes and offices.

So it’s worth digging a little deeper into this sophisticated simplicity by looking at three businesses that excel with everyday products.

1. Numatic International Ltd

Vacuum cleaner brand Numatic International Ltd might not ring any immediate bells — but there’s a good chance you’ll recognise Henry the Hoover.

Developed by Numatic founder Chris Duncan in 1970, the iconic red, rotund vacuum cleaner with a cheeky smiling face has become a favourite of homeowners and professional cleaners in the decades since.

More than 10 million Henrys have been sold to date, and he’s now been joined by a family of products designed for different types of household cleaning — including sister Hetty and younger brother James.

Henry’s under the bonnet technology has constantly improved over the years, while his trademark visage has remained reassuringly consistent.

Some of his fans still have models that have lasted for 20 or 30 years and the factory can provide parts to keep most versions running. It’s refreshing to see a company that rejects built-in obsolescence continuing to thrive.

2. Andrex

We all have bottoms and most of us like to keep them clean — so the toilet tissue industry looks reasonably safe for the foreseeable future.

But not all rolls are equal — toilet paper professionals Andrex have built up a loyal fan base over the years that’s the envy of competitors.

Part of this appeal stems from superb marketing, with a mischievous mascot Labrador puppy that’s stolen the hearts of shoppers since it was introduced in TV ads in 1972.

But the brand actually began manufacturing gentlemen’s handkerchiefs in 1942 and the name stems from St Andrew’s Mill in Walthamstow, its first manufacturing base.

Famously soft, Andrex has maintained and improved its technical qualities and was voted product of the year in the 2018 Consumer Survey of Product innovation. It looks like this is one success story that will roll on for years.

3. The Mat Factory

Plain colour mat

With a presence in Bolton, England since 2009, floor mat aficionados The Mat Factory are relative newcomers compared to the first two entrants on our list.

But they can trace their roots back over 40 years to LaGrange, Georgia, where global manufacturing brand Kleen-Tex was born.

This is another firm with a simple sales proposition — providing quality, customisable floor mats for homes and businesses. But this surface simplicity is backed by a passion for high-performance products that perfectly meet customer demands in a range of sectors.

By claiming a niche and continuing to innovate, these mat fanatics are futureproofing their business.


So there are three businesses that excel with everyday products — adopt their philosophy of sophisticated simplicity to springboard your startup to the top.

What’s your favourite ‘simple’ brand? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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