Vegas Market Buzz

First, before I get started today my apologies for not posting the past few weeks. My family and I have been on the road visiting other family members at a big reunion in Missouri and in the beautiful mountains of Montana and it has been pretty busy. Family first right?

Second, please note at the top of the blog is direct access to the Dos Marcos Podcast so don’t miss an episode; we will be recording a few more this week. Hear about Mark Kinsley and his new job as a baby sherpa, my trip with my son Nick to Jordan’s Furniture, and a detailed discussion about what is in this blog today.

We just finished another Vegas Market that seemed to be a big success for the people that I spoke to. Traffic was okay but the good thing about July is that most of the folks attending are there to conduct business. There was a lot of BUZZ in the halls about things going on in the industry so if you missed it let me recap the hottest topics for you.

  • Who is coming out of the divorce better, Mattress Firm or Tempur-Pedic? Who has the best strategy and who is executing their plan? Will the new Tempur-Pedic replacement products and marketing approach be able to replace the Tempur-Pedic volume? Will Tempur-Pedic be able to regain all of that lost business going after current dealers, expanding with key partners into other territories and placing more focus on their direct to consumer channel?
  • There are some large retailers upset with Serta/Simons Bedding for getting so close to Mattress Firm with big investments for advertising and giving them product exclusives. Will they lose more of their loyal dealer base than it was worth? Simmons now features Mattress Firm exclusives on their website so what is the impact of that if any?
  • Tempur/Sealy has given Costco Wholesale, Tempur-Pedic and Stearns and Foster. Is this a good move when it comes to protecting those brands?
  • Is Steve Fendrich and team really going to take over the world opening 500 stores with strong backing from Tempur/Sealy? I had a chance to catch up with Steve and I would suggest talking to him before buying into all of the rumors around this. But make no mistake, they are on the move.

For me, it is always great to talk directly to the grapevine and see what it is dishing out. As you might guess there was no shortage of opinion when it came to these topics and I’ve heard several theories that I had not considered. The bottom line here is that we all have to sit back and watch things evolve, pay attention to what people DO vs. what they SAY, and then align ourselves with companies that share our values and align with our goals. If you are having trouble finding a company that can help you get the results your after then you might want to look in new places. More on that next week!

 

 

 

Through The Eyes Of A 13 Year Old

I have two awesome kids, Gabby 15 and Nicholas (Nick) 13. I have been sharing news with them about the progress of Spink and Edgar from the beginning and they have both shown a lot of interest so my wife and I decided that it would be a good idea to let them see things first hand. So this week I took Nick with me on a trip to Boston to visit Jordan’s stores and get a look at what the mattress industry is all about.  Here are a few things that Nick learned during his trip.

Peter and Nick at Fenway Park

  • If you are going to be in business you have to separate yourself from everyone else. That means your personal brand and that of your company. You can wear a Micky Mouse neckties to help start conversations or learn a magic trick to share with people so you are more memorable. Whatever it is, you have to be different. When Nick walked into Jordan’s and saw a ropes course and Imax Theatre, he understood that your company needs to be different as well. (A BIG thank you to Peter Bolton at Jordan’s for delivering a first class experience at the Red Sox game and for investing in Nick. A good lesson for us all; have other people coach your kids because they can make a different kind of impact.) Peter made Nick feel like a real businessman and I love that he did that.
  • Many in the mattress business build their product lines with fancy stories in a language that is difficult to understand. Here is a good test for your brand…have a 13-year-old go in and read all of your point of sale, look at your website and interface with your product. If it doesn’t come together to the degree that they TOTALLY get what you are trying to say, then what you are doing is probably too complicated.
  • Connect with people. We had an experience where a few retail sales people needed clarification on certain aspects of our program so we stayed late with them one night and talked to them until they were more excited about Spink and Edgar mattresses. Nick learned that it is important to make an effort to ask good questions so you can understand where other people are coming from. If you do that, you can overcome just about anything. Seek FIRST to understand.

If you haven’t already done something like taking your son or daughter to work, I highly recommend it. Nick and I went to a Red Sox game, took a tour of TD Garden, visited Yale University in New Hampshire, hit Time Square in New York and saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. We also did a LOT OF WORK. 🙂 We were very tired at the end of it all but we made some incredible memories. Many thanks to Peter Bolton, Josh Tatleman, and Brad Graham along with everyone at Jordan’s that was so nice to Nick. You guys made the kind of impact on Nick that he will never forget. That WE will never forget. THANK YOU, it meant more than you know!

 

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What Is Your Treasure?

When I first traveled to England to meet with Simon Spinks in person I was privileged to stay at his home and meet his incredible wife Andrea and daughter Emily or “Em” as her friends know her. At age two, Em was diagnosed with a severe form of autism preventing her from being able to speak and causing her to be terrified by her own environment making even a simple trip to the store a major ordeal. Em has dealt with some of those issues by ensconcing herself in a world of art and music. She has become a great artist and when I was there I was able to see some of her work. I was blown away. Andrea sends me a note from time to time on what Em is up to and recently sent me this piece that will now be hanging on my office wall opposite my desk. I am placing it where I can see it every day for a few good reasons.

Work by Emily Spinks

  1. I love the work.
  2. Em can’t speak and for a long time couldn’t even be out in public but yet she discovered something great inside of herself. A way for her to share and express something in her heart and mind. What is hidden in me/you? What untapped potential is there that I am not pushing hard enough to uncover?
  3. Andrea and Simon are great parents to Em and encourage her at ever turn. They don’t accept that Em’s diagnosis would keep her in one spot, they push her to realize her potential. What remains hidden because we don’t have a big enough expectation of ourselves, our kids, our company?
  4. Real treasure has nothing to do with money.

Andrea and Em have taken this passion a step further and have opened up a shop they call Em’s People. This is a retail store and art studio that allows for other young adults with autism a place to express their creativity and to promote their independence and employability. So the next time you are in Selby, England you need to pop in and take something special home with you.

 

Em’s art used to inspire family and friends but is now doing so much more. My heartfelt thanks to Andrea and Em for sending me this piece and for showing us all what “could be”.

If you want to get involved locally in supporting the search for a cure to autism I suggest you give my friend Doug Krinsky a call. He has been putting on the Ante4Autism event for the past 9 years at the Vegas furniture market and it is a total blast to attend. DO NOT MISS IT!

 

Hybrids Deliver

The whole idea behind pushing the hybrid category was to give the industry a different way to talk about quality innerspring mattresses that was easy to understand and would help the retailers sell more expensive beds. Well… it appears to be working.

According to this blog post by Professor David Perry from Furniture Today, sleep shops are reporting that the hybrid category is up 7 points and the memory foam category is down 5 so we are looking at a 12 point shift. Why is this happening? The manufacturers out there are making some very compelling products, retailers are doing a great job of telling the story, and the consumer is saying that they get it.

I’m not sure how well these numbers translate to the industry total given the growth in the e-commerce space but it sure tells us something about brick and mortar. Don’t forget that the bed in a box guys are almost exclusively foam and that 20% of all finished beds being sold these days are actually imported from outside of the United States. Did you just spit out your coffee? So where is the foam category really? Have you seen the Zinus queen memory foam 8″ mattress for $163? 

I have been involved with hybrids from the beginning and both of the Quinn brother ventures Spink and Edgar and Herobed are hybrids so you don’t have to guess how I feel about this construction. Average prices for foam mattresses are going down, hybrids are going up, so where will you put your focus?

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A Whale Of A Problem

Hello from the Cayman Islands. I took the family away for the week to enjoy some time together and recharge the battery. I always feel a little guilty leaving work when so much is going on but we all know that you have to take time for yourself to be at your best. Sort of like getting enough sleep right!?!

I am up early posting this so I am not taking time away from the family, but I wanted to share something with you that I saw in a restaurant yesterday.

The inspiration for my post today.

How many times do we make a decision without looking at it from all sides? Sure, we try to think through it strategically identifying the upside and downside and how to mitigate any negative but can you really think of it all? In our defense, it’s hard to see what’s not visible but that just means we need to spend that much more time looking for the potential problems.

For me, I don’t want to dive too deep in fear that I will uncover something that will keep me from making the decision that I WANT to make. How stupid is this approach!?!? Truth be told, those issues could make that move a lot less fun and profitable in the long run. Be careful not to let your passion for something take over and get you into a mess that is both costly and painful to get out of. Beware of what lurks below the surface!

Back to the beach; I’m exahusted. 🙂