Bold Predictions And My 2017 Challenge To You

Mark Kinsley and I just recorded another podcast for sleep-geek.com that should publish in a few weeks, and in it we make some bold predictions for 2017. Making predictions is really pretty stupid when you think about it because there is very little upside to getting it right and when you get it wrong; well, your wrong. The fear of looking stupid has never stopped me before so here it goes, one bold prediction for you on what the mattress industry is going to do this year.

Once again my good buddy Dave Perry delivers an article that we are going to use as the foundation for this blog post. Furniture Today says that units will be up 2.4% and dollars will be up 4.2%. ISPA says that units will be up 3.5% and dollars up 6%. I say they are both under stating the year by a few points and we have a shot at high single digit growth. Here are a few of my reasons:

  1. I think that 2016 was a hot mess. Assign whatever meaning you want to that but it was tough on many fronts wouldn’t you agree? Consumers didn’t really react to our category the way many of us thought so I believe there is some business that is going to come to us that was waiting on the sidelines.
  2. The election is over and there seems to be some boost in consumer confidence hitting a 13 year high with this post election bounce. “Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased from 16.4 percent to 23.6 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined from 9.9 percent to 8.7 percent.”
  3. From what I am hearing, some of the traditional big brands are coming out with new marketing campaigns that will continue to shine a light on the category. They are going to spend some money and the messaging is good from what I’m told. Add to that the e-commerce guys and what they are spending, the increase in “voice” should push us along.
  4. The focus on sleep as a “health thing” will not hurt us either. Arianna Huffington is doing some great work on sleep awareness with this new book The Sleep Revolution which puts a solid focus on how sleep connects to quality of life. I am also seeing my friend The Sleep Doctor Michael Breus, everywhere in the media lately so keep it up Michael. TESTIFY.

Maybe these things drive us to great heights and maybe not, but I like the optimism behind it. If you want to be one of the people taking advantage of the upswing I offer you this opinion.

Many of us are going to Las Vegas market in a few days. If you are a retailer my question for you is what are you looking for on your trip? If we buy the same products that everyone else has, bring consumers into a store that pretty much looks like every other store, run advertising that resembles what the competition does, and deliver a similar selling experience as the guy down the street, then we are going to get THE SAME RESULTS we have always gotten. (My pitch/solution follows so look out.)

If you want to WOW your customer with a mattress line that feels unlike anything else in the market, has a selling story unlike anything else in the market, delivers BIG margin, has a best selling SKU that retails for $5,000 in queen, and brings with it some of the most innovative selling tools ever created in our industry, then send me an e-mail at mquinn03@gmail.com. We want good partners that are looking for great results and don’t want to do what everyone else is doing, so if you know anyone like that send them my way please. I have enjoyed the last few months traveling around the country, meeting with some of the top bedding retailers out there, and I am happy to say that Spink and Edgar has some big stuff happening. If there is a fit, we would love for you to be a part of it.

For everyone else not retailing beds I say go for it this year. Push harder, and do things that your customers aren’t going to expect. If you bring the same old game nothing will change. Be bold this year and you can make the kind of impact that your shareholders will love you for.

Can’t wait to see everyone in Vegas so safe travels and put on those walking shoes, it’s going to be a long but great week!

PS If you are in the market for great adjustable bed bases then give my friends at DK City a look. They just announced a partnership with one of the leaders in the category, Leggett and Platt. I have been working with both groups for the last several months and this is going to be great for retailers so check it out in the Leggett and Platt/Fashion Bed space B1396 or DK City space at A934. They are showing some bases that fold up and are perfect for e-commerce, great for storing in a warehouse and very easy to install.

 

 

Does Tempur-Pedic Really Rank Last In Their Class?

I received my Furniture Today email and was very surprised to see THIS ARTICLE  from my good buddy Dave Perry recapping the most recent Consumer Reports (CR) article on the mattress industry. So what did it say?  That the top dog, the guys that created the entire memory foam class have dropped to last place based on “several factors.”  To make that even more interesting, the #1 and #3 ranked products are Casper and Tuft and Needle at a mere fraction of the price.  Serta did well with an iComfort Savant landing at #4 but Sealy Optimum was down at #24 on the list.

If your one of the big brands your probably going to attack the publications testing methods and you would be right to do so. It has been suggested for a long time that there are problems with the way CR looks at our category but, it is what it is. Do consumers believe all of this? From what I have read, the relevance of this publication is shrinking every year because there is an even better way for a consumer to vet their next mattress purchase and it’s called the consumer review.

Things that make you go HMMMMMMMMMM.

Things that make you go HMMMMMMMMMM.

Today, if you want to learn more about the product you are going to buy you can simply look for opinions on one of these 10 review sites or even better, visit You Tube and watch someone deliver a close-up look on video. This way of shopping has become the great equalizer in the mattress business and has allowed companies that may not have the name brand recognition of Tempur-Pedic or one of the “S” brands to realize great success because the consumer has voted in their favor. So if you discount the Consumer Reports article and then look to the reviews to tell the story, you still end up with Casper and Tuft and Needle leading the pack, so go figure. ( I speak about brand recognition vs. brand preference in a past post titled “Can You Feel The Shift” so check that out if you are compelled.)

I am not a fan of foam beds to begin with but I have to defend Tempur-Pedic and Sealy on this one. I don’t know what Consumer Reports is looking at but I have been in the industry over 25 years, tried most of the beds I am writing about today, and I am having a hard time understanding how Casper and Tuft and Needle have come out on top here.

Is it possible that they are getting these reviews because they are the cool kid and seen as disruptive by the business media? Is it possible that their minimalist approach to making a bed just performs better and the rest of the industry is over building their products? I wish I had the answer but this just doesn’t pencil for me.

What do you think, did Consumer Reports get it right? Dish the scoop if you have the inside!

 

 

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What Kind Of 2017 Will You Choose?

If you’re like me you spend some time at the end of each year reflecting on what happened, what you did right, what you could have done differently… probably lingering too long on what you could have done differently. After this process is over, I normally switch gears and start thinking about the future. What is 2017 going to bring for me, my family and my businesses? I have a few thoughts on how I think we should approach that this year. (You need to read all four of these.)

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  1. When it comes to setting any goal just remember that it needs to be realistic, specific and attached to a very solid way to measure it. Also keep it written down and in a place that you will see it often and then share it within your circle if that makes sense. It is always good to have the support of those around you because we rarely accomplish anything important without a little help.
  2. Don’t be a pansy. Set some goals that are attainable but think big this year. My wife gets so irritated with me because I have these HUGE expectations about every project I tackle and very often end up disappointed because I fell short. HOWEVER, even if I don’t hit the home run every time, I end up with a lot of base hits along the way and that scores runs too. Be realistic on what you want to accomplish but don’t be afraid to think big. I truly believe that with a project my brother and I are launching in February/March that we are going to sell lots of product and inspire thousands if not millions along the way and literally change the way people think about a mattress. Too much? My business partner Simon Spinks told me that together we could change the world. I actually think he’s right.
  3. If you had a rough year, get over it. Seriously, I know that sounds harsh  but you can’t live in the past and allow that negative thinking to impact where you’re going. Let me take you through an exercise my favorite college professor Dr. Tim Clypson taught me. Step 1: Get a piece of paper and write down all of the negative crap that happened to you in 2016 or anything that seems to be weighing you down. Step 2: Go outside with lighter in hand and torch that mother.  (Tim had us wad the paper up and throw it in the trash can because we were in class but I think he would support my more dramatic approach here.) Dwelling on the bad stuff only brings more bad stuff. My wife Bridget is my biggest cheerleader and is there to lift me up when needed, kick me in the butt when needed, and club anyone that does me wrong. Spend time with those people in your life and lean into them. It’s a game changer.
  4. Give to others and be grateful on your journey this year. I can’t possibly put into words what living this way means to me. I’m not saying I am the perfect model of this but I do make time to give to others that need me and I start every day being grateful for the good and the bad. All life’s experiences impact me, I have to choose how.

Happy New Year to all of the Q’s Views readers out there and know that I am pulling for each and every one of you to have an epic kind of year. Enjoy the last few days of the holiday season and then strap on your butt kicking boots and make 2017 the kind of year they will write about in books.

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Shine The Light!

Hopefully most of you are getting ready to unplug if you haven’t already. I don’t know about you but this holiday really fires me up. I love it because I get a chance to have some real quality time with the family, eat to0 much, and enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

I am a guy of faith so for me it really is about the birth of Jesus and what that means. I can tell you one thing, if I didn’t have His example to guide me in my life, things would be a lot different for me and my family. So I hope that you are able to pause on that idea, shine some light into dark places if given the opportunity over the holiday, and celebrate like you were one of the three wise men standing in that manger.

If you are somebody that struggles at this time of year, we will be thinking about you. This can be a tough time for people so just know that your not alone in that.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and may you all have a blast celebrating with your family. Crank up some Christmas tunes, eat, drink and be merry.

Gabby and Nick

Gabby and Nick

 

 

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Is It REALLY A Partnership?

Are you in strong partnerships with the people you do business with or is it just one more overused and abused business term like “synergy” or “paradigm shift”.

This is what sba.gov says a business partnership is, “A partnership is a single business where two or more people share ownership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business.” Does this sound like what you have? My litmus test for this comes down to one thing…do the people sitting across the table from me care about my success? Do their actions represent that? You can apply that to a business or personal relationship and when you do, you might be surprised at what you find.

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Expecting the other party to be a good partner is a must. If you are on the sell side and a buyer is all about striking the best deal, at the lowest cost, with the best possible service, with no regard to the impact on you, I would say you are in a bad partnership. Have HUGE expectations from the people you buy from but be realistic. I have sold to people that are absolute HAMMERS and don’t care at all about the party they are negotiating with. They drive hard and DEMAND things if you are going to be allowed to sell them product. You might get what you want, but that approach will bite you in the butt at some point down the road. I  spent 9 years of my career negotiating with the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club. If anyone carries a big stick its those guys and believe me I got hit with it a few times, but for the most part the buyers I dealt had a better approach.

Just because you have a big stick doesn’t mean you wield it. When I was at Serta we killed ourselves taking care of Sam’s Club. We committed a lot of resources to the account, returned calls as soon as they came in, flew there at a moments notice, and made absolutely sure that everyone servicing them on the operations side of the business was held to the highest level of service. We earned their respect and they treated us as real partners because of it. Just because you have leverage doesn’t always mean that you use it. Because of the way they approached us personally and professionally we made it our mission to take great care of them. Doing that because you have to versus doing that because you want to are very different things. Do you fight harder for the people you like? Do you do more for the customers that treat you well and are fair? Think of this as winning a battle vs. winning a war. Being a good partner is as important as expecting it from the other guy.

Of course you run in to those idiots that don’t get it and think the only way to succeed is by crushing the person they are dealing with. Take a minute to consider those guys in business. Where are they today? How is their company doing? There are always going to be exceptions to this but I am betting money, the most successful people are the ones that give AND take. Be one of those and you will win the war.