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. 🙂

 

 

The Truth Behind The Steinhoff Purchase Of Sherwood

Over the last 6 months, it has been a fun game of speculation, hasn’t it? Who is Steinhoff going to buy next? Will Serta/Simmons Bedding end up selling to them due to their new deal with Mattress Firm? Will there be a hostile takeover of Tempur-Sealy after the announcement of the divorce with Mattress Firm and the stock nosedive afterward?  Now we know that Steinhoff picked Sherwood as their manufacturing partner to move forward with. They could have chosen anyone; so why them?

If you know anything about Steinhoff, it was not a surprise to you that they would move backward in the supply chain, especially given the fact that they own the largest distribution platform in the United States. If it were you, wouldn’t you want to benefit from both manufacturing and retail? There are a lot of rumors out there about this topic from people who say they know but actually don’t, so let me clear a few things up. Steinhoff is buying Sherwood because they see a good business run by a very capable management team. If this weren’t true, they would never invest in the company. (I have been closely involved helping Steinhoff look at other deals in the United States over the last several years so I know what they look for.) To the Steinhoff guys, this is just another strategic acquisition. Markus Jooste and team are going to want Lance and Neil Ellman to run a profitable business and grow it in a significant way. It is true that the Mattress Firm is also a Steinhoff company but not much has changed for the Ellman’s. Mattress Firm was their biggest customer before being added to the Steinhoff family, and Mattress Firm is still their biggest customer. The one difference is that Jooste is going to EXPECT Lance and Neil to grow sales and profits in the United States with ALL of their customers and Steinhoff understands that in order to do that, there has to be a wall between the two companies. Don’t believe me? Look at the other countries where they have done this successfully. They know what they have to do to make this work.

People have been asking me if Sherwood is going to continue being the contract manufacturer of Spink and Edgar products in the United States. I have to be honest, when this all started my brother Jeff and I weren’t sure. But after thinking through this logically, the answer was easy. We are staying with Sherwood for the same reasons Steinhoff purchased them. They are incredibly efficient low-cost producers with state of the art factories, making very high-quality products. They have a stellar team in place to run the business, and things can only get better when you consider that they will now have access to the Steinhoff innovation pipeline and raw material purchasing power. But the biggest reason we are staying with Sherwood is the Ellman brothers. Neil and Lance are like extended family to us and they are our business partner in this venture and we don’t want that to change. We all see the upside for Spink and Edgar given the great success of our retailers and we want to see it grow. At the end of the day, we have to make the decision that will best serve our customers and we have definitely done that. I am happy to report that our customers unanimously agree.

For you retailers out there getting an ear full from other producers that want to hinder what Sherwood is doing in their unique ability to offer value and high-quality products across all price points, I want you to consider this.  You need to do what is right for your business. If Sherwood products are compelling to you and can help you make money, you should make them or keep them as your partner. If you want something that doesn’t feel like anything else on the market, that is proven at a best selling price point of $5,000 in queen, and is all natural and built for the luxury consumer, then consider Spink and Edgar. Everything else is noise.

We now live in an industry where Serta/Simmons Bedding has committed MILLIONS, (over $100 million to get a little closer to the number), and delivered an exclusive program to drive Mattress Firm’s business; likely to the detriment of their other retail partners. You have Tempur-Sealy out there promising to open more of their own retail stores, and expand their direct to consumer program. Where will all of these paths lead? Stay tuned.

 

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Is Your Website Making You Money?

A guy walks up to you and he is wearing clothes that look like they have been balled up in the corner of his room. Shirt is wrinkled, two sizes too small to where his belly is hanging out, cigarette burns right in the middle, pants too short that show off his two different colored socks, and to top it all off, he is wearing a pair of shoes that look as if he has walked 1,000 miles in the mud. What kind of impression do you have of this person?

Now, shift gears with me here. What does your website look like? Does it fully represent who you are as a company? Is your philosophy clearly communicated to your audience? Is your copy written in a way that is not only engaging but easy to understand ? Do you build value in your products in a way that separates you from all of your competition? (Visit their site and see what they are doing.)

The real question is…“IS YOUR WEBSITE MAKING YOU MONEY?

Your website is an extension of your company brand, and for many consumers out there, it is their FIRST impression of who you really are.  (All you B2B guys, this goes for you as well.) I have read that up to 85% of the people out there begin their shopping process online so if that is the case, are you placing the proper amount of focus on that part of your business?

 

Websites don’t have to just look and feel good to the visitor they actually have to perform.

  • Do you have information that will keep your visitors on site for more than a few minutes?
  • Is your site easy to navigate? Can you get to relevant information in just a click or two or is your bounce rate high leaving your customers wanting more?
  • Are you easy for people to interface with on a mobile device? (A lot of traffic comes in this way so do not ignore or underestimate the importance of this one!)
  • Are you optimized for search so that the people looking for the products you sell can find you in organic ways? Do you have backlinks built to your site from other sites with good authority?
  • Do you have the right design that will convert the visitor into action which will lead to a sale?

If this stuff is intimidating to you, your not alone believe me. But the fact of the matter is, you don’t really have a choice anymore. If your website isn’t driving interest and business to your company then you need to get it fixed. If you want some help on that I will offer you a name of someone that I trust and have done business with for years. He is a great guy and created spinkandedgarusa.com for us (which our customers tell me is the best luxury bedding site online).  His name is Carlos Arnavat and you can contact him if you have the need. 314-549-5052 or email at c4@studioc5.com. He works with mattress wholesale and retail companies already so you will not have to teach him the industry.  If you tell him you are a Q’s Views reader he will take extra good care of you with a free consultation on your site. 🙂

Don’t be that guy wearing the bad clothes. Dress like your going to meet the Pope, check yourself out in the mirror (let Carlos evaluate where you are), and get ready for some awesome things to happen. If you don’t wow me online, there is no reason for me to work with you so it’s gut check time! Is your site working? How do you know?

 

It’s Not Gone Until It Is

My 14-year-old daughter Gabby just had surgery to repair a labral hip tear as a result of a sports injury. We had six months of trying to diagnose the problem, one failed surgery due to an allergy to a drug, and finally a successful surgery this week.

My Gabby girl. Please don’t tell her I posted this picture, she will kick my butt.

She has missed her volleyball season, basketball season and now her softball season, sitting the bench cheering on her team. For a 14 year old that isn’t so easy to do. She is entitled to be sad about this, I know I would have been, HOWEVER, you have to stop it at some point and say….you weren’t diagnosed with a disease. Right?

My point today is to say that I take things for granted. The health of my family is the most recent add to that list. How many of us wake up and say, thank you God for letting me go to the bathroom without using a walker. Thank you for allowing me to see well enough to drive my car to work. Thank you for the fact that I am not taking medications to deal with depression. Sometimes we don’t appreciate something until we don’t have it anymore and that should stop.

Take a minute each day and be grateful for the things that you just expect to have.

Big THANK YOU to Dr. Chris Shaw and his rockstar staff. They did an amazing job with Gabby and caring for our entire family during the process. Today, they move on to another patient and I’m not really sure if they understand the impact they have on the people they help, so hopefully, this note lands with them.

I used to live at the base of Snowbird in Salt Lake City and I remember sitting at stop lights just looking around in awe of the scenery. Then I noticed that I was the only one doing it. When you have something great you tend to forget how great it is until maybe it’s not there. Look around today and take notice.

A special thanks to our good friend Dr. Derek Miller in Joplin for sticking by us through the entire process. You are incredible.

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