Knock It Down

My son Nick is 12 so I have released my yard service from their duties so that he can experience the joy of mowing a lawn. I bought him a brand new electric push mower that is very light weight, but on a hill, it can get a little tough. I told him to attack that part of the yard first so that he could get it over with and didn’t have to deal with it at the end when he was tired.

Later that day I was on the phone with my friend Bob O’Neill and he was talking about a few issues he was facing and how he believes you have to tackle problems head on! I think Bob has this right.

When something bad comes up where we know someone isn’t going to be happy about it, or it’s going to be very uncomfortable to deal with, what do we do?

  • Ignore it completely.
  • Procrastinate so we don’t have to deal with it in the moment.
  • Pass it off to someone else.
  • Fix part of it so that it isn’t AS BAD.
  • Just don’t accept it and talk yourself into believing it doesn’t exist. (You know you’ve done this.)

The reality is, things are going to come up that we don’t want to have to deal with so all we can do is manage our approach and how we handle it. Any of the aforementioned solutions just make things worse. We end up stressing out over it, and ultimately the problem grows.

If you’re concerned about the people involved, they will get over it. If the downside of the problem is big, deal with it now or it will mushroom. If it is something that is causing you stress, the only way to solve for that is to tackle it because worry will grow not diminish.

Grab your problem today, tackle it to the ground, and handle it like a boss. It’s usually not as bad as you think and then you’re free to deal with things that are more enjoyable. What I’m saying is simple, true, and forgotten by us all. This is your reminder.

Thanks Bob.

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What Do You Sell?

A quick query on google trends tells us that sleep is continuing to show growth as a subject of interest. This chart shows what has happened to “sleep” as a search since April of 2012 and there is a steady climb up. More information reveals that the United States leads the world when it comes to a thirst for more knowledge on the subject.

Google trends query on “SLEEP” April 2012-2017

I am bringing this up after reading an article published on April 8th, 2017 by the New York Times titled; Sleep Is The New Status Symbol.  It talks about how David Rose from M.I.T’s Media Lab is investigating weighted blankets, nap pods and listening to specific types of content to induce better sleep. Matthew P. Walker at the University of California, a professor of neuroscience and psychology and the director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, is working on direct current stimulation as a cure for sleeplessness in the aging brain.  In Paris, Hugo Mercier, a computer science engineer, has raised over $10 million to create a headband that uses sound waves to induce sleep with a product they call Dreem. Consider that your “deep sleep” cycle helps to flush those bad toxins in your brain and store your memories throughout the day. What if you could achieve a better quality of deep sleep? Dreem thinks they can help you accomplish that. My friend Rick Feingold has a system called Kugona that is clinically proven to improve sleep for kids with Autism. These are just a few of the projects that people are working on throughout the world.

More than ever, humankind is focused on sleep and how to get more of it. We are investing time, energy and talent into something that we all know is one of the key pillars of health, right along side of diet and exercise. Intuitively, people understand that sleep is something to be pursued, cherished, appreciated, and anticipated. “Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” Thomas Dekker. If we don’t sleep we will die. If we get great sleep, we feel as if we can tackle a problem that as recent as yesterday, seemed impossible to overcome. Here’s the kicker; are you ready? We sell products that help you do sleep better.

What do you sell? If it is a mattress, a pillow, a new set of sheets, an adjustable bed, a mattress protector, or even a box spring you are in the wrong business. If on the other hand, you are in the business of helping people discover a better kind of sleep, then you have my attention and will be rewarded with a bigger slice of my disposable income. Don’t just tell me you sell better sleep, show me the evidence of that. I want to see it on your websites, in your ads, and hear it when I listen to someone from your company speak about the products that you offer.

Don’t just do it because it could deliver more sales and profits to your business. Do it because you might just help someone focus on something that is important to them living a better quality of life. Make it part of your purpose. What if we all did?

I sell mattresses but I am NOT in the mattress business. What you make shouldn’t define what you’re about.

 

 

 

 

Pick The Right Partners

Have you ever been fortunate enough to sell to a group of people that just get it? You don’t have to do a lot of convincing, you simply present what you have and your audience TOTALLY understands the value because they believe the same things you believe? That was my experience last week in New England as we launched Spink and Edgar at Jordan’s Furniture.

Lorie Silva is the Director of Bedding Operations which doesn’t even come close to explaining what she does or what she means to that business. Lorie is a very talented merchant but is also intimately involved in operations, logistics, training, product development, store display, consumer experience, accessories, and about a million other things. She has an incredible ability to identify the next big thing and understands how to make it work in her carefully sculpted business. Her sales force is easily one of the best in the industry, and like Lorie, they live and breathe the mattress business. They also love their jobs and the company that they work for. How big is that? If you have never had that experience or your people don’t feel that way about you or your company, you really don’t get what’s important.  Lorie would NOT be enjoying the success she does every year if it weren’t for one of her top people Keith Levine and she would be the first to tell you that. Keith also works operations and is a whiz when it comes to training. Lorie doesn’t just count on Keith however, it seemed like everyone she introduced me to from the Sleep Lab Managers to the sales force were, according to her, CRITICALLY IMPORTANT and after meeting them I believe it. Together, they have built one of the most successful mattress businesses I have ever seen. Simon Sinek says not to hire people that will work for your money, you need to surround yourself with people that believe what you believe. If you do that, they will give you their blood sweat and tears and this group certainly does.

Jordan’s sign in New Haven. Made up of over 300 chairs. Can you see them?

I flew out on a Saturday and spent the next 6 days traveling stores with Lorie and Keith, learning their business, and hopefully sharing some of my passion for this industry and the Spink and Edgar program with their team. The whole thing was actually pretty humbling for me and I am grateful to every one of them for expressing their enthusiasm for what we are doing. They validated so much of what I think, and I felt like I was with friends the entire trip. It never fails…when I am asked to come in and speak to a group of people to get them fired up, I am always the one that benefits the most.

The man I call the “Godfather” of the mattress industry, Leon Ellman, attended one of our meetings along with Neil his son and Mark Chase, all from Sherwood. Really glad they could come and see for themselves how perfect this relationship really is. My brother Jeff and I are very fortunate to have those guys as business partners. Then on the final day to top if all off, Peter Bolton the COO for Jordan’s, made it to our meeting. We had some great conversations, he showed me around the store, and we talked about family. I told Peter that I was bringing my 12-year-old son with me to Jordan’s so he could see what Dad does for a living and experience these stores first hand. Peter really lit up when I told him this and made me swear to let him know when I was coming so he could be a part of that and make it special for Nick. I know that Peter is very busy running this empire, so the fact that he not only offered that but did so in such an authentic way says all you need to know about this guy. He believes what I believe.

Neil Ellman, Mark Chase, Leon Ellman, and me.

 

Only days after returning home I received an email from Lorie with results from our first week on Jordan’s floor and I was blown away. For me, knowing that we have Sit’N Sleep (another INCREDIBLE company), as our West Coast anchor and now Jordan’s on the East Coast we are exactly where we want to be. From day one, we never intended to sell Spink and Edgar to everyone. We wanted to sell our products to people that understand there is more to this industry than product/price/ and promotion. Companies that understand building value in the emotional benefits of great sleep and the mattresses ability to deliver that. Most of all, we wanted partners that love the fact that we grow our mattresses on a small farm in the countryside of Yorkshire, England. We wanted retailers that give us credit for delivering a product to the industry that not only justifies our best selling price point at $5,000 in queen, but gives them a line that DELIVERS on the incredible story with equally incredible feels. We wanted to do business with people that believe what we believe…and we are.

To all of my new friends in the Jordan’s family, I say thank you for a very meaningful experience. For those of you reading this that think I am blowing a lot of smoke in this blog post to a very large new customer, I would say that you don’t know me and you have never met these people.

Do you surround yourself with people that believe what you believe? If not, why not?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Go Ahead. Be A Hero.

Well, it’s time to launch this site. My brother Jef and I have been working on herobed.com for over a year and we’re really excited to see what it can do. As I said in one of my previous blogs, we didn’t want to be like everyone else launching a bed in a box so now you can determine if we accomplished that goal.

We will let the site stand on its own without a lot of explanation, but we want people to know that this is about more than selling beds for us. Imagine what happens if people go to this website and see our story on Camp Blessing and it changes how they see special needs kids. (Scroll to the bottom of the landing page for that story.) Imagine if someone goes to herobed and watches a story in the Wall of Heroes that inspires them to go do something bigger than themselves. Imagine if someone shares their story of a local hero that has made a profound impact on them or their community. Is it true that being grateful is being happy? How about the unsung hero that receives that adulation; does it fuel them to do more? Imagine if we all have something better to do on social media than bitch about where we are with politics.

Our press release will come out tomorrow so be on lookout for that. We will include some interesting consumer research we did about the unsung hero of sleep. Any guess as to what that is?

So. Who’s your hero?

 

 

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Casa Capo

Today’s BONUS: Kinsley and I are back at it on our podcast Dos Marcos talking about the break-up with Mattress Firm and Tempur-Sealy. What are the downsides/upsides for both, and what comes next?  We also talk about Bob Sherman and what he is up to with Restonic so jump on the treadmill, plug in some earphones, and let us keep you company for a little while. LISTEN HERE!

When you are in the presences of greatness you just know it and my recent trip to southern Florida dropped me right in the middle of it. I took a trip down south to see my friend Tim Riezinger and visit the market and what I found was totally unexpected.

When I walked into the first El Dorado store it really did blow me away. Huge entry way to greet you, massive fixtures, and a very beautiful boulevard that was a little like walking the yellow brick road. I was in the mattress department and ran into Nick Simmons who is the sales leader for the store so we started to talk about the business and what made it special. The list was long.  Nick was an “A” player for sure and he got me really fired up about this company. I thought to myself, “are all of their people as nice and excited as this guy?”

Later, Tim took me into the home office. Tim has known these people for 20 something years and the way he talked about them on the ride out there made it sound like they were his extended family. Once we arrived I understood why. First I met Ela and Shirley who I swear, after 10 minutes of talking to them I felt like I knew them my entire life. Do you know people like that? Then I met Alfredo Lopez one of the top dogs and the main mattress mogul who was incredibly gracious. Then there was Luis, one of the 7 brothers and the CEO.

Luis’ father Manuel was the son of a furniture merchant, Simon Capo, in Cuba during the Castro regime. Their family business was taken away from them by the government so Manuel fled Cuba with two of his sons Luis and Carlos on a 24-foot wooden fishing boat named “El Dorado”. They eventually made their way to Florida where they started their first store and later expanded with a $10,000 loan from the Small Business Administration. Today they are the largest Hispanic-owned furniture retail enterprise in the United States with 12 stores and 2 outlet centers.

I was very grateful to Manuel for spending some of his time with me sharing his family story. Actually, I was grateful to them all. It’s hard for me to put into words but these guys are different. I don’t just mean in the way they do business, I mean in the way that they treat people. Getting to see what they have built up close and connecting with them on a personal level, it is clear to me why they have accomplished this level of success.

From Casa Capo, their grandfathers first furniture business to the incredible company they have today, these guys have the secret formula. Truth be told there is no secret. When I first met Pedro, one of the 7 Capo brothers and heard him speak at a Furniture Today event, he told a story about how all the brothers had lunch once a week with someone in the company so that they could listen to them and understand how to improve the business from their perspective. Are you doing anything similar in your company? Stir that in with their mission statement; “We, the people of El Dorado will do everything humanly possible to WOW all of our Customers, Always.” If you aim that high how can you go wrong? Add this visit together with my recent trip to Jordans Furniture and I feel like I am getting exposed to the best of the best and learning a lot in the process. I should have made these trips a long time ago.

For any of you struggling out there, consider that these guys had their family business taken from them, and then navigated some treacherous water (literally), in a fishing boat to escape a communist dictator.  Any of you have business problems like that? You can persevere!

Many thanks to my new friends at El Dorado. I appreciate what you do, how you do it, and the way you make people feel. I will be back!

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