Sealy Takes Top Spot

Posted Leave a commentPosted in culture, Leadership, Management, marketing, mattress industry, product, relationships, Retail

Before I start, if you would like to hear a podcast on this topic, Mark Kinsley and I cover it all in the latest episode of Dos Marcos, so check it out!

When I first started in the industry Sealy was #1 by a large margin. Simmons was #2 and Serta was trailing at a distant 3rd. I began working for Serta in 1996 and got there in time to be a part of the massive growth under CEO Ed Lilly and later Bob Sherman. Serta eventually took over as #1 because of a laser beam focus around one simple idea. “Find creative solutions to the complex problems that our customers are facing.” At some point, Serta wandered off the path and Sealy came roaring back into the top spot.

As of 2019 Sealy is back at #1, up 12% in 2019, Simmons is second and Serta has fallen to the #3 spot. So how did this happen? The loss of Big Lots for Serta/ pickup by Sealy, and the re-entry at Mattress Firm for Sealy were a few of the factors, but here are some additional thoughts.

Tempur+Sealy In Pole Position

Leadership: SSB had Bob Sherman running the show, then Gary Fazio, followed by Michael Traub and later David Swift so there was a lot of transition over the years with each guy implementing his own plan. Then SSB lost or pushed out the two top sales exec’s that really made their growth happen, John Rachid and Bill West as well as a few others, and reduced the salesforce at one point by 200 something people. At the same time you had Scott Thompson take the helm at TSI and this guy is a full out savage, gun slinger, and deal maker. If you doubt me on that just look at how he handled the Mattress Firm situation and I think you’ll agree. Rick Anderson was a constant since 2006 as TSI’s president, now being followed by Steve Rusing who is a well thought of industry veteran with a strong track record. Changes in leadership are very costly so maintaining consistency over time will create a big advantage for those able to pull it off. SSB is now in a groove with a solid team and they are adding key players so there is no doubt that this market share battle will continue on.

Brand Clarity: 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2. Serta and Simmons have not been great at differentiating their products. So much so that according to some of the retailers I’ve talked to over the years, having them both on a floor doesn’t always make sense. Back in the day, if you were to ask retailers or even their own sales force what each brand stood for and what made them uniquely different, you would be hard pressed to get a solid answer from anyone. Tempur-Pedic owns memory foam. Sealy has something for everyone, top to bottom. And Stearns and Foster is a widely distributed luxury brand with great history. Now you can stir into that mix Sherwood who specializes in strong private label programs, and Spink and Co, a great craft beer/bed that is grown on a farm in England with exclusive distribution. Overlap or fuzzy definitions within your brands will hurt you. Trying to extend your brand into spaces that don’t make sense are also counter productive. TSI has been very smart in how they define who they are and what they offer their retail partners. Thanks to Melanie Huet, SSB’s Chief Marketing Office, I think they are going to figure this part out as they focus more on the consumer and carve out a unique space for all of their brand offerings.

Leverage: Let’s face it, brand equity is leverage and nobody has more of it than Tempur-Pedic. Tempur-Pedic is the only brand in our industry that has created real preference. Others have built some awareness but that just isn’t the same thing. The most important thing for retailers right now are door swings and Tempur-Pedic delivers those which makes them a pretty big deal.

In an interview with with Furniture Today Scott Thompson had the following to say. “We are truly honored, but there won’t be any big celebration. We will keep doing what we have been doing: pushing to improve every day everywhere around the world. We know that whatever we did yesterday is not good enough to win tomorrow.” Given the dynamic space we find ourselves in I think that Scott has it right. Change is a constant and the companies out there that can adapt will win the day. One thing though Scott, if I were you I would assemble the team at your favorite watering hole, put on a sombrero, and partake in the official beverage of the Dos Marcos podcast; tequila shots for everyone!  You guys have earned it.

 

 

My Mom

Posted Leave a commentPosted in faith, purpose, relationships, service

On Memorial Day my mother, Dee Quinn, passed away and it crushed me. In college I was lucky enough to take a Crisis Communications class taught by Dr. Jim Towns and we learned a lot about the grieving process and how to deal with that, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing.

Somewhere close to 300 people were in attendance for the funeral at St. Martha’s, my parents church in Kingwood, Texas, which shocked me given the scare around the corona virus. Ladies from the church volunteered to decorate the church and the reception hall, a neighbor created a small piece of art in memory of mom that my father was able to duplicate and give to close friends and family. My dad’s best buddy Grant Chapman, his wife Betty and his two kids Chris and Kerry, along with his cooking team called the Holy Smokers, prepared lunch for over 100 people at the reception and nobody let us pay for anything. Dozens of people cooked meals and brought them to the house and cards, donations to my mother’s charity, flowers, text messages and phone calls came in to my dad Nick, sister Cari, brother Jeff and myself to express their condolences. The love and support was felt in a very meaningful way.

All of this happened the way it did because my mom was an amazing lady that gave a lot of herself to people. She worked as a volunteer with Family Time, a shelter for abused women for over 17 years, and was incredibly generous to her friends and family. She was definitely the “go to” if you needed to talk through a problem. As for the impact she had on me, that would be impossible to put into words. She listened to me, supported me in all things, kicked my butt when it was necessary, and loved me like only a mother can. Her influence in my life has helped me become the person I am and any success I have experienced along the way can be directly tied back to how she raised me.

I was sad when she died, but more than that, I was grateful for the fact that she was my mom and for the influence she has had on me, my wife Bridget and my kids Gabby and Nick.

The overwhelming response to her death was the result of her connection to people. Investing in our family, friends and co-wokers and creating strong relationships with others is what it’s all about isn’t it? What impact are we making on those around us? How will people FEEL when we leave this earth? What good have we done? What will the ripple effect from our life be?

My mothers life will impact others long after she is gone because of what she did when she was here. My pastor once told us that we have to be mindful of the dash. The dash between the date you were born and the date that you die. What will we do with our dash?

Love and miss you mom! I will see you again.

 

Dee Quinn                                     August 19, 1945 – May 25, 2020

 

My brother Jeff (Todd), has never written a poem in his life but the passing of our mom inspired this writing.  I think he did a terrific job of sharing his heart and what we all feel about who she was.

Sweet Dee

From humble beginnings with love in her heart

She met a man and fell from the start

 

The Bulldog inn is where it all began

and he walked her to class like a fine young man

 

They didn’t have much but they made it work

and that’s when Dee learned how to be a damn good cook

 

They had three children Cari, Mark, and Todd

Raising them right as children of God

 

The kids made nicknames for all they loved

Sweet Dee was hers a gift from above

 

Dee filled our hearts with love to the sky

The kids left the nest to learn how to fly

 

Grandkids came next 2 of each kind

More love to give and let Sweet Dee shine

 

A mother, A sister, and a wife extraordinaire

Every role she played she did it with care

 

17 years she gave of herself

To those in need and not much wealth

 

A smile, a laugh, a quick-witted jab

She gave this life all that she had

 

Her health went south but she fought a good fight

Until God was ready to use her light

 

The reception in heaven will be so grand

with your Mom & Dad to hold your hand

 

If a life is measured by those you touch

Sweet Dee did that in spades and I think that’s enough

Jeffrey Todd Quinn

 

For Better. For Worse. ForEVER!

Posted Leave a commentPosted in experience, faith, fun, mattress industry, purpose, relationships

I was 28 years old when I first moved to Chicago. Serta hired me to be their Vice President of National Accounts in charge of the Sam’s Club and Montgomery Wards business. Combined, they accounted for over 1/3 of Serta’s volume which was about $85 million in sales at the time. To say I was “over my skis” would be a HUGE understatement so the pressure was on not to screw this up!!!!

My boss Jeff VanTuyle took me into downtown Chicago to meet with Tom Lore the buyer (RIP Tom), and I was nervous as hell. The doors open on the elevator and we walk to the buyer’s office and there she was.  The assistant buyer, Bridget Gordon, was sitting at the desk right outside of Tom’s office and she was incredibly beautiful. Blond, 22 years young, and totally off-limits because you can’t date the assistant buyer of an account that is purchasing over $30 million worth of mattresses from you. Right?

I was a good boy and didn’t make any moves on Bridget. Really. I swear. We became great friends over the next year but there was definitely a spark under the surface; I could tell, she totally wanted to date me. (That’s how I remember it anyway, Bridget recalls that differently.) 🙂 As any good rep would do, I took her out to dinner at the finest restaurants in Chicago, we went to shows and took horse-drawn carriage rides through the city at night covered by a blanket, sipping on hot chocolate. Typical rep/buyer relationship. Then it happened. Over the July 4th weekend, about a year after the day that we first met, Bridget met me at Navy Pier with a few of her friends for the fireworks show, and let me just tell you that the fireworks didn’t end when the music did. We had our first kiss in a taxi after that, eventually told our bosses that we were in love, and the rest is history.

                   Married May 20, 2000

There’s no doubt the support I get from my wife has helped me to become the person I am. She is always there for me and is my biggest fan and because of that, I’ve been able to do some pretty cool stuff in my business and personal life. So thank you, Bridget Quinn, for marrying me 20 years ago and making my life so much more meaningful. I can’t wait for the next 20 years.

 

Better Together

Posted Leave a commentPosted in creativity, furniture, Leadership, Management, marketing, mattress industry, Retail, service, social media, strategy

First off…if you have not already listened to this week’s Dos Marcos Podcast with Jon Spoelstra, you need to check it out. Jon was a BIG TIME executive in the NBA working with teams like the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trailblazers and the New Jersey Nets and he takes us inside the NBA and talks about how he was able to create positive outcomes for those organizations. His book Marketing Outrageously Redux is all about helping companies breakthrough and he shares some of those insights with us as well as his recent mattress buying experience. SO CHECK IT OUT!

One of the things I like most about working with Mark Kinsley is the fact that I can bring an idea to him, fully thought through with a solid strategy and he always adds something to it that I had not thought of. No matter how good we all are, we are almost always going to be better after we listen to our team and get a different perspective.

Next week on Wednesday, May 20th at 10:30 central Mark and I are going to host a Dos Marcos Campfire Conversation Zoom call that will be open to anyone that would like to attend. We will be talking about how different retailers are operating now to keep consumers safe while maxing out the sales opportunities. We will also discuss marketing messages that are working and the best way to handle your social media these days. If you want to listen in or share some of your thoughts consider this your official invitation.

Maybe you’re stuck. Maybe you’re concerned. Maybe you want to help other retailers think through where they are, but whatever the reason we would love to have you join in and talk about where things are and most importantly where things are going.

If you want to participate then just hit THIS LINK and it will deliver you to the place where you can sign up.

If you get something from the experience then you will be happy to know that we are planning to continue this for the next 6 weeks so get ready for some mattress industry fellowship!

We’ve decided that pants are optional, so come as you are; we will supply the marshmallows.

 

Endless Possibilities

Posted Leave a commentPosted in creativity, culture, e-commerce, experience, fun, Leadership, Management, marketing, mattress industry, product, product development, Retail, strategy, Uncategorized

Have you noticed that people have been unusually creative during this time of quarantine? My kids have been working on their TikTok game, Mark Kinsley and I have been writing a lot preparing for more Dos Marcos shenanigans, and our good buddy Mike Magnuson wrote, produced, and starred in this awesome music video called Shelter In Place. Who says white boys can’t dance?  Have you been doing anything to flex your creative muscle in the last 30 days?

How is it that people are able to dig down and tap that creative energy now versus before the virus hit? Maybe it’s because some people have more time to work on these projects. So you’re bored in the house and you’re in the house bored (warning, there are some expletives in that link so click and beware), saying to yourself, “What can I do now? I finished Netflix, the house is clean, kids are busy and nothing is open!”  So the combination of extra time and a need to entertain yourself is opening up some doors so don’t miss this opportunity to explore.

We are about to be in a street fight for the consumer dollar coming out of this shit show, so the details are going to matter in a very big way. What if…

  • You develop a new product that will excite people and fill an unmet need?
  • You think more about your operational process and find new ways to cut cost out of what you do?
  • You think of a new way to sell to your customers that not only surprises and delights them, but builds a raving fan base that tells their friends about your business/products?
  • You not only figure out ways to max out your presence on the internet but you build or improve your ability to convert consumer interest into sales.
  • You task these types of projects to key people in your organization, be specific as to what you want the outcome to be but give them a very wide space to operate in, and give them a VERY HANDSOME reward if they bring back something good.

Creative thinking is free and the payout could be massive. Everybody has a creative brain you just have to tap it, but if yours isn’t as good as you would like, then bring in some people that can light the fire. Be inspired and reap the benefits.

The Blair Witch Project was a film made back in 1993 with a budget of $60,000 that ended up grossing $250 million worldwide. For any of you thinking that to drive big results you need big budgets, that just isn’t true. If you have some extra time spend it thinking outside the box and see what happens.