Don’t worry, not many have but I was recently able to host several people from the United States over to England to get a look at what is likely the ONLY mattress farm in the world. (Read to the bottom as there is a very nice surprise ending with this post.)
Jeremy Bercier my friend and Spink and Edgar representative at Sit’N Sleep put on a big contest for their entire sales organization with the winners getting an all expenses paid trip to England. They got to tour the farm, visit the factories, check out local mattress retailers to see how they sell beds and then do some serious sightseeing in York and London. So congratulations to Russel Orozco, Nate Bercier, Mark Mitchell and David Wolfe for being the big winners. Stir into that group Sean Sutton and Cody Caplinger and their significant others Nyssa and Rachel from Sleep Nation in Colorado, along with my wife Bridget, and you have a group we later branded the Cockfosters. (That is actually a subway stop we discovered in London after touring Harrods but you can see why we borrowed it. Great name.)
My main takeaway from this trip was that I totally underestimated the impact it would have on me personally. I knew THEY would be blown away by our farm and Hornington Manor our family estate. I knew they would love bottle feeding a baby lamb. I knew that when they saw our factories and product development lab they would be very impressed. I knew that my partner Simon and his team of Darren and Graham would really help them fall in love with our products and brand. I knew that all of us drinking beer together in a pub called the House of Trembling Madness would connect us in a meaningful way. And I knew that sightseeing in London would be a total blast.
What I didn’t realize was how each of those people would leave a lasting impression on me. When you travel with a group like that and the people are totally awesome and everyone is having a great time, you bond in a unique way. Not only that but getting to do this with my wife Bridget was perfect. Three years ago when I came back from England for the first time, I told her I wanted to leave Leggett and Platt to bring Spink and Edgar to the United States. She never hesitated and has supported me from the very beginning; even at times when I had doubts. After seeing what makes this product and brand so special, she loves the adventure we are on so much more. Getting to spend that time with her and see it through her eyes was really incredible for me.
As I write this I have to admit being a little depressed. I miss the Cockfosters a lot and look forward to staying in touch with them, but I also look forward to the next group I get to take over there. Taking this trip reminded me that what I’m doing is big and important. The more people I can expose to this whole thing the more consumers are going to benefit from the passion that their retail sales associate is going to be selling with when it comes to Spink and Edgar mattresses. “Mrs. Jones you need to try this bed. I visited the farm in the countryside of Yorkshire, England where it was grown and there is nothing like it in the world.”
What stories are you telling? What experiences are you sharing? If you are just selling the same old stuff, I encourage you to reconsider your approach; there is something better. 🙂
SURPRISE ENDING: Towards the end of our trip we were standing in front of Buckingham Palace on the Queen’s birthday. Darren, Simon’s right-hand guy announced to us that Harrison Spinks (the main company that owns the farm), was just awarded TWO MORE QUEEN’S AWARDS. That makes four total Queen’s Awards! To win just one is a HUGE deal in the United Kingdom so my hat is off to everyone at Harrison Spinks that made this happen. I am incredibly grateful because it gives us a lot to talk about over here in the U.S. Enjoy your time with the Queen and when you pick these awards up please give her a little smooch from me.