Who Are You?

Posted 1 CommentPosted in charity, culture, faith, fun, Leadership, mattress industry, mattresses, purpose, service

I was listening to a podcast recently and the host of the show, (sorry, I can’t remember which one it was), asked the audience to really think about who we are. I thought it was a pretty stupid question until I did it.

Who am I? First off I would say I’m broken.  I screw stuff up all the time, say the wrong thing, don’t say the right thing, and fall short of being who I really want to be on a daily basis. But I think I am not a lot different than most of you; our negative self-talk has a tendency to play a dominant role in our heads. After that was over, I got to the good stuff.

I’m a guy that puts my faith in God above all else. I love and cherish my wife and try to make her FEEL THAT every day. I look at my role as a father as one of the most important jobs I have.  I try hard to make sure they have a friend when they want one so we can have a blast together as we roll through life, but also to be a boot in their ass when they need it. Being a great son and brother is important to me so showing my family that they always have someone they can turn to is a big deal. Friendships mean a lot so when it comes to that I aspire to be the kind of friend I value most. Unselfish, supportive, honest, empathetic, genuine, and always willing to hug it out when the time comes.  When it comes to work I want to be successful but I also want to enjoy the ride at the same time. I love my career and don’t do any of it for the money. Never have, never will. I take writing this blog and doing the Dos Marcos podcast with my great friend Mark Kinsley seriously, and hope that we put content out there that connects with you, inspires you, and hopefully makes you laugh every now and then.

Finally, at the core of who I am there is a profound sense of gratitude. Not just for everything I mention above, but I’m grateful for the pain I have experienced in the last few years because I know that it shapes me. I’m grateful for some things taking longer than they should because it teaches me patience. For the charities that I’m involved with because they reveal a much more difficult side of life like when I spend time with people that are surviving pancreatic cancer, battling addiction or living on the streets without a place to sleep at night. Perspective is a good thing. I’m grateful for being grateful because there’s joy in that.

From my family to yours I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that you take some time to maybe even write something like this for yourselves because when you finish, you will feel what I am feeling right now.

“Remember, being grateful doesn’t mean you have it all, it simply means your thankful for all you have.” Unknown

Know that I’m grateful for you. Thanks for reading Q’s Views!

Leggett and Platt Shoots and Scores Big

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

I don’t think the recent acquisition of Elite Comfort Solutions (ECS) by Leggett and Platt was your typical 3-pointer from outside the arc or even a walk-off Home Run in the bottom of the 9th. For me it feels a little more like a bicycle kick to the back corner of the net for the win. Why? (As you read on you should know that I was a Leggett and Platt employee for 9 years so there is probably some bias in my opinion here but that doesn’t make me wrong-it makes me informed. 🙂 )

  1. Leggett and Platt is one of the largest companies in our industry and is THE largest supplier if I’m not mistaken. We are seeing major growth in the e-commerce space and in beds made with foam cores so unless Leggett made a move, that part of the market was going to pass them by.
  2. L&P did the foam thing years ago and sold the business, so why are they getting back in? Because they won’t be selling commodities which bring commodity prices and commodity margins. They bought a company that has a significant amount of intellectual property that allows them to develop new and innovative products for their key customers that will be exclusive to them. Think about the spring and machinery side of what they do, it’s the same model. Not saying that they won’t sell the ham and egg products, but they have the ability to go upmarket with premium goods where they can make some money. That’s a big deal.
  3. I don’t know anything about the ECS guys but after listening to the L&P investor call on this acquisition, it’s clear that the management teams line up. Karl Glassman, the current CEO of Leggett and Platt and Perry Davis, their President of the Residental Segment, made it clear that there was a lot of respect for the team at ECS and did a great job of welcoming them to the L&P family. If you’ve been reading this blog for long you know how I feel about culture. If you merge two large companies together that don’t fit, it could destroy a lot of shareholder value. Never underestimate the importance of shared purpose and vision.
  4. How valuable is Leggett and Platt to their customers now? They have become a one-stop shop for bedding solutions. Think about it; they can offer foam, innerspring, hybrids, foam toppers, coil toppers, foam edges, coiled edges, box spring components, box springs in a box, adjustable bases, bed frames, beds that come in a box, adjustable bases that come in a box and the list goes on. I’ve been in many meetings at Leggett where we would bring in a customer to show them one thing but before that group left, you better believe we trotted out five other products for them to look at. I can’t tell you how many times we heard people say, “I didn’t know you made that!” I think those show and tell meetings just got longer.

Leggett is really good at buying companies and letting them run their business but I hope for their sake they don’t do that here. Sure, let the management team do their thing but if they’re smart they won’t leave it where it is, they will integrate it with the innerspring core/micro coil side of things and really figure out how to mash it together to make sure that in this case, 1+1=2 because it really should.

On a side note, CONGRATULATIONS to Mitch Dolloff the newly named Chief Operating Officer at Leggett and Platt. Mitch is a class guy, a strategic thinker, and one of the hardest working people at the company. Best of luck to Mitch, but I know he will be WAY better than the last guy they had in that spot. Sorry Karl, I couldn’t help myself. 🙂 YOU STILL DA MAN!!!!


Gone Fishing

Posted 7 CommentsPosted in advertising, creativity, e-commerce, Management, marketing, mattress industry, mattresses, Retail

Consider where the ad money is coming from in the mattress industry at the moment. No doubt, brick and mortar retailers are spending to bring people into their stores. Tempur-Pedic is banging their drum, although, considerably less than in previous years as I understand it. But outside of that, there is very little happening from the traditional manufacturers. Yes, they are doing some content marketing and investing in co-op as well as dabbling in some smaller campaigns perhaps, but nothing to really move the needle. (Warning: This last statement is totally irresponsible because it is not based on any hard data because I didn’t have access to those reports when writing this. The comment is based solely on my sense of things so if I have it wrong, send me a note and I will correct it! But I don’t think I do.)

So… as a brick and mortar retailer what sort of bait are you using to catch your fish. I don’t know a lot about fishing but I know enough to say that you do your research before hitting your spot and use the bait that’s getting the action. Don’t consider what worked last time you were there either because it’s constantly changing.

If it were me I would give some serious thought to bringing in some of the bed in a box guys to my retail floor, at least the ones that are spending the ad money. Off the top of my head Purple, Casper, Leesa, Saatva, and Nectar are getting it done with television and a strong approach to the internet with ad words, display and content marketing, so aren’t they the brands you should be advertising?  Makes sense to me but there are a few problems with this.

  1. Not many of them are making a push into brick and mortar so you won’t have access to them.
  2. Even if they were, I doubt they could compete with what you already have on your floor which is really odd given the fact that a lot of these guys started out saying that they were going to deliver much better values to the consumer. Uhhhhh, I don’t think so. (I have to exclude Purple from this however because they are not selling a foam bed like everyone else, they have intellectual property in their sleep tech, the beds are proven to perform in certain areas, and they feel very different from what’s in the market.)

What if you just brought these products on to your floors to give consumers a comparison to what you are carrying in your store and set up a tablet on a pedestal for them to use should they want to buy one. Don’t be foolish about it either, don’t attack the product just let the consumer see what it is, and actually give them a way to buy the bed so that you’re not breaking any laws with your comparison. If you really do offer value then you should be able to overcome the e-commerce brands that are out there AND you give your customer a way to see those products in person. “Want to buy a bed on the internet? Fine, come on down we have some of the major brands in our stores for you to try PLUS our very own brand that will blow you away!”  The Original Mattress Factory used to do a brilliant job of this and they killed the traditional brands as a result.

I like products and stores that approach the consumer with confidence. “Here it is. See for yourself. We will kick everybody’s butt because we are better and we will prove it. See for yourself!”

Caught any big ones lately? Maybe you need to stop fishing with hot dogs.

Politics On Trial For Murdering Relationships

Posted 9 CommentsPosted in culture, Leadership, politics

It’s so frustrating to hear people talk politics these days. The conversations have become so emotional that very little good comes from it. Facebook seems to be the place where a lot of this happens which is fine, but things spin out of control pretty fast so what’s the problem?

  • People post stuff that is very inflammatory and lacks any support from actual facts so the audience shuts down before they get done reading what’s been written.
  • The intention behind what’s written isn’t to spark a healthy conversation, it’s to troll the other side and piss people off.
  • When the conversation breaks down, the name calling begins so LOOK OUT.
  • Participants aren’t engaged to learn anything. They aren’t even listening really. They are just trying to make their point and ONE UP the losers they are up against.
  • When you KNOW you are right you leave very little room for empathy, and when you stop trying to understand the opposing view, you prevent a healthy dialogue.

Two very good friends of mine, Sean and Sarah Bergman, invited me to dinner around the time of the last Presidential election. We all had questions about different things so we decided we would order a few-okay maybe it was three-bottles of wine and figure it all out. We didn’t change each other’s minds on everything, but we did leave that dinner understanding where the other side was coming from. Most importantly, we left that meal even better friends; love those guys.

Remember this…politicians want you to hate the other side because when you do, they can raise money. If they keep us angry at each other, then there is less attention and oversight on what they are up to in DC. Why is it that we can’t agree to disagree? For all of you politicians, television pundits, talk radio personalities, professional athletes, and assorted celebrities I say get a freaking grip. Act like the adult in the room and understand that you have the ability to bring people together. Let’s not stop there, we all have that ability so why don’t we spend our time looking for common ground and solutions!

Do me a favor if you are somebody that gets into it with friends and family ask yourself if it’s really worth the loss of a relationship. I have family members and friends that I don’t agree with when it comes to this stuff so you know how I handle them? I find other things to talk about because I know I’m NOT going to change their mind so what’s the point? Their friendship is way more important than the politics of the day. If you need to be right on this stuff then you NEED to check yourself. I’m not saying to stay home and keep your passion to yourself but avoid these topics with the people closest to you if you don’t agree with what’s happening out there, volunteer to knock on doors for your party and get out the vote. That’s the only way you will see change happen anyway. Know anybody that should read this…then share away!

What do you think? Send me your comments!

Mattress Firm Files Chapter 11-Does That Lead To A Reunion With Tempur-Pedic?

Posted 5 CommentsPosted in Leadership, Management, marketing, mattresses, Retail

You have probably heard by now that Mattress Firm has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The good news is that they are planning to pay all of their suppliers what they are owed, so everyone can exhale and go about planning your business.  The bad news is that they are going to be closing down 700 stores so they can reconcile some bad real estate which means many will lose their jobs. That’s always the worst part with something like this.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with people about how all of this happened. Too many stores, mismanagement, the break up with Tempur-Pedic, no consistency with their marketing, I’ve heard it all. At the end of the day, I guess it really doesn’t matter because what’s done is done. Now everyone has to figure out what comes next right?

The big question I keep running into is “Will Mattress Firm and Tempur-Pedic get back together after a very nasty separation.” It’s hard to imagine that would happen given all of the lawsuits, hurt feelings, egos, and supply agreements on both sides but never say never. Fact is that both companies would likely benefit a great deal from a reunion. For Tempur-Pedic, they would pick up about 3,000 retail locations which could plug some holes on the map for them and deliver a significant boost to their top and bottom line. For Mattress Firm, they could bring back that great Tempur-Pedic brand that drove their traffic for so long and shore up those big ticket averages. But are they better off keeping things the way they are?

Is the band getting back together?

Mark Kinsley and I dug into this a little on our most recent Dos Marcos podcast so check that out HERE but allow me to recap that for you. Tempur says that they are doing great in their company-owned stores. Scott Thompson has made some public comments about the fact that in those stores they are running up 200% year over year and their average tickets are much higher than what they were seeing at Mattress Firm which I don’t doubt, but how many of those stores do they have? It’s going to take a lot more of those company-owned stores to make up for the lost Mattress Firm volume.

After speaking to Steve Stagner, CEO at Mattress Firm, I got the impression that he was not opposed to the idea of Tempur-Pedic coming back but wants to make sure that the product value is there for the consumer. They are testing a few of their own brands now and getting some great results with big margins and they are seeing some of those big-ticket transactions come back. But can it replace the net benefit you get from the Tempur-Pedic products and brand strength?

This issue is way more complicated than I am making it here but when you write a blog, you can hit the easy button anytime you want. What do you think the chances are, will they get back together? Somebody call Vegas and see what the line is please. 🙂