What if that first hour of camp had gone wrong?

Posted 1 CommentPosted in creativity, marketing

When I was a kid, I only attended one summer camp. (I won the very coveted “most improved bowler” award. Seriously.) On Father’s Day last weekend, my wife and I, along with some good friends, took our kids to summer camp, and boy was that different from what I remember. 

Our children just turned eight and ten and often get homesick when spending the night at a friend’s house, so you can imagine my anxiety about leaving our kids in the hands of strangers for seven days. Right from the start we were sizing the place up and we were blown away. You drive through this beautiful setting, give your child’s name to a young girl who tells you what cabin they are in and where to leave your luggage. You check your kid in, get them their name tag – which will be a new part of their wardrobe every day – show them the camp general store, and then run them by the cyber café where the staff teaches them how to send e-mail home to Mom and Dad (no iPhones, iPads, or iPods here, folks – can I get an AMEN?). After that INCREDIBLLY smooth process, you end up in the cabin where your kids will sleep (and hopefully shower), at which time you are reunited with their luggage, which has already been delivered. (more…)

2012 Furniture Today Bedding Conference is a Success

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in furniture, marketing, mattresses, Uncategorized

I just got back from Aventura, Florida, and the 2012 Furniture Today Bedding Conference; it was a big success. The staff at Furniture Today does an outstanding job of putting this event together and really making it look easy, so I start off thanking them again for their effort.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Kevin Freiberg started us off with an inspirational talk about the state of business today and how critical it is to challenge what we are doing. Innovation brings consumer interest and we need to be laser beam-focused on it. He punctuated that by talking about the $2,500 car produced in India by Tata Motors.

They asked the question, “Can we make a quality vehicle that cheaply?” And they did. So my question is, what can we do? (more…)

Ashley’s Zzz’s Won’t Put You to Sleep

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in creativity, furniture, marketing

If you have been reading this blog very long, you know that I am a big fan of creative and innovative solutions to complex problems. One of the most innovative companies in our industry is Ashley Furniture, and folks, they have done it again.

They recently announced the launch of 50 sleep shops they are calling Zzz’s by Ashley with the intention of opening several thousand over the next 10 years. I am not sure about several thousand, but hey, go big or go home, right? When you consider Ashley’s track record, who says they can’t do it, anyway? They started as a furniture manufacturer and then evolved into a retailer opening their own stores. When they decided to open their own stores, people said they would lose their distribution with other retailers, but they did it anyway and grew fast in spite of the outside negative opinions. How? Because they continued to add value in everything they did. Production started moving overseas, so they built what is today considered one of the most sophisticated supply chains in the industry. Speaking of international interest, they also just announced their first store in China. The bottom line here is that this team has a long track record of just flat making it happen. So will Zzz’s be a bang or a bust? (more…)

It’s a Geek Thing

Posted 1 CommentPosted in social media

It doesn’t matter how hard you try, the written word can only capture a certain aspect of what you want to convey. Experts tell us that non-verbal communication accounts for 80% of the meaning of a message. With that in mind, we are going to mix it up a little this week with a vlog post. That is a video blog for you newbies to the blogosphere.

We created this video for a website called the Customer Collective, which focuses on the sales and marketing discipline. I wanted to share the Sleep Geek story about our online community built for RSAs in the mattress and furniture industry. Why did we build Sleep Geek, what is it for, and how will it help improve our industry? See for yourself!

If you like the vlog idea and want to see more (or less), tell me in the comments section below.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.

Lessons Learned One Year After the Joplin Tornado

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Uncategorized

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the EF5 tornado that hit my hometown of Joplin, Missouri. It was the deadliest tornado since modern record-keeping began over five decades ago. It claimed 161 lives, destroyed 7,000 homes, 18,000 cars, and will cost over $2 billion in insurance claims and cleanup. It will be a time to mourn the loss we have experienced as a community, but there is also much to celebrate. Whenever something bad happens to me, I am always able to reflect back on that event and realize that it was a blessing in more than one way. No matter the situation, if you look hard enough there is a lesson somewhere in there than can make you better. Here is some of what I learned from the Joplin tornado. (more…)