Sleep better with insights from a fourth-generation mattress maker.
Shaun Pennington, CEO of Diamond Mattress, shares his wisdom on the Sleep Summit Show.
In this episode, Pennington discusses his leadership of the 80-year-old family business known for quality, integrity, and innovation. As a fourth-generation leader, he provides a unique perspective.
Key Takeaways from this episode:
Invest in coaching skills. Pennington prioritizes developing his coaching abilities. He believes supporting team members this way leads to empowerment and rewards. Consider how you can adopt a coaching mindset in your leadership role.
Communicate directly.Pennington and his sister learned to avoid “triangulation” in communication. This means speaking directly rather than relaying messages through others. Direct communication prevents misunderstandings. Try closing triangles in your own conversations.
Stay adaptable. The mattress business evolves rapidly. Diamond succeeds by innovating products while providing staples people rely on. Balance serving current needs with flexibility for the future.
Tune in to hear Pennington’s insights on family business, company growth, industry trends, and even delivering a baby!
Mark Kinsley: How do you become a fourth generation mattress maker and build the business bigger than ever before? The CEO of diamond mattress is here and the sleep summit show begins right now.
Mark Kinsley: Welcome to the sleep summit show. I’m your host, Mark Kinsley. I’m so excited to have my friend, Sean Pennington, the CEO of diamond mattress here on the show.
Sean, welcome. It’s great to see you.
Shaun Pennington: Likewise. Great to see you too, Mark.
Mark Kinsley: I’ve known you for a long time. Uh, we’ve had many conversations over the years. Uh, you’re an awesome person. You’re a friend. You’re a huge part of this industry. And you’re a fourth generation mattress manufacturer. Now I got to start with something we’re going to get to the sleep summit quiz question.
We’re going to get to the strangest place. Sean has ever slept a little bit later in the show, but I got to start with this idea of how do you actually become a fourth generation mattress manufacturer and grow the business bigger than ever before? Because it seems like a lot of times when the baton gets passed from second generation to third generation.
Somewhere it gets dropped along the way. I’ve heard that story time and time again. So how do you make it to fourth generation?
Shaun Pennington: Yeah. I mean, our family has a lot of persistence, you know, I think that’s a key trade of our family is we just don’t give up. And I was really fortunate. My dad, I had a great mentor and my father, you know, we got along well. Um, and I actually didn’t think I’d come into the business. I think maybe like a lot of people that have a family business potentially, You know, or the people that just end up in the mattress industry in general, like you don’t necessarily think you’re going to get there.
I, uh, I kind of thought I might get there when I was younger and then going through college and so forth, decided that maybe I don’t want to be in the mattress business. And then, you know, Pat, Pat, different paths took me different ways. Looked at becoming a teacher, traveled the world and then realized finally, wow, I’ve got a great opportunity with my family.
Let’s go, uh, let’s go be a part of that and at least give it a shot. And, uh, I never left,
Mark Kinsley: So you’re going to be in a part of a family business and then coming back to it. It’s not unlike a story I heard when I was traveling the world this year. And I was in India and I talked to my friend Jodi and she, she was part of the family business and they’re the largest mattress manufacturer in India.
And she was in the U S for 16, 17 years and decided why would I build somebody else’s business when I have a family business I can invest in and build. And so as you were traveling the world, uh, what were you, what were you doing traveling the world?
Shaun Pennington: you know, at the time I initially thought I wanted to become a religious studies professor in college, and so I was taking graduate level courses as an undergrad and getting prepared and then realized that required me to live kind of wherever you can find a job. I mean, as you can imagine, not a ton of religious studies, professors, jobs, uh, out there.
And, uh, After that, I looked into teaching and, uh, you know, decided I didn’t want to become a teacher. And so I took off and went to Thailand, uh, spent a month in Taiwan and a Buddhist monastery there in Taiwan and spent time in monasteries in Thailand and traveled through Cambodia and Vietnam was just kind of adventuring back, back and around.
Mark Kinsley: And I know that
Shaun Pennington: finally I, I landed in Vietnam and I was sitting in a hut in Vietnam talking to this lady realizing, wow, what a great opportunity I have to spend time with my family and to work on our family business and how fortunate that is and how much the people I was meeting would love to have had that opportunity.
And it just was kind of like a light bulb moment for me that said, you know, time to go back, time to go back and be with the family.
Mark Kinsley: what was it about that conversation with that woman at that moment? In that hut,
Shaun Pennington: It’s just, I think just the humility really set in and just the, the challenge that so many people in the world face just to make a living. You know, she was trying to sell these little bracelets and, you know, living in a one room bedroom with a dirt floor, you know, trying to sell her wares and just dawn on me, like just how fortunate we are, what we have, you know, in the United States.
So we can just take for granite. Um, and I realized I was taking for granite. What my family had been, you know, working for 80 years to build and what my dad had been kind of holding on to for me and my sister, he always told us you don’t need to come here. He’s like, I want you just to be happy. I was always my dad said, just be happy.
Uh, he’s like, if you want it, it’s here for you, but you just be happy. And. I finally was like, you know what? Let me give it at least if you just felt like it, let’s give it a shot. Let’s at least give it a shot. So I told him I’d come and intern. It turned out to be a 20 year internship so far.
Mark Kinsley: who from the family is involved in the business still
Shaun Pennington: Me and my sister, you know, my dad is involved a bit on the periphery, but you know, he, he pretty much retired six years ago and he’s enjoying the good life, you know, out with his friends and fishing and doing the things he loves to do. And my sister and I run the business on a day to day level.
Mark Kinsley: tell us about your dad and tell us how you’re different than him and what you’ve done differently. Um, maybe from a philosophical management leadership standpoint, uh, even getting into the tactical side of things, you know, how are you different? How are you like with your dad?
Shaun Pennington: Yeah. I mean, I think we’re, we’re, we’re both a lot of like and very different, you know, I mean, he, he obviously come from, grew up in an era where computers weren’t a big thing, right? I mean, it’s, uh, you know, they used to play cribbage at lunch. It’s just the piece of business back then was slower.
Sometimes I reminisce and go, man, that seems like it would have been nice. Go to go out to lunch, you know, come back, play cribbage in the back for a half an hour, then go work. I’m like, now it’s. You know, the inbox, the emails is always full and, you know, he did a great job setting up the company with a lot of financial stability, make really sound investments, you know, bought our buildings, bought our equipment.
So we’re one of those companies that doesn’t have any debt. So that really has helped create this great platform. And when I came in, I was able to infuse, you know, more digital marketing into the business, um, you know, innovating and new technologies. And I, I just really love product development. So just, I kind of naturally really enjoyed product development and working with customers.
Where my dad was more on the operational side of the business. He enjoyed operations and he would do the product development, but he didn’t love going out and being with the customers. Like he liked the customers, but it wasn’t like. In his blood, I just want to go and sell and be part of that. Whereas for me, I just, I love being around people.
I’m more of an extrovert. And so, you know, developing products and working with our customers, doing custom programs, like that was something that just kind of like, it makes me excited. Like I liked doing it. I feel like I’m a Geppetto in my workshop, playing around with toys. And so, uh, I think that’s kind of what really set us up was a lot of product development and then a lot of like, I’m, I’m, I’m a geek.
I love software. I just, I, for fun, I like just. Test software out. Okay. I can be, I can be a software tester in my other life. So just innovating and putting in new technologies and so forth was something that’s just very natural to me. And I think that helped us really scale, um, in a way that, you know, we otherwise couldn’t have.
Mark Kinsley: That’s a good contrast. Thanks for painting that picture for us. What did your dad teach you that you, that you never forget? Or what did your dad teach you that you still think about almost every day?
Shaun Pennington: Integrity is number one. You know, it was always, it was always integrity is number one. Like that’s, you can have something on paper, but your handshake means more than that because people can always try to get around something legal, but if you, you have to do things that sometimes when you have integrity.
You have to do the right thing, even when it hurts, or even when nobody’s looking and try to take care of your people. It’s all about, you know, we’re not, we’re here to serve, or we’re here to take care of the people in the factory. And sometimes we have to make difficult decisions as owners, but you need to do it for the greater good of the, uh, of the entire company.
And so. I think the way he treated people, he always treated people with tons of respect, um, who run a sound financially sound business and making sure you do what you say you’re going to do. And whenever you fall down, admit your mistakes and do your best to correct them.
Mark Kinsley: Well, I can see that you live that out because I know many people that do business with diamond and do business with you. And, uh, it’s always raving rave reviews, uh, in terms of, you know, the, the products, the integrity, um, just a class act, uh, By the way, um, speaking of products and buying and selling and being in that world, did Diamond name its own showroom, the most fun showroom in Vegas, or was there a voting board for
Shaun Pennington: There was, there was a, there was a voting process. There was a voting process. Five of us came together in the marketing office and we all voted on what we thought was the most fun showroom. And we’ve won two, I think three years running now bar none
Mark Kinsley: That’s a congratulations on that.
Shaun Pennington: fun showroom. So, you know, we, we like to make up, we like to make that happen.
Mark Kinsley: Well, well done. I mean, I, you know, I would like to, to congratulate the people that did vote and congratulate Diamond on having the most fun showroom in Vegas, which is a feat. I mean, we’re talking about Las Vegas, entertainment capital of the world. Um, I know that, I know it on good authority also that you have sang an Aladdin song with Matt Smith in your showroom.
Shaun Pennington: Yes, this is, this is, these are the moments that you remember in life is the, the, the, the, the, what was the worst karaoke performance you ever gave my that ranks that ranks right up there with, with Billy Jean, because, uh, Michael also is out of key for me. But, you know, it’s all about have a good time. We had a great time.
Mark Kinsley: That’s awesome. Yeah. He told me that you sang an Aladdin song and you were both completely sober and I said, how did that work out for you? It’s all about making memories.
Shaun Pennington: a fantastic guy. Yeah, yeah. And I got, I got the girl part, which was fantastic.
Mark Kinsley: Uh, well, I know that you do have a lot of fun with people and, and integrity is a key part of your business and who you are and, and your identity. Um, as you look at the industry today and where Diamond has taken its business where you and your sister and the, the leadership team have taken the business, I, I know that the, the landscape is changing for a lot of people.
And in the middle of all this, you’ve opened up factories outside of Southern California, in the Dallas, Texas area. Uh, talk about that, that process and, and opening up and, and moving. I mean, you, you moved to Dallas, Texas after being in Southern California for a long time. What’s that been like for you and your family?
Shaun Pennington: Yeah, it’s been, I mean, it’s been a great change for me and my family. Uh, it’s tough. It’s tough being away from friends and family, of course. Uh, but it’s a, in life, it’s just, you go through and, you know, doing the same thing for so long that the opportunity to go and live in a new place, we love Fort Worth, I’m here now.
I’m in my Fort Worth offices and growing a business is, I mean, it’s full of challenges, but I love seeing the improvement. I love seeing the people develop. You know, the facility, we’ve invested a ton of money into new equipment, new manufacturing. And so, you know, we’ve got a ton of brand new equipment here.
The facility continues to run better and better every day. We’re making higher quality products. Uh, we’re servicing our customers well here and we were growing our customer race. And so we’re really happy about the performance of the facility. And just the change for us was a big one, though, because going from one facility operation to two, I mean, that’s a big jump.
And so the systems you need to put in the processes, um, is a lot of learning and growing. And so it’s been mind opening, um, but we’ve, so far it’s been, it’s been working really well for us.
Mark Kinsley: Yeah, that’s, that’s huge. I mean, even talking manufacturing, you know, going deep on that just a little bit, even when manufacturing operations go from. One shift to two shifts. It sounds like an easy thing. Oh, right. We’ll bring in more people and we’ll run a second shift, but you have to have all those raw materials.
You have to have space to put those and to put the finished products. And so I can only imagine the complexity of adding a second shift, but the complexity of adding. Uh, an entirely new manufacturing facility. Uh, you said it’s been mind opening. What, what are some of those like granular things that you, you, you, you’ve noticed, or maybe it was a blind spot you had going into that.
Shaun Pennington: Yeah, I think it’s the way of blending the operations from both facilities. So things that you did and almost took for granted at one facility with just tribal knowledge, or just you’ve been doing it this way for years. Getting that actually translated over to the other, the new facility. Because, you know, you have your SOPs for your major things, how to put in an order, but there might not be like, how do we respond to.
Blank when this customer calls and so just kind of getting that knowledge transfer from one group of people to another and trying to bring like that streamlined approach has been something that’s kind of really been eyeopening for us. Like, oh, the level of detail we need to go into, uh, because you just, you know, you have a facility that’s been running for 80 years and you have a facility that’s been running for three.
So you just, you learn a lot. And so we’re bringing, we’re constantly bringing people back and forth between the facilities. We do a lot of knowledge transfer and knowledge share. Okay. And we’ve been building tool sets and techniques out for how do we kind of streamline and bring things together. So as we move towards a third facility later, we’re going to have systems in place where it goes even smoother.
So we kind of look a lot of Fort Worth is like, this is our testing ground to build out the platform that’s going to allow us to go into other areas.
Mark Kinsley: Okay. So can, can you talk about that yet? Where are you going next?
Shaun Pennington: Uh, you know what, we don’t have an exact location yet, but it will be more on the East Coast.
Mark Kinsley: All right. So you’re going to have a, the West coast, the Midwest and something on the East coast covered up.
Shaun Pennington: Yeah, that’s the plan.
Mark Kinsley: What did, tell me about your sister. What does your sister do in the business?
Shaun Pennington: My sister, I mean, she’s kind of, she’s a vice president. I mean, by title, but she’s just kind of our, our special weapon. I mean, she can go in and pretty much do anything. So one thing that’s so amazing about Brianna is her adaptability and the depth of knowledge she has in so many different arenas. So there’s times where, you know, she will fill interim roles, whether it’s IT director role or CFO role.
I mean, it’s pretty amazing what she’s able to go in and do. Uh, she’s very organized. Person and really understands the details of the business. So she’s been kind of a Swiss army knife that’s attacked different projects, led different parts of the company and really just shepherds the team. And she’s also just a great sounding board for all of our leaders.
So Brie’s been a instrumental in, in getting us where we are today.
Mark Kinsley: like you have a good, great relationship with her.
Shaun Pennington: Yeah, I’m really lucky. You know, a lot of people say they don’t have a family business can be hard. And that that’s true. We luckily went through periods of challenge early on working together. And I mean, we even had a period where we went through a therapy together, did couples counseling. So instead of, you know, like a husband and wife might go to couples counseling, like it was brother and sister and the tools and the things we learned through that together have just made us closer, help us bond, help us deal with challenges as they arise now and really healthy ways.
I mean, we still reflect back on it as the best thing that ever happened to us was, you know, going through some of those challenges and then actually being open minded enough to say, Hey, we need help. And we went and got it. And I will say my dad was a huge part of that too. He finally sat us down one day and said, I will sell the business before I let it come between the two of you.
He’s like, he’s like you, a relationship is more important than this businesses. He meant it and we both knew he meant it. And so we went and we fixed it. And 10 years later, it’s still fixed. So good
Mark Kinsley: You did that 10 years ago.
Shaun Pennington: Yeah.
Mark Kinsley: Wow. Tell me some of the tools that you learned about in couples therapy with your sister, which is amazing. I just want to, I want to like double red underline this because I think this is absolutely incredible. Um, I saw a documentary. About Metallica and Metallica as a band went to group therapy and it was like couples therapy, but it was for the entire band because they were getting so dysfunctional and they needed a new tool kit.
They needed to have different arrows in the quiver. They could pull out and deploy. What are some of those, those key things that maybe somebody is out there working with their brother and sister. And, and, and they need to know this from you. Well, what advice can you give them?
Shaun Pennington: Yeah. There’s two key things that, you know, really I use even today. And I talk about with our team, one is triangulation, right? So, you know, if you look at, I don’t know if it would come up in the screen, but. Person a B and C as a triangulation is, you know, one thing that would happen is, for instance, my dad would go and talk to my sister about something.
She would talk back and say, oh, you know, Sean, this thought of the other thing. Then my dad would come and talk to me about it. I’d say, oh, yeah, we’ll breathe this out of the other thing and go to my dad. And so Brianna and I weren’t communicating directly. And all of a sudden you get that game of telephone going on where miscommunication is happening.
Misalignment is happening. Um, the pot can get stirred up and so we learned quickly how to kill the triangulation by knowing that if anybody went to person a and they came to you, instead of going back to him, you build the bridge between the 2 of you. And so that was 1 of the key things was when we were able to stop triangulating and start communicating more fluently.
We, we, we were able to make sure that we were fully understood and it wasn’t the game of telephone anymore. That was a, that was huge. Um, that was a big one for us. And then there’s a, there’s a psychological concept called parent adult child. I’m sure there’s a different name for it, but we talk about as parent adult child and it’s a communication technique where like when people go into parent mode, they talk down to people like a child, like you need to do this.
You should do this, right? Well, the child behavior is rebelliousness, defensiveness, anger, shutting down. And so you get into this unhealthy dynamic and it flips, so the child will rebel and get back. Then person that’s in the parent mode will come to the child mode and say, oh, well, why are you so bad at me flips back?
And so you get into this really unhealthy dynamic. And so the goal is to stay in an adult adult communication method, which is about needs. Wants experiences and vulnerability. And so as we started like understanding this more clearly and then building additional kind of resources and ways of communicating, you know, so one of our tricks was starting to ask each other, uh, things like, um, can I do a reality check?
Right. And so if somebody is kind of thinking, somebody thought something where they’re kind of, oh, I think they’re mad at me or why would they say that we’d stop and say, Hey, you know, kind of a reality check with you. When you said this the other day. It made me kind of upset and I thought you were mad at me and I was kind of getting angry about it.
Like, were you upset? Nine times out of 10, it’s not there. It’s just being made up in your mind. And so when we can pause and have those reality checks, it really got rid of so much of the challenges we had. It just, it. It made a huge difference for us. These very simple things.
Mark Kinsley: Triangulation getting rid of triangulation, uh, that, that concept right there. I, I did a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in communication and that concept bubbled up in multiple courses throughout my academic career. And it’s such a problem because just what you described. So whenever you did try to build that bridge, you know, sometimes things in business move very quickly.
And so in a leadership role, like, like you’re Sean, you know, you’re running this company Uh, you maybe have to communicate something very quickly to some other person, um, and you know that they’re going to go talk to somebody else. How do you as a leader get intentional about bringing all the people together or figuring out when you communicate something, um, how to prevent that third party from misunderstanding?
What was being communicated through that, that surrogate,
Shaun Pennington: Yeah, no, it’s a great, it’s a great question. And, you know, the way I look at it is one on ones are really important for me. And I believe in doing skip levels because I like to talk to different levels in the organization and have that one on one contact. And you risk that, right? Because say you’re not, somebody’s not reporting directly to you, but you’re doing a skip level meeting.
As an example, I tell my team all the time that, Hey, first of all, if you see that happening, Where I’m directing people that are reporting to you in a way that isn’t helpful. Hey, let me know. Everybody can tell me, no, everybody gave me feedback and our team is fairly comfortable giving that kind of feedback to me because I asked for it and I’m open about it and it’s helpful for me.
So that’s one is that everybody can tell me, no, everybody can talk to me openly. Number two is I point people back to them, to the person they’re talking about. So I had an issue with just recently around this, where somebody called me and they were having a challenge. They were afraid that their manager wasn’t going to do what they thought they needed to do.
And they said, Hey, can you talk to the manager? And I paused and I said, you know, I can go talk to them and I will, if you really want me to, but I think it would really help your relationship with your manager. If you address this to them directly and let me give you some coaching on some ways to approach it with them.
The person was like, fine, I’ll I’m okay. I’m open to doing it. Hopefully it’ll go. Okay. If not, I’ll let you know. I mean, they came back to me, they had the conversation, they were smiling. They’re like, you know what? It went great. They agreed with what I was trying to do and everything went smoothly. And so for me, that was an opportunity for me to help them build their relationship and give him coaching versus.
Stepping in and actually doing and getting, creating that triangulation. So knowing that, like you said, Mark, it’s just, it’s helped me kind of regulate my own behavior to prevent it.
Mark Kinsley: uh, more granular example from my own experience as a professional uncle was her. And my nieces used to be standing right there, both of them. And when they were younger and one of them would say, uncle Mark, she did this, this, this, this, and this, and I would say, okay, now turn and talk to her. She’s right there.
I want you to talk to each other. And eventually. They developed that habit and that skill. Also, they knew that they couldn’t just come to me and unload on the other person because I was going to make them talk to each other and work it out because I’m like your sisters, you’re going to have to work this out eventually.
But that it’s a similar thing. Like you need to talk to each other.
Shaun Pennington: it’s all communication. It’s true.
Mark Kinsley: It sounds like as a, in a leadership role, I heard a guy say one time, um, one of his mentors told him you’re going to have everything you ever want in life. If become a good coach. And because he wanted certain things and he, and this mentor of his knew that to put himself on this path to success that he was, that he was kind of going after, he was going to have to develop people and be a coach.
What’s your read on that? You end up coaching a lot.
Shaun Pennington: Oh yeah. I mean, I, I took a professional coaching course recently about, started about two years ago. I mean, even right now I’m reading a, we’re doing a book club in our company. I’m using this book right here called. Coaching for workplace, improve, uh, for improved work performance, a very practical, really good practical book on coaching.
Because I think that that’s the, the, the, as you move up in your levels of leadership, you want to become a coach to support other people in a more effective way and being able to have important conversations, crucial conversations and be able to kind of access that, you know, is the key. I think for me, like I, I do a lot of meetings.
I’ve got a lot of, you know, one on ones and a lot of meetings and I look at my time and go, well. That is the best place for me to spend my time is with people. Because at the end of the day, that’s, you know, my goal is to help empower them to do the work and do the job. And so it takes extra effort to do that at the front end, but on the back end, you get a lot of rewards
Mark Kinsley: That’s huge. And anybody that’s listened to the show for a while, I would encourage you on that note to go back and listen to the episode with Scott Vaughn. Uh, Scott’s an incredible guy. Hey Scott. He listens every Monday morning, usually on his walk. Uh, so by the way, Scott, we’re going to have to have, uh, my, my new puppy Jack’s meet topper at some point, but Scott was a referee at the highest level in high school sports in the state of Kentucky.
And then he became a coach and now he runs, uh, this incredibly successful mattress business, and he spends a ton of time, uh, coaching and maybe using some of those referee skills as well. So, yeah, that’s a, that’s another good one. And great, great tips there, Sean. Um, what, what do you want people to know about Diamond?
You’ve been around for a long time. Um, but like you said, you’re still in growth mode and. Well, we’ll talk a little bit about trends as well, but what do you want people to know about diamond as a company?
Shaun Pennington: as a company. I mean, I think it’s just, we’re always innovating, you know, we’re a sound company, financially stable. We do what we say we’re going to do and we can’t, we’ll make it right. And I think that ultimately, I just love that people give us the opportunity to take a look at what we’re doing. And hopefully we have opportunities to partner with good people and good partners.
You know, it’s, it’s a partnership’s a two way street. And we’re always there to kind of build long term relationships and I’ve been very fortunate to have great partners in our, in our, in my life, you know, a lot of partners we’ve had 20 plus years. And I think that’s 1 of the things that really is so important to us is that we build strong partnerships and we help our, our retailers keep growing.
So, I mean, we’re constantly refreshing, you know, helping really merchandise really well with our customers and understand their specific needs. Retailers are not all the same. I don’t, we don’t take a cookie cutter approach to every retailer because different people have different sales processes, different sales teams, different customer bases.
And so you really need to look at each retailer and what they’re trying to achieve and build merchandising and build training around what their goals are. And so I think, you know, we’ve done a really good job and our diversity of products helps us do that.
Mark Kinsley: What are some of the trends you’ve noticed? You talked about not every retailer is the same and that’s absolutely true. I mean, my experience as well, you know, we can deal with retailers all over the country and licensees in 25 countries. And so I get to see, you know, all kinds of different retail operations, uh, and, and, and they are unique, but there are themes that bubble up from a trend standpoint, as you look at the landscape of the industry.
Yeah, the coastline might be forever altered, uh, as a result of bed in the box and the changes of COVID. And I’ve heard a lot of people talking about getting back to the basics today, but what are the trends maybe from your purview that are happening in the, in the industry now that we should be paying attention to
Shaun Pennington: I think there’s more luxury products being sold, higher end mattresses. Which I think is really great for the industry in general and great for people. I think people are placing more of an emphasis on sleep quality, which really for us works great to our strengths because that’s what we do well, right?
I mean, whether it’s a gel memory foams or grid gel or our techno gel products, like that kind of specialty category is something we have a lot of solutions for. Um, and so I was seeing a lot of that in our, in our marketplaces. Um, and I’m also seeing a lot of our customers that are trying to, you know, educate their consumers more about sleep in general, um, and elevate that importance in the, in the minds of consumers.
I think the media has done a great job about it too. I mean, I wear this device full of whoop, which is like a health tracking and people are tracking their sleep more, I think, than ever and making different decisions around life behaviors. To help improve their sleep. So I think that’s a big, a big shift.
Um, the promotional mentality, I think is still out there, but it’s, I don’t think, I think people are realizing that that alone is not going to make them as successful as it once might’ve.
Mark Kinsley: luxury products and a focus on sleep. And both those things are going to bubble up at, at sleep summit as well. Uh, the event that we have coming up October 9th through the 12th at beautiful Bentonville, Arkansas. Uh, Sean.
Shaun Pennington: Can’t wait. I’m looking
Mark Kinsley: Yeah, Sean, you’re going to be there. You’re going to be there. Um, so excited to, to host that event.
And, you know, I’ve been really putting my heart and soul into it because I believe what you said about, you know, focusing on health and wellness and sleep and we have to make it, we have to make ourselves a part of that conversation. We, you know, I don’t think people, uh, are on the static journey, you know, it’s, it is a journey, so it’s not a static place whenever it comes to exploring sleep and understanding it.
And I want to make sure that the mattress is part of that conversation. You know, you, you might have cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia as part of that solution. You might have some form of ingestibles to fast track sleep in certain situations. Hopefully it’s not a permanent need. You might have, um, medical devices that could be a part of that for certain people with certain conditions, but the mattress also needs to be a part of that sleep health journey.
And, uh, we got to keep promoting that message and be the sleep products experts. I think.
Shaun Pennington: I agree.
Mark Kinsley: Okay, it’s time, it’s time, Sean, I know that you have a, so I know some things about Sean. Number one, Sean is not a doctor, but he’s delivered a baby. Um, I also know that Sean has spent five days in complete silence. Is that right?
Shaun Pennington: Oh yeah. 10 even.
Mark Kinsley: 10 in complete silence. Uh, and so somebody that has delivered a baby and spent 10 days in complete silence, surely they have a story about the strangest place they’ve ever slept. Yeah.
Shaun Pennington: Yeah. It’s interesting. That’s a, it’s such an interesting question. And as I thought, think about that, the first thing that kind of comes to mind, I mean, maybe I could dig deeper, but. Was in the mountains of Thailand. I went on a hiking trip during that period where I was exploring and we were up in the mountains of Northern Thailand and I had no idea what to expect.
And, you know, they’re taking us out for three days of hiking. And, you know, I think we’re going to be stopping in hotels, maybe along the way. Nope, we’re, uh, we’re stopping in the huts, you know, sleeping on dirt floors in the middle of the mountains where people are just living in my opinion, like an, you know, agricultural lifestyle from 5, 000 years ago, literally just on the side of a cliff and on the side of a mountain with their pig pens out front.
And that was a really just interesting place to sleep, to live, to be exposed to. And then later in that same journey, cause we were being guided by some, uh, former Cambodian, uh, soldiers through the. Through the mountains. And it was pretty amazing because as we’re walking through the mountains, there’s like mushrooms and they’re just like picking mushrooms, just picking mushrooms up as we’re walking.
And I’m like, what do they do with those? Next thing you know, they’re making a soup out of them. I’m like, I’m not so sure we should be eating the mushrooms you picked along the walk. It turns out that soup was great. And they had built a cabin out of bamboo just in the middle of the forest. Like in the middle of nowhere, we’re walking for hours.
All of a sudden there’s a stream and there’s this, uh, bamboo, you know, that they. Construction they had made. And so we ended up sleeping in this bamboo, uh, hut that they had built in the middle of nowhere. And so those are some interesting times to, to see how you can live off the land and how you can be resourceful with what you have around you and, and have a great time at the same time.
Mark Kinsley: Yeah, it sounds, it sounds, uh, eyeopening for sure. It reminds me of a story of my friend, Matt Fowler told me he’s in the industry as well about going on a big hunting trip and it was very hiking intensive. And the guides had, uh, a string tied around the little foot of a chicken and it was up on their, their backpack and, uh, they hiked and hiked and hiked for a couple of days and that was dinner.
Shaun Pennington: Glad they had the string.
Mark Kinsley: Okay, so I got to close the loop on something because people are going to be really upset with me if I don’t have you tell the quick version of the story about you delivering a baby your own.
Shaun Pennington: Oh my gosh. Yeah, that was, uh, that was, that was an adventure. That’s my daughter, Ava. So yeah, my, my wife on our first child, we, she was in labor for 36 hours. And so, you know, we figured, Hey, we have quite a bit of time probably for our second child, Ava. It turns out that was not the case at all. After about an hour and a half of being in labor, the baby started coming.
And it came so fast that we were just caught off guard about it. And it was like 3 a. m. And then at night we’re trying, you know, we get in the car, we’re driving down the freeway. We’re about 30 to 40 minutes from the hospital, but there was a roadblock. So I had to go the long way and my wife’s screaming top of her lungs.
I mean, the pain that she was going through on the front seat of the car, like just kneeled down and we’re about five minutes, less than five minutes from the hospital. And she’s like, I think the baby’s coming. I’m like, of course it, it might, it might, you know, fear. I’m like, no, hold it back. Don’t, don’t have it.
She’s like, I can’t not have the baby right now. So I reach over and I just touched their bottom and all I felt was the baby’s head crowning. And so with one arm, I pulled off, I pulled her pants down and Ava just shot out right into the leg of her pants, double nuchal cord around her neck. So my wife, my wife had to fish her out of the, out of her pant leg, take the cord off from around her neck and Ava wasn’t even breathing at the time.
So, you know, turned her upside down, started spanking her back and her butt. She started finally, you know, got the fluid out of her lungs, started screaming. Which was a big relief for us. And yeah, we pulled up to the hospital, baby in tow, you know, left the car running outside. We were so kind of in a frantic state, ran the car, ended up running outside what we ran in.
And I grabbed a wheelchair for her. By the time we got up to the floor where the maternity ward was, the doctors and the nurses were all coming out to greet us because they had seen us on the cameras coming in. So it was quite the adventure. And luckily Ava’s fine. She’s doing great. You know, healthy 10 year old now, but that was a game changer for us.
Mark Kinsley: That is a harrowing adventure, not the type of adventure you want to have. I can imagine the doctors and nurses coming out and being like, what do you need us for now?
Shaun Pennington: no. And you know, if you want to hear one more weird part of this story, this is kind of a, one of those. Coincidences maybe, or if you believe in that or synchronicities, but this lady about three weeks before that we were in target and this old lady walks up to us just randomly. She’s like, Oh, when you know what you need to make sure of is make sure you have have a pair of scissors and string inside your car.
In case something happens, make sure you have it with you so you can tie off the cord and cut it. And my wife and I were both like, who is this crazy lady? You know, one of those crazy coincidences in life that, you know, three weeks later we ended up having our baby in the car.
Mark Kinsley: Did you have the, the string and the scissors,
Shaun Pennington: Oh, we thought she was crazy. We never would have thought of it. We were just like, that was weird. And we just walked on, you know, but
Mark Kinsley: the universe is speaking to you. Okay. God, the universe, the whatever, whatever, whatever it is that you believe in. That lady was the vehicle for that.
Shaun Pennington: Yeah. She was channeling it, man. And we, uh, Yeah, that was actually one of those moments we reflected back on and we’re like, wow, that was, she was channeling something and we just were not prepared to hear it at the time.
Mark Kinsley: I want to, I mean, it would be an interesting conversation to have as well, because if you would have paused and asked the lady. Wait, has this happened to you? Have you had a baby in the
Shaun Pennington: Yeah. Right. Like you want to know more.
Mark Kinsley: car? Oh, wild, man. Oh, so thank you for telling that story. And, and your wife, obviously incredible.
And, uh, and the, the little baby Ava being, being great and how old’s your son?
Shaun Pennington: He’s 11.
Mark Kinsley: I’ll say it. So you got a 10 and 11. All right. So is it going to be fifth generation? Do you think,
Shaun Pennington: We’ll see. You know, we’ll see it. Like my dad, I think I just want him to be happy. So it’s a, it’s a long ways between now and then, and you never know what somebody is going to do in their life. So we’ll, we’ll see, but they’re, they’re great kids. They’re in school right now and they’re a joy to be around.
So I’m, I’m blessed to, blessed to spend time with them.
Mark Kinsley: well, here’s something you can take back to them tonight. Okay. So it’s a quiz question, but it’s very kid friendly. So they should have some fun with this. So our sleep summit quiz question, we’ll see if you get it right. Uh, give us your best guess. What creature never sleeps for its entire two year lifespan.
Shaun Pennington: Two year lifespan creature never sleeps. I don’t know. I’m a,
Mark Kinsley: I didn’t know that this would, I’m going to give you some hints. Okay. And then give, give me your best guess. Uh, it’s, uh, smaller than a Chihuahua and it’s an amphibian.
Shaun Pennington: I don’t know, a lizard
Mark Kinsley: Hmm. Close.
Shaun Pennington: it
Mark Kinsley: It’s a bullfrog. It’s a bullfrog.
Shaun Pennington: Really? Bullfrogs never sleep. That is, that is a, that is, that is something I did not
Mark Kinsley: That’s why they’re so easy to hunt when you’re in the South.
Shaun Pennington: They’re exhausted.
Mark Kinsley: They’re very loud. They’re up all night and you know, you go out and you spotlight them. Boom. There you go. You can have some frog legs. Hey, I’m from, I’m in Arkansas. Hey, you’re in Texas now. You’re not too far off.
Shaun Pennington: That’s right. That’s right.
Mark Kinsley: there.
Well, Hey, Sean, um, thank you so much for, for coming on the show and telling your story and telling the story about diamond and your history. And I’m sure we probably just scratched the surface, but it’s, it’s great to get in touch with you and, and, uh, to bring great examples of stewards of the industry, people that care about this business, people that care about their customers.
And put that in the forefront. So we appreciate you, man. How can people learn more about diamond?
Shaun Pennington: Hi, you know, visit our website, diamond mattress. com. Come by, visit us at market and Las Vegas. We’re there twice a year and, you know, reach out to us and say, hi.
Mark Kinsley: Cool. Sounds like a plan. Thanks again, Sean.
Shaun Pennington: Hey, thanks so much, Mark. Always a pleasure.
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