Scott Smalling—an industry veteran who’s worked in executive roles at Simmons Bedding Co., ComforPedic, Carl Havens Signature Fabrics, and most recently, iOBED—has a new gig at European sleep brand Emma – The Sleep Company.
Emma is the fastest-growing DTC bedding brand in the world, and Smalling will lead the charge in the U.S. as the company’s Chief Commercial and Innovations Director—in charge of retail expansion and developing products for the U.S. market and globally for Emma.
“I love new challenges, and what’s exciting about this is they’re giving me the opportunity to develop the market from product through retail”, Smalling says. “DTC is a separate division, but we’ll be working hand in hand. They’re giving me the opportunity to treat this like it’s my own company. At this stage in my career, I don’t wake up in the morning looking forward to punching a clock, I need to feel like I have the ability to grow something.”
Leaving iOBED after helping establish the company in the North American market, Smalling says he’s looking forward to working with Emma on something fairly new for the company.
“We’re in retail in different parts of Europe, but it’s a main focus for the company right now to intensify our cooperation with physical stores, strengthening our omnichannel strategy. After our extremely successful DTC strategy, we now want to focus more on our offline customers—and the U.S. will be one of the key markets for that.”
Smalling said he’s going to draw on his 30 years of experience in developing first-to-market products to bring new and unique innovations to the market that currently aren’t available today.
To develop these innovations, Emma has a research and development team of more than 30 members with different backgrounds and expertise, e.g. neurobiologists, engineers, psychologists, and data scientists. Their daily work is to understand sleep, sleeping needs and habits in more than 30 countries and develop innovative sleeping products based on these insights. And their in-house test lab helps drive these innovations.
He also adds that Emma operates in a unique way. While the company, as a whole, supports its business leaders in the countries where it operates, Smalling says they’re allowed the freedom to make business decisions, and that they all share information and best practices.
“There are numerous mattress manufacturers that have licensees in different countries,” he explains. “The communication that goes on between those companies is not always tremendously fruitful. There’s not as much sharing of information, and many licensees carry several manufacturers and use the brands as part of their portfolio. I believe one of the major strengths of Emma is that we’re sharing information and best practices in every market we’re in as a part of one unified company.”
On top of adding Smalling to the team, Emma has opened a showroom near its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany to showcase the growing product lineup. The company says it sold more than 1.5 million mattresses globally during 2020 through its direct-to-consumer websites, as well as through its retail partners throughout Europe.
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