Now that everyone is back from Las Vegas World Market we can sit back and assess what happened.
To start, I think it is important to point out that attendance was as good as I have seen it since they opened this market. What a great thing to see given where things are in the economy and the uncertainty being projected for 2023. Another item to note is the gossip. My goodness, there was no lack of topics to speculate on. Will Tempur Sealy buy Mattress Firm, and will it be announced today? If that happens, what will other retailers do in response, if anything? What’s the latest on Serta Simmons Bedding (SSB), and how are they dealing with the Chapter 11 filing? Not that I have the answer to that last question, but I would like to share my perspective.
Eric Mangan who leads Corporate Communications for Serta Simmons Bedding invited me to their new showroom which was beautiful. Eric is fairly new to his post at SSB but seems to have a great grasp of the company and the industry. We were joined by Laura Brewick, the President of Serta, USA, and she took me through their new product assortments and brand positioning. Laura is a pro and has a complete command of not only the product but the strategy behind it, so we were off to a great start.
We looked at the new iCOMFORT ECO and how SSB is creating products that are more environmentally friendly than what is usually found in a new bedding collection. These beds feature components like COOLTEMP Covers made with REPREVE, a product that uses up recycled water bottles in the manufacturing process. They are also using TERRA FUSION Memory Foam which is made from 30% plant based materials. The beds looked great and they told a story that is relevant and purpose driven which is always a bonus. They also showed me the new Serta Perfect Sleeper product that looked terrific, and is now targeting the consumer looking for affordable luxury.
The product looked good, the showroom was fresh, but it was the people that made the biggest impact on me. Put yourself in the shoes of the SSB team. You just filed chapter 11 so every customer visit probably started with that topic which means you have a lot to overcome right from the beginning. Both Laura and Eric were incredibly passionate about the product, and shared their enthusiasm for what SSB is doing. Others I talked to had a similar view and their excitement for the future could be felt. The company has a lot to overcome but if the rest of the organization is going to market with the same attitude, they will give themselves the best possible chance at a positive outcome for 2023. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said,
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
I think the same is true for a company. Attitude and grit will deliver SSB to a better place and from what I saw, they are off to a great start.