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The CULP Experience: How Speed, Innovation and Agility Define the Company Culture

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Lifeloom

Robert George Culp Jr.’s nickname was “Bullet,” but he wasn’t a gun slinger.

He earned his nickname after helping establish Culp Inc. as the best in the business for providing top shelf upholstery fabric with the shortest turnaround time. Speed was his goal, and quality and service was his game. In this episode, we sat down with current Culp CEO Robert George Culp IV, also known as “Iv” to the rest of the world, and Jeff Veach, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Culp, to discuss the secret sauce that has turned the company into an industry powerhouse.

Perhaps it is the pride they take in being a family company. Started by Iv’s grandfather, Bullet and pioneered by Robert George Culp III, his father, Culp is a fourth generation family business that has grown to include international family tree branches.

Or, maybe it is the fact that Culp has proven to be one of the most agile and adaptable companies in the industry. From starting as an upholstery fabric distributor in the 1970’s to their pivots in manufacturing, exporting and now a purveyor of fine fabrics, this company has shown that its ability to make strategic decisions to stay relevant sets them apart.

Full Transcript

Mark Quinn 

Today I am so excited. We have a company that is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022. One of the biggest in the industry we have is called and Jeff Veach here from cult incorporated cannot wait to talk to them and we’re going to hear it all how they started, how they almost crashed and how they’re accelerating through this year and next stay tuned we’re back with it all in 60 seconds.

Mark Kinsley 

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Welcome to the DOS Marco show. With Mark Kinsley and mark when we’re mattress and furniture leaders gathered to grow, get the inside scoop, tell stories and take tequila shots. The galaxy’s greatest mattress podcast has lift off

Mark Kinsley 

Welcome to a very special edition of the DOS Marco show. We have Jeff beach and if called from Culp and guys, I could not be more excited. Oh yeah. There’s also mark one here as always, Mr. Quinn, welcome to your show.

Mark Quinn 

Well, thank you for welcoming me to our show. I know this is gonna be a good one, you guys. If called. We’ve been friends with him for a long time guys. Maybe since I was 20 years old. I’m 53. Now so I don’t know what the math is a long time. But and and with Kinsey, of course, and Jeff is Renaissance now but if are you listening as the CEO and President of coping. And actually one of the obviously the members of the family that started the business and Jeff Veatch, who is an awesome guy and kind of taking the reins now he’s going to talk to us about where things are and where they’re going, but so much to talk about.

Mark Kinsley 

That’s right. Well guys, welcome to the show. Why don’t you give us a proper intro? We’ll start with you. If if tell us about yourself. We’ve obviously known each other for for many years, and you’ve known Quinn many years before me, but tell people about yourself. Who are you and where you came from and about culture.

Iv Culp 

Yeah, thank you guys appreciate being part of great podcast but a special special treat for us and a good way to start today. So I’m Robert George cope the fourth, I go back in so I got a Roman numeral four. And I was telling Quinn on the front here that it’s kind of part formal and part redneck. So it works here in North Carolina, to have a Roman numeral name but you know, I tell people a lot I grew up around this business I didn’t grow up in it. It’s something that my grandfather and father were it was a good for me to have seen them operate see the way they did things but not to. I never worked in the business growing up. So I went to my own way. Did a little bit of my own thing got education, some grad school, when I came to call 25 years ago, at least at least I look good on paper. So it’s been a great journey and proud to be part of it, too. Great kids great wife and live in life

Mark Kinsley 

sounds like a good one. Jeff. Jeff Beach, Vice President sales and marketing with called Tell us about yourself. Yeah,

Jeff Veach 

just um, they can be a part of it too. Thanks, guys, for having us. real honour, came up through the upholstery kind of ranks and actually started cutting my teeth on selling clothes out in seconds and travelling around and learning that and then converting products to the upholstery side and then came calling I guess it’s almost a lot of years ago. And so I had this cool opportunity to get into cutting so world which I knew zero out. And I’ve learned so much building that and scrape company and support that to see that and allow that to be involved in higher level. game covers. It’s just so much fun. I have three kids and a lovely wife for 20 years, and it’s great. Good to be here.

Mark Kinsley 

And the rumour is that you keep in your mountain bike, but we’ll get into that

Mark Quinn 

You know, something you You and I have in common? Yeah, he’s a snow skier and mountain biker, so you can take a mountain biking, and I’ll go skiing with him. So we got it covered. You know, Kinsley is something we have in common with him is our love and affection for party on the moon, and all things that are awesome about life performance bands. So if I don’t know if had you had party on the moon

Iv Culp 

before, yes, and then.

Mark Quinn 

But then you were at our Lego show. And I remember you and I and Mike Connor is standing there and having many cocktails just kind of on the side and just in awe of the band. And then I went to your place, we had a fundraiser that Bridget and I came out for, which was so cool. And you had one of the other bands, which was totally crazy. So anyway, we’ve always loved that group and the you know, the the interest in LED music. So you’ve had

Iv Culp 

several times for things here in High Point and different weddings and family events, certainly fun. And when you guys were doing it, like it back then I was always trying to make sure I was all that invite list. I was figuring out where you were hosting them next.

Mark Kinsley 

Well, I don’t know, if you got on this invite list I’m sure you did. But the last time I saw a party in the moon, it’s very hazy and not for reasons that you would guess. So just to reset this real quickly here, what we’re talking about called ink. And we’re gonna be talking about where the company is in the history. And this is gonna be a fun show. But the reason we all have this shared connection around party, the party on the mood is because of this industry, which is really special, that the last time I hired them to do the Leggett party when I was there, I rewrote the words to get Hybris to modernise them a little bit. And so the whole the whole gag was the band was gonna start playing the song. And then I would come up on stage and the band would fall apart. And I say no, we got to stop this needs. The words changed. I’ve got something in mind, can you play it again, and then I would go into it and do the modern version and the whole night. So I went to the wrong side of the stage. And I was almost due to be on a run around in the back of the stage. And the venue had marble floors is huge. I slip crash down on my hip. One of the busboy guys is st came over pick me up lug me over to stage I walk up on stage just in time, then I do the whole thing. It goes pretty well as well as can be expected whenever you got me up there rapping to a song we wrote years before I go back down start dancing with everybody and having fun. Somebody had spilled a drink on those marble floors. I go down like a sack of potatoes knock myself out temporarily. And somebody picks me up. Dear Sharon Baird from Leggett she says you’re at a party just start dancing here your glasses. So party, the mood could be a little bit dangerous guys.

Mark Quinn 

You know, Kinsley, I think it’s telling because one of the things I love about part of the moon is that they would let me on stage show my harmonica with him. And so really, we’re just hiring this very expensive band so that you and I could serve our own indulgences and getting on stage and playing with big papa on the keyboards. I do anyway. Alright, let’s get this in business. That’s so funny. Kinsley I’m glad you’re okay. And I’m glad that you’re only slightly affected with a head injury. I’m glad that you’re like back to 90% That’s, that’s good. What about medical?

89? Ish? Okay. 89 Right, right.

Mark Quinn 

You guys if let’s start with you, because my goodness, I mean, the story, Jeff was kind enough to send out this this this piece called cult building, building on our legacy and so much fascinating information on it. But can you tell us a little bit about your granddad bullet? Right. So Bob Koch, who was Robert of course in your named after him, but you know, just a little bit about him. The thing that fascinates me Kinsley, about this guy is he was 55 years old, and decides to get out of what he was doing and start his own company, so very late in life to do that with high amounts of risk. So if tell us a little bit about him, the origination story a call option, like what did you take away from him? You know, as a young,

Iv Culp 

yeah, thank you for mentioning that. It’s a it is a legacy that I’m certainly proud of. And that report that you had up there we did in honour of my dad who passed away pretty much exactly three years ago. And that’s for that whole report. It’s a tribute to him in leadership that he took us through so my grandfather, you know, was working at that time for an upholstery converting company. And I think he just started to see some of the stress on the business and you know, it was just buying and selling and trying to see a better way to deliver to some of our customers and he just, he was a classic entrepreneur, that his name nickname was bullet because he just moved fast on everything was all about speed and He knew that he could start a business and could could build something direct to the market. And so my dad had just started working at that time with Arthur Andersen and consulting role. And I was just being born. And my grandfather called my dad and said, we’re starting this company. And you know, thank goodness, my dad said yes to it. And they, they built this thing. And now we’re about to turn 50 years old. And I mean, gosh, we have been through highs and lows, but that entrepreneurial spirit, we’ve always maintained that that appreciation for just it can be done. And whatever comes at us, we’re view that we can change it. I mean, we have been, in our history, we have been, I think, almost the largest textile company in the world, we built that my, we almost eclipse $500 million sales, we have been backed down through a lot of things that went wrong at a macro level. And we’re, we’re just trying to build it and a profitable, sustainable way now. So an honour to be part of it, and certainly trying to stand on the shoulders of greatness before me.

Mark Quinn 

Before we move past that, I want to say and Mark probably has something to tag on here, too. But I just want to make a comment about your dad in about you. Because I think it’s important to say this, I think he was one of the best statesmen and I think about him and Karl Glassman kind of in the same class, because they were they were number one, they were both very close friends. And we were close to Karl on our side being with leggett, but your dad just had this way and Carl did too does, but just have when you’re with him. He’s a great listener, and He’s genuinely interested in you as a human being. And you always got that from him. And I mean, I just remember hanging out with him at the wedding. We were at Kent narrows, I think for his daughter and just talking about his childhood growing up playing in the air, the Biltmore mansion when he was a kid before it ever got turned into what it is today and hearing him tell stories about the industry. But he’s just one of those guys that everybody liked and cared about and would be willing to talk to and I just I just really appreciate that about him and so grateful that he was inside this industry. Kinsey I know you had some time with him as well.

Mark Kinsley 

And I had the same impact. I mean, yeah, you know, Mr. Kaupas, as I knew him was on the board at leggett, so I got to cross paths with him a few times and and just a genuine smile and not a care in the world. But for that person that was in front of him. And what a what a good man, such a good man, what are some of your favourite stories about Yeah, what

Iv Culp 

I just learned, I mean, we we just inducted into the Hall of Fame, furniture Hall of Fame, just this past market. And so we got to reflect on a lot of this. And that history report was a big part of pulling all that together. And just I think what I remember about my dad is he just business and family were the same, they were the same, and they are the same to him. And so you know, we’re a public business today, the family is not a substantial shareholder in the business anymore. We operate on a global scale, but we never ever lost that focus of family. The culture of family makes a difference here. And he that was him. I mean, whether it was suppliers, customers, employees, people that came in to service, the office, janitorial crew, whoever it was, he just had this incredible ability to connect on a one to one level. And you know, if I can get part of that from him, then I’m way down the path. He just was a special person, my grandfather and dad both were and I’d say what’s even more impressive than that is this. He’s passing on leadership, you’ve obviously passed away, which is sad, but he was already moving this leadership trend. We only have four CEOs in our business, my grandfather, father Frank Sacks, and who has been transformational for our business. And now me what made my dad so so special that he saw leadership and Frank and Frank was the right CEO for the last decade for us to transform our business into a much more stable, financially solid company. And now I feel like I’m the right CEO to take us hopefully back into a growth mode. So we’ve just been really blessed with leadership that understands people and process and number one people and just how much it matters and the culture of this company is special and that that comes from my grandfather and my dad, no doubt.

Mark Kinsley 

Jeff has you stepped into the company 11 years ago, talk about what you noticed about Corp. You know, like it just alluded to sounds like it was a phase in the company’s history where you were getting financially stable. But what did you notice that attracted you to cold?

Jeff Veach 

Yeah, you know, and having no Rob unfortunately didn’t know bullet but just do all the relationships but just all the people who had been around it been a part of the company since almost two start you know, a lot of people have been here a long time, it says a lot for a company. But the one thing that they all had was that integrity and that spirit of fright. And you know, they’ve been through, they persevere. But, you know, Rob always taught you honour your commitments, you know, the IT supplier customer. And I just feel like that is the spirit of all the people have been here for a long time. So when I started, that was something that was just really important. And it’s fun to see how the group has been here for a long time, like cotton era, Larry Coltrane, many people that industry knows how they have taken that and pass it on to the younger. So it’s not gonna die. You know?

Mark Quinn 

You know, let’s talk about that. Because my kinda, it’s funny. So it’s so going back at you and have known each other 25 years now. So I was 28. When I started started, I did the quick math. But when I got into the business, you know, it was cold, Burlington and Blumenthal. And I was 20, I didn’t know much about operating at the level, I was now operating at taking over sands called Montgomery Ward. Now I was like, in charge of playing tech, and I’d never done that before. And Cognero shows up. You know, he and I, you know, he’s that kind of person. He’s like about people. He I know, Mike has that same ability to just connect with people. And you know, he, he’s a good I just talked to him this week, actually, he’s still a good friend of mine. But you know that that’s a consistent thread, he was a huge part of your growth. On the macro side, there’s no doubt and just after talking to Jeff, I’m so excited about where He’s taking it going forward. But how to talk about like, you guys have always been able to pivot, right. So you started out as a tick distributor and turn into a manufacturer, then you were domestic supply. And when the shit hit the fan, as they say you move things off of offshore as these are producing in other places, then you started you know, as a domestic supplier, and then you were exporting. Right? And then you continue to be able to shift and react quickly. And it has kept you guys alive and thriving. Like, what is it about your culture that is allowed you to do that? Is it bullet? Because he was quick to make does it does it even go back that far how you’ve been able to navigate

Iv Culp 

just one small correction, we started a company that started by my grandfather, we were an upholstery fabric distributor. And so our first first entree was right Wall Street fabric. And we had we hadn’t gone well, we had built, you know, several acquisitions, we had 16 us facilities, we were just we had to figure it out. Or they did I would still come through school and trying to figure life out and probably taking tequila shots. But I was coming up the ranks. And my grandfather knew at that time that we needed to get in the mattress fabric business. And so we just did, I don’t know why he thought we should only just did it. And thank goodness, because about that time the whole upholstery business whole furniture business pivoted to China, we lost so much of what we had built and done acquisitions to gain and had to really retrench into a whole different model, while moving what we had available over to Asia, which was a number one huge strategy. But right alongside it was getting into the mattress fabric business. And so we’ve always been blessed to have two oars in the water. They are in similar industry, but completely different business models. So we have one that’s a very heavy sourcing model, one that was a very just in time high asset model. And to have both and have them support both and let them grow. And I got to come into the company on that mattress side, and then build the business. And with people like Mike and sandy brown. I mean, they have built helped build it to something great. So, you know, over our 50 year history, very rarely have we had both businesses kind of ramping up. One is kind of covered for the other, you know, eventually we’re going to figure it out. And I think we’re getting close to having both businesses trending the right way. So I think it’s having strategic decisions. And we certainly have a high pain tolerance we’ve been through a lot, and we’ve survived through a lot and all the competitors we looked at 30 years ago, you know, we just we just withstood all of them and some of the ones left at the end, which can be a good place to be if you can make it through some of that some of that transformation. So we’re doing it again, now. We’re pivoting more now. We see the market change in front of us on both sides of the business. We have amazing leaders that see that. So I feel like I feel like just in our culture from my grandfather’s beginning, it’s in our it’s in our culture to just move and change with with what we see.

Mark Kinsley 

What are you referencing when you see the businesses changing again, and you’re having to pivot again? What are some of those big change? Yeah, and I don’t

Iv Culp 

think it means we’re having to restructure our business as aggressively as we did then. But what we’ve learned, and you know, I became CEO in January of 2020, just in time for pandemic, so I mean, if you don’t, you know, I’ve had a lot of luck in my life, but some of us been bad. And, you know, you just got to navigate through different things. And you because we had a strong financial company, we have no debt, we have high cash balance on the books, we can withstand trouble. But we learned a lot about supply chain. We knew this before, that we’ve learned now. And we always thought the mattress business was a very high focused us North American service, just in time, but as Bed In A Box and other things have come on trend and words omni channel people talk about we have learned where to, we want to meet customers where they are. So now we’re operating in six different countries, we say I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say we say we’re agnostic, as to who’s making mattresses now. If it uses fabric, we have a way to get at them, whether they’re in Asia, whether they’re North American based, wherever it is, we have a supply chain that now fits that. So I think for us to think we can do it, the old way is not possible supply chain is strong. But now Jeff is pivoting to a whole new way that we’re marketing our company. And I think that’s the next step in our in our transformation is to now just about meeting customers where they are, whether that’s in development, whether that’s in supply, and I think we’re ahead of the game, I think we’ve got real opportunity.

Mark Kinsley 

Let’s get into that. Jeff, how are you focused on marketing the company differently than in the past? What are you doing now? Let’s take you off mute.

Jeff Veach 

One thing that’s really beneficial to that mark is having been a customer of our own of our company, so it kind of grown up into cotton so and in call and being a customer own company, you know, started recognise that sometimes we’re not we weren’t the easiest company to do business with. I’m just legacy company sometimes. So start identify areas of okay, how do we how do we become easier to do business with what are the keys to that? And of course, it starts I think, on the creative thought. We’ve got to keep now that we call it brand experience managers and on great fun, and these are groups of design people that can make it a one stop shop from cub fabric to cover three, it’s more of a design services type of mentality, how can we provide solutions on the front end. And then what’s great is is let’s talk about we have this is a large platform that is thin, scalable, so we’re you know, we love to tout that we’re onshore nearshore and offshore. So you can kind of see the cycle or the product line, if typical bell curve, we’ve got to kind of help the whole thing. But at the very front end, that team of our brand experience managers is just focused on that an engineering product, that is one easy for a customer to come in and align the goals of what they’re doing, understanding how it can work through our supply chain and designing and creating product that will be more seamless for customers, they have a better experience, not only on just the creative side, but they’re thinking about it from an engineering aspect and how we can for quality, how it will be scalable, how we manufacture it globally. So you know, of course, you’ve got a lot of digital things that we’ve also added, we can talk about the last furnish that we luckily your photos before COVID hid and then we saw that and invested in that. And we’ve got our whole library of pieces there. So what his grandfather saw the speed the market, always thought his speed the markets. And I think this industry has seen it for the last 10 years, the disruption that’s happened with an industry that the importance of speed to market is more now than ever, when it comes to front end and executing lock globally. I think it’s before we’ve touched on it was it was always very North American centric with a few key people controlling it. But that diversification now and how you can scale that globally, and be from Creative three is important. So I feel like with what we’ve done from our digital side, in our creative team on the front end, is something that you just hyper focused on every day how we can improve that down through the process.

Mark Kinsley 

It’s always striking to me that, you know, lack of visualisation and intention that historically has not gone into the products that we create. And so I think, like you said, being a part of the live furnish platform, you know, being a part of developing these digital tools so people can visualise and really just imagine what it should be map that to your brand, map that to your selling story. Make all those things hold hands before you press, go on the machines, I think is critical. I mean, it’s got to be saving people time money and making a better product. In the end. It sounds like that’s been a big pivot in the business in terms of modernising and that really sounds like was crystallised during COVID

Jeff Veach 

Yeah, for sure. And, you know, we, there’s that part of the process. And then there’s the, you know, how you execute on it part of the process to that we’ve really thought about and changed a lot of things. So we’ve, you know, we’ve got a very strong PLM system, which helps us inter communicate amongst our total global network. You know, it’s that team and that experience on the front end, understanding how we can develop specifications with customers that I can say we can execute on but then how we can control the quality globally, standards that we think are differentiators in the market, and knowing that we’re going to honour those commitments that we make an execute on that,

Iv Culp 

you know, he worked there, Mark, and Jeff, he says, Well, I mean, we, we always want to be fast. I mean, our whole company from my grandfather’s nickname, we want to be quick. And I think we can move quick, but you don’t have to move fast. You don’t have to sacrifice the look, the visual, or the quality in any way. And that’s what Jeff’s really his team starting to build together. Because we, we got to deliver quickly, we get that, but we shouldn’t have to sacrifice what we’re doing and make it work. And we don’t, we don’t. And I think having a really robust, multi country, venue, platform allows us to service again, customers where they are service and quick with what they want.

Mark Quinn 

You know, my take on what Jeff is talking about. So really, it’s not that you’re doing something different. I mean, you still design fabric and produce fabric, right? That’s what you’ve done for a long time. But the pivot for you guys, and I’m going to use it from my own experience. Right. So working on a speaking project, it was bringing you guys in earlier than I normally would have, because of your brand experience managers in your design team. But I got a hold of you guys early in the process. So together, we said, Okay, here’s, here’s the vision for the evolution of what we’re doing with spring, this is what we want it to be. And you guys, were right there from the beginning a seat at my table and the development cycle, not okay, we’re gonna develop the line and then call you guys at the end of it go, Hey, by the way, we need some fabric, these are the colours like you were there at the beginning. And I really found that to be very, very helpful. And inspired by the group that you put together to help me with that. So you, the way I look at it, Jeff is that you’ve kind of moved away from just selling the stuff to consulting with people in a different way, using live furnish, which was a really cool technology play for you where you could put the fabrics I was looking at on an actual model of the bed, but then I just shared that with the retailer that we were talking about selling it to. And it was a huge success for us. Because they were able to envision the aesthetic of the product. So is that kind of how you’re seeing it is like, you know, your whole team is now a consultant. More so than you have been in the past. No doubt tomorrow.

Jeff Veach 

Yeah, for sure. We think about it that way, you know, solutions providers for the whole, it luckily, being vertically integrated, we control end to end, we’re fabric to cover a lot of the steps and process but yeah, how can we be a solutions provider consultant, and help them um, you know, the the old days, you know, we get together like you said, we get information we get back, we’ve met samples, you know, you take it back to the retailer, or they may take 20 things, you have to go back and redo things. You’re the whole digital transformation. Now, you know, we we had a deal with ours, they know what they want, we scale it down and it just it just expedites everything. So much the digital side is, has been really big part of transformation for us and where we’re headed.

Mark Kinsley 

If whenever you think back of taking over a CEO in January of 2020, months later turned into a very difficult time for the for the company. But if you were to look back at the very first months, when you took over this new role, what were your top priorities at that time? And then did those evolve? Or have you had to revisit those now that we’re kind of getting on the other side of this major period of disruption? Well,

Iv Culp 

that’s a great question. And I at that time, I mean, first of all, is honoured to do it. I mean, I did with the company already 20 years, so it wasn’t and I was Chief Operating Officer at the time. It wasn’t a major, you know, wasn’t a transformational mind shift for me. I kind of had a vision for what I was thinking. And the main thing is I just see now we have two strong businesses, the Wall Street and mattress fabric, both doing Cut and Sew covers and kids. And I think we’re less differentiated by Abraham like we used to be, and there’s so much coming together whether it be a marketing story, or visuals and now that we’re cutting and sewing more products, we don’t have to be a mattress fabricator. upholstery fabric, we just make fabrics that go somewhere in the furniture industry. And so I was already trying to get this company that had been intentionally separated in the two businesses more together. And when, when the COVID pandemic struck, I’ll never forget, one of our board members, our lead director at the time said, This is gonna be the best thing that ever happened to you. And I’m like, you know, that’s a, that’s a funny way of talking about this. But in a lot of ways, it’s been great looking back, and we’re not through it, I’m not trying to say we’re finished, we got a lot to do, we’ve had plenty of stumbles, and we haven’t been perfect. And we never will be. But our company’s gotten stronger, and my leadership was able to get stronger, because that access to my team through some pretty tough times. So if you go weather situations like this, I think it just builds and I think it fast tracked my, my leadership now I got a lot to prove, and a lot to do and God willing, a long career, but certainly, you know, I do look back and think that I was, in some ways, kind of lucky to have some, some tough things to navigate early.

Mark Quinn 

Yeah, makes total sense. What is it that you see, you know, like, current state of things now? Like, is there an understanding of coke from Do you think the industry like, maybe a misconception? Like, what would you most like for people to know about Coke, and who you are now and the kind of where you’re going, what do you think’s most important for them to hear? gets you off mute there, but,

Jeff Veach 

um, thanks. I’m really just how we’re focused on innovation and technology, moving forward. And as it made it out, you know, bringing two companies kind of together, it’s interesting, a lot of the innovation of technology in the upholstery side, different things are also very important for our side, in the mattress world. So we’re coming together much more as two units now. And the teams are together more challenging each other on different innovations and technologies, you know, sustainability, performance, wellness, all all the things that you know, are important there instead of, and then how do we, how do we have the marketplace, understand that we are leading in that area, and challenging ourselves, and then we can execute on it, you know, with good quality and efficiency to get by. So those are the things I think that are really key for me, is that you know, how we’re coming together and really pushing ourselves and innovation and technology.

Mark Kinsley 

You guys, one of the things that I know we share is making this industry a place that attracts bright young minds, and innovative, talented people, smart people. And so whenever you think about taking people into the halls of call think, and maybe they’re there for a job interview, or maybe it’s somebody that doesn’t know much about the company, and they’re considering a career change. And they’re young and fresh and bright and innovative. They’ve got lots of energy. Why cope?

Iv Culp 

Yeah, I think I mean, and we are, we are doing that right now, the young talent in this company. younger than me, and you, Mark for sure. Italy is leading us into really different ways and what we’re doing, we’re empowering people to make a difference. So I mean, I, you know, I can’t be more proud of our legacy. And we touched some on today. But I’m so much more excited about the future and the people that are going to lead it. And I just think young people when they come in this business, it’s more exciting. It’s transforming digitally. It’s got global outreach, it’s fashion, its health. I mean, these are things young people want to be on and we touch on all this. So to have them see that ability to get access to all these kind of markets and to see their products actually end up on a retail or website somewhere. Makes a difference. And we’re doing a better job. Let them see that now.

Mark Quinn 

When you get some cool new digs in Congdon yard, Jeff took me on a video tour of that place. Kinsley we got to get one of these their office overlooks the baseball field there in Condon yard in the design space and just how they have it laid out it is absolutely first class, Jeff, what impact has that had on your own people and then even customers when you bring him in? To Ida around some of the issues? Yeah, right.

Jeff Veach 

Um, it’s it’s been so powerful and strong to have everything kind of one place. The spirit of it was one you know, it was it’s, it’s got a place where customers can come and interact and we’ve got all the digital technologies there so that we can, we can execute. It’s having all of our product from upholstery and mattress in one place. But the spirit behind it is we have our creative teams and our innovation teams, our engineering teams coming together to do From both sides regularly, and challenging each other, and talking about things and working through what we can do, on their side, the different supply chain we can do. So that’s powerful. But from a customer standpoint, the ease of being able to come in and have a meeting and do it, and they see it, they get the feel, and then they get, you know, you talk to the market, they’re actually loving it so and executing on it, it’s great. And then from a talent standpoint, as you talked about, you know, textile industry was probably not involved for many young people for many years. So how do we create a space where it brings the most talented people together, and they want to be interacting, and we’ve got that, so that’s fine. And I’ll repair this great Friday, we had an intern that’s doing it, she got to present to us last Friday, and it’s just, you know, she’s going back now to college and telling the people Wow, you can make an impact in this industry. You know, like, so many of them think that women’s fashion that needs to be in New York, but there’s, there’s a lot of really great impact can happen quickly for this industry. So having that in the space and attracting young people. It’s really cool to see a lot of fun to be a part of, we’re sure.

Mark Kinsley 

Guys, whenever you look at the the young talent innovation in the industry, and how that swirls and bakes together, what are some of the innovations that have originated, been birthed from Kulp that maybe are new? Or you know, I know sometimes these things can be incremental, once you start serving large customers and things of that nature. And the industry has been hyper focused on cooling stories over the years, what are some of the innovations that may have not gotten the pomp and circumstance they deserve, because of all of all of the the noise that’s happened over the past year,

Iv Culp 

so I do think, I do think this Congdon er facility, we call it an Innovation Campus, and it is intentionally only innovative people, there aren’t. There aren’t human resource people there, there aren’t financial people there. It’s an innovation story place. And I think just getting that dialogue going together, we’ve spurned on the upholstery side, we have an amazing business that’s moving with sustainability, with our Live Smart evolve product line, where it’s, you know, just an incredible recycled water bottle story that’s growing, just incredible growth rates, that I think is moving some opportunities for us into the mattress side, we are seeing opportunities with outdoor products that wasn’t there before. And Jeff, I’ll let you talk some maybe on what you’re seeing on the mattress part, that’s where you see we made the goal, and I don’t want to steal any of your thunder.

Jeff Veach 

That’s great to know. I mean, you know, obviously cooling, very important, lots of things coming out of the what we’re meeting there. But sustainability overall is a big, you know, underlying technology is just I hope my goal is is maybe that just becomes kind of the the threshold. And we’re pushing that more, we got a lot of things that we’ve done and recycled stories that are becoming more and more commonplace now and how we integrate that through different technologies and things that might be wellness, you know, where the market, just integrating things together to where the consumer gets a better product and a better night’s sleep from it. So

Iv Culp 

I think we’re very aware of our product being we’re all we serve is primarily mattress products, a little bit of top of bed, but more on the mattress. So we’re aware that our items are, you know, takes a system approach with sheets and blankets and pillows and all of this. But there’s a lot of a lot of really neat ideas in the hopper. And we just got to figure out which ones make sense to get out to the to the mattress tray. But, you know, no secrets to be given today. But there’s some neat Thanks, Jeff. Scott Andre.

Mark Quinn 

Yeah. Well, that’s exciting. You know, we’ve got we’ve got a spec coming up, we got Vegas market coming up, right. And so any bit of a tease, Jeff on what we might be seeing. And so

Jeff Veach 

there’s a number of things that we’re working on there. Some really cool sustainable things that you’ll be seeing some, some new cooling features that we’ll have and benefits that we’ll have there. And some other things that we’re looking at with weapons that could be game changers being woven products that can be game changers. And then of course, our, you know, showing more of the live furnish and the improvements that we’ve made there to be some some big things that we’ll be highlighting for us. So just a few teasers.

Mark Kinsley 

All right, well, we’re gonna have to take people inside the cult Inkspace Quinn and I are going to be at ESPA roaming the halls on the hunt for innovation and you guys are going to be my first stop and looking forward to that. You know, because, hey look, whenever you line up a bunch of cupcakes, I want to eat one that looks beautiful. And I know that called makes some really beautiful products. And not only do they look great, they, those cupcakes tastes good, meaning they feel really good as well. And so, as a, as a customer myself have called, I’ve been incredibly impressed working with your teams. Amber has done a great job with us. And I tell you, you know, I get to work with a lot of different suppliers. And whenever I came into your, your Trinity facility when I was able to go through the presentation, and have somebody there and in a way that I felt like okay, this part’s new for me, how do I distil it down into something meaningful and make sure that maps to my brand Englander and how do I you know, ensure that you don’t have too many things that compete. But you want a step up story, you want differentiation, you want new features, you want an elevated step up story when you get to phase change, and PCM and some of these other stories that you can put on the cover. So how do you do that in a way that’s coherent. So it doesn’t look mishmash, and you guys helped us do that. And I’m really thankful for that. And we’ve got some incredible cult products that we source as part of Englanders national line. And so as a customer, I just want to say to you, as leadership, your teams do a great job. And so I know that that family mentality that you bring cascades all the way down to people treating, you know us like family.

Mark Quinn 

Thank you. Great. No doubt speaking of your team, I would like to make a mention. So these are some of the people I’ve just worked with recently. So Philip Holly Christina pendant, sandy brown, your president just love her and have had some great conversations with her and Jeff, super smart, great strategic thinker, Jillian Chuck Fowler, he calls on us at sherwood and was spank. And I’ve known chuck for as long as I’ve known you, if he was involved with cotton arrow back in the day love that guy and cotton arrow who is still a good friend, and I think has been such a huge part of the cult family. I know Adrian Johnston, who is one of those young bright people that I’ve worked with, anyway, just a couple of names that that I would throw out great, great members of the cult family and the team and grateful to all of them for all the things they’ve done. But anyway, to just wrap this up from my perspective, you guys, I think that, you know, for a company as big as you are, and during tumultuous times that we’ve been in and you know, if you losing your dad and then the COVID thing and that the waves just keep coming and keep coming. But you know, your the company’s ability and your personal ability to overcome that and to, to drive forward is really impressive. And not, not a lot of big companies are able to do it. I think the evidence is the guys that were around when I was first, you know, aware of the the fabric business, they’re no longer around. So just hats off to you guys. And I love here you are again, doing it your way and changing and moving forward in valuing the right things. Kinsley any takeaways for you before we bail out? I

Mark Kinsley 

think it’s a great capture, I always like to ask this guy’s What did we miss? What did we not ask you that you want people to know?

Iv Culp 

Well, I was I was laughing internally a little bit when you were reading off that list of names Mark. And, you know, business gets a lot easier if you’ve got a lot of talent within your rank. So thank you for mentioning all those that that definitely makes a big difference. But I just think that you’re going to see from coal, even though we’ve got a history, and people know what to expect from us. And I think we’ve earned a reputation of being a solid supplier. I just think the best is yet to come. So the proof will be in the pudding there. We’ve got work to do. There’s not one thing, Kinsley that I could say is put my finger on it. But you’re gonna see some pretty neat things for Kolpin the next next decade. We’re excited about what we’re going on. I think we’ve got a great opportunity on both sides of our business.

Mark Kinsley 

Well, gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure having you on the show today. And if people want to check out more about called where should they go? How did they get connected?

Jeff Veach 

Yeah, you can go to our main website koat.com. They can also email me spot, JC beach, the ACH a call comm or Yeah, hold calm and love to get connected with people and start providing solutions, helping them on their path.

Mark Kinsley 

Well, as always, you can reach out to us, we’ll give you concierge entree into the fine folks that call. You can text us on our podium number. You can reach out at fam dot news of course we’re happy to get you connected. And, guys, we’ll look forward to telling your story. Addis Ababa, you know, we’ll see some of the new products, some of the new innovations. And as you roll out anything that is worth mentioning, we’ll have it on the fam and look, you know, we very much aligned in that way that we have a family. Literally our media property is called the fam. And we love telling stories of family businesses and people that treat their employees and their environments and their industries, like family. So guys, it’s been an honour and a pleasure, and we hope you have a great rest of your day and keep those wheels turning.

Iv Culp 

Thank you guys. Very much.

Jeff Veach 

Yeah, thank you both. See you later.

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