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There is a New “Law” Around This Industry

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Season 2 of “Just Stories with BT” features all Female Executive guests in the mattress/furniture space or other underrepresented industries!

These episodes focus on getting to know the amazing woman behind these roles and giving a platform to talk about getting our male dominated industries more balanced out!

Episode #13’s guest Katy Law is the Co-Founder of Sweet Dreams, an amazing chain of mattress and furniture stores.  Listen to find out why Katy had an entire group of middle schoolers yelling at her, and also how she has started to attract more females into this industry to balance our leadership out!

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Full Transcripton:

Brett Thornton: All right. Welcome back, everybody. It is another episode of Just stories with BT. And I’m very excited today because we are launching season two. So, Season One was all about different CEOs that kind of wove giving back into their business strategy. And season two is I’m really excited about this, because season two is all about highlighting different female executives in the mattress and furniture space, who are absolute rockstars. And I want to get their story out there because quite frankly, it’s an underrepresented group for sure in our industry. And so, I kind of want to dive into that. But we really want to find some of these powerhouse females and then really gets allow you guys an opportunity to get to know them, the person behind the organization, the company. And as always, we do that through the art of storytelling. So welcome, Katie law of sweet dreams. So excited to have you.

Katy Law:  Thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here. I really have loved listening to your season one so far and enjoy the storytelling format. I think it’s such an engaging way to get some information across. So, thank you. 

Brett Thornton: Yes, I’m very excited. And as always, I could ask you to introduce yourself. But you know, we just never know what you know, someone’s going to give us a two word answer or go on for 20 minutes. So I will do the introduction for you and then you can tell me what I missed or if I got it right. Sound good. 

Katy Law: Sounds good. 

Brett Thornton: Okay, everybody, this is Katie law co-owner of the sweet dreams franchise or furniture mattress chain. So here it goes. So, Katie was born in Naperville, a suburb of Chicago Never heard of it, but I’m sure it’s beautiful. She grew up with three brothers. She’s the only girl she actually grew up. She got into working in her first job was that I can’t believe it’s not yogurt which is actually a hilarious they’ve never that she was schlepping for  which is awesome. In high school, she was played percussion. She was in the band snare drum. My son is in percussion right now and the band’s he was really cool. She went from there to go on to college at Florida State University where she met her future hubs. And she was working different jobs and wagers and whatnot. But her husband was working at a mattress store. So obviously that that led to some exciting things. And so, when they finished school moved out, they decided to open their own business, which was in 2002, the launching of sweet dreams matching the furniture store. And as the business grew, they were able to open more and more locations and along the way had two beautiful kids now 14 and 12. In 2019, her and her husband were awarded business persons of the year, which is really exciting. And then in 2020 they are awarded retail betting giant from furniture today. And now in 2021 they’ve got a bunch of locations and now here we are Katie on Just Stories with the BT.

Katy Law: Here we are. Love it. 

Brett Thornton: So what did I miss anything major? Obviously, you know, it’s a big synopsis in like 30 seconds.

Katy Law:  It is. You did miss one major thing and that is one of the highlights of my life. My golden doodle Harvey. Oh, he’s just so cute. Yeah, we call him the state fair, teddy bear. He’s the best.

Brett Thornton:  Okay, so I have to do this right now. I’m going to flex on you a little bit. 

Katy Law: Okay.

Brett Thornton: Roxy. Okay, here we go. So you have a golden doodle? 

Katy Law: Yeah, the Labradoodle rock.

[ Inaudible (3:26)]

Brett Thornton: A complete puff ball. Oh, that’s so.

Katy Law:Yeah. Oh, they’re complete fluff balls. And there’s like the best family dogs. They’re amazing. They’re so loyal and gentle and playful, but like, also sometimes annoying, as well.

Brett Thornton:  Now she’s like, freaking out. So anyways, so yes, dogs are a massive part of that’s my kids dog. She’s amazing. So, tell me, you know, give us the for those of us who aren’t familiar with sweet dreams, you know, the different stores you have and whatnot, give us the like, 30 second kind of overview on what makes you guys so special.

Katy Law: Really, what makes us so special is the dream team that we get to work with every day. And that’s by far and away. My number one answer, it’s been a blessing to, you know, start this business, and grow it over time. And you know, with each incremental Person of the Dream Team, they’ve added more value to our team and our community. So that is definitely what sets us apart.

Brett Thornton: Nice. And so you know, as you think about such a long, you know, career really, I mean, 2002 you open and here we are, you know, almost 20 years later, you’ve had all these awards, you’ve added new stores, you know when you think back you know, because obviously I love stories, and I love to hear people you know talk about struggles, failure successes, but I also love to hear people talk about things that they remember back as being funny or super entertaining. So, tell us you know, let us get to know you a little bit like what are some funny memories you Have one that sticks out that you think of and just to kill you?

Katy Law: Well, definitely we love to have fun and sweet dreams, this kind of the core of who we are. But one of my favorites, funny memories by far is one that is back in the early days of sweet dreams. You know, we do not have a very big advertising budget by any stretch of the imagination. So, our advertising was mostly like guerilla marketing. And Greg, my husband thought it would be a really great idea this one Easter, to dress me up and a pink bunny suit, set a mattress up by the side of the road, while I jump on the bed holding a big sign that says Easter sale. And I honestly still don’t know to this day how he talked me into doing this. The costume was like fuzzy pink from head to toe with just like a cutout of my face. Right. So, this happened to be on the Saturday, right before Easter. And it also happened to be on a Saturday where the local school district was making up a snow day. So here I am. On the side of the road, our store was kind of like on this busy residential road sits right across the street from the middle school. So, I’m in the pink bunny suit, jumping on the bed, Easter sale sign and the middle school lets out and the buses start going by. And the kids start yelling at me out the window profanities. Like, I feel funny. Get a job buddy. Like, this is a low point in my life. We had those Nextel phones back in the day that like there was like a walkie talkie Yeah, like, I like signal Greg and like, I hate kids, and I’m never doing this again. And then I get off the bed and head back into the store. So that was kind of the end of my roadside shenanigans. 

Brett Thornton: Yeah.

Katy Law: But fast forward to 2019 our friend Mike Whittaker from nationwide came to do like a whole team training session. Yep. And he started a movement at that session. It was hashtag bring back the bunny suit. And he even got like a cardboard cutout of the pink nightmare, you know? So lo and behold, somehow I got talked into putting that costume back on again. Yes. That’s a good, better shoot, but I kind of got back at Greg because I made him wear it for a commercial.

Brett Thornton:  Nice. Oh, that is so funny. Yeah, yeah. junior high kids. I have one right now. My son is in middle school. So I know. Right? Oh, man. Oh, that’s so good. 

Katy Law: Yeah, I’m like, Oh, I’m getting made fun of by middle schoolers. 

Brett Thornton: Oh, man. Yeah, I had a guy  did work. years ago, when I was at sleep train. He actually did the similar thing to your brother, which is like, yeah, cut out a twin-size mattress and you get into it on like Memorial Day or Labor Day and like be out there. And I remember the last time you ever did it was because someone threw brew at him. He’s like, It’s a wrap. I’m done. Like I this is like, not making enough money here to have burritos chucked at me. So, I’m out.

Katy Law:  Yeah, we actually started this whole sleeping bandit advertising campaign where we would put the bed out by the side of the road and then started with my husband, he would just like lay there and sleep for a couple hours. The first time he did it. He went out there like five o’clock in the morning to catch all the people who are like leaving for work, you know. But then we started hiring people to do it. And it was actually our hardest job to keep which is funny. Because moms would come in and be like, oh, my son really wants that job where you sleep out on the side of the road. Yeah, he’s a teenager. It’s perfect. So we’d hire him and then I think they just like lay there and thought like, what am I doing with my life? This is so boring. And then they’d only do it like a time or two and then on to the next. 

Brett Thornton: I love it. So that’s the whole ad campaign was just have someone sleeping on a bed so people look at and go like what is happening and look over?

Katy Law: Yeah, we had a big sign that said another satisfied customer. 

Brett Thornton: Oh, that is brilliant. I love it. 

Katy Law: It was great. Back in the guerilla marketing days those are fun. 

Brett Thornton: No, absolutely. I worked for a company. When I was in college called jetted. I was like a surf skate fashion. Holding brand. And same thing we were small upstart. We had a ton of people involved, but only a couple people have been paid, you know. And so we wanted to make ourselves seen that we were huge, you know? Yeah. And even though we didn’t have any money, and one of the guys that was interning for us had a connection with this, like traveling, I don’t even know what it was. It was like a traveling circus kind of thing. And all these animals, and we were at so there’s in the fashion world. There’s like two big trade shows every year and One’s in San Diego or twice a year. It’s called ASR. And so, we’re all the brands calm, and you’ve got booths and the whole nine yards. And so, we hired this literally this marching band with all these animals, and they wore this shirt that said, you know, march to the beat of your own drum, Jetta die, and I had all these cool drums and stuff. And this marching band, and all these animals just come parading through like the front entrances, and it was like, the biggest theme you’ve ever seen. And we got so much traction, so much buzz, and literally, we didn’t pay him for you know, everyone has volunteered, and everyone thought we were this huge company was big ad budget is like, now we just like, add a connection. And you know, that’s how you do it. 

Katy Law: Awesome. Oh, so love that story. 

Brett Thornton: Oh, it’s great. So tell us, you know, that’s love that memory, great stuff. It sounds like that’s a big part of what makes up, you know, sweet dreams is just, you know, having fun and enjoying the job. But in a in a career, in a company that you founded, that’s been around 19 years, you had to have had some struggles and some difficult times, right. And I just love hearing stories around those types of times, you know, like, so could you tell us, you know, one or two times when you know, you were, you know, you had something that was really difficult to get through and kind of how you did it?

Katy Law: Yeah, you know, starting a business from scratch 19 years ago, has definitely brought up its fair share of challenging times. But there’s definitely one that sticks out to me the most. And it’s really the foundation of who we are today. Still, you know, like you mentioned in the intro, Greg and I were very young and pretty inexperienced when we opened Sweet dreams. We were just kids really fresh out of college 23 and 24 years old, Greg ran a mattress store, when we were going to school, it was kind of this Joe job that got passed down in his fraternity. And he was the first person to take it seriously. Like, he loved what he was doing. He loves serving people. He’s just one of those entrepreneurs at heart and knew he wanted to open up his own business one day. So you know, being the influential guy he is he talked to his parents and I about, you know, starting Sweet dreams together. We had been dating for a very long time at this point. And we all thought it would be a great family career path for us. So in the fall of 2002, we got married in September, moved from Florida to North Carolina in October, and opened the business in November. So all those things at once now sounds like the worst possible recipe for disaster. Like I would never want to do all that at once. But we were young and you know, had so much fun doing it. We’re looking forward to starting our life together. And we kind of lacked in, you know, wisdom and business knowledge we made up for and our energy and passion. So we opened in 2002 in November. And for some reason we thought that, you know, we’d hang our sweet dreams sign on the door on the building. Click the open sign on the door open up and people were just going to come in and buy stuff, right? That was totally not the case. 

Brett Thornton: What are you serious?

Katy Law: Yeah. Walk in me what I remember we went to high point furniture market in October right before we opened. And we went into the light and Platt booth and the rep there was like, oh, what do you forecast for your first month in business? And we confidently said, Oh, about 60,000. And he literally laughed in our faces. And I remember we were so offended and taken aback like failure had not even crossed our mind at all yet that that could happen. Right? Like, so what was our first month in business? What did we do? $11,000. Then our second month $9,000. Like, hey, this is going down. This is not good. But we really just kind of like worked hard. Put in our all we got really involved in our community from day one. And thank God we did. And you know, it started to get better every month got a little bit better. Then, in March 2003, not even six months after we open. The war in Iraq started. And it was like crickets at the store. I mean, nobody coming in, no traffic, and we were starting to sweat it. I mean, we genuinely were not sure if Sweet dreams was going to be open in April. Like there’s just nobody coming in. Luckily, Greg’s mom is a very faith filled woman and she started to pray for us and our family business. She would come in the morning and go to her back office and hit her knees. And we started praying along with her. This one particular day that was just like, today could be the day that we’re going down. She said, Oh, you know, Greg’s oldest brother. He’s a pastor of a church in Louisiana. His churches started praying for us. And then that same day, this unsuspecting couple came in, it was one of those like, Don’t judge a book by its cover type customers that walked in the door. And they drove over an hour away to our store, because they referred in by like a local chiropractor that they saw. and ended up not only buying a mattress from us, but also a whole bedroom set, which we had just added to our product mix, spent over $8,000 with us. And up until that moment, probably our biggest sale was like around two, maybe. And I don’t know if it’s, she was wearing a sweater, or we just didn’t notice it until she came to the desk to fill out the paperwork, get a receipt together. And we notice that she’s wearing this T shirt and in huge letters across the T shirt, it says Jesus is Lord. And if that’s not an answer to prayer, I don’t know what is. And then the next day got busy. And then the day after that continued to be busy. And God has been faithful in our business ever since. So we’ve realized that it’s really up to us to work as it depends on us, and pray as if it depends on God. And he’s going to come through every time. So together, we’ve kind of grown our original dream team have for one location to now our dream team of over 40 people, and four locations and distribution center. So I’m just really thankful for all the tough times that we have gotten through because there have been a lot. Because growing this business has been one of the biggest blessings to my marriage, and my life. And it’s really because of all the relationships we’ve built. You know, our vision is to help as many people as possible achieve our dreams, or achieve their dreams. And Sweet dreams has been the vehicle to really help us do just that.

Brett Thornton: Yeah, that’s awesome. So, you know, when you think that through those times, you know, is there a story that comes to mind where, you know, all of a sudden, you’re just, you know, you may be stopped and paused after or that night you’re reflecting or something when you were like oh my gosh, like, you know, obviously that one story with the lady with the eight grand and all that. But like as a business, you know, where you sat back and thought like, man, we’re actually like having some success here like this is actually going pretty well.

Katy Law: Yeah, I’m definitely been those moments to which I think it’s so important to reflect back on both of those times. Because it’s through the hard times, and the good times, that you know, you’re in serious growth mode, right. And so just to be open to that growth, and to be open to what you can learn from each one. But I think that the moment that honestly sticks out to me the most is when our business shifted into success is when we joined the nationwide marketing group in 2014. And that’s when the dream team that we have today really was born, because nationwide helped us Greg and I grow as leaders and helped us grow as leaders to inspire and include our people in the threads of our business. So it’s really easy as business owners to just get caught up in the day to day mundane business, there’s always so much to do, and to focus more on our vendors and our customers. But what nationwide really helped us learn is that our biggest assets are our people, you know, the team of people who have been there with us every step of the way, and they deserve our attention first. So, like I said, this business is really our vision is to help as many people as possible achieve their dreams. And that really starts with our own people on the Dream Team.

Brett Thornton: Yeah, absolutely. And, and it definitely, you know, as a leader, you know, or as an entrepreneur, I’m sure it feels amazing to see, you know, your team grow, you know, people take on new roles, you know, people developing their skills, because I know that’s Yeah, that’s always been, you know, what’s probably been, you know, the things that I’ve remembered over my course of my careers is less and less about my personal successes and usually more and more about the people who worked for me or with me when they had success. It was like that, you know, it was more rewarding, you know.

Katy Law:  Yeah, like their success is our success. And that’s been the past like five or six years have been more fulfilling. Then anything before that, because it’s just been so fun to see our team develop and grow. And I think a few keys to that paradigm shift really was. The main thing is that we develop, we defined our core values. You know, that’s something that like, we never announced before. And now that’s something we go over and over and over with our team. And without defining those core values, you know, and really, honing in on them, like a lot of negativity can creep in, because people just make up their own values. So now those core values are the are the foundation of everything we do at Sweet dreams, every decision we make, every person we help, those values are at the forefront. And we’re always going over them with our team, everybody is expected to know them, commit them to memory and to live them out every day. You know, they’re part of our interviewing process. They’re part of our onboarding process. So everybody from day one, is aligned with our core values. 

Brett Thornton: And how did you go about even making those up? How did you create them?

Katy Law: I’m really, like we, we sat down together a few of us and created them. And it was just really an introspective interview of who we are, what we find important in ourselves, our lives and in this business, and it’s all about intertwining our personal passions with our business. So our core values is it’s an acronym called dreams.

Brett Thornton:  Nice. Love it. Yeah, I’ve been through I think three different versions of those in my career, you know, once when I was asleep train a long time ago, when we purchased sleep country up in the Pacific Northwest, and we brought the companies together, and we did a whole, you know, like three day in a hotel, building out our visions and values and purpose and, and it was interesting. And then years later, when Mattress Firm bought sleep train, I did it again, you know, those two together and it was like this, we went to this place in where we were like twos outside of Tucson up in the mountains at some resort and, and ropes course. And like all this kind of, you know, team building type stuff, and we built it out. And they had this facilitator from Australia, it was actually amazing. And he had this artist with him. And every day, as we were doing stuff was five days, this artist was recording the entire process through like those cartoons, sketches, drawing those people that like as your characters, she was doing that, and it wrapped the entire wall of this facility by the end. And so, you can see the story of like, how the whole thing was built. And then at the end, it had our, you know, the vision, the values or whatever. Now that’s super fancy, that was super fancy. Did it translate into actually happening? I would probably say no. But the relationships built there were really good, you know, whereas like, the sleep train ones I do. They were great, you know, and they did? Definitely, you know, it was something woven into this into the kind of fabric you know, but I’d say more than that was when I was with sleep training, they became an Aesop. And I had to talk about with Dale Carlson in Episode One of my podcast about it, that really defined the company and like, what everyone did was, like, became this, like, legit family team atmosphere, because everybody wanted the company succeed, you know, and when you have really good values, and everyone buys in, you know, it’s much easier to get things done, you know, because, you know, it’s less of like me tell you all these things and more about like, Hey, you tell me what’s going on the business? How do we grow? And how do we become successful? You know?

 Katy Law: Yeah. 

Brett Thornton: So, let me shift gears a little bit. And obviously, like I mentioned in the intro, you know, like, I really wanted to focus and highlight, you know, different executives in the sleep and in the furniture space that were female. And, and I want to ask you just kind of off the cuff, you know, what do you think? Why do you think there are so few female executives in our space?

Katy Law: I think perhaps because it’s going to take think about this for a second how I want to phrase this. I think it’s been so male driven for so long, that it’s just going to take recruiting and attracting more females to our industry to continue to recruit and attract more females to our industry. I think a lot of times, it’s just the law of attraction where people attract like-minded or like people. And so, since it’s been men for so long, I think it’s just kind of Continue to along that path. But I do think that our industry has some of the most amazing people in it, it’s honestly been one of my favorite things about what I do, are all the people that I’ve met along the way, all the relationships that I’ve forged, some of the people in our industry have become some of my very best friends. And I think the more women, we can get engaged in our industry as a whole, the more women that we’re going to continue to attract, you know, even looking at our own business. For a long time, I was one of the only women in our business, we had a few girls who, you know, were in our admin team or something, but there weren’t a lot of us. And if you look at our business today, it’s probably about besides our delivery team, which is, you know, obviously probably going to be more male, it’s probably about 50-50. And I think it’s because we, as we grew, we brought on more females into attracting more females, and also bringing that community together, I think females really like being part of a community. And so, trying to make that feel for them at work, just builds on their career experience.

Brett Thornton:  Yeah, for sure. You know, it’s funny, because I, if you think about it, it makes no sense. Because, you know, I’ve always been taught since day one, you know, literally, for the loss of business industry for 7, 16 ,17 years. And I’ve always been kind of been taught that the data has shown when you look at the marketing data, that if you have a household, and you have a couple who are making a mattress person purchase, you know, the marketing data showed that it’s skewed so heavy that typically the female was going to make the buying decision, like most majority of the time, and yet here you have an industry that you so you have, the majority of the decision maker is female, and yet 90% of the industry was male, you know, trying to like, you know, tell them all you need to do this, or you do that, or whatever, when you’re sitting there going like, wait a minute, like, why wouldn’t you have more females involved, you know, especially in more important positions, you know, like, you know, obviously executive type roles where they have a lot of influence, because this is such a man dominated purchasing decision, right? So, it’s funny.

Katy Law: I don’t even, I don’t know, it’s always blown my mind how we are really the decision driver of the purchase of our whole entire category. Yet there are not many of us who are part of the process of creating what we sell to the customers. 

Brett Thornton: Yeah,

Katy Law: It blows my mind. Like down to, I remember when we first started. When we first became partner with Sutherland bedding, one of the key selling points to becoming their partner was that they had females come in and select the fabrics that they put on their beds. I’m like, thank you, because, you know, sometimes you we get some products, and I’m like, man who came up with this name. Yeah. Why they put this fabric on there? That’s horrible. Yeah, it just doesn’t translate well to the female consumer at retail all the time?

Brett Thornton:  No, for sure. And I think that the step further from that is like, Hey, how about you, instead of bringing females in to pick the fabric? Why don’t you just hire a marketing VP, who is a female, you know what I mean, he was experienced in this role. But like, to your point, people have to apply, you know, and we need, we need to widen that net. So, you know, I think back to, you know, in your life, and in your career, there’s always these aha moments, you know, where something happens, and you’re like, oh, wow, you know, like, I just learned a lot or like, I didn’t see things that way, you know, and I know, for me, in my entire career, a moment that I’ll always remember was, I was coming from sleep trained a Mattress Firm, and Mattress Firm, it just acquired us, and it was just kind of going public. And so I had a trip out to from San Diego, where I was living out to Houston out to Galveston, actually, where the entire l&d team and training team for a Mattress Firm was getting together do an off-site meetings, they did a meeting every year in December, I think, November or December, and they’d all read these beach homes in Galveston, and they’d all you know, they’d meet for three days, and they do you know, giveaway, or one of the white elephant presents, and this whole nine yards, and they plan out their year. And so, my boss’s guy, Matt Anderson, and at the time, he was like one of my best friends and him and I was just to go out. So, we were going to be the first people that they met from super train the news that just came out that we were, you know, merging, or they require us, whatever. And so, this was going to be and I ran all of sales and training at the time. And so, their team had someone who did what I did, right so it was already a little weird, because it was like, how’s this going to all work out but I was just going there to like, hey, I want to be a part of that. I want to see what you’re about. I want to I want to be a part of business planning. And so I’ll never forget that morning, I’m getting on the plane and I get a text message from my boss. And he’s like, I can’t remember what it was. But something came up and he’s like, dude, I can’t go. You just got to go by yourself. Now. It’s like, No, I didn’t know. Yeah, so I get off the plane, I take the, you know, an Uber or whatever over to hire you know, there’s Uber that camera or a taxi or something over to their corporate office, and I’m just waiting for it. And you need a key card to get in. And I don’t have a key card. So, I’m just staying out there for like, 30 minutes, no one’s coming or going on. And it’s Houston. You know, and I don’t it’s actually really cold in the winter. And I’m just standing out there. And so finally some someone comes down, he’s like, hey, you knew? What do you need or whatever? I’m like, Oh, I’m so and so. And they’re like, okay, I’m just waiting here. So, I’m waiting this lobby, and then all sudden, all these people start coming out and getting cars. No one’s really introduced themselves. Finally, some guys like, introduce himself. Oh, yeah, you can just hop in with me, you know. So, they hop in. And they, they, you know, we start driving from Houston to Galveston, and they pull over a target. And I’m like, What are you getting? You know, what are you doing? And they’re like, oh, we have this white elephant gift exchange. Like the first thing we do tonight? is we do this big thing. Did you bring any presents? I’m like, bringing presence. I don’t know anything about anything. I don’t know what’s going on. So I go in there. And I’m like, well, I better get something. I don’t want to be the only one of 40 people that don’t do it. And I don’t know about you, but like where I’m from, you know, white, white elephant gift exchange is like, I go as funny as I can, you know, like.

Katy Law: outlandish, because that’s my thing. Yeah, I’ll tell you one of my best in a minute. 

Brett Thornton: Yeah, yes. So I’m like, Alright, well, I’m just I don’t know these people, but I’m going for it. So, I buy a pack of adult diapers. Like depends. I buy this, like, a rash cream for your butt. And then I bought a Boy Meets World DVD season three or something like this the most random things that I’ve been I wrapped it. And I’m like, okay, I go up, you know, so that night, you know, it’s like, everyone’s lined up browsing. I’m meeting everyone. Of course, the people are amazing. The Learning development to my firm is awesome. And, and everyone’s super welcoming. And actually, like, I’m having a blast. And it’s, you know, they start to do the thing. And all I’m thinking of myself is like, no one pick mine first. Because I don’t know if people are serious about it or funny if they’re doing cool gifts. So sure enough, this guy is big old guy walks up and he’s looking around the tree and he looks around back and he grabs mine and I’m like, oh, and so he comes back and sits down and I’m just like, oh god, I know I’m if it’s really bad, and no one reacts, I’m just going to say I’m not going to claim it, you know, the package, and he’s just looking at it, like dead serious. And all of a sudden, he just starts dying. And he pulls out the diapers and like button, everyone’s laughing. And all of a sudden, he opens the package and just pulls it and pulls one on over his pants. Oh my god. Like, whose gift was that? I was like, oh, is mine. And everyone’s like, yeah, so it actually ended up being like, super funny. 

Katy Law: Do you guys treat credit from day one from day one. 

Brett Thornton: And so anyways, that wasn’t the learning the learning was later that the next day we did this, planning event, right, or for the next year, all the training events and all this stuff that we had to put into play. And I had I got they randomly broke up, the team just drove through numbers. And so, I happen to get into a group with four different women and myself. And at the time coming from sleep train, my team was predominantly always male, you know, I think, you know, like a lot of my directors and my regionals, it just like you said, that’s kind of how it was. and I remember going through this exercise, and three or four different times, in doing it, the girls I was working with, and they Muslims to work there, too. They’re such an awesome team, they were bringing up things and saying things from an angle that I just honestly had never thought. And I wouldn’t have thought and, and the product that we produced in the plan, and the presentation was so much better than what I know, I would have done honestly with my current team at the time, because there was just things that we went to thought of, you know, and an angle wouldn’t have seen and I just was like my mind that not American like oh my god, like, I’ve really been not, I’m going to say I’ve been blinded, but it was like, you know, by I miss you now, you know, I’m missing a huge element of what my leadership team could be. And I ended up taking over the majority of that team, I think I had at one point, you know, 15 or 17 different directors all over the country. And it was such a balanced team. And I’ve been blessed for that to be kind of like that the rest of my career, but it just showed that you know, when you don’t have that balance, man, you really miss out.

Katy Law: I agree. I’m such a big fan of the balance because I feel like there’s a lot of great things that both male and females bring to the table. And I’m very aware of some of the fundamental differences that we that we bring. So I love having a balance on our team. I think that we’ve had this we have the strongest team that we’ve ever had because of that because we bring a few different things to the table. But we all really respect each other and work together. And, you know, just making great career enhancing experiences for everybody on our team is just really what it’s all about. But especially I think women kind of, sometimes our biggest barrier as ourselves, you know, the whole imposter syndrome thing, I listened to a lot of podcasts, especially in kind of the self-development space, and something that I hear over and over again, is just kind of the lack of confidence that a lot of women, you know, bring to the table, like, they just they have a lack of self-belief, they don’t think they’re worthy to do something. So, I think that’s important for us to really hone in on our strengths, bring them every day, lean on them, and, you know, step out of our comfort zone to bring the value that we have to the table.

Brett Thornton:  Yeah, 100%. So, I’m going to put you on the spot. I’m telling me, let’s say, you know, you’ve heard of an elevator pitch. 

Katy Law: Yeah. 

Brett Thornton: Yeah. Right. So, you got 60 seconds, or whatever, from floor 100, down or up? You know, someone asked you a question, you know, so what would you say? What would be your elevator pitch for? Let’s say there’s, you know, just some amazing women out there that somehow this podcast comes across, and they’ve maybe they’ve never thought about joining the mattress, the furniture industry, you know what I mean? It’s never really appealed to them as a career. And actually disclaimer, like, it doesn’t appeal their career to pretty much anybody initially, right? Go to school as a kid, like, I want to wake up. And so it’s just not that type of career. But as Yes, it’s such a fun space. And it’s such a family kind of oriented, like everyone knows each other. And it’s really cool. But as you said, if we’re going to attract more female executives into the space, like so, what’s the pitch? You know, like, what would you say, to somebody who’s, you know, maybe on the outside looking in.

Katy Law: I think the pitch is not about what we do, or what we sell. It’s about who we are. So, like I said, before, the relationships that I have formed, not only within our industry, but also with the people in our community, have been more than I ever could have dreamed of my whole life. I’m a total people person. I love meeting people. I love getting to know people. I love relationships. So, the vehicle that this industry has created for me to form some really deep relationships, and make a true difference in people’s lives. Because of the products that we carry. That’s what I think would attract women to our industry, knowing that the products that we do carry, make a true difference in people’s lives. But so, to the people that we all work with.

Brett Thornton:  Yes. Love it. Yeah. So, I can’t let you go without telling me this. Easy. So, you said you had a story around a white elephant. 

Katy Law: Oh, yeah, I got here. Well, I have a couple. My two favorite white elephant gifts that I’ve done was one I worked in an office in college. And we had a white elephant gift exchange. And I was by far the youngest person in the office. It was all older people. But there was this this chicken place in Tallahassee called Guthrie’s that was like famous, all they had was like chicken fingers and French fries. And this sauce called Guthrie sauce, and you get it and it’s called a gut box, you know? So, the gut box was famous in Tallahassee. So, what I did was I went and got a gut box, and then took several bites out of the pieces of chicken, and then put it under the tree. So, when they open it up, they’re like, Oh, my God, it’s like, oh, the god box, but it’s actually half eaten. So, who wants to eat that? That’s disgusting. And you’re like, and then my second one was my family white elephant, which my family are all really funny at, we cut up together. And we had done the white elephant for like, several years. This is one of the last years we did it. And my grandfather had passed away probably about eight years prior to this. And so I thought it would be kind of funny to you know, leave him into the white elephant as a little shout out to grab much lesser and I got together a mason jar and filled it with like water and avocado pits and some bacon bits and some just like little yucky things and inside and then put a label on it. grandpa’s lesser kidney stones 1994. Yeah. 

Brett Thornton: Oh my god. 

Katy Law: It was great. Its big laughs in the family. Yes. 

Brett Thornton: Yeah, I had, as you say that I’m reminded of one that was really funny. When I was in college. I was dating this girl and her family was really funny. And it was I was meeting some of her extended family for the first time. But I had known her Dad Mom, well, because she lived in Orange County, we went to San Jose State, so it’s about hour and a half away. So we go up there sometimes and stay. And so they invited me they’re like family and Christmas thing, you know, and it was a white elephant. And same thing as before, I was like, on the edge, like, do it. They’re funny, they’re super funny, I should do something funny. So I was I stopped at Ross, on my way to the house. And I went, I was looking around for just something stupid. And I looked over and there was like, the, you know, one of the like, the clearance rack, and I see this pair of like, ladies underwear that are, I don’t know what size 40 or fit whatever, like the biggest sizes. So, this huge pair. And I’m like, this will be funny, you know, like, I’ll just buy it and you know, someone will open it up. And they’ll be like this huge thing. I wrap it in his little box. And then sure enough, we’re having the party or whatever. And her grandma comes. I didn’t know she was coming. And I’d never met her and I meet her for the first time or whatever. And so sure enough, just like their story, she’s the everyone’s like, oh, grandma gets to go first. You know, get the bugs don’t pick the bugs. She grabs the little box, I’m like, God opens it up and just pulls these things out. They’re like this big. And she’s like, oh, like these, and everyone just starts dying. I was like, so embarrassed. I was like, turn super bread. And I remember my girlfriend is staring like shaking her head at me. I was like, oh my god. So anyway. Yeah, no, thank you so much for coming on. Katie, you know, I mean, I think at the end of the day, the thing that I’ll remember the most from talking to you, I really like what you said about, you know, talent will attract more talent, you know, and so, if we’re trying to get more, you know, awesome females into this industry, like you said, I think we just need to broadcast successful females. Now, you know, like, Guys is a great industry. Like, there’s like, we need more. And I know, for me, personally, I think I sent this in a message to you when we started, but you know, my entire leadership team is all female with exception of one guy. And none of them have ever been in the industry before. So to your point, right, like, here’s all these new people and influx of new people that now love this industry and are getting in, they’re starting to listen to podcasts. And they’re, they’re connecting with people on LinkedIn. And but they’re the ones kind of like, where the light bulbs going off going, like, wow, there’s just not a huge presence. Yeah. And I’ve told them, hey, it’s not, you know, and that’s something that, you know, I want, they’re the future, you know what I mean? And so like, the more like they shine, the more we can bring in and really, like start to balance this industry out, which it really needs, you know, so.

Katy Law: I agree. I definitely see that happening, too. I have noticed a big shift in our industry over I would say the past five to seven years where I am seeing more women, I’m seeing more young people, our own team, I’m Gosh, Greg and I are actually the oldest people on our sales team right now. Like we have a really young sales team. And they are so impressive. They are more impressive than I was at that age for sure. But they are attracting other young people, because they’re excited about where they work. They’re excited about the team they’re on. They’re excited about all the people that they get to help. And so they’re attracting their friends and more young people. And, young people, like shopping with young people. So not only are we attracting younger people to join our team, we’re attracting younger people to also be our customers. So that’s been that’s been another fun paradigm shift not only with the female, but just for younger generations.

Brett Thornton:  Yeah, absolutely. Awesome, Katie. Well, I know you are busy, got a lot to do around these stores. So, I just thank you so much for your time, and I can’t wait for people to hear you tell your stories. 

Katy Law: Thank you for having me. It’s been fun. 

Brett Thornton: Awesome. Thanks, Katie. 

Katy Law: All right. Have a great day. Bye. 

Brett Thornton: Later.

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