SAVE THE DATE: Sleep Summit Oct 8-11, 2024

Avoiding Pitfalls in Business Reinvention: Lessons from Mattress Firm franchise CEO James Perez

Many in our industry know the vital role that sleep plays in our overall well-being, but do our consumers? James Perez, current CEO of over a dozen Mattress Firm Franchise stores, joins Mark Kinsley on today’s episode to discuss his remarkable journey that reshaped his perspective on achieving a restful night's sleep.

Many in our industry know the vital role that sleep plays in our overall well-being, but do our consumers?

James Perez, current CEO of over a dozen Mattress Firm Franchise stores, joins Mark Kinsley on today’s episode to discuss his remarkable journey that reshaped his perspective on achieving a restful night’s sleep. 

In this episode, Perez sets out to enlighten individuals about the other crucial factors that contribute to a transformative sleep experience (hint: mattresses only account for 20% of sleep wellness). From pillows to textiles and wellness practices, he understands that the key to unlocking optimal sleep lies in addressing each of these elements comprehensively.

Citing back to the inaugural Dream Camp 2022 held in Bentonville, Arkansas, Perez emphasized the pressing need for the mattress industry to establish trust and credibility in their mission to help people improve their sleep. Drawing from his own personal journey, he shared the profound impact that prioritizing sleep and health had on transforming the culture within his own company.

Perez’s story serves as a powerful reminder that sleep encompasses far more than just a comfortable mattress. By delving into the lesser-known aspects of sleep, we can unlock the potential for a truly restorative and life-enhancing slumber.

FULL TRANSCRIPTION

Mark Kinsley: The pitfalls of reinventing your business to move from mattress store to sleep and wellness. Hey, it’s not as easy as you think. The dynamic c e o of a 13th store, south Texas Mattress Firm franchise is here and the Sleep Summit show begins right now.

Mark Kinsley: Everything changes. I mean, everything, merchandising, ordering, inventory, display, the process of picking a mattress, all of it changes.

And my friend James Perez, you have been on a journey that started more than two years ago. We’re gonna peel back the covers on your story and we’re gonna find out where is the strangest place James Perez has ever slept. But first we gotta hit it in pop quiz time. This is our sleep. Summit quiz question of the day.

Now, James, I know you know a lot about sleep, but I wanna make sure you don’t answer this question, but have your guess in mind. Okay. So the quiz question for day is viewing bright sunlight within 30 to 60 minutes after waking triggers a what increase early in the day and sets your body for sleep later that night.

Okay. Before we get to the the two year journey to reinvent your business, Here’s where I wanna start. I wanna start with you. You’ve put your business first and you saved your health journey until now, and we’re gonna get to the business piece of it. But I wanna start right here with you. Tell me about your health.

Tell me about your sleep. Tell me about this journey you’re on.

James Perez: Uh, I’m in a really cool journey right now. Um, at the end of this month, I’ll be hitting double nickels. 55. Yeah, baby. Going back to Sammy Hager. 55 saves lives or you can’t drive 55. Um, But it, it’s, it’s really cool because it’s landing on the last piece of, of my puzzle that I’ve been working on for going on three years.

Going on three years. And, uh, it’s really exciting because it’s, it’s finally I’m gonna be able to wear the, uh, The badge I should have always worn, you know, and that’s a sleep expert, you know? And I, and, and, and, uh, you know, I woke up one day and realized, uh, I was just a mattress salesman. You know? It wasn’t fulfilling.

Mark Kinsley: What did that feel like when you, when you had that moment of recognition?

James Perez: Uh, you know, um, it was, it was sobering, you know, at first, uh, I thought I lost what I love the most. You know what I’ve known my entire life. Uh, and then I was given an amazing revelation. You know, God just said, you’re only crying about 20% of this whole full meal deal button.

Let me show you the entire 80 that you don’t even see. And, and, and it opened my eyes. I, uh, I was so clouded with that beautiful rectangle. I couldn’t see the beauty and the blessings all around it, and that was what I call today’s sleep. You know, so I’m, I’m moving firmly out of the mattress store business.

Want nothing to do with it anymore, and firmly implanting into the sleep business where I should have been all along. You know? I just, I didn’t know any better. I do now though, you know, and now that I know I can’t go back, I can’t go back, you know? I know the truth.

Mark Kinsley: But you have that knowledge. Yeah. You have to do something with it.

Let’s, let’s get into that for a minute, because. You had this mo moment of recognition, like you said, you woke up and you realized where you needed to be and, and there’s a lot to unpack with what you just said because you said the white rectangle, that beautiful, wonderful mattress that we all love is only 20%.

So we’re gonna talk about the other 80%, but I want you to take us into your culture within your company because anytime you try to shift, I think as business owners, For away from what you think you are and what you hope you are into something that’s more visionary and that seems removed from everything we’ve, we’ve learned about the business we’re in.

That’s not an easy putt. I mean, that takes time. What has that, what, what has that been like? Have there been pitfalls? Has there been pain?

James Perez: Absolutely. Uh, you know, I’ll just start off by saying change is the hardest thing for most people. The great thing about, uh, my mattress firm culture, or been, you know, being the oldest mattress firm guy out there, is that we started with the idea of change and not being scared for change to do things that were not normal.

But, uh, it’s easier said than done because before you can cast off any dream, if you don’t have the belief in, in your people, your culture, your core, It’s not getting off the ground. It, it, it’ll get, it’ll, it, it’ll get off and come right back down. And, and you know, in the words of of Paul Stork, I have to inspect what I inspect all the time.

And then I just came back from that. And, and the, and the wonderful thing is I’m now at the place where I’ve built the influence and serves inside my culture that are increasing. Um, where it needs to be. I’m, I’m about 65% there. The store and its design of where we’re, we’re we’re moving to is about 70% there.

So it’s moving, it’s moving the way it should, but that’s the part that you gotta have patience and you can’t get frustrated because you’re moving some, you’re moving someone’s mind. From believing that the mattress was 90 to sometimes a hundred percent of the entire sleep equation, and we’re moving them now to a place of 20% to understand that it’s 20% of the sleep equation.

So, Right off the bat. That’s, that’s the elephant in the room. And, and, and that’s where I’ve taken my time and I’ve been creative in doing that. And, and I’m, and moving the needle because now they’re starting to understand it. They’re seeing it. And, and the, the articulation that they’re being able to give the co the consumer is totally appreciating it cuz it makes sense.

There’s no way I could tell you that this one rectangle can solve all your problems. For me to say that it’s crazy and for you to believe that, you know, I don’t wanna say it’s crazy. I’m just saying we were real good at preaching that message.

Mark Kinsley: So what are you saying now? I mean, when you have a consumer walk in and you, you take them through what you now believe and what your people believe.

What are those other pieces of the puzzle that lead to, to better sleep or other pieces of the sleep products equation? Well, let me, let me,

James Perez: you know, I, I, I, I like to break things down. Third grade, stupid. It’s just real easy to, to, to see it that way. I, I break it down in two, two ways. One is through a hamburger meal.

You know, my favorite is the number one at Whataburger. I can tell you exactly what it is and, uh, and, uh, And the other is, is building a bear, if you will, to build a bear store. And, and, uh, all of these things, the patty and the bear are the base, but it’s not the full meal deal. And, and you’re e and it’s easy to understand that, that that patty, that mattress is 20% of that everything that goes underneath it.

Down to the buns and the lettuce and all the, all those, well with us, the box spring all the way down to adjustability or old rusty with no center support or, or platform frame, everything, every consideration, that’s 20%. The pillow, it’s just a smaller rectangle. It’s a bet for the head. That’s 20%. Every one of us have different shoulder depths.

That is a, a very important. Important part of the piece. And then the part that we hadn’t talked about that, that this is the one that’s blowing my mind, is where, where really the one of the big doors opened up for me was in the textiles, in the amazing textiles. And, and, and I can sell you a cooling technology mattress that you invest your hard-earned money on.

You leave my store with my little gift certificate to go down the street and go spend money on the wrong sheets to negate that technology. I mean, what did I do for you? And, and, and, uh, and I have dealt with that for year after. That’s insanity. I’ve done that year after year, after year, after year. And I told, and I doubled down.

It was a mattress. Let’s get another one. No, that, that piece that happened between leaving the store, going somewhere else. And, and here’s the, here’s the other thing I’m describing. A transaction and a customer. If this was truly done right, this would be. A, a, a journey and a clientele because I wouldn’t let you leave and make those mistakes.

I, I would have those answers for you here. So the end result is exactly what you and I both talked about. You know, it doesn’t end and, and stop with just the naked bear. If he wanted it to look like a fireman, he is gonna have his. All of his get up. If you want the full meal deal, it’s, and, and that full meal deal, it’s the patty, it’s the lettuce, tomatoes, the cheese, the buns, it’s the fries, the drink.

And do not forget the hot apple pie, man. And we’ve been happy just slinging patties and, and I’m talking about me, you know, and, and so when I woke up and I looked at that, I thought, wow, I fell very short. You know, now we, we gradually grew as an industry. We, we, we did masterfully at the mattress and, and I think we did masterfully at the pillow.

I think we did amazing with the adjustable bases. You can see that and, and in the interest. But, but that’s, that’s 60%. We absolutely fell short on the other 20. And the other 40, the four, the, the last 20 is the most exciting to me. But, but the, the 20 of the textiles, all of those textiles, we, we just went blind on those and, and uh, that was always such an intricate part of finishing off the sleep.

We fell short. Fell short, not don’t

Mark Kinsley: fall short. Well talk about what you’ve done in your store, because I know that you’ve reframed that experience of interacting with the textiles and pillows and those other 20% pieces that you’ve mis mentioned.

James Perez: So at More Plaza, that’s where, that’s where the clays at, about 70%, where that’s, that’s the one we’re still, as we do this then we’re, we feel comfortable to go and start replicating that throughout the stores.

So at More Plaza, we’re at 1.0 with the sheet experience, if you will, the textile experience, which is. Pretty awesome. But we are now here real soon, moving into 2.0, the full package of understanding that we are, we are partnering with peer care, Dr. Wheel, we’re doing, we’re gonna do some amazing things that when you come into the store, you’ll understand that.

You know, I pick my mattress, I make the consideration on the bottom. I I pick the right pillow that you’ll, you, the store should dictate that process. Not necessarily, you know, back to the way I used to have it. My process was putting you in a process to pick the right one mattress. You know, this, this process today is about, you know, completing every bedroom to the experience that you should have.

And, and, and, and it can be different experiences. Not one brand in every, every room you can have whatever experience you want. But that last 20 is what’s, what’s what I’m really excited about. The last 20, that’s me. The last 20 is me. That’s what you were talking about.

Mark Kinsley: Yeah. You’re talking about the burger.

You know, let’s, let’s, let’s save that analogy because here in a minute, you gotta start eating your own cooking, which is, if you’re gonna be a sleep shop and focused on that wellness piece, then the people have to be true believers. Yeah. You actually had a, an article up on the fam, uh, about true believers.

But before we go away from this burger analogy, all right, we’re thinking what, man, I’m getting hungry now before we go away from this burger analogy. It really is a perfect way to think about it for me. You know, talking about making it really basic to understand if you eat a bunch of hamburgers that don’t have.

You know, your mustard, your ketchup, your pickle, your onion, or however you like it. I love a toasted bun man. You know, quality ingredients, good bread, good beef, you know those good ingredients going in into it matter as well. But if you start leaving out those other condiments and the accessories and the pillows, and people naturally, and, and intuitively understand this, if I just slept on my mattress without sheets, Would that be comfortable to me?

Would that be the best experience if I left my pillow out every once in a while, would that be acceptable? Certainly not so intuitively we know it, but the way that people process putting that collection of goods together is never gonna happen to the best of its ability, in my opinion, unless you have somebody that understands it and builds value in it, and helps people connect the dots through the whole sleep system.

James Perez: Yep. And, and, and that’s how you grow the clientele. You know, uh, you know, we become that, that person that helps you obtain the very best night’s sleep that you can achieve. You know, and, and, uh, it, it, so it is a journey because in that last 20%, there’s specialty products, not just, you know, there’s diets and what, what I gotta eat at a, as a 55 year old guy that’s gonna, you know, I gotta be conscious of my metabolism and I gotta build muscle.

I mean, if you take. Just, uh, type two diabetics if you want to take the sugar outta their body, start building muscle. You know, there’s little things that, that we can all do. So that last 20 is, is really tying in the, the wellness, the health. That’s me saying, I really do care. I care about you being healthy and I’m in a place that can do it.

Not just to sell a rec tank. I’m not selling commodities. I mean, that’s boring. That’s boring. I, I wanna mean something to you. I wanna mean, so I want you to look at me fondly. Like you see that one doctor or chiropractor you like, or whoever, when you go out to a dinner, that guy means something to my health.

There’s a difference. Total difference than a mattress salesman. I don’t wanna be there no more. Shedding my skin.

Mark Kinsley: Shed my skin. I like it. Take me into that real quickly. I mean, I talked, uh, I’ve talked in the past a lot about this idea that whenever people come into buy a mattress, many times they’re going through some sort of transition and transitions represent uncertainty.

Uncertainty is fear. Fear means I want an assurance of an outcome. Whenever you have that opportunity, maybe it’s once every seven, eight years to talk to somebody about their health and wellness, about their sleep. That should be an incredibly important conversation. Now, how do you take that from, this is a transaction to I can help with transformation.

How do you make them a client like you talked about

James Perez: Mark, you’re hitting it right on the head. A mattress salesman is scared to ask, how did you sleep last night? Because he is scared. He’s gonna get blamed for it. But a sleep professional, sleep expert, I, I want to know because I can help. Let’s figure it out.

Let’s see your routine. What did you eat last night? Let’s narrow it down. Let’s figure it out. So I’m putting myself in through that. I’m gonna, I’m gonna wear a little ring. I hired me a coach that’s gonna teach me how to eat, you know, to push me to build the muscle. You know, I, I, I gotta, I gotta walk the talk and, and that last 20%, you know, I’m 55.

Surely I can do it now. And I gotta give you a lot of props at the sleep summit. When you did the bike riding? You know, at first I, you don’t know, I was intimidated. I was like, you know, shit, I ain’t riding a bike in a what man? And uh, and, and, and we did that yoga that, that, that high, when I started stretching my body, my body was screaming and I was thinking, wow, you know, and keep in mind, you know, I, I’ve been physical in my life, very physical and, and, uh, a lot of us that are running companies, the more we do up here, we think we’re being physical.

But the moment we jump out of that deer blind and our legs don’t hold us, and we fall at the ground, we realize, whoa, you haven’t been physical. So that’s the part I’m excited with. I’m, I’m gonna be joining, you know, and it, it, what a way to be engaged. Right now in my company, there’s, there’s people that come to work with their little bag of meals.

My son is one of them too. They people, you know, we get a box that comes in with, with a little, you know, they’re already. Uh, frozen or whatever, and he sticks ’em, they look like pizza boxes in, in my refrigerator, you know, and he’s, uh, they’re meal preps. They’re, they’re eating the right, you know, whatever protein complex car, all the stuff they need, and their workout and their, uh, So I’m now gonna start to join that, you know, and what a great time at, at my age, you know, but to tie it into the biggest love of my life, which was that rectangle, I knew it was better than just that.

And so in order to take it there, I’m gonna become one of the influencers. You know, I have to, and that’s why when you put together the sleep summit and you started drawing us together, that’s what excited me. You know, I, I could see myself grow into being, That influencer, you know? And, and, uh, I, I imagined that at Sleep Summit, you know, I can give you props for that big time.

That’s where I got the idea to come back and go, I need to do something.

Mark Kinsley: You know, that you weren’t the only person. That’s a, that’s a takeaway that is really starting to hit me now, and, and for people not familiar, you know, we have a, an invitation only event. And we’re gonna be doing larger events, so make sure you’re, you’re subscribed to the FAM News newsletter.

Just go to FAM News. You can subscribe. Something will pop up for you. But we had 30, 30 people get together, and I remember Jeff Veach from Culp walked away and he ended up losing 14 pounds. And he was, he was already pretty fit, but he wanted to take it to the next level. He wanted to sharpen that iron, and together the iron, sharpen the iron.

And, and I can’t tell you how many people did something. That was unexpected or new for them, something they may not have ever done that woke ’em up in a way and said, hold on a second. There’s something here that my body’s telling me, no, I should be able to do this. And as we know, especially after Covid, your health is everything.

If you don’t have it, you have nothing. You could have all the money in the world, you could have all the friends in the world, all the success in the world. But when your health deteriorates, everything goes downhill. And I tell you, I tell people what, look at it through the, through the vehicle of your sleep.

Analyze your health and wellness through your sleep. If you’re not sleeping well, that is the foundation of nutrition. Your body doesn’t produce growlin and leptin. If you miss your, your, your window of bedtime, your body doesn’t produce produce, h g h, it misses its entire window. That’s your muscle building.

And then on top of that, that’s, that’s all mapping back to sleep. You know, you, you crave those sugary foods whenever you don’t get a good night’s sleep, cuz of everything that’s going on from a hormonal perspective. So now your nutrition is suffering, your fitness is suffering. Um, you know, you’re, you’re foggy and cloudy.

Uh, and it’s right there. It’s the foundation of health and wellness. And, and James, I, you know, I have to challenge our industry a little bit because. Another insight I got from Sleep Summit, the event was whenever Mike Magnuson from Good bed.com said, I don’t know that consumers trust us to help them get a better night’s sleep.

He goes, if I go into Dick’s Sporting Goods to get a set of dumbbells, do I trust the person there to write up my fitness plan for the year? How do we overcome that and actually gain the credibility so that clients and consumers. Will look at us as exports, or at least look at us and give us the keys to the car to say, drive me to the right places and, and show me how to do

James Perez: this.

Well, that’s, that’s where I’m at. The, the, the gentleman I hired Robert Shark, um, is doing exactly that and, and what, what attracted me to him was his emphasis on sleep, what you said he said. No, that that is, that is, that’s a giant measurement and, and that’s the business that I’m in, and that’s something that I never even looked at.

I can tell you how many mattresses I sold. But, uh, I can’t tell you how many people I, I, I took to that place of, of healthy Night’s sleep, and that’s the part I’m investing in right now. So in order to do that, I have to learn. So James, with, with the passion and, and and energy that he had and that beautiful rectangle, he’s putting it into sleep and he’s using himself.

So I’m gonna be doing that and not just me. Uh, I’m, I’m getting other people to want to join as well, but what I was gonna say you is, I’m, I’m fortunate that I have some in the company already doing that, and, and, and I admire the, the, you know, the commitment that they have to their, their, their work. And you can see it, you can see it in their bodies and, uh, uh, so.

The so, so a guy my age that already has the issues of all of, you know, I couldn’t be a better test subject is what I’m saying. You know, the, the, the way that it, that, uh, that, that I have lived or the way that I haven’t slept or the way I haven’t paid attention to my diet. I can only make positive gains, so I make myself a great Guinea pig because it’s gonna be easy to show easy positive gains.

Like my, my son said, dad, it’s easy. You, you we’re gonna go put weight on you. You’re, you’re not going from a big size coming down. So I have some good elements to work with, so I. I’m gonna take James through that process to learn, to be able to talk very effectively with, with data, uh, and, and, and study.

You know, that last 20% means I need to learn. I need to learn as much as I can. Uh, I already know as a type two diabetic, the importance of the right foods, the wrong foods, anything you can turn into alcohol turns into sugar. You know, I know my little methods of how to. Understand foods today, but um, imagine today our category making a difference to where we do grab that trust where we’re asking, you know, I don’t, I, because I agree, we’re not there.

A mattress story is not there with the trust. No, absolutely not. But this place that I’m talking about it is. And, and, and when that happens, that’s the day clientele. You have clientele that that’s. That’s the Putin. I mean, that, that’s the Putin, you know, enough to where a family member would say, you don’t go anywhere else but there, you know, that’s, that’s the trust and, and no,

Mark Kinsley: it reminds me of.

Uh, of a, of an article that we put together that was about Top Gun The Maverick, the latest version. Right. So Love that movie. Love that movie. Such a great movie. Uh, the opening scene’s great, right? I was just thinking about that the other day when he was flying, uh, what To Go Mock 10 or whatever it was.

But that was a beautiful scene, but I, I remember. One of the lessons that I picked up from that, that actually Harry Roberts pointed out, uh, I don’t think it made it into that article, was you as the leader, have to fly the mission to show your team it can be done. Yeah. And I see you doing that. You are flying this mission.

You are being your own first test subject. You are going through the process of making yourself as healthy as you can be investing in your sleep, making sure that your sleep. Is something that becomes a priority. Um, you’re flying the mission.

James Perez: Yeah, no, absolutely. You, you, you nailed it. You nailed it. Uh, and, uh, you know, I.

You know, you mentioned Harry Roberts, you know, these are, these are giants, you know, in, in my world, you know, when I think of Paul Stork, you heard me mention Paul earlier, Paul, Harry, and Steve, you know, absolute giants in, in how I look at them and uh, um, I’ve never put myself there, but in my little company, my people do.

So. When they see us do that, the power of that, the, you know, I, I, I’m an old, you know, I’m an army veteran, you know, uh, Mike, my partner, Marine veteran, we will tell you, you know, our, our platoon leader or our drill sergeant, or the guy in front, he’d show you real quick without a blink of an eye. How to get it done.

If you even doubted that that could be done, and, and then, then that’s the last thing you wanted to do was watch him do that after he told you could do that. But, but the power of watching your leader do what you thought couldn’t be done. He just told what had to be done and, and gave you that vision. But to watch him do it, the power that in instant you could jump a mountain.

With the power that gets put inside of you, the passion that gets put back inside of your culture and your team members. So you hit it right on the head. Uh, uh, I, I couldn’t say it any better than that. That, that, that’s what I, that’s what we’re doing. Mike and I, uh, both we’ve said we have to be the example.

We sat down, we looked at each other and we said, we’re ready to do this. And he goes, yeah. I said, that means we’re, we’re on spot spot’s on us. You know? So, uh, yeah. Some big things. When, uh, when, when, when my team sees James drop the cigarette, you know, when they see some, some things they hadn’t seen before, the, the power, they get emboldened with power.

They, they believe it and they start walking firmly in that same path. But in order to get in health and wellness, you know, we’re gonna leave a lot of stuff behind.

Mark Kinsley: And I, one of the questions I had coming in is, how do you change culture because, You know, I, uh, in the book I wrote, come back to bed with, uh, with, with that section on, on branding.

It was, if you wanna develop a brand, then you’re gonna have to develop a brand that. Your people can pay off. You know, you can’t have, Hey, we’re, we’re Apple and you, you know, you got ketchup stains on your khakis, you’re pleaded khakis, right? So I was gonna ask you early on the thought about how do you actually change a culture?

How do you create a culture that shifts from one mentality to another? And I think you answered a big piece of that question, which is, I have to be the example. Are there other pieces of shifting a culture that you’ve noticed because it’s been a multi-year process and you’re still in it?

James Perez: Yeah. Um, you know, we started, we started early on when I said, you know, it’s been three years.

Um, we were able to deliver them some things that, that, um, you know, we believe were never possible. Um, So they’ve already been the recipient of some of these thoughts. One of them that I’m talking about specifically is work-life balance, uh, in, in South Texas. We made a firm decision three years ago. We’re going over three years now.

We close at seven o’clock. You know, um, not eight, we close at seven. Even holiday, we don’t extend the hour. Seven o’clock. Very important for them to go home and have dinner with the son, still out with their family. And I cannot tell you the power and the trust that has come back from our culture from that.

But as we started doing that, this is where we started unfolding the dream that we were leaving the mattress store. Business and we were moving in firmly into the sleep business and what that meant. So I, I kind of went out preaching the message before any of this went out. I went out until I started playing and having, you know, the questions.

And I would ask them how much of the mattress did they believe in? A percentage was responsible for the. Undisturbed complete night’s sleep. I was very specific in my words and that’s where I started uncovering, you know, nineties 70 fives and and eighties. And so through the conversation, if you will, I started doing real unique, you know, we’d go to lunch and I’d use the yellow.

Pink, blue, white packets of the sugar to break out my five areas of 20% to talk. And, and, and it was amazing how that picture started to develop as we started setting up the displays of the sheets to set up the very first ones we started moving and as it started to move. So it’s been slow, um, but. The, the managing of the games, if you will.

Great book out there. The games that people play, we just manage them. The, and, and, and it’s so true because, uh, the guys that are living at the 90 don’t want this to take off because the world is so easy the way it is selling the rectangle. So it, it, it’s been that, it’s been challenging, but it’s been fun, you know, at the end of the day, uh, My dad told me a long time ago, and this is what makes it really interesting, he said, you know, James, don’t, don’t ever bullshit a bullshit or don’t ever try to, you know, don’t let a salesman sell a salesman.

He’s just a horrible day when that happens. And so I already know that. So going into these, some of these guys been with me, 13. I can’t come to ’em with, with. You know, analysis of Wonderland story. It’s, it’s gotta be real, it’s gotta be direct. So I I, in, in, in the, in the articulation third grade, simple is how it all started.

Started with conversation, started with vision. Now, now we’re on 1.0, we’re moving into 2.0 and, and I’m telling you that I’m at about 65% there and there’s still more. So right now I can tell you I’m fully confident we’re gonna be there and, and, uh, um, and. What we’re going through is natural evolution, natural, leaving a place that we knew and loved and was so comfortable and knew it with our eyes closed to a new place that we’re learning and, and at the end of the day, I think the part that they’re gonna enjoy the most is they can truly now say for the first time in their lives, all of us, I’m a sleep expert.

I am. I truly am, you know, and before, you know, people called me a sleep expert, or maybe I did, or whoever else did. I was just really a mattress pillow and a bottom sales guy. I didn’t, that’s about all I did. I was doing 60% of the equation. I, I, I fell short. So now it’s, it’s fulfilling. I mean, if you take it all the way and they, and, and it’s understood that place should be filling and the size of our brick and mortar is a perfect size for ’em.

You know, I don’t wanna be a furniture store. I don’t,

Mark Kinsley: it takes, it takes a lot of guts. And a lot of eating a piece of humble pie to sit here and say, no, I, I called myself that and I wasn’t our people. We said this about ourselves and it wasn’t true. Mm-hmm. And gosh, what a great lesson for all of us to look in the mirror and really see what’s there.

And to look at our blind spots and try to get perspective to fill them in. I think what you’ve done is a very difficult thing for a lot of people. And I send, uh, a lot of gratitude your way on behalf of how I think about the industry. And at the end of the day, you know, like you said, seven o’clock and investing in health, I mean, you’re looking at the holistic picture of what it takes to be, um, somebody who is healthy and somebody who is well.

And, uh, I think that ripple effect is gonna be huge. And, and as I think about your journey as a sleep expert in the journey for the people that are with you, um, I think about our, our sleep summit quiz question. I mean, why not drop some knowledge on us today? But hey, before we get to that, I, the, the people want to know where is the strangest place James Perez has ever slept?

James Perez: Well, Fort Hood, Texas, on top of our topographic van North, Fort Hood, Texas, on the very top. So it’s an 18 wheeler and on the top of it with helicopters doing maneuvers over us. And that’s what we slept on. Hot Fort Hood Tech. Well, it’s not Fort Hood anymore. It’s re uh, re changes. It’s now General Cobas, but, uh, Uh, yeah.

On top of a 18 wheeler at North Fort Hood, Texas underneath, uh, black Hop Choppers, uh, during, during maneuvers in my reserve Army Reserve in Fort Hood,

Mark Kinsley: somehow you found a way to sleep through that.

James Perez: Yeah. That was the coolest thing ever. It’s the coolest thing ever. But, you know, talking about, you know how every layer’s important.

I was sleeping good. I had a one little foam layer and my sleeping bag on top of that metal. And just those two layers were the difference of a, of a comfortable, nice rest versus somebody down on the ground. I had it better, that’s why I was actually up there cause I didn’t have to be on the dirt and the ground.

I was, I was off the dirt cuz there’s a lot of brown clus, a lot of, uh, scorpions. And so way up there with the choppers flying, it blows everything off the top. So I had like my own ceiling fan and uh, wasn’t on the dirt.

Mark Kinsley: That is genius. Yeah. You really are a sleep genius.

James Perez: Yeah, I was even into sleep bed.

Mark Kinsley: All right, let’s, let’s learn something here. Let’s go back to our sleep summit quiz question. Okay. I’m gonna have you fill it in for me and make a guess, and as you’re listening along, you make your guess with us here. So viewing bright sunlight within 30 to 60 minutes after waking triggers a blank increase early in the day, which is when you want it to peak.

It sets your body for sleep later that night. What does being out in the sunlight trigger in your body?

James Perez: Melatonin.

Mark Kinsley: It actually, you know, I’m gonna, I’m gonna give you a little, uh, a gimme on this because it does actually set your melatonin for later in the day, but in this instance, Being out in the sunlight about 30 to 60 minutes after waking up triggers cortisol.

Cortisol early in the day when you want it to peak. Now look, let’s give cortisol a moment here because I think cortisol gets a bad rap because a lot of people associate it as a stress hormone, but there’s a little bit of science here, so cortisol does other things as well. It regulates your metabolism.

So cortisol helps control how your body uses fat proteins and carbohydrates for energy. Cortisol can also suppress inflammation. So in short little spurts, cortisol can boost boost your immunity by limiting inflammation. But if you have consistently high levels of cortisol, then your body can get used to having too much in your bloodstream, which can lead to inflammation in a weakened immune system.

So that sunlight gives you a little short burst of it, which is a good thing. But. In, in too much, uh, of a stressful situation. That’s when cortisol can be a bad thing. When you get too much of it. It also can regulate your blood pressure. So the, the exact way, they’re not exactly sure, but elevated levels of cortisol can cause high blood pressure, uh, and lower the normal levels can cause low blood, blood pressure, but so you want the right amount.

And, uh, last but not least, I mean, there’s a bunch of other stuff here, so I’m giving you a few highlights, but. Under normal circumstances, that little bit of cortisol counterbalances the effect of insulin type two diabetes, a hormone. Of course, your pancreas makes to regulate your blood sugar. So, uh, cortisol can be a good thing.

And if you get out in that sunshine about 30 to 60 minutes after waking, it does a lot of good for you.

James Perez: So check this out, mark. That’s the 20% I’m talking about. That’s also that exciting 20%. So, In this place, I should have a cone light that represents the sunlight. So if you’re traveling and you’re in a hotel room with no windows or whatever, I know you’s got good windows, but some belt and, uh, you could have that cone to replicate that sunlight to get what you need.

You know, again, that’s caring about that last 20% of, of what a person may need. You know, that’s, that’s, that would be, Guy like me. That’s my language,

Mark Kinsley: you know? Well, man, you’ve given us a hundred percent of what we need today, which is opening up your heart and sharing your story, and being so vulnerable and honest about it.

I appreciate it. I know everybody listening appreciates it. James Perez, c e o of that South Texas Swing and Mattress firm, franchise of 13 stores and a bunch of amazing people who are on their own health journeys and they’ve got an amazing leader setting. A great example. James, thank you so much for being part of the Sleep Summit Show.

James Perez: Thank you, mark. Appreciate you, my brother. Always.

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