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Going Global with Julie Rigby

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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 #12’s guest Julie Rigby is the Global Marketing Director for the largest Mattress company in the World, Tempur-Sealy!  She has some incredible stories about her journey from action sports to mattresses, from Kentucky to the UK, and of course from a Bar to a Pub!  Listed to hear how she navigated a male dominated industry and rose to massive success.

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Full Transcription:

Speaker: All right, welcome back to another episode of just stories with BT. It is season two, which means I have another amazing female powerhouse executive. This time. It’s Julie Rigby, global Director of Marketing internationally for 10. Percy Lee. So welcome. 

Julie Rigby: Hi, everybody. Thanks for having me. Really happy to be here. 

Speaker: Yes. So am I going to be a great conversation and as always, you know, prior to doing podcast, one of the things that, you know, I used to always love, you know, anytime I listen to podcasts, you know, like, you’d have that intro in the beginning? And sometimes I’ve heard it multiple times where people just go on and on about themselves. And sometimes people give like two word statements. So, it’s always like a hit or miss. So that being said, I’m going to take all the risk out, take the, the for you, you don’t have to worry about what do I say about myself? People always feel weird, like, what do I say, you know, I don’t want to brag or whatever. So, I will do it for you. I’m going to introduce Julie to this to everybody out there, whether you’re watching, listening, whatever. And so, when I’m done, and you can tell me if I blew it or not, or how right on I was, that’s Let’s hope for that one. Okay.

Julie Rigby: Okay. 

Speaker: All right. So here we go. All right, Julie Rigby. She was born in Roscoe, Illinois, where she lived all 18 years until going to college, she was an only child. So, she learned a lot from her mom and her dad, obviously, her mom taught her really strong work ethic dad taught her who was an ex pro baseball player, by the way, taught her creativity, visionary mindset, but both of them double down on being competitive. And so that was kind of part of your blood, obviously. So, a sport. So, as she grew up, she was really big into gymnastics, in fact, got so big into that between the ages of four to 13, she was even competing at like one level below the Olympics. That’s pretty awesome. Got into basketball, soccer track, but ultimately landed on volleyball, which I’ll talk about in a minute. Grew up loves all other sports, too. Unfortunately, I’ll hold against you that you are big Jordan fan. I was a hashtag Magic Johnson fan. So I did not actually like Michael Jordan, which you know, I’m one of the few. However, this is about you. So as we cruise on, you know, there was a moment in your life, a pivotal moment as a kid where you were at visiting Chicago O’Hare, airport. And notice all these people walking around in the business suits with the big phones on their hips. And you thought yourself, that’s me, I want to be in business. And so that was kind of the key of like, Alright, I’m going to drive towards this, but sports was still a huge thing. So thankfully, because you were so good at volleyball, you got a scholarship for University of North Florida for volleyball and academics. So double threat girl, that’s awesome. You majored in international business and marketing, which is really cool. Obviously, that would help you down the road. And you did spend one summer abroad in France studying, which gives you a love for traveling and a love for Europe, which obviously was probably one of the things that led you to moving over there. As you started out, after college, you worked in marketing, but around sports, so you work with a PGA Tour, then you work for a marketing firm hosting NCAA basketball events in Provence. And at that time, you’re getting your MBA, one of the things while you’re getting your MBA was that you learned about product development, right and designing products. And so, you fell in love with that ended up falling into a job with Temper-Pedic. This is way before temper-sealing. This is what was just temperpedic as a product development manager, worked your way up, fell in love with international business as you had studied earlier on, and had an opportunity to take on some new roles and then eventually move over across the pond to take on marketing roles, communication roles, but eventually landed in the Director of Marketing Communications for the International Business of TempurPedic, which is super, super exciting. During that some of the highlights were developing and launching the temperate cloud, which was a game changer in our industry. So I definitely want to talk about that. You also got to redo the International Business brand for temper, which is huge. Through all that there were some small thing that happens like you got married to a cool guy named Jeff, you had a kid named Henry, who’s now age two. And you also have stepchildren living in the USA. And all that has gotten us to today where you survived the pandemic. You’re almost about to go back to the offices maybe. And now you’re on the just sorts of beauty podcast.

Julie Rigby:  

Wow. You did great. I can’t believe you remembered all that. That’s nice. 

Speaker: Oh my gosh. Well, I like took so first of all for all the listeners. So, the way this works is I’ll reach out like talk to you a, some guests. I know some I don’t this Julian I met like seven minutes ago. And but I’ll ask like some of these background questions. And so, I send over thing Hey, just fill some of these out so I can have you know, an idea. So, Julie legitimately wrote a novel, and it’s phenomenal. So, I know more about her history than I do like some of my family members. But it’s very exciting. It was very exciting because I was like, man, she’s awesome. 

Julie Rigby:And I can’t wait to talk So congrats to you family members too if you need to.

Speaker: So tell me so that was the flash for what did I miss? Is there any other giant milestones that I missed?

Julie Rigby:  Wow, no, I don’t I don’t think so. I really think you’ve hit it all. I mean, I’ve lived in a couple of places, um, you know, but haven’t worked for, you know, too many companies. So yeah, sports marketing and the betting industry. And here we are, I don’t think there’s too much more than that.

Speaker: So,tell me, you know, obviously, the good thing is sometimes I have people on and they may work for companies, not everyone’s familiar with. The good thing about this is that obviously, everyone knows TempurPedic, which is phenomenal. So, tell me, what was it like, before we get into the stories and kind of learning more about you? I’m so curious, what was it like, when you left, you know, you’re living in, I’m assuming at the time you’re working at the corporate offices in Kentucky or whatever, right? And then you get the job to move across, you know, move over to Europe or whatever. What’s that, like, when you move over there? Because obviously, TempurPedic I can’t imagine is as big there at the time, right?

Julie Rigby:  No, not at all. So yeah, it was, it was like a completely different universe, to be honest, you know, you would think, hey, they speak English. How difficult can it be? But, you know, number one, obviously, the culture in England is, is quite different and, you know, it’s amazing living outside of London is amazing but yeah, just really different culture is, you know, it was even just like, okay, where’s the post office? And how do I find that and trying to learn how to drive again, on the other side of the road, and really just being so confused. So, it was a, it was definitely, you know, kind of personal challenge in terms of just adapting to a new culture. But then the office was completely different as well. So in Lexington, at TempurPedic at the time, oh, I want to say there was maybe 300 people 350, something like that. And, you know, a lot of people, you’d always just stop and chit chat in the hallway, you know, maybe that would take place of, you know, covered, instead of having a meeting, you just solve a couple of things in the hallway, everybody’s really friendly and knew each other. I moved over here, and there was probably about 15 people, and I was one of three women and, you know, people didn’t always chit chat all the time, you kind of scheduled meetings, and it was just very different. I would say now, you know, it’s definitely Chrome. There’s a lot more people there’s, you know, very diverse. But yeah, what I what I came here at the time, I was the only expert outside of the EU, which is just surprising for an international company. Yeah. And, I was just, it was just a different world. And then you have to figure out, it was so complex, the organization and, you know, there’s people living all over the world that you’re going to work with, so you really have to figure out who they are. And they’re not in the office with you. So yeah, kind of what we’re experiencing in the pandemic a little bit right now. 

Speaker: But yeah, I bet that, you know, probably prepared you a little bit for this, you know, going through, you know, having to meet with people in different areas. I know, my sister recently changed jobs A while back, she’s the global Vice President for this PR for this tech security firm called bit defender. And they’re a Romanian company. And so, you know, this amazing opportunity, and she jumped out and she knew people that work there. And so she took these maybe like six months ago, but she just didn’t know like, Oh, what is it going to mean to work with a company in Romania? Well, what it means is the meeting start at 5am. That’s what I mean her. So literally everyday for she’s got to get up, get ready, you know, because they’re ready to rock over there. You know, so it was like, oh, man, so I can get it, I can totally get that. So, tell me, you know, but, you know, one of the things that we love to do this podcast, obviously, is highlight people like yourselves, but we want to get to know you, besides just Hey, we hear what you do, you know, you created these cool things, you made these campaigns, all this stuff is amazing. But we want to know the person behind all that, you know, and so one of the things I love to do is start out with a story or some stories that you know, just from your career, that you look back on, as you know, super funny or entertaining, or memories that you laugh at. So just anything you think of that we could get to know you a little bit.

Julie Rigby:  Yeah, I’m trying to get some kind of funny ones. I mean, you know, some of those kind of early days. I was at Las Vegas market. I’m sure a lot of people know that. And I had just started at TempurPedic and was just trying to get to know everybody. So, I was probably there maybe a month. And, you know, just networking within our own company, just saying hi, but most of the people that are there, you know, are within the sales organization. And at one stage, I had spent some time talking to a gentleman for I don’t know 10 or 15 minutes just chit chatting and you know, and then I just kind of said, Well, you know, what’s your name? And what do you do? and ended up being the CFO? And I had absolutely no idea because his name badge was turned the wrong way. So nice. Yeah, it was kind of one of those. Oh, I should probably know that. But yeah, it’s fine. He didn’t care. So but yeah, no. I would say,  I’ve done some crazy things to where, you know, I just look back. And, you know, I’m like, why did I do that? It was a good idea at the time. So, there was a conference coming up. It was while I was, since I’ve been over here in England, and there was just a piece of content, I knew exactly what to create. And we needed it. And it was really important. And I knew exactly the agency to do it. But they were based in Melbourne, Australia. And so, I had literally probably about two weeks to make this piece of content. So, I ended up getting budget. I’m on a week’s, probably less than a week’s notice, getting on hopping on a plane and flying to Melbourne, which is like 27 hours there. I was there for maybe just over two days, and then flew all the way back, you know, another 27 hours or so. I was like I was there just as much as I was flying. And oh, no, it was crazy. But hey, it works. And the best part was I got to see a bunch of kangaroos hopping around. Yes.

Speaker: Nice. Yeah, I love I love Australia. It’s such a cool place. And it’s funny, because when I think I’ve been Australia a couple times, but I can never think of Australia without thinking about how brutal my flight back was. The longest day of my life, I’m convinced, you know, like, there’s days that just seem to last forever. And that was definitely one because I remember flying out. And that you have the tailwind or whatever behind us. I remember it was like 14 or 15 hours from wherever I was flying from. On the way back, yeah, you’re going into the wind or something. And it was like 17 hours. But on the way back, I was in the very back by the bathrooms. And every seat was filled. It was a coach. And I just remember after like five hours starting to feel a little like, oh my god, I’m getting claustrophobic. Like, I can’t get up. But people are just using the restroom all the time. And I’m like, and it just lasted for, like 10 days. I felt like I wasn’t that stupid playing, you know?

Julie Rigby: But did you have a good time? 

Speaker: I did know I loved Australia’s well worth it. Of course, you know, and I know like, I mean those the hard part about when you travel like that, too is that you’re so jetlag in. So turned around when you get to the place that you’re like, what’s happening, you know, and then you come, but you might not even ever adjust in just five days. You just kind of did it all. 

Julie Rigby: Yeah, I think I was just constantly sort of in a cloud, but you know, hey, it, you just you just push through, right? You get a bit of adrenaline once you get there. And yeah, make it make it happen. It is still the only time I have been to Australia, by the way. So I would like to go for, like an actual vacation or something. 

Speaker: Yes, you need to go you need to definitely need to go back for sure. So I guess the most important question with that is where you least able to fly business class.

Julie Rigby: I was.

Speaker: Which is great, because that’s the whole different thing. I remember traveling internationally to a bunch of things when I was younger, and I did some documentary films and all stuff. We never had money. So, we were always in coaching on these long flights. And it was miserable. But then for work, you know, I’ve got to travel around and lush, I guess like two years ago, we went to China and Thailand, you know, for I was I was building these adjustable bases. And so we were flying around, and the companies were paying for and everything was business, you know, business class. And there was a point I remember on his flight coming back from China where I was actually bummed that I landed because it was like, you had your own sleep pod. every movie like I was working. He’s like, no one’s like bothering you. You’re just kind of in your zone. And I was like, Man, this is nice. Like, this wasn’t even bad. It is so nice. 

Julie Rigby: Yeah, I mean, it just makes such a difference. And it is I think for you know, all of that travel and all of those hours of the jetlag, it’s sort of a nice, I don’t know, it takes the edge off a little bit when you can cozy down into the pod and, you know, watch a good movie or something. 

Speaker: Oh, absolutely. So, so tell us, you know, obviously, you’ve had an amazing career to get where you are. We’re going to talk in a little bit about you know, specifically around kind of being a female and coming up in this industry, you know, but I did want to ask like so obviously, to get to where you are, you know, it comes with lots of successes, but also lots of hurdles. You know, tell us a story like, when was a time when, you know, you really struggled? Or you had a failure? Or you had something that didn’t go your way and kind of how you overcame it?

Julie Rigby: Yeah, sure I guess, you know, something that came to mind, and I think it’s quite, it’s actually quite formative of me. And it’s not, you know, one specific moment. But and, you know, I’m not going to make this, you know, a rant about a particular boss, but I hadn’t you know, well, you know, I had a boss actually, that he called himself the corporate seagull. And if he listens to this, he will know, he will know who he is. So, do you know what a corporate seagull is?

Speaker: No, but I’m dying to know.

Julie Rigby:  Okay, so it self, he was the self-proclaimed corporate seagull. So, what that means is, he would fly away, and you might not see him for a while, and then all of a sudden, he would fly back and shit all over everything, and then fly back away. So it was just, he had this kind of, you know, it was very, sort of very hands off to an extreme. He was a great mentor, I learned so, so many things from him. And, but, you know, at one stage, he was just pulled in so many directions. He was the one, you know, in business, or even first class, you know, airline tickets, where they have the little showers on the plane, he had all kinds of stories about those flights. but yeah, so it was just, you know, I felt, I think it was at a stage where I was kind of moving in from a more tactical role into a more senior role. And I think part of that management style was, on purpose. And I think part of it was also because he was just, you know, getting pulled in a a zillion direction. But, you know, I would want to check in, but I think we would have check ins maybe every two to three weeks, which, you know, wasn’t really very often and so. Also, you know, I think at first, it was just really frustrating. And, you know, you don’t, you didn’t feel maybe you didn’t feel important, or, you know, didn’t feel like you were getting the, the guidance that you needed, but then ultimately, you know, what that did was I learned how to, you know, be comfortable, overcoming hurdles on my own and being comfortable, you know, making decisions and being comfortable, just kind of figuring out and, and moving ahead, you know, I, there was no way, you know, to get stuff done, there was no way to wait for a couple of weeks. But actually, you know, that style in many ways just helped me, you know, helped me really learn how to think things through and influence internally, and, you know, get kind of moved from that more tactical kind of execution level really kind of into a more senior level. So, you know, helped me understand kind of my, own strengths and weaknesses, and, my own style, really, yeah, it was, interesting. He’s great. guys still keep in close touch with them, actually. But, yeah, I would, call that, you know, a really kind of pivotal sort of learning process. I think for me, yeah. 

Speaker: That’s cool. Yeah. I mean, there’s always those times when, you know, you’re in your career, because we’ve all had, you know, especially if you have a longer career, you have multiple managers, multiple leaders, you know, people kind of come in come out, and everybody has their own style. And so I think that’s always the, that’s like, the scary and exciting part, you know, when you get new bosses is like, wait, what kind of help? Am I getting? What kind of guidance again, what kind of my guidance? Am I not getting? You know, and ultimately, that style can be scary, because, you know, the person is actually letting you figure it out on your own. But also, that’s scary, because you’re like, wait a minute, I’ve got to figure it out on my own, you know, exactly. 

Julie Rigby: Yeah. And I think, you know, I’m some people and I find this in employees that I have. Some individuals want, you know, more feedback and more check ins than others. And, you know, what do you do, if you can’t get all of those and how do you how do you overcome that and how do you kind of push forward so it was it was kind of an interesting style, but in many ways, it actually worked, you know, worked really well and I do, appreciate it. So.

Speaker: Yeah. And what happened when, you know, was there any challenges or anything that you can think of that was just, you know, the we could learn about because I don’t even know how this happened. But, you know, what was it like going through the temper Sealy merger?

Julie Rigby: Yeah, I had just moved International, you know, at that point. So to be honest, for us, it wasn’t that difficult because we sort of all of a sudden had a couple of new brands to market. So Caelian, Stearns, and foster at the time, were kind of managed by licensee businesses that we, more or less, kind of, took ownership of, and, you know, gave our hand out. And in some cases that the business models in the international state the same, I think, in the US, it was very different. So, I think , I actually had, you know, this integration of teams and employees, and, you know, there was a lot of, I think, churn in different departments. I’m particularly in the marketing team. So But I mean, to be honest, I wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t there for that kind of on the day to day, so yeah, so you kind of lucked out to say did yeah, on the sidelines, and it’s okay, I’m over here, just going to do my thing. Yeah. But, you know, I mean, those kinds of things just aren’t easy. Because like, nobody, you know, you’re not certain of just, you know, what, is your role? And where do you fit? You know, how, what is the structure like, so it’s, those aren’t easy, I’ve been lucky. but, you know, we sort of added some brands, as opposed to kind of merging teams together. So.

Speaker: That’s cool. Tell me and this, and I didn’t ask you about this ahead of time. So if you don’t have any comment on it, that’s fine because I think I feel like if I look back over the last decade, especially It was like, like you mentioned, or 13 years ago, you’ve launched the cloud, that’s a huge thing. You know, the brand goes more vertical, you know, good relationships, you add all these different products, obviously, the recent new products were amazing. But there were a couple iterations in there, there was the simplicity, that didn’t go very well. And there was like, the air the air bed, I came, I was called, what was the?

Julie Rigby: Oh.

Speaker: You know, we tried to like, yeah, or some, something like that, or whatever. So those obviously didn’t work, you know, so like, did you know, coming from your world, did you have to deal with that kind of, you know, massaging those things in marketing at all, or, or no? 

Julie Rigby: Yeah, well, so, I was a part of simplicity. But luckily, actually, when it launched, I had moved over to the UK.

Speaker: So nice. I’m seeing a trend here. You miss all the tough stuff. 

Julie Rigby: I know, I kind of, you know, I did some things. And then I left. 

Speaker:Yeah, exactly.  

Julie Rigby: Yeah. So, I think what’s interesting, with simplicity, really is sort of like, you know, we had had a lot of success with cloud like that, that was kind of the main predecessor, there was some other kind of smaller product launches. After that, you know, just kind of some refreshes and things and then yeah, and then came simplicity. And we were trying really hard to just hit, like, hit this price point. And it just didn’t go well. And there’s, you know, a million reasons for that. And I’m sure, you know, I know that that has been digested and analyzed, you know, over and over again  and, yeah, I mean, there was just, in general, kind of some bad decisions that were made. I think we just, we didn’t pay attention to some consumer research as potentially, you know, very you know, alarming, like, Hey, you know, you need to go this way, and you need to watch out for that, you know, like, Oh, shit but, you know, I think there was a bit of arrogance, if I’m honest, just, you know, hey, we can we launch cloud, we can do this, but it didn’t work. 

Speaker: Yeah. No, I love that side of it. You know, I mean, because at the end of the day, I think from, you know, at the time was always a retailer, all those years, you know, a big retailer, so it was like a big deal. And I can remember, you know, I think, at least for me, anyways, from the outside looking in, it was kind of like one of those, hey, you’re really good in your lane. And you’re amazing up here, and like that’s your wheelhouse and double down on that instead of trying to like swoop down and get all this lower business, but that’s not your wheelhouse, not what you do. You know, and so, it was interesting, but I think that, you know, obviously, you can say it even better than I could ever but obviously, all those challenges obviously led into, you know, eventually launching the product series, which I thought, you know, were some of the greatest beds of all time. You know, I mean, those things just I couldn’t believe it at the time when we got one, I was at a retailer at the time, and we launched those. And I’ve never seen customers respond to beds that way. It was pretty incredible. 

Julie Rigby:Yeah, there are absolutely great products totally, totally loved them. They’re, they’re outstanding. So, yeah.

Speaker: So tell us, you know, we talked about, you know, obviously, going through some struggles, and, you know, having to figure things out, you know, what, was the story or a couple stories you can think about when, you know, in your career that you thought, like, Oh, my God, like, I’m having some success here.

Julie Rigby:  Yeah, well, I guess a couple of things. So, you know, I think getting anytime you kind of get funding for something new or exciting, that, you know, isn’t typical, right. So, when I, when I moved over to international, I mean, I have a cloud example of that, too. But, when I moved over to the international group, you know, the marketing sort of maturity was not as far as where it is in the US. And there was a campaign, but it’s getting really stagnant. it had really run its course, right, and we needed a new campaign, we needed to really invest, and we needed to kind of shift the brand image. And the precedent of the International Business wasn’t yet, like, fully bought in, he needed a little bit of convincing, I would say and yeah, it was just, you know, we had it, we had the idea, we had the vision, we had, you know, how it would be executed. It was a great idea, it had depth and breadth. I just kind of asked him for some time and walked in and walked him through it. And ultimately, I walked out with Yes, go do it, you know, and it was he committed budget and, you know, obviously, you know, was very involved in, you know, really committed and interested after that, of course, if you spend a lot of money, he wants to know where it’s going. But Yeah , I think it was, it was really key. And it just felt great. It was kind of like, okay, you know, I can kind of change it change the business and the and the culture, I think the international culture was, has been harder to change than when I was in the US. It was like, really entrepreneurial and fast moving. And, you know, there was just so much opportunity if you had a great idea. A lot of the times it was Yes, go do it. I think the international group has been harder. So that one really just felt like a big win. Yeah.

Speaker: Before you tell another one, though, I want to what’s is that initial feeling like the when you walk out of that office? And you had the Yes. Right? Because then it’s like, is it then relief? Is it pressure? Yeah, because now you’ve got this huge funding. And this idea, it was an excitement, what was that? Like? 

Julie Rigby: Well, I probably first like went and had a beer with the team, like, Hey, good job. But you know, after you celebrate a little bit, then yeah, it’s pressure, for sure. Because you don’t want to disappoint right? You want to be able to carry through on that vision and carry through on what you promised. And that’s, you know, a really important element, right? You can’t, you will have potentially limited success if you do sell in these ideas, but then don’t deliver and don’t execute, right. So being able to do all of that is important. But to me, you know, the creative bit and the marketing side is so much fun. So, it’s just what I enjoy. So, you know, yeah, it’s a hell of a lot of hard work, but at least if you’re, you know, enjoying it and enjoying the creative process, then that makes the difference But yeah I did so after that campaign, launched, kind of the ultimate sort of culmination and sort of pinch me moment, I think, my husband and I went to want to Thailand on vacation, and you know, just relaxed. I’m actually trying to forget about work, but we walked into the Bangkok airport, and there’s a big ad, and it’s from that campaign, and I’m like, Oh, I don’t know it just had this, you know, amazing moment of, you know, put in all the hard work. Got the buy in, you know, I created the bridge. I was at the shoot, you know, approved all the creative and work with the team to execute and then there it was. 

Speaker: So that was just pretty cool. Pretty cool. That is awesome. Yeah, I have like the opposite story of that. Which is, so I, when I was the company for this when I was at this company called living spaces, amazing Furniture Company, you’re kind of blown up all over the US. And, I ran revive which was our bedding department, you know, and the idea was to blow it up and have it be, you know, like a store within a store and, and open up all this business. And so, one of the first things that we did, when I got there was launch a TV, start launching TV campaigns and commercials just for revive because before that I was just part of the furniture store. So, we create a brand new identity and new logos. I mean, the whole nine yards, we you know, build all these showrooms. It’s everything’s going well, and we wanted to do a, we were doing everything up to that point was promotional. So, you know, discounts you know, Labor Day Sale that it does say, Oh, and I was like, and we talked about and brainstormed around. Let’s do some like branding spots. Like what makes revive cool, you know, like we’ll do behind the scenes, we’ll do shots in the store. We’ll talk about the team, we’ll talk about our giving events, like all this stuff, I’m like, this is great. So I’m helping write the scripts. And you know, we brainstormed all the topics and we get the cast. And we you know, we get this really good film crew, and everything’s perfect. And then the night before, it’s actually yeah, it’s literally like nine at night before our shoot that is the next day, I get a text from one of the people on like the marketing team, and they’re like, hey, bad news. One of the actors, like got sick or something, can’t do it. And then we had to be at the shoot, it was 4am. Like was to get there to get dressed because we had to shoot for three or four hours before the store opened for this one shot. And she goes, but here’s the thing. He’s like six to six, three kind of tall then. And I’m like, Yeah, she’s like, so yeah, we need you to do it. I’m like, what, like, well, it’s not a night and the shoots at 4am and you fit the description. So you’re about our only shot. So I’m like, oh my god. So I’m like, Okay, so then here I am, I show up, you know, like for him and like, you know, they’re doing the makeup and you’re getting your outfit and all this stuff. And I do the shoot the whole day. And I’m super embarrassed the whole time because he’s like, a they’re like, you know, professional actors and actresses. And there was a scene where and I’m still to this day, like I’ll never live it down. The directors like there’s a jingle for living spaces like this song, this jingle and he’s like, hey, I want you guys like just we’re just riffing, you know, like, between scenes, like, I want you guys to sing the jingle. And maybe it’ll be like a funny little thing outside. And I had the mic at the time, like, you know, one of the mics. And I can’t sing like horrible voice the whole nine yards. And so, like we do like a scene and it’s like that, like whatever, do the thing. And then the directors like Cut and he goes, I don’t feel bad about this, but out that one tall guy that works here. Yeah, we need to remove the mic from and then do it again. So, the crew comes out everyone stops and so they can take the whole mic out of my stream and stuff just so they can do the jingle and not hear my horrible voice. So that was and then okay.

Julie Rigby: But everybody can see it, you know? 

Speaker: Yeah, it was it was awful. And people were videoing that work with me that came to the shoot that day. And like I’m like, oh God, and then it got worse because the commercial debuted during the first regular season football game. This is like four years ago or something. And so that night, all my friends we do like a fantasy football thing for like 10 years. We were all together to watch this game. And I didn’t know it was airing that night. So like the second commercial break here it comes it pops up and I’m like the first person on the screen. And everyone just starts laughing because it’s super cheesy and I made it look cheesy and they like screenshotted it and that became like our it I just never lived it down. They were like Oh, it looks like living spaces can’t afford actors. You know, just never lived it down. You know? 

Julie Rigby:So that was a breakout moment you know you should have said you know how much you earned you know, all of this extra money or something and now 

Speaker: I know I should have I’m still I’m still waiting for my royalty checks never got I don’t know, I they must be exactly lost in the mail somewhere.

Julie Rigby: So, doing everything you can write for the company. 

Speaker: Exactly. Hey, you got to do it, you got to do so. So tell me I want to switch gears slightly. You know, one of the things about this season to the podcast you know, the first season was these eight CEOs that you know, really utilize giving back as their strategy. So they had a really good conversation around how they will have giving back into the business and this kind of stuff and this season you know, like I said, it’s about bringing on different female executives in our industry and the reason is just because you know, a couple things I know I shared this before we got on but you know, my current leadership team is all female except for one guy. So, it’s just me and one other guy. And it’s phenomenal and we have a great team but as these amazing women are navigating. This new career, none of them come from the furniture, mattress space, they all come from different places. And so, they’re learning it. They’re reading podcasts, they’re joining groups, they’re like really trying to dive into this industry and they want to grow, they want to go far they want to become executives, right? And yet, they’re learning that like, wow, there’s just not a lot of mentors for them outside of our company. There’s not a lot of, you know, like real female powers executives, and they have a great question like, my HR manager, Ck, who’s really close. We’re really close. She said, you know, I don’t get it. Because isn’t like, you know, you’re always telling us that, like, 80 90% of the buying decision is generally done by the female partner, you know, and I’m like, that’s true. So it’s like, we have an industry that’s led by female buyers, and yet, we don’t have very many female executives. So can you tell me A, you know, why do you think that is? And then B, I’d love for you to tell me just like, tell us in the listeners, you know, like, how was it trying to come up in this mattress industry? You know, being a female? Were there any issues you had or anything like that? So anything you could try them on? Both of those would be awesome. 

Julie Rigby: Sure, yeah. Why are there no, are a few, I guess, female executives in the industry? You know, I don’t know, I think it’s a really good question. I wonder if it’s, you know, possibly just because, you know, I think if you think of sort of a furniture kind of f&b sort of retail, which is really where it all started, right. I think there’s, you know, a lot of family businesses or used to be, and that’s kind of, you know, possibly where it all started. But, you know, ultimately, those did really just tend to be male dominated. And then as they get bigger and bigger, you know, it, you know, becomes, you know, sort of this corporation, or even this really huge family run business. But still, for some reason, I think, not only the people on the shop floor, but then also the people, you know, in the corporate office just tended to be male dominated. I don’t know that I have a reason for that other than maybe just kind of his history, and maybe where furniture shops started, you know, many years ago, and, you know, you do have a lot of kind of mom and pop shops that ended up becoming, you know, big corporation. Yeah. So, yeah, it’s an interesting one. you know, I know, it is interesting, kind of seeing things change, as well. I know, you know, still in the mattress industry, there aren’t that many female executives, I think a lot of furniture businesses, they’re starting to be more, which is, which is quite promising. I think you’re starting to see more female execs and CEOs in furniture, so you know, have to have to crack the mattress industry as Yes. So, yeah, so that’s exciting. but what was it like, for me, I definitely noticed that. So, like, when I started at TempurPedic. You know, there really were, I would say, few to none, senior executives that were women. And, you know, over time there, there might have been a few kinds of women in senior positions, but maybe they weren’t necessarily also considered role models. So, you know, as kind of a young, kind of aspiring professional at that time, yeah, you’re really just kind of craving, you know, somebody that could serve as a mentor or a role model for you and, you know, for kind of the young women you know, I think what, you know, people would do, would be to look outside of the company or the industry or networking groups. There have been a couple, you know, like, I remember being a part of the, with IT organization at the time, which was, you know, kind of female networking within FMB basically, which was, which was helpful, but, you know, not necessarily on a day to day basis, I do you know, as I said, things are changing, and I definitely notice a lot more kind of female executives and role models like really strong kind of figures that you would look up to and you would aspire to be. I think companies are making a purposeful. You know, kind of vision and mission to fill those and to, you know, be really aware of kind of their organizational makeup and who’s a part of that but yeah for me it was hard, it really was. I would say I had one really good friend and mentor when I was at tempur-pedic in the US, she wasn’t in a super senior position, but she definitely got there. And she acted that way, you know, having from Procter and Gamble in the past. And she was absolutely amazing. And, you know, just having that sort of leadership style, just, I mean, it, it really means the world to you, you know? 


Julie Rigby: So, yeah, and then moving to international, again, same type of problem, it was sort of like going almost like going back in time a little bit.

Speaker: Oh, no.

Julie Rigby: It was just, you know, purely kind of purely male dominated, you know, fewer, no, you know, female role models. And again, now, that’s changed. But it is, I think you, you do feel like you kind of have to fit into the boy’s club for sure. Or, or did so. You know, you it was kind of just trying to find the right way to assert your leadership or your position or your point of view. But, you know, without kind of throwing off the dynamic of the group. And, yeah, I would, I would definitely say, you know, at times, you know, definitely feeling like a boys club. I, you know, I’ve only recently become a mother. So, I didn’t have to balance sort of, you know, married life and, you know, being a mom, during, I would say the stages that were more challenging, or you didn’t have a role model. But that’s like a whole nother dynamic when you add. Yeah. I don’t know. I mean what are you guys finding? I mean, things are things are shifting, and is it easier for your leadership team and for your younger?

Brett Thornton: I mean, you know, I think that, I think there’s two responses to that, which is, you know, because I work for, you know, a company that was you know, brought about from the DTC world, right. And so, you know, one of the things that avocado did early on, was that they basically decided not to hire anybody from within the industry, you know, not like from a, you know, an HR perspective, like, we’re not going to hire these people, but basically just, they just went out and like said, Hey, we’re going to pull from this different group of people who’s really into sustainability, and organics and all this kind of stuff. And then we’ll just learn to sell this product is happens to be in this field. So the feel of the organization is nothing like anything I come from, because I’ve been in the traditional world for 17 years, right retail, and, you know, the big brands and whatnot. And so that was, you know, refreshing from one perspective, because it was like, oh, cool, this feels different feels almost like a tech startup in San Francisco, or something, you know, and very progressive and all this stuff. Very diverse, very, you know, balanced across the board, which was great. And I’ve noticed a lot of the DTC brands are like that, because they didn’t start from the industry, they didn’t pull from the industry. And so they just became this new, you know, more of a new age, Hades built in, in the late, you know, 2015 sixteenths, and things are more diverse and whatever, which is good. So, I think that’s, you know, going to influx, the market, because obviously, these brands are big part of the whole thing now, right. So especially as they go to retail, and different things, you know, everything will shift out, I think a lot of the smaller dtcs will go away, but the big ones will become big players. So that helps the overall industry because I think those companies won’t have the same dynamics that the big companies had, you know, and have had, because they had such a long history, as you said, coming family owned furniture has been more male dominated. And as they spread out, that will help. However, on the downside, as that’s happening, the challenge is, I think a lot of these especially, you know, like, you know, maybe younger millennials, or, you know, people who are just starting a career for the first time. You know, and if you’re a female, and you work for these betting companies, like you said, Where’s your mentor, and because in my mind, you know, I think having an internal mentor in your organization is great, but I’m also a huge proponent of you need to have a mentor to outside your company, you know, that’s going to give you the, you know, the real feedback and stuff that maybe someone at your work can. And I think that’s the challenge is right, like, where are people looking up to today? Who are they looking up to? Where are all the powerhouse CEOs, you know, where are the presidents, you know, there’s just a handful. If you go on LinkedIn, and you type in any of the big companies, any of the massive furniture companies in the big retail companies, LinkedIn ranks it by seniority, when you go, you know, when you search those companies and then just look right, look down. How long does it take before you get to a chief level or then You know, enterprise VP level or senior vice president, right? Who’s a female, you got to generally go down the list 10 or 15. So that’s, that’s the problem. And so, I guess that my question, I pose it back to you as a question, which is like, what’s the solve for that? You know, how do we attract more amazing females into this industry? Because most the time, and I’m sure, not always, but most people I meet male, female, no matter what ethnicity background, generally, once they get in the industry, they actually really love it. It’s a great play, like people are super friendly, it’s fun. It’s not like people are like, get out of here, you know, stay off my lawn. It’s doesn’t not feel that way. But how do we attract more amazing female talent into the industry?

Julie Rigby: Yeah, well, absolutely. I think  you’ve know, hit a good point, which is, I think, you know, on the outside, maybe it isn’t that appealing, maybe, you know, it’s beds or mattresses, which, you know, again, sort of think about it from a consumer standpoint, you don’t think about it that often, right? It’s not a Top-of-Mind category. But once you’re in it, it’s super dynamic. And there’s so much happening, and there’s all kinds of really exciting companies within the industry. And you know, like me, I didn’t know how long I would be here, but I’ve been here for quite a while, because I keep getting all kinds of exciting challenges. And there are a lot of opportunities. So yeah, I think it’s, you know, kind of making the industry appear attractive. But, you know, really making sure that, you know, young people do understand, you know, all that there is for them. I also, you know, I mean, there’s other programs that, you know, you can do, like I ran an internship program. So, we would reach out to kind of local universities and have a grueling, like, apprentice style competition for a few places every year. And actually, I ended up yeah, it’s, it was great, got amazing talent. And, you know, some of these, you know, young people were competing at, you know, Microsoft and Nike and other like, very, you know, big prominent companies, and they ended up enjoying their time at this sort of competition so much that they wanted, you know, to work with us. And I’ve since hired several of them back. So nice. It’s also really exciting. So, you know, kind of getting in early, and just giving people positive experiences. Because, you know, somebody isn’t necessarily going to stay at a company for their entire career, I would never expect that. But you know, if they do come in, and they are, you know, within the industry, just, you know, giving them positive experiences and great challenges.

Speaker:  Awesome. Well, thank you so much. I love that and I guess before I let you go, I have to ask some serious questions here at the end, which is so you’ve been in over there in London or outright outside London right for 11 years. So, what’s better? You know, is the pub over there better than like don’t drink at the bar here.

Julie Rigby:  

Oh, that’s a tough one. That’s a really tough one. I think it depends on the day I like the pub but I will say you know I  do miss you know the American sports bar with you know, 15 TVs or 30 TVs and you know a bunch of games on loud music I’ll vote for that. I think yes.

 Speaker: Nice. Yeah versus just the football game or the soccer you know the football and.

Julie Rigby:  Rugby you know, but hey we do we are able to watch a watch our US sports from over here so that’s pretty good.

Speaker: I’m super into this show on Apple TV right now called Ted lasso Have you heard of this? Yeah.

Julie Rigby: I have. I haven’t seen it though.

Speaker: Much One must watch. It’s like I think the most well written funny show I’ve seen in like a decade. It’s unbelievable but it’s an American football coach who coaches like in college and he takes a job coaching a soccer team over it’s like a fictitious team but it’s basically takes place in Lena like wonder anyways, you’ve got to watch it’s hysterical. But it’s funny because I’m sure he’s going through a lot of things you went through when he first moved over there so

Julie Rigby:  Oh, I’m sure yeah, it’s Yeah, you will love it. It’s a very different world. But you know, great to have the I’m glad I have the opportunity to be here is

Speaker: So awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time. I know you’re busy and I really appreciate it and I’m happy to you know, get your story out there. And obviously if anyone you know hears it, especially You know, any amazing young females in this industry that would want to ever reach out. You know, I’m sure they can just hit you up on LinkedIn and, you know, connect, and ask you for any advice or whatnot. So, thank you again. I appreciate it. And hopefully, you know, we’ll run into each other at one of these markets. When is yours when we get back in person.

Julie Rigby: Yeah, that’d be great. Thanks, Brett. really loved it.

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