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

Mattress Firm Hires Mark Quinn For Executive Role

Today’s episode of the Dos Marcos Podcast is a special one highlighting the service of Mark Quinn in the mattress industry.

The now-former Vice President of Sherwood Bedding has been hired as the new Vice President of Merchandising for Mattress Firm.


In this episode, we discuss Quinn’s history in the industry, pay homage to his achievements, and talk about the transition from private brands to a national brand. We also head-on address the elephant in the room of going in-house to a major player in the industry. What does this mean for this show, The FAM, and the international support generated by the galaxy’s greatest mattress podcasters? Simply, The FAM is getting a whole lot bigger, and the depth of knowledge we all gain by having a friend on the inside is even deeper.

Join us for this very special episode and help us congratulate Quinn on his new role and wish him success in this endeavor!

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Mark Kinsley 

Mark when is going to work for Mattress Firm, you have to just jump right into it. Tell us the story behind how you’re ending up at Mattress Firm. Which by the way, one out of every five mattresses sold in the US goes through Mattress Firm. The floor is yours. Mr. Quinn? What is your what is your new title? What is your role? Let’s start there. Well,

Mark Quinn 

the title is VP of merchandising slash mattresses, so basically overseeing the mattress buys and going and reporting to Philip busker, who’s been a friend of mine for a long time. And then of course handyman is an incredible person chief March chief merchant, actually from Mattress Firm, Berman, he said, You’re the guy I go, I am absolutely not the guy. I said, I appreciate you thinking about me. But you know, I’m not a retailer have not been a retailer. Don’t know a lot about the merchant side. And so, you know, I’ll put some thought to that and think of some people that maybe might fit that role, but I don’t think it’s me and he goes, it’s absolutely you. He said Don’t think of it as the typical you know, merch you know, VP of merchandising he said, You need to think about like what we’re looking for. And, you know, he started to explain to me that they wanted someone with some branding and marketing background and they wanted someone with some legitimate product development background. And he mentioned you know, the stuff we had done on Starry Night, the biometrics and then adjustable comfort when it was with SSB. And then the programme was Spink and stuff I’ve been doing what Sherwood and then he was talking about, you know, the need to have someone in the category that knows the players at the betting companies knows how to negotiate it knows how, you know the deals are put together. So when he got done going through the list, I’m like, okay, and then I thought What an idiot you know, you don’t ever turn jot down a job, a good friend of mine named Mark Kinsley told me that you don’t ever turn down a job you haven’t been offered. And so I said, Okay, I’m in I’m interested for sure. And so I ended up going to a mattress firm and I and I sat down and showed them the line. And then I sat down with Andy man who’s the chief merchant, she’s been in the category you know, maybe five months comes from primarily the food category in the in the Chief Human Resources Officer Larry, and we sat there and had lunch and it was so clear so quickly, to me that this was not the same mattress firm that I know. You know, there’s, you know, we’ve all you know, had, you know, a lot of people have had interaction with mattress from over the years. My family has been involved with them. I started calling Kinsey on Mattress Firm. That, you know, 26 years ago when I was first in the business, they had, you know, maybe 20 stores in Houston and I helped them grow in Houston and then went to Dallas and helped him grow into Dallas. I’ve been connected but my brother had a franchise with him in Atlanta. And so I’ve got a lot of background there. But you know, so in my mind I thought I knew mattress firm but the reality is it’s changed so much. And so I could just tell Furman right away her energy, her passion. Matter of fact, she said, Do you want this job? Like, I don’t think I do. I don’t know I come with baggage. I’ve got spinco I’ve got you know the fam and you know, I you know, I don’t know if so anyway, she was laughing because she’s like, I know I felt the same way because I wasn’t really you know, looking for a job I’m in good shape and probably wasn’t going to work again. But it was so interesting to me so we laughed about that and but just right away I got it and talked to Larry in his his view on people and people development and all the cool stuff they’re doing there. And then I had Kinsley guy showing to tell you like nine different interviews with all their C level people ending of course with John X phone call, and I was on the phone with him for you know, well over an hour. And I don’t know, man, it fired me up. And all I can tell you is I feel blessed. Because when you when you look at like all the things they were looking for, and then it’s so weird. But in then I look back at my own career. And I look at all the stuff I’ve done with Sarita and some with Sarita and with Celia and Stearns and foster and legged and what we’re doing with the fam it just it’s a unique set of skills I in leggett and Platt, of course, a unique set of skills I’ve developed over a period of time that fit perfectly with what they want to do. And you know, Mark, the last thing I’ll say about it is you and I have been talking about health and wellness in the sleep category for a long time. And I kind of feel like that last couple jobs I’ve had Sherwood leggett and Platt I go in having to convince people to kind of think my way or you know, understand marketing as a really important business discipline. You know, like it you know what it was like there, they didn’t have a lot of that with Sherwood, incredible operators, great product, great with quality, but they didn’t really have, you know, much done in the way of marketing. So to me going in like saying, Hey guys, this is what’s important and trying to trying to convince them of my way of thinking, but with Mattress Firm, I feel like they believe what I believe they believe what we believe. And then I start looking what they’re saying, which is one thing, but then I’m like, Okay, where’s the evidence of what they’re saying? Then I look at the way they’re trying to educate consumers with sleep.com. I look at what they’re doing with their salespeople, they’re referring to them as sleep experts, and the way they look at every opportunity with every consumer is a way to help improve their life. And you just keep going down the trail. And I’m like, That’s me, like, I believe all of that. And they just want help to bring that further along. And the people were amazing. The opportunity lines up, you know, my family’s from Houston, my dad, sister, brother all live there. So you know, and then huge support from sure with the element family, Lance Neil. And of course, Leon all telling me, hey, look, man, we believe in you, and we hate to lose you, but we want what’s best for your family. And that’s how they’ve always treated me and been with me. So we’re gonna, you know, tackle it head on. And I’m excited. Everyone’s been very supportive. And I don’t know, man, I’m excited. It’s a big step. It’s a big step. It’s a big job, I hope I deliver on what they’re looking for. But I’m pretty, I’m pretty fired out.

Mark Kinsley 

And I love that we’re gonna have a window into the world of Mattress Firm, because the podcast continues. The fam is just growing and getting bigger. So talk about that piece of the puzzle. So everything’s going to stay the same in terms of the podcast, and we’ll be able to get a glimpse into this giant retailer. And the way they’re trying to make an impact. And it sounds like from what you’re saying they understand the purpose behind our business. And I think that’s so critical for you as a human being, knowing, you know, having you as just my dearest friend and podcast co host to understand that you’re going into a situation where somebody supports the purpose that you put into the business, I think is good alignment.

Mark Quinn 

It’s great alignment. And you know, it’s so funny, because in the men, you know, we’re getting to know each other, but she’s just this kind of person that you know, isn’t it so funny. Like when you connect with people in your tribe, or, you know, if you have a pirate ship people can get on your pirate, you’ll be like, inside an hour with her and Larry, I just felt connected to them. And like we just like got off in a really good way. And you know, Anna and I were talking about this podcast, and she said, Are you going to keep doing your podcast? And I’m like, hell yeah, we’re gonna keep doing it. And I kind of explained more to her about the fam and all that. And I said, really? I think it’s important for Mattress Firm, to be more of a good citizen inside the trade and you know, let people like I didn’t know what I know now about mattress or men. It’s a shame. I think everyone should know more about that. Because you and I talk about you say this to me all the time. We’re all in the same storm just in different boats. And you know, the rising tide lifts all boats pick a pick a saying, but, you know, I believe that and and believes that and she wants to be more connected inside of the trade. And you know, it helps if people have a glimpse inside of Mattress Firm because you know, mattress firm wants to recruit top talent and be a place for people to have careers. And you know, if you think about, you know, Kinsley some of the push, I’ve, you know, early conversations with friends. They’re like, Oh, you’re going to the evil empire or the big company. And they go, Yeah, but you know, they’re not the evil empire. If you think about it, I mean, of course, are there good competitors in every market, but at the end of the day, everybody benefits from the mattress firms advertising, like, that’s a good thing for people. And if Mattress Firm is talking about the category in a way that is helpful, which is yes, of course, there’s product price and promotion, but look at on junkier sleep, you know, there’s a departure from that into, hey, look sleeps a big deal, it can make you do stupid stuff. And so, you know, there’s evidence that they’re trying to make sure that the consumer looks at the category differently. So I love that part. And so I think that Mattress Firm, you know, what they do? You know, one of the things I said to an end to John EQ, both, they said, Hey, be critical, like, give us some feedback. And I go, You guys are the biggest in the industry, but you’re not leaders. And it’s a shame you need to be, you know, there’s a big opportunity to be leaders, and they’re like, you’re right, like, it’s good to great, right, they, they acknowledge, like, there’s a lot of opportunity there. And so, I don’t know, I mean, just the humility and that, and you know, the passion and where they’re headed. I mean, I couldn’t be more excited.

Mark Kinsley 

And when I think about you, I know that you want to have an impact on people on the world you want to serve. And so you look at this platform that Mattress Firm has, and your ability to have an impact on human beings that are coming into the market to buy a mattress on the category on the industry, on making this industry a place that attracts top talent, this is a huge platform for you to be able to continue that mission. And like you said, You’ve been on the manufacturing side of things, the supply side of things, the manufacturing side of things, again, the private label side of the business product development. So you bring this really unique collection of experiences and talent. And now that really gets put into this ecosystem that allows you to maximise all that knowledge. And you know, we talk about this all the time. So I think it’s very important that that Mattress Firm has experienced this cultural shift. And that is, if you had a chance to talk to someone from your family once every 10 years, that’s going to be a very important conversation. So whenever somebody comes in to buy a mattress, let’s call it replacement eight, so once every eight years, and you get a chance to transform their life, through that conversation, and through the recommendations and through the knowledge that you impart upon them, during that sales interaction, that’s going to be a very important conversation. So I know that having that platform for you, and having that cultural buy in and for your ability to continue that is going to be incredibly important. So I love to hear what Mattress Firm is doing. And like you said, we’ve always recognised and we’ve talked to retailers all over the country many times about when a mattress firm comes into the market, they elevate category awareness, typically through increased media spend. So they’re spending more money and more consumers are paying attention to mattresses, and that rising tide does lift all ships. And like we talked about all the time, we are competing against other consumer categories. So I love bringing the industry together further. And I love that you’ve got a bigger platform for living out your purpose.

Mark Quinn 

Yeah, no, man, great observations there. And I think you’re right. You know, I was in. I think it was Telford, England. I’ve told versions of the story before and I was giving the keynote for the National betting Federation event, which is actually where where I met my partner, Simon Spinks on spinco. And one of the things I said in that speech was take a look around the room, there’s 400 people in there. And I said, Do you see competitors, and everyone kind of was nodding their head, and I go, I want to suggest to you that they’re not competitors, that they’re on your team. Because if you think about the consumer shopping list, right? So a mattress were either at the bottom of that list, or we’re at the top of that list, right? So where are we? And so the way you get to be at the top of the list is that you make it a want instead of a need, I mean, a need is good, but then you transition that into a want, that’s where you get the better tickets and all of that. And so if we are all saying the same types of things about the mattress, and we’re we’re making sure that the consumer understands that what they’re about to purchase is potentially life changing. If ever Anybody is speaking that way, what happens to our category? If we decide to participate in the health and wellness space was a health and wellness space, which is a 50 to $50 billion category versus the mattress industry, which is a $16 billion category, then what happens? Like what, you know, does it put us higher on the list of the consumer? And I say it does. And, you know, Mark, when we were at leg it, you know, it was a big stage, you know, it’s a big platform. And I think, because of that with Mattress Firm, it’s a big stage, like a lot of the stuff that we’re going to be talking about and doing. And I think it’s a, it’s an incredible opportunity for me personally, to do what I do, we’re talking about the things that I believe, which again, is what Mattress Firm believes, but continue to support that in in charge forward with that, because I think it helps a lot of different things. And I think it’s good for the industry, that there’s an advocate like there. And that’s, that’s where I come from, and I’m excited about that. And I think it’s I think it’s a big thing, you know, Carl said to me, Carl Glassman, past CEO of leggett, now the executive chairman, I believe, but I, he’s been a friend for a long time. So I asked him about all of this at one point, and he said, Quinn, it’s going to be great for you personally, it’s going to be great for your family. He asked me how Bridgette thought about it and all that. He said it’s going to be great for Mattress Firm. And he said maybe the biggest benefactor of it is going to be the industry. And I thought what an incredibly nice thing of him to say. But it was at that moment, though, that it dawned on me the responsibility, maybe that’s a word for it, or the opportunity in it. Right, it is something that could literally help the industry. Final comment, you know, am I going there to help Mattress Firm certainly. But really, I think it’s bigger than that. I think that if this industry makes a decision to continue to push the things that are important. It’s not just helping mattress from it’s all of us together, helping humanity really, you know, understand sleep differently, educating them about sleep, educating them about the the impact of that on their life, and then taking it to them in a store environment that continues that conversation. So I don’t know, man, I’m really excited.

Mark Kinsley 

In a sense, you’re becoming a bridge to this world, a lot of people don’t know anything about even in the industry, even suppliers that are important to mattress firm, and vendors and all the different technology services and Mattress Firm has kind of operated as this amazing behemoth in the industry, but also a little bit of lack of access in terms of the people, the players, the mission, the purpose, and how they operate as a business. So I’m excited that you are going to be a bridge to that because I think it does really bring the industry together and you’re going to be some some of that glue. I have a question for you. You went through a turn

Mark Quinn 

it before you asked that question. I just want to before you ask that question, just want to make one comment. I can be a bridge. I think we’re all that I appreciate that. I think we’re all that bridge. And I’m going to tell you like I I was maybe more humbled than ever in my life, when they came at me with the opportunity because I kind of went like my initial reaction. And that was I don’t think it’s me. Right. So I’m just really humbled by it all. I want to make sure that that’s clear. I mean, it’s pretty, pretty incredible. From that perspective. Anyway, ask your question,

Mark Kinsley 

what surprised you to try and make what surprised you the most you went through eight or nine interviews? Was it sleep.com? And what they’re doing in the consumer space? What What was that granular thing that you noticed? That surprised you the most?

Mark Quinn 

Man, I don’t know if it was one thing, I think what surprised me was the embarrassment of not being as in touch with what they’re doing. Here we are with the family. We have a frickin podcast about the mattress industry. And I was shocked about how little attention I was paying to what Mattress Firm was doing. So that was one. The other one was Yeah, I think the sleep.com thing, I think they’re, you know, when I really when I looked at it, what they’re doing in totality, right? You start putting the pieces of the puzzle together, how they’re referring to their sleep, their RSA is asleep experts, right? They’ve got some work to do there, obviously to make sure that you know that that title fits. So that part that commercials that they’re doing sleep.com All this stuff with sleep data, which you and I were involved with, before it was even a thing on the Starry Night bed and biometrics, all this stuff that they’re doing. They’re the connections they’re making with sleep professionals. So I think it’s all of it just, you know, tied together and looking at their strategy. I was just so impressed and excited by that.

Mark Kinsley 

That’s a great capture. And I know we’re gonna get more detail around that. And I’ve seen some of the data. I’ve seen some of what’s happening on sleep.com. And I think there’s so much repurposed information. There’s so much misinformation Isn’t, there’s so much information that lacks any true clinical backing, and credibility. So I love that leadership position firm is able to take because you need to be able to tap into something that people can trust. You know, we had Dr. Bruce on the show a while back. And he does a great job of looking at what the clinical trials have produced actual research, and not just conjecture. So I like that you have that platform and the resources to continue that. And we I think, on the show, really enjoy and find benefit in taking something that’s data driven, quantum qualitative, and anything in between and making meaning out of that. So I’m excited that we’ll have access to some of the information and the research that’s publicly available, and then helping the industry make meaning of that. So lots to be excited about Congratulations, congratulations to you, to your family to Mattress Firm. I really want to congratulate Mattress Firm, because you get the best guy in the business, in my opinion, and I can’t wait to see what you do. And I hate look. Be patient, though. Because it’s a big organisation, we’ve been inside big companies, things have to get nudged and moved along. But the fact that you have that cultural and purpose driven alignment is the foundation that’s needed. So a huge congratulations, man, I’m really proud of you.

Mark Quinn 

Yeah, man, thank you so much, Mark, you know, that means a lot. And by the way, the support from people who have kind of been involved in my decision making process has been amazing. So thanks to all them. I think that it is intimidating as hell going into this role. Like I know stuff, I know a lot of stuff about the mattress category, I’ve been in it for a long time. But there’s a lot I do not know, you know, I’m really excited, I’ve been on the manufacturing side, I’ve been on the component side, and now I’m going to be on the retail side. So I am so fired up for what I don’t know, and what I’m going to learn from the people there. And, you know, take what I know and help them let them you know, teach me at the same time. And I think the all of that together, I am so excited to grow from that perspective. In one thing, Kinsley, I want to make sure I get a get out there is, you know, you and I have been very passionate and with this audience to understand you and I’ve been very passionate, as long as 300 over 300 episodes, you always know how many do we have over

Mark Kinsley 

300?

Mark Quinn 

Over 300 I could have said that.

Definitely not north of 3306.

Mark Quinn 

North of 300. You know, what we talk about the advocacy that we have, the way we’re going to talk about that all stays the same, you know, our connection to Nationwide is maybe one of the biggest blessings for us, the people that we’ve gotten to know the retailers, the members, the you know, the guys in Asia would the advocacy for the independent retailer, the advocacy for the category, man, that all like what we talk about what we shine a light on the good behaviour, the good players, the the fun in the industry, all that nothing changes, you know, in, and it’s a mattress firms credit, fully supportive of what I’m doing here. And so I love that man. And that was a big deal for me. I mean, you know, going into mattress remove, if I wasn’t gonna get to continue to do this, I would have had to really think hard about that. But they’ve been so supportive on all of that. So anyway, I just want the audience to know that nothing changes for you and I we’re gonna bring it every single time we do an episode we’re gonna put our heart into it and the purpose into it. And we want to see this industry together get better, not just surviving but thriving. And that’s our that’s our job. We’re the guides, right? We tried to help do that.

Mark Kinsley 

And if you look at the category TempurPedic Tempur, Sealy SSB they all sell to independent retail, and they sell to Mattress Firm. When you look at what Sherwood has been doing, they sell to independent retail, and they sell to Mattress Firm. So the industry has a lot of you know, opportunities to sell in many different channels. And anybody that’s running their business is going to do that. And so it’s it’s not like a clean an either or proposition. It’s not between these types of retailers and that type of retailer. I think we all need to zoom out and understand the rising tide does lift all ships, and we’re here to continue giving you great ideas. And we want to shine a light on the good actors in the industry. And that’s why whether you’re an independent retailer, a mass retail or big box chain, I love finding these examples and we bring them to the surface and we shine a light on them. So that hopefully inspires you to do something in your business and if it is your business that wish Counting relied on thank you for giving us those examples. So we’re like you said we’re gonna keep having fun keep bringing value to this audience. And in my opinion, the fam just got bigger.

Mark Quinn 

It did, man. There’s no doubt in before we in this episode two things two groups of people I want to thing number one is Bridget my wife you know, tried to say this without being choked up. But I think for anyone that is fortunate enough to be in a good marriage, like there’s zero doubt that without her, you know, I wouldn’t have come to this point in my career. She just never ever faltered or wavered and just supported me every every turn of of every event. And so, you know, I, you know, I want to say that it’s as much of a success for her as it is for me, because I wouldn’t be here. I really believe that. And then the second one is for the Sherwood guys I mentioned the Allman family at the beginning. Love you guys. They they said hey, man, we got you no matter what you’re always part of what we do, and you’re always part of this family. So they’re, I don’t know the support encouragement has been huge in my friendships with those guys. I’ve been working with him for a while. And then the entire Sherwood company I mean everyone in the operation space that I’ve come to know all the guys on the sales team, the customers that I’ve been interacting with on the Sherwood side you guys have no idea the impact you’ve made on me and I’m so incredibly grateful for my time with all of you so thanks for what you’ve contributed to me.

Mark Kinsley 

Again congratulations to mattress firm to the entire Mattress Firm family you’ve got a great new family member and and a dear friend of me Cohen congratulations to you keep us posted as things move along. And we will just be along for the ride as always

Mark Quinn 

thanks brother appreciate you as always your love and support means.

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