Barrie Brown, President, Sleep.
The Home Trust (THT): I learned a long time that you’re considered one of the ‘Deans of the Mattress Industry,’ how did you get into the business?
Barrie Brown (BB): I was recruited to join a mattress retailer as their VP of Operations by one of my customers while at Ryder. At first I viewed the industry change as merely a change of jobs. After a year or two it really clicked for me that a great night’s sleep can improve lives. Since then I view every day as a way to positively impact individuals and improve their quality of life.
THT: You inspire a lot of people with your passion for helping others.
BB: The ability to offer amazing products that live up to their promise is inspiring.
THT: So it’s not the product, it’s the result the product produces. Anything else?
BB: My family has been the most positive influence for me.
THT: Knowing you, I’m not surprised to hear you reiterate the importance of your family. Tell us more about your family.
BB: Married for 35 years to my High School sweetheart. We have 3 amazing children. All three children have or are involved in the business.
TBT: That’s wonderful; your family and you are fortunate. What lessons have you learned or that you like to share?
BB: The harder I work the luckier I get. And planning is easy, execution is tough.
THT: Hard work is a common thread that runs through most successful people. Is there a common thread that runs through all great products?
BB: Great products are defined by delivering on the promise of the product. An iPhone makes your life simpler for example. A great mattress is durable, comfortable.
THT: One of things we’ve learned is that, unlike other categories, many products for the home have gone through a dumbing-down over the last couple decades. What about mattresses?
BB: When I began in the mattress industry, nearly all mattresses, were two sided with box springs. Foam was rarely used in the construction. Today mattresses are one sided, foundations instead of box springs, and liberal use of foam in the construction. Foam collapses over time, foundations promote motion. The life expectancy of a mattress today is 3 – 8 years vs. 10 -20 years. So proud to represent brands, Hästens and Vispring that do not collapse, still have box springs, and are made to last.
THT: I can’t imagine you representing any brand that didn’t live up to the highest standards. And perhaps that’s another reason for your success, non-negotiable standards that properly serve your clients.
Let’s talk a bit more about you personally. Do you enjoy reading?
BB: Currently reading the Winter Trilogy by Ken Follett. Love the historical nature of his books and learning from history why our world is the way it is today.
THT: And favorite cities to visit?
BB: Most beautiful city is either Venice, Italy or Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm is cleaner but the food is better in Venice!
THT: And museums?
BB: Tacoma Art Museum. Grew up visiting and gained an appreciation for the history of art.
THT: Where are you when you’re not traveling the world or helping someone lead a more productive life?
BB: In the backyard by the pool and trying a new recipe on the grill or smoker.
THT: Do you have a favorite art or artist?
BB: The art of Dale Chihuly. His art can be experienced in nature, in a building, in a casino and it always makes a striking and definitive statement. From the installation in Tennessee to his donations to the University of Puget Sound, to the old Railroad Station in Tacoma where we picked up my Great Aunt, to the walkway and training facility in Tacoma. Striking, simple, consistent.
THT: And personal too. Which hits home for you because you’re selling the most important product in a person’s most private room. Any thoughts on that?
BB: A bedroom should be a place of sanctuary from the cares and stresses of the world. A dark, cool, loving place where love and the restorative benefits of sleep prevail.
THT: The mark you’ve made on your industry is remarkable. What makes a great organization?
BB: Great people.
THT: I think you’re right. It’s always about the people; those who understand how to serve. Why The Home Trust?
BB: The Home Trust represents the best of the best. Proud to be associated with the finest in home luxury.
THT: Thank you, and we’re proud you’re a partner too. Any final thoughts?
BB: Thomas Dekker said “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” Human beings are the only animal that sleep is mandatory. Without sleep we do not function physically, mentally, emotionally. Precious moments of better sleep improve our health, memory, and relationships. The key to a better life is better sleep. If you could be healthier, happier, and wiser wouldn’t you want to find out how?
THT: Of course, yes. My answer is to call Barrie Brown.
Barrie, thank you for your time today.
Barrie Brown has been a successful business leader his entire life. This includes CEO of multiple mattress retail chains including: Mattresses Unlimited, Furniture Factory Outlet, Mattress Giant and Sleep Country USA. Today he is considered by all as a Dean of the mattress industry, and guru for business success across many categories.
Barrie’s broad based expertise in marketing and retail operations has allowed him to create multiple retail concepts with varying product assortments. But always with a focus on profitable and sustainable growth through process, people, and products.
With all his leadership and business successes, Barrie takes greatest pride in his wife and children.