Sleep isn’t a joke at LVM

Bedgear's spoof shop at LVM

Photo: Eugene Alletto, CEO of Bedgear, with an actor portraying the proprietor of a spoof sleep shop at the Las Vegas Market

Eugene Alletto’s “spoof” at the Las Vegas Market was meant to make a serious point about sleep: You can’t fake it.

Alletto is founder and CEO of Bedgear, which calls itself a performance bedding company whose products are carried in more than 4,000 retail stores around the world.

Alletto was introducing visitors to the proprietor of the sleep store adjoining the Bedgear showroom in the World Market Center. In reality, the proprietor was an actor and the store was a phony. It was stocked with gag products like “jelly” pillows and sleeping pills.

It was meant to poke a little fun at the sleep products industry.

“We don’t think retail is dead, we just think boring retail is dead,” Alletto often says.

Engage shoppers in retail spaces

Bedgear wants to engage shoppers in retail spaces and give them more than the typical lie-on-the mattress experience. Its patented technology fits mattresses and pillows to the customer while heat-dispersing, moisture-wicking, air-flow systems help the sleeper maintain his or her most comfortable temperature, the company says.

Eugene Alletto in Bedgear’s real showroom

“People are looking for a better night’s sleep,” Alletto said in an interview during the market. “Not to sleep more, but better.”

While Bedgear does sell products online, it places more emphasis on in-store sales and building relationships with retailers, Alletto said. He believes that’s the key to getting the right product to the customer.

‘We have to learn what a customer wants’

“We have to learn what a customer wants even if they don’t tell you,” he said. So Bedgear conducts focus groups and tries to develop consultative relationships with its retailers, providing resources such as machines that can measure air flow through a pillow. Alletto claimed that Bedgear pillows measure 95 percent compared to a typical pillow rating of 60 percent. But the machine allows customers to see for themselves in the store. “What happens in the store is what matters,” Alletto said.

As a result of these efforts, “We’re doing more business than ever with brick-and-mortar,” Alletto said.

With so many advances in bedding, Alletto added, sleep can contribute even more to health and wellness. “What an opportunity our industry has to tell a better story,” he said. And that’s not a spoof.

Doug Clark is content manager, government relations liaison and author of the Home Furnishings Association’s Policy Matters blog.

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