Reverie Hosts Educational Summit to Spark Innovation

Reverie, manufacturer of innovative adjustable beds and mattresses, recently held an Innovation Summit hosting nine leading furniture retailers. It was an agenda-packed symposium filled with sleep science and business insights from experts outside the sleep products industry.

This is the second such event Reverie has coordinated for its strategic retail partners. The summit is part educational, part networking and part brainstorming. The program featured a slate of sleep experts examining the latest data in sleep science as well as the detrimental effects of lack of shuteye. In addition, a panel of industry outsiders shared insight into their paths to innovation. Speakers included representatives from: sportswear company Under Armour; General Motors; internet and phone provider Rocket Fiber; and watch and accessories manufacturer Shinola.

“The idea was to get industry people together and figure out how to do things differently, to be disruptive,” said Martin Rawls-Meehan, Reverie CEO. “We gathered a small group of decision makers and brought them together with key innovators from companies outside the furniture industry. It was a forward-thinking, fun environment. There is so much upside opportunity in our industry – our potential market is far larger than the actual market we serve today. The goal of the Summit was to spark innovation, learn from disrupters in other industries, and to generate the types of conversations that will hopefully lead to a real paradigm shift that can move our entire industry forward.”

Two sleep experts discussed the importance of sleep: Dr. Dawn Dore-Stites, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Sleep Disorder Center at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Ben Smarr, a neurobiologist from the University of California at Berkeley.

The innovators panel included Kelly Becker, manager of innovation partnerships for Under Armour; Edi Demaj, co-founder and COO of Rocket Fiber; Bridget Russo, Chief Marketing Officer for Shinola; and Ray Wert, storyteller for General Motors.

  • Becker cultivates Under Armour’s relationships with inventors and entrepreneurs. She evaluates product and technology submissions for their quality and suitability for the company’s label. Additionally, Becker assesses the ability and innovation level of the entrepreneurs to determine whether they would be suitable partners for the company.
  • Demaj is the operations lead for Rocket Fiber, part of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans family of companies, and is responsible for the execution of the corporate vision by bridging the gap between technology, products and other areas of the company. In addition, he oversees negotiations and management of various vendors and clients. Demaj has co-founded a number of other companies, including REOZOM, a real estate tech company, and iziSurvey, a supplier of online and offline survey tools.
  • Russo has been with Shinola since 2012 and oversees the company’s global marketing and communications. She works with internal and external partners to build an American design brand through storytelling and products built to last.
  • Wert runs storytelling for automaker General Motors, where he helps the company explain how they’re transforming the future of transportation for consumers. He cut his teeth as Editor in Chief of the automotive online tabloid Wert later started a storytelling studio, Tiny Toy Car, prior to joining General Motors.

“We swung harder this year and put together a great meeting,” Rawls-Meehan said. “It was an extremely positive environment. The interesting thing is how the retailers opened up and shared with one another.”

In addition to the agenda, Reverie previewed its new product lineup to attendees.

Representatives from nine retailers participated in the event. Those who attended were from Warren, Mich.-based Art Van Furniture; Little Canada, Minn.-based Slumberland; Liverpool, N.Y.-based Raymour & Flanigan; Atlanta-based Havertys; Winfield, W.Va.-based IMS; Fresno, Calif.-based Mattress Land Sleep Fit; Denver-based Denver Mattress; Houston-based Gallery Furniture, and Colombia-based Serta.

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About Reverie: Reverie is a leading manufacturer of innovative adjustable beds, mattresses and pillows to the trade and direct to consumers. The company’s sales and marketing headquarters is located in Michigan while its production, distribution and customer service facilities are based in New York.  Reverie manufactures select products in the U.S. and continues to be a cutting-edge leader and innovator in the sleep products industry.