I cannot believe it—I’ve been the publisher and owner of Sleep Retailer for 14 years. 14 years! On top of that, this summer marks the 27th year the magazine has stood to provide comprehensive coverage of the mattress and bedding industry. No doubt this is a remarkable feat for any business, let alone one in the publishing industry. Which is why the decision to make the Summer 2022 issue of Sleep Retailer our last was even more difficult.
It’s a tough business; thankfully we have 13,182 retailers, 3,476 opt-in subscribers and a variety of loyal advertisers all to thank for this tremendous success.
We are incredibly lucky to be able to go out on a high note. Sleep Retailer continues to be both popular and profitable and we routinely have nearly 30% open rates on our subscriber-based email newsletters. But, these past few years have had both Gretchen and I rethinking our personal and professional commitments. In that process, I divested ownership in other businesses, and now I feel it is time to let go of the magazine as well. In doing so, I can commit more time to my twin 8 year olds and their increasingly demanding schedules.
When I acquired what was then called Bedroom Magazine in 2008, I didn’t know where it was going to go—or how long I would be at the helm of it. Taking over Bedroom Magazine presented an interesting opportunity to expand my professional marketing experiences from healthcare, life sciences and real estate in an entirely different way. I think I can say we did it with the same focus, dedication to the mission and deliberate approach as we do with each of our businesses. All while remaining focused on our customers and the experience we create when working together.
Gretchen Kast joined the team in 2012, and what a relief. Gretchen’s careful approach allowed us to dive into cover stories in an even more unique way, giving retailers a glimpse into the inner workings and ethos of a company as well as the details of their products. She also spearheaded editorial growth, adding subscription-based email newsletters, podcasts and a robust series of custom inserts. Each of these, together with sleepretailer.com, allowed us to explore the larger context of the industry.
And the Sleep Retailer story wouldn’t be complete without Elaina Hundley, who came on board in 2017 to manage social media, marketing and increase partnerships and advertising. She has been an invaluable addition to the publication, bringing added creativity to our marketing programs and strengthening relationships throughout the industry.
Throughout the tenure of Sleep Retailer, I have always been proud to do things a little differently. Being industry outsiders allowed us to look at the inner-workings of the sleep industry perhaps more critically. This presented us with an opportunity to spotlight more unique products, talk about different aspects of the business and evaluate everything from a consumer’s perspective. In some ways, it feels like our experience was mirrored within the industry itself, as we’ve watched newcomers shake up the status quo and legacy brands start looking for inspiration in unexpected places. Though we may be stepping away from our place in the bedding industry, we are excited to see how it will continue to grow and change.
I will always be grateful for our time in this great space, the amazing people we’ve met, as well as the continued kindness, appreciation and loyalty shown by so many.
—Chris Schriever, Publisher