Listen to our full conversation with Rion on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
For this podcast series, we spoke with leaders from across the bedding industry to hear what they are doing to support and motivate their teams and themselves during this uncertain time. What are they doing to keep their employees safe? How has their approach to leadership evolved?
In this episode, we talk with Rion Morgenstern, president and CEO of Pleasant Mattress. As both a company owner and a licensing partner, Rion is positioned at a unique vantage point in this industry. After initial questions and uncertainty (in what he calls the “React Mode”), the company was able to secure essential status to re-open its factories, and since then has been able to bounce back to operating at about 70% volume. And over the course of this experience, Rion has found that one of the true keys to weathering a crisis is communication—whether with his own customers and employees or amongst his fellow licensing partners.
“In my opinion, the leaders that have done great in this and have been models for me are ones that come out and tell the truth. There’s nothing overbearing about it; they tell the truth but they also provide a hope. They provide a potential path forward. Even if they don’t know what that is, they’re saying we’re working on it. And we’ve had those consistent messages going out to our customers and our employees—and I think it’s made all the difference.
One of the things those licensing organizations do is bring factory owners together across the nation, under a common umbrella or a common flag. We’re a large country, so it would be very easy if we didn’t have those license relationships to be isolated in our region, from a communication stand-point. But very quickly we saw both us reaching out and other licensees reaching out to us—just talking about what’s going on and sharing best practices, what thought processes are going on in their businesses.
The licensors that we work with, both on the Eclipse Eastman House side and the Spring Air side, have been regular and consistent in their communication, providing whatever assistance we could need that they’re able to provide. I’m thankful that nothing has risen to such a criticality that they’ve had to do something substantial, but it was a reassurance to know that we’re all in the same boat. One of the mantras we have here is: we will make it through this together. And we have really felt that community of our industry come together.”