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A few years ago, I was working for my family business STL Beds at a local Green Living Home & Health show. It was then and there that I had what most of would call one of those ah ha moments that made me change the way I think about affordability and mattresses especially organic mattresses. Our little niche store was showing a uniquely built mattress not easily found. Not only can it not be found in typical furniture and mattress stores, but even specialty sleep stores similar to mine. Some of those hard to find mattresses included flip-able 2 sided mattresses, super heavy-duty mattresses for plus sized people and at this show we were showing the rarest of the rare, organic mattresses. My ah ha moment happened while showing at the expo with a wide variety of other vendors like myself who were introducing innovative ideas involved with green living, that supported healthier lives, and a healthier planet.
It was like any other home show in that people were taking notice of our products, a good thing when your trying to sell your products. People stopped, people touched, and people laid on our mattresses and even asked questions. We made our presentation and some lasted longer than others depending upon their level of interest. The second day of the show an interested young lady in her late twenties or early thirties slowed to see our unique offerings. Just like the others before her I presented her with something may not have seen or heard of, organic mattresses and bedding. I went on to share with her the health benefits of buying a mattress made from certified organic wool, cotton and natural latex rubber.
The young lady was very curious and interested. I went on to show her how the durability was like no other since it was made with natural rubber instead of petroleum based polyurethane foams that can off gas and are made from petroleum. The customization was a interesting feature to her not often found in other mattresses. We went on to discuss the bed’s earth friendly sustainable design. She was sold! We checked off all the boxes and then….
A few minutes of challenging questions and answers, some customer education looked to make both of us very happy. She was about to make the purchase of a new environmentally friendly and cleaner organic mattress and me a nice sale. She shared her mattress size, that she needed a foundation and would have to have it delivered. Check, check, and check… we were almost done. I shared the total cost including everything she wanted and needed. There is often a pause or an “I’ll take it”. Sometimes they just say, “thank you I would like to do more research and give it some additional thought.” This young lady simply didn’t say a thing at first. Her face said it all. She was shocked and surprised that what she was interested in costs over 3000.00. It was at this point she asked me the following.
At was at this point the young lady’s idea of owning an organic mattress was likely to come to an end. She discovered their higher cost and realized something she desperately wanted to own was well outside of her personal budget. She was devastated. She had made up her mind and had her heart set on owning this cleaner mattress that was virtually free of toxic chemicals.
While the question of affordability often comes up while I am showing mattresses, there was something that made the way she asked the question to resonate with me like it had no other time. Financing wasn’t an option for her. It was then I remembered something that an oncologist told me. Always the interested and curious person I asked him his reasoning for buying 3 organic mattresses over the phone sight unseen when he was only an hour and a half from our store where he could try them first? He responded by saying the mattress is customizable and he was very particular about the feel. He trusted my recommendation. He said the other 2 mattresses were for his children and said jokingly that if they don’t like them there is always the floor. We both giggled, and he said In all seriousness I am a cancer doctor. There is a lot we don’t know about what causes cancer. Many of the chemicals found in mattresses are known carcinogens. I have been on a mission to remove these things from my home. I have removed the carpet and many other things that I think could cause harm to me and my family. In other words, “I try to control the things that I can control” It was those words that entered my mind and I have repeated to people just like this devastated young lady.
I regrouped for both of us. I told her the story of the cancer doctor and suggested that perhaps she can still achieve her goals of safer sleep products and toxin free building materials like certified organic cotton, wool, and natural rubber. I shared with her the idea that there are many organic sleep products that could be very helpful and that were within her budget. We talked about enhancing her mattress with a new topper. We discussed organic mattress pads, protectors, and sheets. Finally, we talked about organic pillows. Her eyes lit up, we had found a sleep product that was within her budget and could really make a difference. She was convinced that common sleep products like mattresses, sheets, and pillows was something that needed to be changed in her home. She was not about to place her face in another pillow for 7-8 hours a night for the rest of her life. She added an organic sheet set and said I will just feel better knowing that all those bad things that are in sheets won’t be in mine. She was right. In those 7-8 hours absorption and inhalation takes place. What better way to make a difference and do it within the limits she had to spend.
That day we both learned from each other. The words spoken by the oncologist “I try to control the things that I can control” helped both of us take control of the thing that we could. It changed her thinking and it changed mine. I have told this story hundreds of times over the years and almost every time I share it, the story gets people thinking and helps them change their lives at nearly every level. Sometimes we don’t have to go for the whole organic mattress or (enchilada). Lower cost options and life changing options can be had for a little over 100.00 Perhaps starting there is the low cost option for healthier sleep.