Elements officially launched its Butterfly collection of mattresses at PrimeTime in Orlando, and Joey Middleton swung by CenterStage to share more details about the bedding products. Plus, he talked about the logistical improvements Elements has in place to help ensure retailers have access to the products they need in a timely fashion, including a new overflow warehouse and prioritization of fast-moving SKUs.
Amy Croom: Hello and welcome back to Center Stage here at Prime Time in Orlando. We are excited this morning to talk with our friends from Elements. Joey Middleton, how are you doing today?
Joey Middleton: I am swell. Thank you.
Amy Croom: I am so glad to hear that. So I know it’s day two of the show expo. There’s a lot of people milling around. There’s a lot of activity at the booth. It’s fantastic. How did yesterday go for you?
Joey Middleton: Yesterday was great. A lot of activity, a lot of traffic coming through. So you guys took care of it. It was good conversation. So we’re excited to be here and very optimistic on the outcome and looking forward.
Amy Croom: Yeah, no, I did see a lot of people in the booth yesterday. I know there’s a lot of people in the booth here today.
Joey Middleton: Yeah.
Amy Croom: What is driving all that buzz and excitement? What are people coming to Elements to see?
Joey Middleton: Yeah, this is our formal launch of our butterfly collection. So this is a new line of mattresses that are coming out that’s a little unique to the industry. We’re capitalizing on the grid gel technology. So for your members, the retailers out there, this is something unique to take to the marketplace and we’re revealing that to the nationwide base at this show.
Amy Croom: Oh, that is super exciting. Yeah. What’s the response been so far?
Joey Middleton: So far very positive. A lot of questions, a lot of good things going on. And then on top of that, just we’ve got a lot of our product in our space so people that aren’t familiar with this have an idea of the variety that we’re carrying and bringing to the table. So hopefully there’s a new source for those that don’t know us very well.
Amy Croom: That is fantastic. Now, I know that the last couple years it’s no surprise they’ve been a major challenge for everyone within the channel as we look at inventory levels and availability. What changes have you all made at Elements to help streamline things, improve operations and make sure that members have the products that their customers are looking for?
Joey Middleton: Throughout the last couple of years, Amy, we have just continued to order and bring in product as best you can anyway. Just despite everything. We also, but things are coming in, we did better compared to, I guess from what I’ve heard, the industry average. So that was positive. But we actually have an overflow warehouse now that helps. We’re going deeper with our A skews, which are the high velocity products that sell a lot and the fact that we have our own upholstery and mattress factory allows us to control production and the stock levels.
Amy Croom: Oh, that’s fantastic.
Joey Middleton: Yeah. Yeah.
Amy Croom: So your turn times are getting a lot better.
Joey Middleton: Oh absolutely.
Amy Croom: Yeah. That’s wonderful. So what else is Elements doing to support independent retailers and the channel at large?
Joey Middleton: Well, it really takes… If you step back three or four years ago, it’s a kind of continuation. And what I mean by that is we historically, we didn’t have a warehouse domestic, so we invested in that a few years ago. So that allows us to tap into the independent base that we had not been able to tap into before. That coincided with our relationship with Nationwide. So you guys have introduced us to a whole new client base and so we’re continuing those things to support and move forward and we’re still taking applications for new accounts and continuing to open up. So that’s going forward. Yeah.
Amy Croom: That’s fantastic. And shows like Prime Time I’m sure are great feeders for you.
Joey Middleton: Oh, absolutely they are.
Amy Croom: So as we look ahead, I can’t believe it’s already August. We are, I would say as we look ahead to the back half, but we are very clearly in the back half. But as we look to the rest of the year and into 2023, what are you expecting from the industry? What can members expect to see from Elements?
Joey Middleton: Yeah, that’s the million dollar question for everybody. I just think on a higher plane, if we look at this year, I think Q3 will continue to be bumpy, but Q4 I think we’ll start seeing improvements in things change. And now, right now for the dealers and retailers out there, lot of good buys, so they can capitalize on that. Hopefully that will translate and it should to the consumer getting a lot of good buys and driving traffic to their stores. As we look out into the next year or two, that’s where again, there’s so many variables involved. So I look at it holistically in this sense is that people still need furniture, they’re going to keep buying. So as a retailer, keep ordering, keep stocking, be prepared, keep marketing, try to draw those people in because people are moving out of homes. People are relocating, they have to have furniture, they’re going to continue to buy it.
Amy Croom: And I would say probably also keep coming to shows. Las Vegas Market, Prime Time.
Joey Middleton: Absolutely.
Amy Croom: Places where you’re going to be and they can come see you in person.
Joey Middleton: Absolutely.
Amy Croom: Yeah.
Joey Middleton: No doubt.
Amy Croom: Speaking of Prime Time, we have a lot of activity going on here in Orlando, but our next show, March, 2023 in Dallas, Texas.
Joey Middleton: Dallas, Texas.
Amy Croom: Are you excited?
Joey Middleton: Very excited. That’s our home base anyway. And what I would say for members that aren’t coming, you need to make it a priority. If you’re not going, you’re not growing.
Amy Croom: Yeah.
Joey Middleton: I think it’s at the bottom line. Get out of the bubble, go to the learning academies, interact. It’s invaluable, just the interaction with peers because you learn things that your peers are doing in other markets. You learn what not to do sometimes and you end up meeting new vendors, creating new relationships. And if you feel, hey, I can’t afford to go either money or time, I would say, you can’t afford not to be here. So make it a priority.
Amy Croom: Wonderful. Well we will definitely see you in Dallas.
Joey Middleton: Yes.
Amy Croom: All right, Joey Middleton, Elements, thank you so much for joining me here on Center Stage and thank you for joining us here on Center Stage. We’ll be back very soon with lots more great content from our vendor partners.
Nationwide Marketing Group works on behalf of thousands of independent appliance, furniture, bedding, electronics, specialty electronics, custom installation and rent-to-own dealers helping them grow their businesses and thrive on their own terms. With more than 5,000 members operating some 14,000 storefronts, Nationwide Marketing Group is the largest buying, marketing and business support organization of its kind, representing billions in combined annual sales across the membership. For over 50 years, the organization has remained committed to the independent channel, empowering members with the scale, sophistication and efficiencies they need to compete while delivering the unmatched business intelligence, tools and resources required to win in an ever-changing business environment.