How Sweet Dreams teamed up with Nationwide Marketing Group to create a winning Dream Team
ABOUT SWEET DREAMS MATTRESS & FURNITURE —
It was during his years as a student at Florida State University that Greg Law caught the entrepreneurial bug. He was managing a mattress store to pay his way through college, and through that experience he realized that he wanted to one day become a business owner. He shared his dream with college sweetheart-turned-wife, Katy. Together they decided it would be an excellent, rewarding career path for their family. And decided that they were ready to take the leap of faith.
So in 2002, shortly after graduating, Greg and Katy packed up life — along with Greg’s parents — and headed to Charlotte, North Carolina to embark on the world of small business ownership. But as many Independent retail store owners can attest, that dream didn’t come easy at first.
“We still joke to this day that in those early years of starting this business that we almost changed the name from ‘Sweet Dreams’ to ‘Sweat Dreams’”, Greg jokes. “It was definitely a lot of hard work.”
Following years of hard work and with contagious can-do spirits, the Laws have grown that original single store into four showrooms that are consistently named “Best Of” by local customers. Additionally, they’ve expanded their original team of four family members into a dynamic team of 30, who they like to call “The Dream Team”.
“The number one reason people say they do business with us is because of our people — our Dream Team.” shares Katy.
Adds Greg, “We’re a family business that’s made up of family and adopted family. So no one works here unless they stand for what we stand for — service above self.”
According to Greg and Katy, everything they do and everything they stand for — from the people that work at Sweet Dreams, to every product that they carry — is all centered around helping others. Because that’s the vision of their company: To help as many people as possible achieve their dreams. Whether that’s through better sleep, or simply by being treated with kindness by friendly salesperson who makes it a pleasure to do business with.
“And that’s what we love most about our business,” confirms Greg.
THE CHALLENGE –
Greg shared that he and Katy used to joke about how if they were to write a book about their career before receiving training through Nationwide, it would be titled, Wingin’ It with Greg & Katy Law.
He explains, “When we started the business in 2002 we had just graduated college, got married, moved to NC from FL, and opened the store all within about 6 months time. We’ve been hopping in with both feet ever since and just doing our best and “wingin’ it” every step of the way.”
But with that “wingin’ it” approach, they quickly found themselves falling into the typical trap of small business ownership that had them running around trying to do too much, too often. At the time, every decision had to be funneled through Greg and Katy which really slowed down progress overall for their growing business.
“At the time, most of our thought process was only coming from within our bubble. We knew we needed to also see things from the outside in,” says Greg.
It was then that they realized that in order to grow in a sustainable way, they needed outside support and guidance.
THE SOLUTION –
Nationwide Learning Academy and the Executive Leadership Summit
Knowing that the best trained teams always win, Nationwide Marketing Group made it a priority to offer Members forward-thinking educational opportunities and product trainings early on — all in an effort to keep independent retailers on the leading edge. Today the group’s signature live, in-person training event, Nationwide Learning Academy (NLA) draws around 5,000 session attendees twice a year. And the pre-recorded online NLA now features more than 800 educational opportunities for front-line team Members and has seen more than 300,000 certifications issued to learners.
Additionally, twice each year retail leaders are invited to attend the Nationwide Executive Leadership Summit. This Nationwide-exclusive event is the only industry-specific leadership development program for Independent retail leaders. There, attendees explore the latest in leadership skill development, and experience a data-driven journey to more effective recruiting, retention and team building. Retail leaders gain new insights on talent evaluation, and hear from an array of content authorities on all aspects of leading teams, developing future leaders and how to create lasting careers for their most-talented team members.
THE RESULTS –
“Prior to joining Nationwide Marketing Group in 2014, we were members of another buying group that we were not very engaged with,” explains Greg. “We then met with Nationwide’s Bill Seiler (who later became their Member Support Manager), and he invited us to go to Nationwide’s Executive Leadership Summit. We were convinced wholeheartedly that Nationwide was the group for us with that experience alone.”
It was during the first Executive Leadership Summit that Greg met Nationwide’s Mike Whitaker and Kris Kuester – and has benefited greatly from remaining in continual contact with them ever since. He shares that both have been instrumental in helping them develop and lead their people the right way, specifically mentioning the content presented by Mike at the Leadership Summit and Kris’s guidance on implementing “The People Principle.”
Following the Leadership Summit, the Laws began involving their team in other Nationwide events and experiences. Shares Katy, “It’s like a switch gets turned on for each individual on our team that gets to attend a Nationwide event (like the 95% Share program led by Jeff Knock). It is career enhancing, and we’ve even heard several of them say that they find the experience to be life changing.”
By implementing just a few of the sound principles learned at the Executive Leadership Summit, the Laws immediately saw positive results. “By empowering and involving our team in not only the experiences but learning the principles as well that Nationwide teaches, it allows us to get so much more done now as a team. We no longer feel that everything has to funnel through us, we now have an “Imperial Guard” that is helping us conquer challenge after challenge.”
They say that alone has made the biggest impact on their business. And according to Greg, their sales have increased every year since joining Nationwide. With the same number of stores, their 2019 sales are 54% higher — and their gross profit is over 75% higher — than in 2014 (when they became Members of Nationwide Marketing Group).
“Through Nationwide, we have learned that “if we don’t have a story to tell, there’s only price to sell,” and our customers find our true worth in being the amount of value & service we provide them above and beyond the price we take in payment. We are especially excited about all the many ways we now can serve our customers and the community better than ever before.”
Doug Marsh is the content director for Nationwide Marketing Group