Lisa Scorziell – Co-CEO of Banner Mattress

The one thing I do over and over again is run my business like a business.

Lisa Scorziell was born in Ohio. She proudly holds a BA degree from Ohio State University.  Lisa met her husband, Geno Scorziell, at the International Sleep Products Convention in San Antonio Texas.  Lisa joined the Scorziell family in 1990, and added her business acumen to the family business, too.

Her career is rich with experience.  Mrs. Scorziell has held various employment position with the State Of Ohio, including OSHA Inspector, HR Director of the Ohio Department Of Industrial Relations, and Chief Of Furniture and Bedding for the State Of Ohio.  In 2010, Lisa Scorziell accepted her current position of co-CEO of Banner Mattress.

Where did the idea for Banner Mattress come from?

Our founder, Ross Scorziell immigrated to America from Italy in 1911. As a 13-year-old boy, he made his way to Chicago and eventually found work in a mattress factory. Fast forward 15 years, chasing his own American dream, at 28 years young, Ross opened up his own mattress factory in Toledo, Ohio. So proud to be and American, Ross named his company “Banner” Mattress after the America flag…. as sung in our National Anthem…”Banner yet waves, for the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

In 1961 Ross harked the cry ..”Go West My Son” and moved Banner Mattress to Southern California.  From 424 South “I” Street in San Bernardino California, Banner Mattress manufactured mattresses and sold them wholesale North to Oregon, and East to Las Vegas and Arizona to department stores, furniture stores and sleep shops.

In 1979, after having purchased the company from his parents, Gene Scorziell made business changes.  Instead of manufacturing and selling to other mattress retailers Gene decided to cut out the “middleman” and open up his own Banner Mattress retail stores. Gene decided to go factory direct.  The first Banner Mattress retail store was a showroom built inside the factory.  Folks came by 424 South “I” in San Bernardino and could see the finished products in the showroom and watch as the mattresses were handcrafted in the factory by skilled workers and talented seamstress. No more middle man.

In the 90s, Banner Mattress became a Simmons Beautyrest Dealer.  At the time, Simmons held a Patent on Individually Pocketed Coils.  Banner Mattress was able to manufacture every mattress type and construction design in the market except for this patented individually wrapped coil made by Beautyrest.  “If you can’t make’em retail’em” was our motto.  Once we took on Simmons we found that there was a market out there for brand loyalty.  This insight continued and today Banner Mattress manufactures our very our Banner Built Beds as well as retails all national brands, including Sealy Posturepedic, Serta, iComft Beautyrest, Simmons, and, of course, Tempur-Pedic. Each of these brands carries their own branded Lifestyle Adjustable Power Bases.  Banner Mattress, too, brands their own Lifestyle Adjustable Power Bases since purchasing an adjustable base company in 1984.

Today, there are 15 retail mattress stores in the Inland Empire and the high and low deserts of Victorville, Apple Valley and Palm Springs, Coachella Valley.  Working on the next retail store, the internet, Banner Mattress continues to sell directly to the consumer from our factory to your family and hopes to grow its business nationwide.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I would say my day starts with a good night’s sleep. That is what makes me productive.  I wake naturally around 6:00 am. I try to start my day with exercise. Generally, I’m out the front door for a short jog or a pilates class.

The benefits of the exercise for me, are two-fold, it gets my body moving and it also seems to bring clarity and organization to my thoughts and mind. Questions, concerns or issues I may have been contemplating and grappling with the day or days before seem to present themselves with more clarity and often solutions during my morning exercise routines.

Whether it’s an operations plan, process or concern, a distribution or supply chain issue, maybe it’s a manufacturing or factory concern. or it could be a new design for a next generation mattress, or a basic cover/fabric change of an existing SKU. These daily business and life decisions always seem clearer to me after a good night sleep and a morning workout.

Armed with cleared thoughts and often solutions in mind, back home I’ll check emails and return calls to colleagues and business associates overseas and on the East Coast.

About 9:45 am I’ll find myself in the car with my husband and Co-CEO/Chairman at our Southern California ritual of the hour and a 15-minute commute. We discuss ongoing business operations and projects. We take and place phone calls with the convenience of hands-free Bluetooth technology.

Once we are at work we take meetings with our staff. We meet with raw material suppliers, equipment manufacturers, retail brand partners, media partners, trade associations liaison, and other business operations partners who support and help our business improve and grow. I review business budgets, contracts, agreements, leases, insurance policies etc. with our CFO or Controller for advice and clarity.

I generally have a working lunch eating at my desk to move through the daily tasks. I’ll finish my day around 4:00 – 4:30 pm. It’s back in the car to commute home. I’ll make more phone calls and have a daily wrap-up conversations my husband and CO-CEO on the hour and 25-minute commute home.

Home brings a quick change of clothes. Some sort of protein on the grill, cooked by my husband, my master chief. I’ll toss a salad or prepare a complimentary side dish and we generally take in the evening news.

Around 8:00 pm I find myself and my husband back at our home office computers making one last check at the daily written business. Being a manufacturer and a retailer we virtually run two businesses, a mattress manufacturing operation, and a 15 store retail mattress chain.

Since our chain of retail stores remains open until 8:00pm, our day isn’t finished until the last customer is served and the retail sales are tallied.

Around 9:00 pm we retire to our Banner Mattress mattresses and decompress with a TV show or two before lights out around 10 pm’ish.

How do you bring ideas to life?

My ideas come from all over. I lean heavily on our trade associations and raw material supply partners. The mattress industry as a whole has been very innovative. You only have to look as far as the U.S. Patents Office to know this fact.  It’s almost as easy as the famous NIKE “Just Do It” slogan.

Banner Mattress is a member of manufacturing trade organizations made up of an international group of suppliers and manufacturers in the mattress industry. Everyone from steel suppliers to fabric designers is part of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA).

I gain exposure and knowledge of innovations and insights from our great partner relationships with products and materials suppliers and through our unique partnership with national mattresses retail brands partners like Sealy, Serta, Beautyrest, Stearns & Foster, iComfort, and Tempur-Pedic.

Having two unique partnerships, one with the manufacturing suppliers on the raw material side and the agreements and partnership with national retail brands, Banner is always in the know when it comes to innovation and technology. Because of these two unique partnerships, Banner Mattress is so close to the innovations and technologies of the mattress industry that we can often be the front runner of innovations and designs and often beat even national brands to market.

When the raw material supply industries come up with innovations in materials of foams, fabrics, and fibers, Banner can be quicker, faster and often more affordability when using and introducing these innovations.

We take out the “Middle Man.” We don’t create huge advertising campaigns to get the word.  We talk directly to the consumer when they walk in our retail stores.

As a mattress manufacturer, we often see product innovations at trade shows and through supplier relationships before they are integrated into national brand products at retail. Innovations and designs for national brands is a big project. Issues like supply chain challenges and investment costs necessary for SKU product line changes is monumental. The banner can scale easily at our local brand size.

Our unique manufacturing ability and skill, lets us bring these technologies to the public often quicker and more easily as a factory direct to the consumer than national brands. Being of strategic size and expertise, Banner Mattress is nimble and able to react quickly. We can incorporate technologies and innovations into our products and designs ahead of the curve.

In fact, Banner Mattress was the first designer and user of a recent current coil innovation from Legette & Platt, the NANO-Coil. The NANO-Coil is a very short innerspring wrapped metal coil support designed to layer and provide added comfort and support to existing innerspring and foam mattress designs.

Seeing the benefits of this innovation as a factory direct, we incorporated the technology immediately and scaled it more quickly than the mega national brands. We beat them to the retail floors. Our size gives us that advantage and edge. We can get from innovation to implementation more swiftly.

Today the NANO-Coil is being integrated by all national brands, but Banner Mattress was there first.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I think the most exciting trend in the mattress industry today its the re-design and innovations being introduction with the new Lifestyle-Adjustable Power Bases.

If you haven’t heard about the revolution starting in the Lifestyle Adjustable Power Base products, you are missing a wonderful product innovation in the science of sleep products.  As we like to say, “it’s not your grandmother’s bed.”

The safety and regulatory changes, product advances and comfort design innovations in the mattress industry have opened a whole new opportunity for the advent of the new Lifestyle-Adjustable Power Base revolution.  These products have adapted to how folks live and work. Now a days, people sleep with their laptop or have them just close by recharging. We often use them in bed to read, work, watch movies and programs to relax or learn. Over 60% of master bedrooms have a TV.

The introduction of the newly designed Lifestyle-Adjustable Power Bases and new mattress designs gives the user the luxury of adjusting to incorporate these master bedroom activity lifestyle changes.  Lifestyle-Adjustable Power Bases provide the user with personalized comfort and enhanced ergonomic performance. They adapt to our bodies as well as how we live and work in our bedrooms today. It is not your grandmother’s geriatric bed. It is the bed of the future.

Today, beds can come with built in sound systems, electric outlets, and computer ports to recharge our electronics as well as our bodies. Some come with under lighting to set the mood or activated via motion sensors to help light your way to the bathroom or baby’s room in the middle of the night.  Lifestyle-Adjustable Power Bases can even rock you to sleep, give you a massage, or wake you up in the morning with a gentle rocking motion. Yes, please!

How about a Smart Bed that can monitor your resting heart rate and track your sleep hours and motions while you sleep? It can tell you not only how much you slept but how well you slept, too, with the built-in data and tracking. That should help you sleep at night, right?

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am a systems freak. I believe in constant evaluation and improvement. All things must be measured and monitored for systems improvements.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

The worst job I ever had was as an OSHA Inspector. I was responsible for inspecting all state owned, operated and occupied facilities. I inspected everything from offices, Highway Safety Departments, and all their equipment for snow and road maintenance services to correctional facilities.  While it was a great stepping stone to other employment opportunities within the state, wearing steel toed shoes and showing up to facilities that always expect a man instead of a college educated “girl” was never my idea of an acceptable career.

My last assignment as an OSHA Inspector was to inspect a maximum security male prison. It took me about a week. It was a terrifying experience of my life. I’ll never forget what the Safety Directory said to me. First, he wanted to know who the idiot was that assigned me to that inspection.  Second, he said to remember that if anything happened once we are inside the prison he would have no weapon to defend me with so I was to find a corner and stand in it.  That way he’d be required to defend me from only one direction.

After about a week of daily inspections of all areas of the prison, the sleeping cells, cafeteria, laundry, license plate manufacturing facility, and farm, I had had enough and put in for a transfer. I guess you could say I was scared straight and any thoughts I had of activity that could result in incarceration were crossed off the list for good. This was not a place I wanted to work for let alone live in.

It put in for a new position which ultimately resulted in my being appointed to the Chief of the Department of Bedding and Furniture for the Department Of Industrialization.

As Chief of the Furniture and Bedding Department, I served at the pleasure of the Director of the Department of Industrialization. My responsibilities were to ensure the proper licensing, registration, safety regulations, and taxes were adhered to by all parties offering for sale any pieces of furniture, mattresses and bedding material or products with hidden materials offered for sale and use within the Sates Of Ohio. I was the TAG Queen. The Law Tag that hangs on all Mattresses, Pillows, Comforters, Furniture, stuffed toys etc., that says “Do Not Remove…” was my domain.

I had a staff of inspectors that inspected manufacturers and retailers of these items to ensure compliance with registration, regulation, and taxation. State Inspectors had the right to confiscate one item and send it to the department’s laboratory which tested the materials to ensure the Law Tag properly represented the hidden contents and cover materials contained within and on the product.

While serving as the Chief of Furniture and Bedding, I was part of a legislative liaison group invited to meet with manufacturers of the furniture and bedding industry at their national convention in San Antonio. Myself, along with my counterparts from other states throughout the United States were invited to attend the International Sleep Product Association to meet with manufacturers and retailers to help them better understand the regulations and standards associated with their products as governed by each of our states. As often happens, people sometimes meet their spouse or significant other through our professional arenas, so too happened for me. I meet my husband at the International Sleep Product Association.  So, my worst job had a silver lining.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have made the jump to the retail and manufacturing industry sooner.  I have fully immersed myself into the world of Banner Mattress and our sales process.  It’s not a job to me.  It’s a pleasure in life that just happens to pay my bills, too.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

The one thing I do over and over again is run my business like a business. My advice to entrepreneurs is to hire a good accountant and learn everything you can from them. Watch the numbers and budget on a daily basis.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Using Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) as a business management tool has made a direct, positive impact on business.  There are so many areas to measure and monitor in a retail and a manufacturing business. One must understand through analysis and review how these items to measure and how efficiencies affect the profitability of your organization. Identifying and understanding KPI’s tells you where to look and what to monitor that equates to healthy or harmful impacts on your business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Failure to recognize that family members may not be the best legacy for your business often causes issues for many businesses.  Hire the best people to do the job. Blood is forever but resumes speak louder than bloodlines.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Start an app or something online that is available to the masses.  The statement “there’s an app for that” is true of just about everything, but there’s always something missing from someone’s life or a way to do something better.

Take Facebook for example.  When Facebook first started rolling out, MySpace was the big thing.  No one thought another social network was necessary or could be better than MySpace and the dozens of others that were out there.  Yet, before MySpace, Friendster existed and was bested to MySpace.  And MySpace was bested by Facebook.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I made a donation to a charity.  Anonymous donations are the best donations.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Banner Mattress uses a point of purchase software system from Storis’. Storis’ focus is the furniture and mattress industry. It is a complete management tool from order entry to financial statements.  It gives us the ability to grow without stressing the organization.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Any book. My father was an avid reader and instilled that trait in his children. I believe as long as you are reading you are growing. Read anything in your interest and outside it.

Business books such as Good to Great by James Collins have influenced me. Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich should be a standard for all young adults contemplating paths in life.

Reading gives you insight into others’ thoughts and opinions. It can help you learn and grow. It expands your exposure to others and other ideas. You can learn about empathy and life skills through others’ life experience’s and opinions.