After decades in the mattress industry, Paul Longman knew a better sleep solution was out there somewhere. Years of research and development led to the iSense’s Hybrid Premier Mattress, dubbed Revive, hitting the market in 2020.
SBJ: What was the inspiration for iSense?
Paul Longman: That backs up into my 32-year career in the mattress industry. I was running the largest mattress factory in Australia. We were making conventional mattresses and a line of Sleep Number beds using air support. What we discovered as we presented both of those categories is – can I have the comfort of the conventional mattress and adjustments of the air mattress? How can I build a bed that’s built as well as any conventional bed but still make it fully adjustable on both sides? If you take all of the air out of the chambers, you have a luxurious mattress. It’s only when you add the air it affects the density of the foam and changes the firmness of the mattress. It’s a patented technology.
SBJ: So why the Ozarks? You could manufacture these anywhere.
Longman: I married into the Midwest. She’s Carthage born and bred. I spent many years in Springfield visiting Leggett & Platt. I had a relationship as a customer buying their technology, then worked for them in Australia and New Zealand, and now I’m a customer of theirs. I’ve gone full spectrum. In the course of doing that, I met my future wife. I came back five years ago. It’s not by chance that I started it here.
SBJ: How long did it take to develop the mattress?
Longman: The first three years of our existence was taking all that was available and making it a viable product. What we launched in January 2020 was the culmination of three years.
SBJ: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Longman: Everything since the day I stepped off the plane. Several years where we thought we’d struck gold, including sitting with the Ashley CEO, then dealing with the brutality of them saying, “It’s not for us at the moment.” That then followed launching a program at the beginning of COVID. The downside of COVID has been supply chain. It has been horrendously challenging to keep up with supplies, like circuit boards in the air pumps. We’ve been very dynamic to change supply-chain patterns to keep moving forward. We didn’t succeed in wholesale, but we have direct to consumer.
SBJ: What are your hopes for the future?
Longman: The future is bright. We’ve invested a lot of capital. Essentially, when we started the business, we reset our vision for the future and started bootstrapping it. We really “skinnied” it down so every sale had to have a ROI. We want to become a meaningful brand that solves a problem. I think the mattress industry is pretty lazy when it comes to product development. There’s a missing piece in this industry, and that is two people share a bed. It acts as if one product suits both people, and that’s unusual. I knew individual comfort is something people would appreciate.
Once a week this time of year, roughly 150 men trade business suits and work attire for baseball uniforms – complete from caps to cleats – for the Grip N Rip Baseball league.