Longtime SSA Member InnoMax® Corporation, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is our Member Spotlight feature this month. We asked them to send us a company summary, and give us an idea of the steps it took to get them where they are today. Here is their write-up.
Today one of the largest sleep products manufacturers in the industry, InnoMax was originally founded in 1975 as Rocky Mountain Inflate-A-Bed. InnoMax began its 43 year journey in a very modest fashion. Knowing there was a better way to sleep than on a set of cold steel springs, founder Tom Lavezzi filled his van with basic vinyl air mattresses and began visiting local bedding retailers to promote the idea of air suspension sleep. Early success offered encouragement, but the “butt-seam” construction on the mattresses proved to be less than ideal for daily use. Necessity is the mother of invention, so to keep the airbed business afloat, waterbed sealing technology was used to repair the air mattresses. This quickly led to adding a complete line of waterbed products to the mix, allowing retailers to join in the specialty sleep boom of the 1970’s. With each new challenge, a product design was improved and more new ideas were brought to life. The company name was changed to InnoMax due to the company’s “Maximum Innovation” mission for product evolution and development.
InnoMax was proud to be a part of the early days of the airbed and waterbed revolution. The company moved to larger facilities and expanded production into all aspects of specialty sleep. With the fervor of the waterbed craze, all types of alternative sleep systems were gaining in popularity, including adjustable airbeds. Soon memory foam and natural latex would join the category and then variations of all types were created.
InnoMax decided long ago to get direct feedback from the consumer to offer real time information to help their dealer network successfully promote these non-traditional products. The retail sales associate in a specialty sleep showroom had to have an immense amount of product knowledge and training to help consumers understand the benefits of specialty sleep products. The specialty mattress and bedding sales floor could not simply be a “pick one and we’ll deliver it Saturday” kind of experience. The products were complex and needed to be explained. In order to assist dealers to be better promoters, InnoMax remodeled some warehouse space and created a testing environment called the Retail Laboratory in Denver, armed with market-tested products, sales presentations and marketing strategies. If the innovative products could be effectively sold in a warehouse district far away from high-end malls, then InnoMax was confident the dealers would find success as well. The term “Hard to Find and Tough to Beat” became a marketing slogan for these products and the great benefits and high values offered to the consumer who searched them out.
Effective marketing campaigns were also tested in the Laboratory. For instance, to promote a product with a less-than-favorable set of beliefs surrounding it, a new approach was developed. The company replaced the high energy “Mattress Man” advertising with trustworthy local celebrities whose love of flotation sleep broke down the barriers and myths, and paved the way for a whole new generation of consumers eager to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of sleeping on a waterbed. The company created the name “Mud Bed” to alter the perception many consumers had with the term “waterbed”. Customer after customer would enter the showroom asking to see the famous Mud Bed, not really knowing it was a waterbed. Only after the customer had reclined on the bed to enjoy the relaxing massage and video presentation, would the sleep consultant reveal the true identity of what they were experiencing. The looks of shock and ear-to-ear smiles on the consumer reinforced the viability of this sleep option.
Based upon the premise that air and water can be refined to create some of the most comfortable and exciting products produced to date, InnoMax continues to develop both categories. Mark Miller, InnoMax President/CEO and current Specialty Sleep Association Chairman, continues to focus on product innovation. One example is the InnoMax Waterbed Day Bed, called the Seaside youth bed, with all six drawers facing one side. This design created a new space saving bed that would fit in smaller rooms yet provide ultimate storage and comfort. They introduced Convert-A-Fit linens that wouldn’t come off until you took them off, solving some customer complaints with early waterbeds. Wooden waterbed frames moved over for the InnoMax Frame Free Sponge Bed. The creation of the Drain Hero Waterbed Maintenance Kit brought long term flotation owner’s the benefit of easy mobility with an electric drain pump and all the accessories needed to move a waterbed without hassle. The Convert-A-Bed modular support system allows each side of the bed to be adjusted to the individual sleepers own comfort level with the choice of Memory Cell, Latex, InnoCoils, Fluid or Air suspension. InnoMax’s latest development is the fully assembled Rolled N’ Ready Freedom Air system that allow dealers to drop ship, directly to the consumer, a fully assembled air bed that is plug-and-go instantly.
Maximum Innovation is still alive and well at InnoMax. The fast paced heyday of the waterbed may be long gone, but the benefits of specialty sleep are very much alive. In their never ending quest to provide sleepers with the best rest of their life, InnoMax continues to usher in specialty sleep products that offer their dealers a competitive advantage with unique selling propositions, and innovative sleep solutions that allow today’s consumers to enjoy the amazing benefits of specialty sleep for a healthier and happier lifestyle.
It takes a real passion to love an aardvark, but at InnoMax, the idea of being different just means being better.