Five Qs: David Van Elslander on Overseeing Art Van PureSleep


David Van Elslander, newly named senior vice president of Art Van Furniture and president of Art Van PureSleep, recently spoke with DBusiness Daily News about using technology to sell mattresses and the future of the PureSleep brand.

DDN: What’s your strategy for growing the PureSleep brand?

DV: It’s really about differentiating ourselves from our competition. We have a unique and logical selling process, and we want to convey that message in all of our advertising efforts. We’re not just selling mattresses. We’re selling sleep and the benefits that sleep have on your health.

DDN: How so?

DV: If you’re on the proper mattress and pillow — and by the way, the pillow contributes to about 30 percent of your comfort overall and keeps your spine aligned — you’re in a great position to sleep. You will get deeper, more restorative sleep, so that you are able to perform your best the next day. A lot of people toss and turn all night, and they’re really not getting the true rest that they need to restore their body from the previous day.

DDN: How do you drive that connection for customers?

DV: We pride ourselves in having the latest technology and sleep systems (the mattress and pillow combination), but most important is our diagnostic machine. That’s our key point of differentiation. The diagnostic machine measures (a customer’s) body to identify where they most need support. It does over 1,100 calculations, and then makes three mattress recommendations. At that point, we take the customers to those beds to try to fit them for comfort, which is very arbitrary. Some people like a firmer sleep, some people like a softer sleep. We know what they need for support, but then they have to choose their level of comfort.

DDN: What’s the busiest time of year for business?

DV: Major holidays are big sales for anything in retail. Labor Day is traditionally the single biggest day for business in the mattress industry, but Black Friday has taken that over (for PureSleep). I can’t explain why other than we’ve been much more aggressive with our Black Friday promotions than we have in the past.

DDN: What’s next for the company?

DV: With our 42 in-store mattress galleries in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana, plus the 46 freestanding PureSleep stores, we have nearly 90 stores, and we are actively pursuing more locations in all four states. But my focus right now is on continuing to build our team to make sure that we’re getting the best people in the industry that we possibly can. As my dad (Art Van Elslander) has always said, “Buildings are brick and mortar, but it’s the people that are the heartbeat of every business.”