24 April 2024, 23:58
By Furniture News Feb 22, 2024

Getting personal: Steve Reid, Simba Sleep

The CEO and co-founder of British bed-in-a-box brand Simba Sleep, Steve comes from a finance background, having worked with Ernst & Young and IMG Media before entering the furniture industry with mydeco in 2008. As well as managing the innovative, award-winning sleep tech brand, Steve is a director (and co-founder) of ethical sportswear brand, Tribe Sports.

How might a child describe what you do? 

Sells mattresses – not the really fun bouncy ones, but ones that you can still jump on, but are a bit squishy

What’s the biggest long-term challenge you face?

Moving our business and the industry forwards to a lower carbon footprint 

If you had 10 x your working budget, what would you spend it on?

Marketing – telling more people about our products and helping more people get a better night’s sleep 

What would be the title of your autobiography?

The Ups and the Downs of Life in the Sleep(y) Lane

What does ‘work/life balance’ mean to you?

It’s critical – I’ve worked too hard at times in my career, and it has had highly negative impacts on myself and those around me. Whilst I still work just as hard, I work smarter and find the balance much better. My family are the most important thing in my life, far, far outweighing professional accomplishments. I love my work, but I love my family more. 

Who’s been your most influential professional mentor?

I’ve had some great mentors over the years, but I would go right back to some professional coaching that my old employer Ernst & Young gave us back in 2003. We were moving offices, and they needed the employees out the way, so we headed to Eurodisney for a two-day session (in every sense of the word!). 

In one session, we talked about the positive impact of your actions and words on others, and I learned the very simple skill that, when asked ‘How are you?’ to reply overwhelmingly positively. It would lift both your mood and the person who asked the question. To this day, this continues to lift my mood daily!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Find a work/life balance – professional success is only one part of you

What’s been your best day in business to date?

I am constantly impressed and immensely proud of the team at Simba day in, day out, so it’s pretty much every day! As a co-founder, submitting our B Corp application with a great score was a day of immense pride!

What’s the biggest myth about our industry?

That mattresses are all quite similar, and you don’t need to spend well to get a great product. Sleep is so critically important, this mentality always upsets me – as people put more money or thought into a sofa, or dining table purchase, for example, and neither of those will have a material impact on your health. 

What should everyone in our industry either stop or start doing?

I think we’ve all got to come together better to drive positive change in reducing the carbon footprint of our industry. There is much being done, but there needs to be more done, and quicker

Where do you see the industry going in the next 5-10 years?

I hope that we see significant movement to lower the carbon footprint of our industry, and also see the public continue to understand that poor sleep is a health crisis that needs more awareness and better solutions – move over nutrition and exercise, it’s sleep’s turn to get the attention! 

What question do you wish we’d asked? How would you have answered?

Q: What is your favourite industry publication? 

A: Furniture News!

This interview featured in January's issue.

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