• David Perry

Reverie on the move in metro Detroit

Martin Rawls-MeehanMartin Rawls-Meehan stands with a dramatic lifestyle picture at Reverie’s headquarters in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Adjustable bedding producer Reverie is on the move in this dynamic Detroit suburb, writing another Motor City success story.

The company, just over a decade old, looks like a high-tech startup with its hip headquarters here, next to a tech company that serves the auto industry. With a smart workforce full of engineers and hard-charging Millennials, and partnerships with area universities and technical schools, the company is contributing to the buzz that is part of Detroit’s new business scene.

“There is a huge revival under way in the Detroit metro area,” said Martin Rawls-Meehan, the architect of Reverie’s rise as an adjustable bedding leader. “There are a lot of young, high-energy startups in the tech field, many of them supporting the automotive industry. The engineers are here and so is the supply chain. The suppliers we are looking for do sell the automotive industry, and the adjustable seats in cars are like mini-adjustable beds. This expertise can help us take our designs to the next level.”

Reverie’s 12,000-square-foot facility here includes the company’s sophisticated research and development center, where eight employees work on new designs behind locked doors. Rawls-Meehan says the R&D staff is one of the largest in the industry, will be expanded, and features a number of engineers with master’s degrees in mechanical engineering.

“To really revitalize an industry you have to bring in the talent,” said Rawls-Meehan, Reverie’s CEO.

An employeeAn employee mans the phones inside the customer service center at Reverie.

He’s ventured outside the industry for many of his key hires, bringing in employees from the biomedical, fashion and automotive industries, among others. “We love to bring in people with great ideas,” Rawls-Meehan said. “Bringing in people who are on the cutting edge of great industries is great for us. We need to hire the best talent we can.”

Reverie provides “an open, collaborative work environment,” said Tom Berman, chief business development officer. “It is a work hard, play hard mentality.”

The open work environment means glass walls throughout the company’s offices here. The transparent architecture reflects an open-door approach to management. The team members have ready access to their team leaders.

“We don’t have a CEO hidden behind mahogany doors on the 15th floor,” Berman said.

Indeed, Rawls-Meehan’s glass-walled office is on the first floor, surrounded by the offices of other Reverie leaders. His wife, director of marketing Lisa Tan, has an office next to his.

The average age of the Reverie employees at the Bloomfield Hills facility, located in Detroit’s automotive tech corridor, is under 30. The company caters to those employees by providing catered meals, healthy snacks, and a wellappointed gym, open throughout the day. Rawls-Meehan, a dedicated CrossFit athlete, works out regularly in the gym.

Adjustable sleep setsAdjustable sleep sets greet visitors at Reverie’s headquarters.

Motivational messages on the walls remind the employees of the key benefit they are providing to their customers.

“Celebrate sleep” is the oversized message on the wall in the break room. “That is our master motivating idea,” Tan said. “It drives everything we do. We are doing more than just eliminating back pain. We are helping our customers wake up feeling amazing.”

“Reset, recover, recharge” is another motivating message, featured on a nearby wall. “The world would be a better place if we slept better,” is a third message that greets employees every day.

Employees in the call center, located near the front of the building, see “Sleep” spelled out in front of them — a reminder of what the Reverie products offer.

Reverie sees itself as a leader in the rapidly growing adjustable bed arena, and as the leader in the market for premium goods, those retailing at $1,199 and up. With more than 50 patents pending, Reverie is primed to continue raising the bar on technology and quality in its adjustable bases, which are tied to today’s wired lifestyle with cutting-edge technology, Rawls-Meehan said.

Reverie’s own growth is an indicator of its growing position in the adjustable bed category.

Martin RawlsMartin Rawls-Meehan and Lisa Tan in the gym at Reverie’s headquarters.

In 2013 Reverie moved its adjustable bed base production into a sprawling 120,000-squarefoot facility in Eden, N.Y., 18 miles south of Buffalo. The next year the company opened its new headquarters in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and it plans to expand again in that city soon with the opening of a new soundproof test lab just down the road. “Building great adjustable beds means making sure they don’t make too much noise,” Rawls-Meehan said.

Reverie continues to bring in some of its adjustable bed bases from China, where the company got its manufacturing start, but is steadily increasing its commitment to domestic production as it continues to offer customized products for the company’s growing dealer base, Rawls-Meehan said.

David PerryDavid Perry | Executive Editor, Furniture Today

Hi, online readers. I'm David Perry, executive editor of Furniture/Today, and the writer on the mattress beat. Get my musings on mattresses on our web site and on my Twitter feed. And let me know what you would like me to write about in the wonderful world of mattresses.

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