Ron Rudzin – President & CEO, The Saatva Company

Ron Rudzin, the entrepreneur behind the luxury mattress brand Saatva, spent most of his life investing and managing businesses in the home furnishings industry. In 2007, Ron had a simple idea: Make the most luxurious and comfortable mattress possible, make it in America, and sell it directly to the customer with no retail markups. Ron quickly realized this as a truly unique opportunity to combine old-fashioned customer service with the modern efficiencies of the e-commerce world, and Saatva was born in 2009.

Saatva has since grown to be the largest online-only luxury mattress company in the country. Today, Saatva has 15 American partnering factories building our proprietary product and 103 fulfillment centers delivering throughout the continental U.S. Saatva is the original online disrupter of the mattress industry, ranked as the “7th Fastest-Growing Online Retailer” by Inc. Magazine and named to Forbes “Top 100 Companies to Watch.”

During Saatva’s tremendous growth, Ron began to notice a big difference between memory foam and innerspring shoppers. Memory foam shoppers self-identified themselves and were looking for a very specific bedding experience. Ron put the leading memory foam brand in his sightline and spent a year and a half figuring out how to bring the Saatva model to the memory foam space. Loom & Leaf by Saatva was launched in February 2015.

What Ron has cultivated in both brands is a culture of transparency and happiness, where each customer gets a great product at a great price, and with great service. This is the secret to Ron’s ongoing success.

1. How do you define success?
I’m never defined by one characteristic, so I wouldn’t describe success as achieving any particular asset. Instead, I believe in total life success, from my career to my home. This means feeling positive about what I do, appreciating the important people in my life, and sleeping well with my accomplishments and how I accomplished them.

2. What is the key to success?
I’ve found success by doing the extras and paying attention to detail. I’m always in search of my next idea or the next thing to inspire me. I’ve found that the knowledge and information that has contributed to my success tends to manifest itself outside of my working hours, often through reading or thoughtful conversations with friends, family, and business associates.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
I have always been confident in my ability to achieve success in all facets of my life because I have always been willing to work hard. I was aware of this from a very young age, so developing a strong work ethic has been an integral part of my roadmap from the beginning, particularly in its application to building a business.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
We all face adversity, both in professional and personal contexts. That’s inevitable. The key to overcoming adversity is being prepared and possessing an internal protocol. I try to maintain an even perspective, recognizing that hardships or hurdles will occur, but remaining calm and reorienting myself to create a new vision when that does happen.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
My father taught me to be very humble, and his advice has stayed with me. He would tell me, “if you’re great at something, everyone will know, and you don’t have to keep telling them.”

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love the beach, playing basketball and softball, reading a hardcopy newspaper, and laughing and enjoying life with my friends and family.

7. What makes a great leader?
The most effective leaders never rely on their titles or credentials to convince others to follow them. I strive to demonstrate my vision, so my colleagues look up to me because it’s smart and effective, and ultimately because they believe in what I’m doing.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Don’t think about money for the first two years. Instead, put your head down, work hard, and learn from everyone. Also, learn to be a productive team member and make impactful contributions to group collaborations.

This interview is an excerpt from Never Give Up by Jason Navallo.