Why Are Your Stores Called Sit ‘n Sleep Anyway? Part 2: The Inside Story

"Shogun Influenced Sit 'n Sleep

"Shogun" Influenced Sit 'n Sleep

I went on a trip to Japan in the late 1970’s and one night I ended up sleeping on something called a Futon. I’d never heard of one or seen one before. It was a soft mattress on a frame that you could use as a bed and then adjust to become a small sofa.

At the time I thought that was pretty neat.

I got back to California and the mini-series “Shogun” about Japanese warriors was a big hit, Americans were starting to eat sushi … so I figured maybe they’ll sleep on this bed/chair thing from Japan.

At the time there were only two other places in all of Los Angeles where you could even find a Futon. One was a tiny store in an area called Little Tokyo and the other was an even smaller store in a predominantly Japanese area of west Los Angeles. So I went ahead and imported a Futon from Japan and had the mattress part copied.  But I had an impossible time finding anyone who could make the adjustable frame. Finally, after many frustrating calls and trips, I found someone who could make the frame … in Brazil!

Meanwhile, my dad (who was also my business partner) thought I was completely nuts. He told me, “Nobody is going to sleep on that bag of cotton!”

But dad agreed to let me try selling these weird new beds because, at the time, we really had nothing to lose! We were just scraping by month to month trying to keep our little store open.

Well, thankfully the response to our Futons was incredible. Most days I’d be selling five or six customers at the same time! We sold thousands over the next few years. And because of those “bags of cotton,” and the mattresses we sold, the store was called Sit ‘n Sleep. By the time the Futon craze died down years later, Sit ‘n Sleep was a very established name due to our radio and television advertising.  And, look, it’s “business 101” that you don’t just change your brand name to keep up with trends.

Who knows? Maybe the Futon craze of the late 70’s and early 80’s will strike again someday and our name will make complete sense.

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