Chris Manley lives the dream and sleeps soundly

Resthouse offers organic mattresses, linens, comforters and handmade furniture

  • May. 6, 2019 7:30 a.m.

– Story by Lauren Edwards Photography by Don Denton

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

As Chris Manley whistles a jazzy tune through his teeth, I realize he’s a man of many talents. And indeed, in addition to his impressive whistling abilities, he sings and excels in business as co-owner of Resthouse Sleep Solutions — an organic mattress and bedding store in Duncan.

Vancouver-born Chris has been whistling since he was five years old, taught by his father while living in Richmond. He tricked his teachers by disguising his whistling abilities through his teeth, and “mastered the art of the different sounds and the noodling to it.”

After graduating high school, he worked for a corporate mattress company in Vancouver for 15 years. As a top salesperson and sales trainer, his career in the sleep industry was set, but the one-size-fits-all method of sales didn’t feel right.

“It’s an old way [of looking at it],” Chris explains. “Which is just alarming because [noramlly] two people sleep in a bed, and each person has different needs.”

When he left the corporate world and moved on to Duncan, Chris decided to change his lifestyle, starting with improving his health through eating organically. With the introduction to organic foods, he “started to clue in that conventional mattresses are not as healthy as we’ve been told they are.” And, he adds, this is not evening considering their environmental impact — with around “30 million mattresses a year going to landfills in North America.” With the world focussing on product sustainability, down to its roots, he thought, it makes sense that a community with a high-level interest in organics would want to embrace holistic sleeping habits too.

“As a kid, I remember complaining about taking naps, which seemed like a requirement. As an adult, having a good night’s sleep is vital.

“Once I don’t get enough sleep, my sugar addiction kicks in because I’m trying to get that jolt, and that actually hurts my brain. Then I start to get anxiety, then I get mild depression, and it’s just this cycle.”

He adds: “Because when you are laying there, if you’re getting hot, you’re tossing and turning, and you’re hurting, well that kicks in the brain…it’s ultimately what discomforts people. When you get into your 50s, 60s and 70s, if you’re not sleeping well, you can get sick.”

Chris and his business and life partner, Dawn Howlett, first launched a mattress business from their garage. Next, they opened an organic mattress gallery, complete with spotlights and showrooms. From there they set up shop at the Community Farm Store, and then, when space for a store opened up with a music studio above, Chris was able to combine his two passions — music and the mattress business— under one roof.

Chis says the idea for the business had always been in concept form, but when “out popped of Dawn’s mouth ‘Resthouse,’” the name helped solidify their idea.

Towels, linens, pillows and comforters at Resthouse are all made from organic cotton. The store also features handmade wooden furniture by David Martinello, as well as wool blankets made from angora goats and sheep on Ann Lindwall’s farm in Glenora, just outside of Duncan.

“We try to do as much locally as we can,” says Chris, adding that the business recently expanded its ownership team by adding Olga Roberts.

Resthouse gets involved in different community events, working with schools and donating products to different foundations, and making sure mattresses are properly disposed of. Each time they deliver a new mattress, the old one (if it’s still in good shape) is donated to charity.

Dawn’s decoration of the store was influenced by hygge (pronounced “hoog-ga”) — a Danish word meaning “a mood of cosiness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.”

The duo originally met at The Haven, which offered an improvisational a cappella singing course called “The Singing Soul.” Chris, who had always enjoyed music, says the course was “serendipitous because that’s where I met Dawn, where I really got into music, and where I learned that the universe will actually give you what you want if you ask for it.”

During the course, he was urged by instructor David Hatfield to “no matter what, just keep singing.”

So Chris continued his musical training on his own, playing a game of “whistle it or sing it.” He put his entire music library on shuffle — deciding to either whistle or sing each tune as it played.

Eventually he met The Paradigm Shifters, an improvisation band, which was looking for a singer. Improvising, band members begin playing their instruments and “find ways through intuition in the moment to create songs,” says Chris.

Years later, he’s now part of Dream Catcher, another improvisational band. Chris continues to pursue his passion for music, almost pushing himself, he says, to show his daughter, 14 and son, 12 — “who are both amazing singers” — what it means to not give up on dreams.

In addition to singing, whistling and selling sleep solutions, Chris likes “hanging out with the kids,” swimming in various lakes on the island and spending time at his parents’ home that has a “cabin-like” feel to it.

Other favourite pastimes include tennis and bowling (he was a competitive bowler in his youth), and practising music with Dawn through looping — a device that records and plays back music. Dawn is a huge positive influence in his life, he says, as well as his parents, who taught him to treat others with “kindness and heart.” He still carries this important lesson to “understand that we all struggle, and if you just default to kindness, the universe takes care of you.”

Now that’s something to whistle about.

Check out Chris’ company Resthouse here.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Realtors battle it out over Park Avenue, the Electric Company, and the railroads

Third Realtor Monopoly fundraiser held in Langley to help New Hope Community Services

Langley school board chair hopes B.C. vaping changes clear the air

Local schools have found it a challenge to prevent students from vaping, chair says

Langley police investigating stolen boots, credit cards, booze, and beauty products

Anyone with information on these local crimes is asked to contact the non-emergency phone number

Christmas markets galore around Aldergrove this weekend

The holiday season has begun early in Aldergrove and its surrounding areas.… Continue reading

KPU’s Cloverdale campus to host open house Nov. 20

Registrants have a chance to win prizes, if they sign up early

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

UPDATE: Metro Vancouver bus drivers to refuse overtime as transit strike escalates

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

South Surrey man and city settle beef over backyard cow

Asad Syed, who kept a calf on his property last year, met City of Surrey in court Tuesday

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Most Read