It’s been an exciting couple of months for the BEDROOM team as we traversed the country on our annual factory tour. Having visited the bedding graphic-solution company, Wright of Thomasville in April, we challenged ourselves to continue visiting companies different from those we visited in 2011. At Organic Mattresses, Inc. (OMI) we watched how organic mattresses are made and, even more impressive, how materials were naturally sanitized, air purified and airborne contaminants contained.
The first thing you notice when you step inside OMI’s factory is how clean it is. Signs remind employees of the intersection between quality, cleanliness and production. The finishing sewing room is sealed prohibiting airborne contaminants from entering with employees and visitors alike required to wear shoe covers to avoid tracking in dirt and debris.
Founder and CEO Walter Bader’s dedication to producing 100% organic products means that he has created a manufacturing environment completely committed to purity. The 60,000 square-foot factory is the only large-scale, 100% organic factory in the country we could find. Inside, the high level of quality control is evident throughout every stage of the manufacturing process. Air purification centers provide clean air to the air hoses used to blow loose trimmings, thread and cotton before finished mattresses are sealed in a bag, boxed and bag again in preparation for delivery.
Organic cotton will spend 24 hours in the company's proprietary “Ozone Sanitization Room,” where the material is naturally sanitized with the cleanest air possible before being used to make a mattress or pillow, which are topped with pads made from all-natural flannel. The products are transported on electric-powered forklifts that use natural rubber tires to avoid producing additional contaminates.
There is no questioning the company’s unwavering dedication to the purity of their products. At every stage, an employee signs off on their work and everything that came before it. OMI goes one step further to maintainsuch an environment, employees do not smoke, wear fragrances, or use fabric softeners on their clothing. For Bader, the reason for such careful consideration is simple. “No compromising,” he explains. “We just don’t know how.”
Traditionally, there have been two dimensions to every mattress: comfort and price. OMI meets both of them and adds a third: safety. They not only produce handmade and certified organic mattresses at a reasonable price point (the mattress costs range from $1995–$8900), they are also one of the only US-based mattress manufacturers to meet fire retardant standards without the addition of chemicals.
Bader admits that the greatest challenge facing his company today is “getting retailers to perceive the importance of choice.”While consumers may not be able to completely avoid chemicals in life, by allowing them to make informed decisions on when and how to substitute the lowest chemical product available is invaluable. Case in point, the organic industry has been growing rapidly in recent years. It now represents more than $31 billion in annual sales, increasing by 10% last year alone. Bader elaborates that “if a consumer does not want harmful chemicals in their food, then why would they want them in their mattress? Organic grocery stores have become ubiquitous, proving a need for other organic offerings as well. OrganicPedic by OMI fills that need; it is the purest mattress in a market with no saturation.”
OMI is currently serving more than 150 retailers throughout the US and Canada. Each of these retailers benefits from the company’s seven-day delivery confirmation.
Whether it’s the 364 energy-producing solar panels on Wright of Thomasville’s roof, or the material recapture stations used to collect material waste within OMI’s 60,000 square foot factory, it’s great to see how these industry leaders are doing their part to save as much energy or waste as possible.
Our next tour includes a trip to Chicago where we will visit the Research and Development labs at Serta.