As the needs and trends of the bedding marketplace have evolved over the past decade, many mattress retailers are still searching for new ways to cut through the noise and stand out from their competition. Already a formidable player in the direct-to-consumer space, Brooklyn Bedding has recently become a distinct voice in the wholesale sphere. The company has crafted a comprehensive product portfolio that is carefully attuned to today’s current market needs with a curated selection of solutions-oriented mattresses, made in America and shipped in a box. By enhancing the traditional private label concept with forward-thinking manufacturing and delivery processes, Brooklyn Bedding is helping its retail partners build their own unique brands.
Before Brooklyn Bedding was even an idea on the horizon, co-founders John and Rob Merwin started out as retailers themselves. The duo focused specifically on the liquidation segment, buying and reselling overstock, comfort return and close-out finished goods. This served as their foray into the manufacturing world, as they saw an opportunity to begin buying up close-out components as well—including unused fabrics and springs. After investing in some sewing machines, they set out to figure out how to build and sell mattresses on their own. Because they already had retail stores set up, they were able to bring their new products into the market right away—and quickly start gathering valuable consumer feedback that helped them refine their offerings.
The vision for what Brooklyn Bedding would eventually become first began with a suggestion from CEO John Merwin’s wife. An early adopter of ecommerce shopping, she informed her husband that mattresses had begun to crop up on certain online sales platforms. Intrigued by the concept, Merwin began to explore the new category—and eventually made the trek to China to get a first-hand look at the roll-pack process. While there, he quickly identified the vast opportunity this could afford his business. But after purchasing a few containers of roll-packed memory foam mattresses to sell in the States, he soon realized that this was not the way he wanted to go about it.
“I didn’t want to be an importer,” Merwin explains. “I had already invested all of this money into our own factory. So I kept looking at equipment and eventually bought a roll-pack machine.” In 2008, the company became one of the first in the mattress industry to launch an American-made bed-in-a-box program—and Brooklyn Bedding was born.
Today, Brooklyn Bedding continues to elevate this burgeoning category with a robust portfolio of American-made mattresses ranging from $949 to $1,999 in queen. In fact, the company’s Phoenix, AZ facility was specifically designed and laid out so that every product is manufactured to go into a box.
“The consumer is really starting to open up to the fact that a mattress-in-a-box isn’t a commodity anymore. It’s not a cheap mattress that someone’s throwing in a box. With a couple of minor tweaks to construction, you can take almost every mattress and package it in a box.”
—John Merwin, CEO of Brooklyn Bedding
While most of the early roll-packed options were all-foam beds, Brooklyn Bedding has developed its line-up with a variety of unique constructions, support systems and comfort layers. “I see a day where 90-95% of all mattresses will be packaged and shipped in a box,” Merwin predicts. “It just makes sense. On the raw materials side, our foam comes compressed, our springs come compressed. It makes things a lot easier and more economical by delivering the mattress in a box as well.”
At the entry-level, the company offers the Brooklyn Signature. This mattress is made with six inches of individually encased pocket coils, a transitional layer of supportive Energex foam and a top layer of patented TitanFlex foam to create a more responsive contouring feel. For added comfort, the comfort layers are infused with a cooling TitaniumGel treatment that helps regulate body temperature throughout the night.
For a more natural experience, the brand’s Bloom Hybrid mattress combines an eight inch base of individually encased Quantum Edge coils with a three-inch top layer of Oeko-Tex certified Talalay latex and a plush top cover made from sustainably sourced Joma wool and organic cotton. These comfort layers create a buoyant, pressure relieving feel with superior breathability and moisture wicking properties.
Across its entire mattress portfolio, Brooklyn Bedding offers niche solutions for specific comfort preferences and benefits. The Spartan mattress incorporates performance Far Infrared Rays technology to provide the more active consumer with the recovery benefits they need. The Plank mattress was designed to deliver unparalleled firmness, and the Titan provides the ideal support for plus-size sleepers. While Brooklyn Bedding sells these offerings directly to consumers via its website and branded retail stores, they also serve as proven examples of the types of products the company can develop for its retail partners as part of its private label programs.
“When retailers come in, we’re not trying to sell them Brooklyn Bedding products,” Merwin explains. “I have my own retail stores. I have my own ecommerce site. I’m not looking to put Brooklyn Bedding on every single floor that’s out there."
"I want to build you something that is your own that you can stand behind 110%. When you sell that bed, you’re selling your brand. You’re selling your product; I just happen to be the guy that gets to build it.”
—John Merwin, CEO of Brooklyn Bedding
As a retailer himself, Merwin understands the selling power of a private label program. For retailers who have already invested in their own stores, the chance to build and brand their own products is invaluable in today’s marketplace. While many manufacturers offer different retailers the same collections under various names (which can be confusing and frustrating for consumers), Brooklyn Bedding provides true product exclusivity by allowing each partner to curate the line-up to their specific needs—and marketing it according to their unique customer base.
When the company sets out to create a private label program, the first step is evaluating the retailer’s current offerings. By exploring where their strongest sales are and what categories and price points they might be missing, they work together to identify where the opportunities are.
“We bring them into the factory for a couple of days and we just spend time with them developing, answering the questions they have and trying to build and curate the lineup that they want for their stores,” Merwin explains. “We just try to fill the gaps with their own private label program.”
The fact that Brooklyn Bedding sells its own branded products directly to consumers is a major asset for its retail partners. It allows the company to collect immediate feedback on the various features, constructions and components it brings to its private label programs. And because it owns and operates its entire manufacturing process, the company is able to be exceptionally responsive to retailer needs.
“Because we are factory-direct and we’re so close to the end consumer, we’re able to be very nimble,” Merwin explains. “It doesn’t take us two years to curate a line. We can make changes very very fast.”
Additionally, Brooklyn Bedding’s ecommerce experience has made it especially qualified to help retailers enter into that space. This has become increasingly important as more online brands have emerged in recent years—and many traditional mattress sellers have subsequently grappled with decreased foot traffic.
“There’s a certain segment of customers who say, ‘I don’t want to go in a store to buy anything.’ They go online, purchase the product and we ship it straight from our factory,” Merwin explains. “But there will always be that customer that says, ‘Nope, I need to touch it, I need to feel it.’ They’re doing their research online and then they’re going into the store and purchasing.”
While traditional mattress retailers have been connecting with that in-store customer for a long time, many are still struggling to figure out how to reach that online shopper. Brooklyn Bedding has both the know-how and the capabilities to help them build and grow the ecommerce side of their business. With a curated private label line-up designed specifically for online sales, retailers are able to reconnect with that consumer who is simply not interested in shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. At the same time, an expanded digital presence can also help retailers engage with the consumer who is researching their options online—and direct them to a physical store to buy. No matter where the final purchase is made, Brooklyn Bedding has the bandwidth to provide quick and efficient fulfillment services.
“We offer a one-stop solution for everything,” Merwin explains. “We can come in and give them a full line-up that they can offer as a ecommerce mattress that’s direct-ship to their consumer, as well as selling it in the stores. It can be delivered anywhere, to their warehouse, to their store or straight to their consumer.”
With ability to offer customized line-ups and true exclusivity for both in-store and online, Brooklyn Bedding provides its retail partners with the resources they need to succeed— even as the market continues to evolve.
“We’re not looking to throw a Brooklyn Bedding product on every retail floor,” Merwin emphasizes. “We’re looking to partner with strong retailers that are fully committed to building their own brand. That’s what we’re really good at, so that’s where we’re going to continue to put our focus.”