In today’s crowded mattress market, innovation and differentiation are often the keys to success—especially when it comes to the luxury category. With an unwavering commitment to brick-and-mortar retailers, Posh + Lavish has taken a unique and pragmatic approach to the bedding market by developing a distinct line-up of beds that really draw consumers in. Carving out a niche for itself and its retailer partners, the company’s approach to innovation is methodical. When developing new solutions, the Posh + Lavish team thinks critically and creatively about the issues and opportunities in the market. Over the past five years, the company has built a name for itself with its high-quality construction, natural materials and dedicated retailer support. And now it’s expanding upon that mission with a new program of split-head mattresses designed to help consumers enhance their ‘bedroom oasis’—and retailers boost their sales tickets. In doing so, Posh + Lavish has further bolstered its position as a truly modern luxury brand with the ability to help retailers find new success in today’s marketplace.
It’s clear that the mattress retail market is at a cross-roads right now. With the sheer number of brands growing exponentially in recent years, today’s consumers have more options to pick from than ever before, which has in turn made it more difficult for retailers to really capture and hold their attention. While many companies are investing heavily in marketing efforts to relay the message of convenience and affordability, this approach has not proven to be sustainable for most retailers. The sellers that are thriving are doing something different than they have in the past; they are the ones that have found a distinctive niche and invested in new programs to clearly support it. Posh + Lavish is able to help retailers do just that with a specialized portfolio of natural mattresses in completely new size configurations at high-end price points.
In the past few years, the luxury mattress category has become significantly stronger. At one time, many retailers were able to stay afloat on the high volume of entry-level sales alone—but with much of those sales migrating online, more retailers are now looking to balance out those losses with higher tickets. At the same time, a growing number of consumers are seeking out luxury options too—especially as the pitfalls of ultra-cheap bedding become clearer.
“In the past, the luxury category was for those who wanted something extra in the offering and assortment. It really was a merchandising decision in many ways,” explains Kurt Ling, Principal at Posh + Lavish.
“The luxury market has become so much stronger and more important to retailers because of the need for brick-and-mortar retailers to offer and sell more luxury product, as in many cases 10–20% of their lower end business has disappeared to online retailers. What we see happening now is the luxury category is becoming a business decision, a financial one as much as a merchandising one. Many retailers no longer have a robust $599–799 business and they have to offset that with a bigger ticket to succeed and thrive.”
—Kurt Ling, Principal at Posh + Lavish
This shift has been evident at Posh + Lavish, which has seen an uptick in its business year after year. Most of the company’s new retail partners are those that have floored a few high-end mattresses in the past, but are now looking to really expand into the true luxury category. With a keen eye for luxury trends, Posh + Lavish has been able to push this segment in smart directions—and offer meaningful new products and programs that actually connect with consumers to help retailers maximize their sales.
“At the end of the day, we make mattresses that are latex, wool and cotton,” Ling explains. “There’s not a lot of rocket science behind that. These are materials that people know. For retailers used to selling $1,000 to $2,500 beds to all of a sudden move to $4,000 or $5,000 beds, the mattresses have to be completely different on the inside—and the story has to be simple. I think when the story is simple, the story gets told.”
Posh + Lavish offers its retail partners a straight-forward message that combines both a luxury and a natural story—offering mattresses made from high-end yet easily-recognizable materials. On top of that, all of the company’s products are roll-packed and delivered in boxes. Not only does this fulfillment strategy help retailers with convenience, it also makes for easy warehousing and shipping without any damage to the product. In fact, the compression process takes the first impression out of the mattress and further enhances its durability.
Through both market research and industry experience, Posh + Lavish has been able to develop its products to really tap into the needs of today’s luxury consumer. The company understands that these shoppers are looking for more than just high-end materials and stylish detailing; they want to invest in quality, durability and flexibility. They are looking for a fully comprehensive sleep system—and they’re willing to spend a little bit more to get it.
“We know the master bedroom has become an ever-increasingly important room in the home,” Ling says. “It’s no longer the place that people just sleep or couples have sex. Due to the tremendous growth in adjustable bases, the master bedroom is the place where consumers read, watch TV, relax in zero gravity and even work on their computer. And we know the higher-end the consumer, the more important the master bedroom oasis is.”
A luxurious mattress is the cornerstone of the bedroom—but one of the best ways to elevate this room to a true oasis is with an adjustable base. Today’s adjustable bases offer a wide range of benefits, from enhancing sleep to better accommodating all of the other activities consumers do in bed. It is a logical step-up for any luxury customer—and another opportunity for retailers to up their tickets.
Of course, the idea of adjustability has to change when you’re talking with a couple that share a bed. These consumers want their mattress to be flexible to both of their needs and habits, which means allowing both sides of the bed to adjust independently of one another. In the past, the best solution for accommodating that desire was to offer two twin extra-long mattresses pushed together. But while this makes individualized adjustability possible, it also creates a new issue: it effectively separates a couple that would prefer to share one bed.
This issue came into clear view for Ling a few years back while he was on vacation on an Alaskan cruise. He and his wife walked into their stateroom and found that their king-size bed was actually two twin extra-longs pushed together. “While it was fine for seven days, we certainly didn’t prefer it,” he explains. “Without the flexibility of an adjustable base underneath it, sleeping on two twin extra-longs was in no way our preferred sleep surface. It made me think a lot about why—and it was my wife who summed it up, she said, ‘I feel like Lucy and Desi.’”
Surely there had to be a better solution, he thought. Which led him to enter the split-head mattress category. Designed to offer the best of both worlds, the foot of the split-head bed is designed as usual—but the top one third at the head of the mattress is separated. This allows each side of the bed to move independently from one another, without resorting to two separate mattresses.
“Most consumers, but especially a luxury consumer, want one mattress to sleep on—not two. This is true even when they want the independent flexibility of two sides of the bed. Most couples want to be intimate, not distant. Most couples want to be together in bed, not separated.”
—Kurt Ling, Principal at Posh + Lavish
In order to truly reap the sales benefits of the luxury and adjustable categories, it’s important for bedding retailers to take these consumer concerns into account. By offering a split-head option on their showroom floor, they can easily address these concerns—and offer a high-end solution for the same price as two standard twin extra-longs.
Recognizing the value of the split-head configuration, Posh + Lavish spent the next few years perfecting the design and manufacturing process. The unique shape makes it a challenge to construct and nearly impossible to produce in a mass-production facility. For Posh + Lavish, there was the added trouble of figuring out how to make them while maintaining the integrity of the natural materials featured in all of its beds— including layers of latex, nearly 12 pounds of wool, cotton, and a four-way stretch cover. There was a lot of trial and error, Ling admits.
“When we started making these, we didn’t know where it would end up,” he explains. “We just knew it was a configuration our retailers were interested in. It just seemed like there was a problem that needed to be solved and we could figure out how to do that.”
The hard work paid off. The company eventually perfected its approach—and now offers both split-head king and queen mattresses. It is one of the few companies in the industry to offer split-head in queen size, which is a valuable option in urban areas like New York and San Francisco where smaller apartment sizes can limit consumers’ interest in king-size mattresses.
In fact, Posh + Lavish is one of the few brands to manufacture split-head mattresses in general. While the core concept has existed for quite a while, they are still not very ubiquitous in the market—in part, Ling guesses, because of how challenging they can be to make. The biggest exception to this is Sleep Number, which offers multiple split-head king models in all of its stores, in addition to promoting them prominently in television advertising, its website and in its catalog. This not only gives the unique category greater visibility in the media landscape— it also means that there are many companies already making top-of-bed products, such as fitted sheets and mattress protectors, specifically for split-head mattress.
As a whole, this creates a real opportunity for retailers looking for differentiation in an over-crowded mattress market. Ling likens the potential of the split-head design to some of biggest mattress trends over the past forty years. “We went from the pillow-top in the 70s, to no-flip in the early 2000s, to adjustable bases in a huge way in the 2010s,” he explains.
“Now all of a sudden it’s 2020 and the industry needs another big something that consumers are actually delighted to pay extra money for— something that really makes their sleep better.”
—Kurt Ling, Principal at Posh + Lavish
With split-head mattresses, retailers are able to introduce something new and novel into their showroom mix—without the added difficulty of a steep learning curve. Upon first glance, consumers immediately understand the product and what makes it different. Through its own research, Posh + Lavish has found that “the minute the consumer sees this, they get it—and they get it in a nanosecond,” Ling says. “It’s not something that has to be explained for a long time on the retail floor for somebody to understand. We always tell retailers to make sure, when they leave the bed after they’re done showing it, that one of the heads is up a little bit and one of the heads is up a lot. Because in a sea of 50 white beds on a floor, if you’ve got one head up a little bit and the other head up a lot, that all by itself will get somebody to walk over to it because they’ve just never seen anything like it. It’s an easy visual.”
This renewed focus on split-head mattresses is an extension of the unique philosophy Posh + Lavish has held from the beginning. The company was developed around the idea of supporting brick-and-mortar retailers, promising to not ever sell online or direct-to-consumer. Everything the company does is designed to have a direct and tangible impact for its retail partners. These relationships are reciprocal too; Posh + Lavish is notably thoughtful about its retail expansion. The company has opted out of showing at the traditional markets, a decision Ling says will continue moving forward.
“When we license somebody, they align with us and we align with them,” he explains. “We have really loyal retailers that start with three or four beds, and then eventually end up with nine or ten. It’s a more controlled but much more loyal growth rate. I think we probably have one of the healthier little businesses, if not one of the faster growing businesses, in the entire mattress industry. And we’re doing it without Vegas. So I’m thinking we’re going to stay on this strategy.”
In forging its own path through this industry, Posh + Lavish has created a brand that truly stands out from the rest—in a time when retailers need that most. The company offers meaningful solutions to real concerns, without ever forgetting how important it is for consumers to see and understand what makes them different. By offering retailers sumptuously crafted luxury mattresses that their consumers won’t be able to get anywhere else, Posh + Lavish is delivering the differentiation and support retailers need to succeed moving forward.