At a time when many traditional mattress retailers are reevaluating their sales strategies, Posh + Lavish is offering retailers products and tools to take a new kind of approach—one that will help them differentiate themselves from their competition and make the most out of every sale. Armed with a simple sales pitch and unparalleled comfort feels, the company is helping brick-and-mortar retailers reconnect with a powerful consumer base that has been underserved amidst the industry’s ongoing “race to the bottom.” The luxury brand is built on the promise of best-in-class mattresses made from materials consumers already know, understand and covet. By focusing on true quality over quantity, Posh + Lavish not only ensures that retailers are maximizing the impact of each and every sale—it is creating new opportunities for them to thrive in a changing marketplace.
In a year that saw economic uncertainty that in many cases led to shuttered retail storefronts, the fate of a company like Posh + Lavish may have seemed tenuous back at the start of the pandemic. Since its conception, the company has focused solely on brick-and-mortar retail, understanding that the only way to sell its products at the price points at which they are valued is to make sure the consumer can really experience them in person. But any doubts Principal Kurt Ling may have had about how his company would fare in these challenging times were quickly rebuffed: by the summertime, Posh + Lavish was doing more business than ever before. Not only did the company sign more new retailers than it had previously, many of its existing partners were also looking to expand their offering and even upgrade the sizing of their mix.
In a practical sense, at least at first, some of this was due to outside factors happening throughout the industry: namely, the supply chain disruptions that were wreaking havoc on delivery times. While other manufacturers were struggling to fulfill orders, Posh + Lavish had avoided such fate by quickly ramping up its raw material orders in the spring, which allowed production to continue as expected. In fact, over the course of the pandemic, Ling estimates that there was only a three week stretch where order fulfillment was taking two weeks—the rest of the year, Posh + Lavish was getting product out in just one week’s time.
But keeping up with the steep uptick in consumer demand was about more than just having enough components on hand; it required the company to have its finger on the pulse of what consumers were looking for as well. Back in the spring of 2020, it seemed just as possible that consumers would keep their wallets closed as they had during previous recessions. But the nature of this crisis—wherein many people were stuck at home and actually saving money thanks to lockdown restrictions—lent itself to a true boon in the home furnishings category. And consumers weren’t just focused on buying for the home, many were also prepared to spend even more than they ever had before. Flexibility was key. In the past, Posh + Lavish would evaluate its stocking levels roughly once a quarter—but Ling suddenly found himself reevaluating every week. At certain points in the year, he estimates that the company was carrying double the inventory it had in 2019 just to keep up with the demand.
“If you had your finger on the pulse of your own business and were over-inventory-ing your raw materials, you could actually deliver customers awesome service,” Ling explains. “It was possible; it was just hard work.”
While some of the initial uptick in business was likely incidental (retailers needed product to sell; Posh + Lavish was one of the few companies that could give it to them), what was interesting, Ling says, was watching the way a retailer’s mindset shifted once they had a strong luxury program installed—and realized the new opportunity it afforded them.
The Luxury Opportunity
Even before the pandemic, the mattress retail landscape was already looking very different than it had even five or 10 years earlier. “Gone are the days that a retailer can have the same mainstream price points and brands as every other retailer in town,” Ling explains. “If all you do is sell a couple of S brands and mainstream price points, you have likely just watched customers probably slowly but surely, inch by inch, disappear and go online.”
If a consumer is looking for a new mattress at a mainstream price point—what Ling defines as anywhere between $600 and $1,000, roughly—they have plenty of options for where to buy. Traditional sleep shops will have options at those price points, but so will many big box stores, as well as Amazon and an ever-growing list of DTC online mattress brands. If your store is not offering something notably different, the appeal of convenient shopping and delivery along with a great return policy will be enough to convince some consumers to head online.
But that mindset shifts, Ling explains, as you move up the price spectrum: “It’s a tale of multiple worlds. There are $350 mattress buyers and there are $700 mattress buyers— and then there are $3,000 mattress buyers. And how they each operate is just not the same. Because it’s one thing to go out and buy something for $600 and if you don’t like it in 90 days, you can send it back and get a credit. It’s a whole other thing if you’re going to invest $5,000 in a mattress. Most of those people, the research has found, say they want to touch it, feel it, stretch out on it and love it—and so they’re going to the store.”
So instead of building a new retail strategy around trying to recapture the consumers that are primed to buy online, Posh + Lavish is offering an alternative: create a strategy to better serve the consumers who still want to shop in-store. That is, the people who are looking for a really good mattress and are willing to spend more to get it.
While this luxury demographic is smaller than that of mainstream price points, Ling believes that it represents greater opportunity—one that has been relatively untapped in recent years. The “race to the bottom” mentality has put the focus on making “premium” mattresses less expensive; and while that is important for appealing to a certain subset of shoppers, it leaves out the kinds of buyers that want true premium quality.
“Nearly 20 years ago, the introduction of memory foam had the consumer so compelled that they paid two to three times what they were spending on a typical mattress just a few years before. We forget that as an industry. We de-spec everything to death and somehow think we’re winning out of that. We forget that there’s actually a customer that wants the best.”
—Kurt Ling, Principal of Posh + Lavish
In order to really serve that high-end customer, in-store retailers need to have a quality luxury program in place. Without that, they’re not only missing out on an opportunity to up-sell—they may be inadvertently down-selling a consumer that’s really looking for more.
What Makes A Posh + Lavish Mattress Different?
Posh + Lavish has built its entire brand around supporting the in-store retailer. In order to do that, the company is dedicated to delivering true differentiation from the product offerings to the in-store presentation to the sales pitch. And that all starts with the mattress itself.
“What we build feels like nothing else in the whole world,” Ling says. “And that seems like an overstatement but it’s actually true. Look at our Latex+Memory Foam collection for example, there simply are not other brands who use four and five pound density memory foams over the top of latex—that’s just not a bed that other brands make.”
Each Posh + Lavish mattress is designed with simple, high-end materials that most consumers are likely already familiar with: wool, cotton, latex, and high density memory foam. There’s an accessibility in the approach that is key to the company’s success.
“We help retailers offer exquisite feels and extraordinary components while providing a clear reason why the mattress that someone just fell in love with costs more.”
—Kurt Ling, Principal of Posh + Lavish
“We can always step back and say, ‘Here’s what is completely different about this mattress and here’s why it costs more and that’s what’s in it for you,’” Ling explains. “Our components cost five to ten times more than standard off-the-shelf polyurethanes, polyester fibers, ticking and fire socks, but the mattresses themselves are only double or triple mainstream price points. We help retailers offer exquisite feels and extraordinary components while providing a clear reason why the mattress that someone just fell in love with costs more.”
The Latex+Memory Foam Collection
In the past year, Posh + Lavish has seen its Latex+Memory Foam collection pick up extraordinary momentum in particular. Already a staple in its product mix, this line quickly became the company’s fastest growing category over the course of the pandemic.
“The number of people that are still interested in memory foam or have had memory foam in the last 15 or 20 years is a huge customer base,” Ling explains. “So taking those consumers and helping them find the next better one or the best one that they can buy in 2021, that becomes our purpose on earth.”
The Posh+Lavish Latex+Memory Foam Collection delivers all the familiarity of a classic memory foam bed, but elevates it to a new level. Each bed in the three-model line-up comes in a Sink and Support feel. They are made with four and five pound density memory foams, in comfort layers that vary from two inches to five inches by model. Instead of a standard polyurethane core, Posh + Lavish places this memory foam layer atop a highly resilient and extremely durable latex rubber core, which provides added support and buoyancy. Using wool rather than a polyester fill equips the mattresses with added moisture wicking and ensures a more long-lasting comfort feel. The mattress is then topped with a Tencel-faced cover. Known to be more absorbent than cotton and cooler than linen, Tencel not only feels extremely soft to the touch, it also enhances the performance benefits like moisture-wicking and temperature management. As a final touch, the Latex+Memory Foam collection (like every Posh + Lavish mattress) uses cotton and wool as its FR layer, which is a cleaner, more natural alternative to chemical fire retardant solutions.
The ability to simply and succinctly explain the value equation of these materials to a consumer is a huge asset for RSAs, especially if they are talking to someone in the midst of comparison shopping. Between the products themselves and dedicated training, Posh + Lavish is committed to helping RSAs become experts in the luxury category—which, in turn, gives them another meaningful opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition.
“We have a basic belief that if a consumer can understand the difference in a better mattress, see the difference and feel the difference, they will invest in a mattress that will help them sleep better.”
—Kurt Ling, Principal of Posh + Lavish
“We have a basic belief that if a consumer can understand the difference in a better mattress, see the difference and feel the difference, they will invest in a mattress that will help them sleep better,” Ling says. “This isn’t possible online and never will be. Our interest is in helping retailers be the best retailers they can be and never competing with them by being a retailer ourselves. Our goal has always been to merely craft the finest mattress we know how to build with the finest, most luxurious materials available anywhere in the world.”
This past year has been a huge period of upheaval for everyone. In the retail world, it has accelerated the pace of evolution in a lot of ways. While much of the attention has been focused on the growth of ecommerce, the opportunity to reimagine the in-store experience has never been stronger. And while no one knows for sure how consumer behavior will evolve post-pandemic, this past year has underscored two key points: that sleep health is important and many people are interested in buying the best for their homes.
Resisting the industry’s so-called “race to the bottom,” Posh + Lavish proves that really understanding your customer and their unique wants and needs can be a very powerful strategy. While it is true that there is a growing number of consumers that are more comfortable shopping for mattresses online these days, the majority of buyers still prefer to shop in-store—and they are more likely to prioritize quality and comfort over discounts. By honing in on the luxury segment, Posh + Lavish has been able to help retailers develop a more compelling ultra-premium offering in their stores. For retailers that are still figuring out how to compete in today’s crowded marketplace, Posh + Lavish has a plan that pays dividends.