From Christopher Schriever
While watching the fireworks display over the Potomac on July 4th, it struck me, and not for the first time, what one of the most wonderful things about living in America is: anything is possible. If you envision it, you can achieve it. Ours is a country of limitless invention and livable dreams.
In this industry alone, examples of incredible innovation abound! Bedding manufacturers work tirelessly to improve their products to better serve consumers and retailers alike. One of the things I enjoy most about covering the bedding industry is the diverse array of fascinating innovations that are constantly appearing in virtually every type of product and area of the industry—from mattress design, to materials, to marketing programs.
Over the years, we’ve seen technological innovation drive forward: beds are getting smarter. PatienTech’s ReST bed is made to proactively adjust to the body in real time, while Reverie continues to customize sleep solutions with high-tech bedding accessories, including a new mattress protector with sensor-based technology that tracks a user’s sleep quality and duration. Kingsdown, a company with over a century of tradition, recognized the market’s changing trends and has adapted to the evolving landscape. Last year, the company introduced the innovative SleepSMART bed, which reads the sleeper’s body and adjusts its six comfort zones to provide continual, individual customized support from head to toe.
Listening closely to retailers and consumers, bedding manufacturers are working to create and improve products to fit personalized needs. While Gold Bond is expanding its line of mattresses tailored exclusively for kids, Seahawk Designs is unveiling the new STO-A-WAY Plus adjustable base, which features multi-drawer storage for those looking to maximize space. The industry is adapting to a changing economy, enhancing offerings and adding new price points. Companies like Boyd Specialty Sleep and Forever Foundations have changed the conversation on bed bases, introducing models that go above and beyond the basic “cost-saving” expectations. Brands are expanding their portfolios to help retailers reach a wider consumer base. E.S. Kluft’s Aspire Collection, for example, offers luxury mattresses at an introductory price while Englander’s Posture Support Plus collection was designed especially with plus-size sleepers in mind.
Some of the most exciting developments are the many unique types of materials that are appearing in the latest mattresses. Pure LatexBLISS is infusing latex with graphite and topping it with quilted Talalay latex to produce a plush, long lasting and naturally temperature-regulating mattress. Meanwhile, Latexco introduced its pioneering Sonocore manufacturing process that saves energy and results in a stronger, more durable type of latex. This issue’s “Unconventional Comfort and Support” article explores the vast world of unconventional materials, from Natura’s aloe-enriched pillow covers, to the rejuvenating properties of Magniflex’s bamboo infused mattresses.
And despite all of the new products avail- able, choosing the right bed has never been easier thanks to cutting-edge marketing. Kingsdown’s bedMatch diagnostic program analyzes statistical measurements and calculations to help salespeople zero in on the mattress that will best suit a customer’s needs. Point-of-purchase materials are transformed into dynamic virtual databases with the new RetaiLive app from Wright Global Graphics, which delivers engaging product information directly to customers’ smart phones.
This culture of evaluation and ingenuity became even clearer recently, as Connecticut lawmakers worked with the International Sleep Products Association to pass the first state- wide mattress recycling law. While the legislation has been controversial, it was nonetheless the result of the industry working together to address a widespread issue. That ability to come together is just one of the great examples of this industry’s impressive dedication to moving forward.
As challenging as it can be to keep up with the dizzying pace of innovation, I am constantly observing—and reveling in—the amazing versatility I see displayed in all of the cutting-edge products and processes we cover in these pages.