Reaching outside the bedding industry to bolster its in-house design team, independent mattress manufacturer Blue Bell Mattress has named veteran apparel and textile executive Jill Kotowitz to the new position of director of product development. For the past 14 years, Kotowitz has helped develop denim lines for leading department stores Nordstrom, Macy’s and Belk, as well as specialty apparel retailers including Francesca’s and Rue 21.
In her new position, Kotowitz is responsible for the design and development of all Blue Bell brands, including its Natura World natural bedding line that features latex and natural fibers. She will also work closely with Blue Bell’s retail partners in creating products.
During her 14-year tenure with Jade Marketing Group, a denim manufacturer that produces a host of private label and consumer brands, Kotowitz held a number of product development and sales posts, including her most recent position as director of private label and branded product development and sales. Prior to joining Jade Marketing, she spent three years as a product development associate at decorative fabrics producer Weathervane.
“Jill’s deep understanding of branding and design will immediately strengthen our product development capabilities as we grow our business,” said Derek Ritzel, president and chief executive officer of Blue Bell Mattress. “We know how to make a great feeling mattress that is an exceptional value. For this new position, we thought it was important to look outside the bedding industry to get a fresh eye for design; Jill has a skill in design and interpreting it for this space. Her extensive experience with both consumer and private label brands made her the ideal candidate.”
She reports to Rebecca Gray, chief sales officer for Blue Bell.
“The competition in the mattress industry is intense – just like the denim business – but an effective product development program can be a win for the manufacturer, the retailer and the consumer,” Kotowitz said. “I’m excited about this opportunity with a growing independent manufacturer.”
A graduate of Framingham State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in clothing and textiles, she resides in West Hartford, Connecticut.
About Blue Bell Mattress Co.: Blue Bell Mattress Co. Inc., based in East Windsor, Connecticut, is the largest U.S. manufacturing partner of King Koil. Blue Bell sells King Koil branded and private-label innerspring and hybrid mattresses to bedding and furniture retailers serving customers in nearly 1,000 store locations from Maine to Florida, and as far west as Illinois. The company is also a licensee of Natura World. Founded in 1928, the company has factories in Connecticut and Michigan totaling more than 340,000 square feet. Boston-based Landon Capital Partners, a direct private equity investment group of the Landon Trust, acquired a majority interest in Blue Bell in 2017.