Southerland Signs First International Licensee

A distributor in South Korea is the newest international licensee of independent mattress producer Southerland. The distributor, Doctor Jon Inc., will warehouse and sell U.S.-made Southerland sleep sets to retailers throughout the country, marking the first time any Southerland brand has been sold by an authorized dealer in South Korea.

“This is an important milestone for us as we focus on driving growth and expanding the reach of our brands internationally,” said Bryan Smith, president and chief executive officer of Southerland. “American brands are very desirable throughout Asia, and middle-class consumers are willing to pay a premium for them, especially when they’re actually made in America.”

The licensing agreement covers the company’s Southerland, Evolution and American Sleep brands, and the distributor will focus on upper-end products. Smith said a number of U.S. mattress brands currently are sold in Korea, but he believes Southerland’s products are one of the few U.S. brands in the market whose mattresses are produced in the U.S.

Southerland, which launched its international licensing effort in January, will make products for the Korean distributor at its Phoenix, Arizona, factory. The licensee owns a network of distribution centers and cross-docking facilities in Korea and will leverage that expertise to get the products to retailers in the most cost-efficient manner, Smith explained.

Southerland does not have domestic licensees, and the new international program, introduced earlier this year, is the first licensing effort in the company’s 126-year history. It is led by Jim Nation, a 40-year mattress industry veteran who is Southerland’s executive vice president of national accounts and international licensing.

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About Southerland: Southerland has been making quality mattresses in the U.S. since 1893. Using only best-in-class materials and components, Southerland currently sells its line of mattresses and adjustable bases throughout 43 states. By implementing its stringent quality assurance program, Southerland manufactures mattresses that are backed by the company’s “making it right” philosophy that stands behind every product delivered. Each of its products is delivered to retailers via its wholly-owned transportation company. The company’s seven production and distribution facilities in Nashville, Tennessee; Cleveland, Ohio; Phoenix, Arizona; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Tualatin, Oregon, total more than 480,000 square feet.