Following a two-day planning and working retreat of the SSA Board of Directors and Officers, facilitated and led by consultant Vicki Worden of Worden Associates, the eighteen year old Specialty Sleep Association has redefined the group’s vision for the future and its present mission statement. Held in Boulder, Colorado in mid-April, the SSA Board locked itself away in a meeting room and systematically reviewed ideas and options for the future of the association. Specialty mattress and bedding manufacturers, suppliers and retailers all collectively participated in detailed discussions and finally settled upon the following key points according to Dale T. Read, President of the SSA:
Vision : To be a trusted authority for consumers on product transparency and education for specialty sleep products.
Mission : To serve sleep innovators, both manufacturing and retail, by promoting members, product transparency, and education.
“Our motto, ‘THE FUTURE OF SLEEP™’ remains the same, but the vision of that future is changing,” says Read. “Over the next few months and years we want to transition from a group that merely markets and promotes innovative technologies labeled as specialty sleep to become a trusted authority for consumers to turn to when they want to know about the contents, the health, the wellness aspects and the safety features of specialty sleep products. We want to assist in educating mattress and bedding consumers about what is going on with the materials, components, construction and finished products of sleep products.”
Read continues, “To do this we have to help both our manufacturers and the retailers carrying their products. We have to offer a mattress label or consumer disclosure label that is not ‘green’ oriented, but covers all materials in the sleep products category. We need to work closely with our members to help them connect with consumers who are looking for truth in marketing claims concerning materials, processes, components, and chemicals. Consumers are demanding more product transparency. We want to help our members feel comfortable about educating the consumer and how to successfully market a mattress and bedding product transparency program.”
Two specific activities are already underway. First the SSA has revised and re-launched www.BEDFAX.org . “Several of our members will be showing or marketing models under the new BEDFAX program,” says Read. This is not a ‘green’ program. This is a simple contents label program, like a food label, telling the consumer what is in this or that bed or pillow or comforter… being open and transparent. More and more health conscious and caring homemakers want to know what is in a product. This is a credible and impartial way of telling them.” There will be presentation seminars on the BEDFAX program at the Summer Las Vegas Market.
Read notes that the “SSA Environmental & Safety Program which is a “truth in ‘green’ marketing” labeling program that embraces all kinds of environmental certifications and standards is still very active for those wishing to make specific ‘green’ claims . That program comes under the broader umbrella of the BEDFAX transparency program.
The second activity involves the SSA reaching out and meeting with government agencies, other trade associations, lobbying groups, and certifying organizations. In the past two years, the SSA has met with or directly spoken with the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the USDA –Bio-Preferred program, the USDA-NOP three times to discuss organic claims and certifications, the Federal Trade Commission to discuss truth in marketing claims enforcement, The Global Organic Textiles Standard, The Organic Trade Association, the American Sustainability Business Council and a number of US Senators and Congressmen.
Read explains, “Over time our members will be faced with consumers wanting more information about the products they market and government agencies enforcing marketing claims. We are helping our members to create powerful marketing messages with open and transparent claims that comply with certifications, standards and meet government regulations,” says Read.