After two years of strategic planning, the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) has made a host of exciting changes. The non-profit industry group unveiled its updated vision and redefined mission, elected new officers and created an expanded board of directors. Additionally, the SSA has launched two new websites, introduced the restructured BEDFAX consumer disclosure contents label program and a new, modern SSA logo for membership and marketing purposes.
“It took us two plus years,” said SSA President Dale T. Read, “however, this focused non-profit industry association has emerged with new board members, websites, a renewed message and a new look and feel.
According to its new mission statement, the SSA aims “to serve sleep innovators, both manufacturing and retail, by promoting members, product transparency, and education.” Looking towards the future, the vision of the organization is to be a trusted authority for consumers on product transparency and education for specialty sleep products.
“Our re-focus with the updated mission statement puts us back center stage in the business of advocacy for innovators and emerging companies in the specialty sleep field,” Read explained. “If you look at our SSA Showroom in Las Vegas, where we have over 30 manufacturing exhibitors, you will see innovative, cutting-edge products offered by emerging companies. These innovators offer the industry new types of foams, suspension systems, biometric monitoring and measurement systems, organic materials, new designs, accessories for heating and cooling, power and electronics, as well as top-of-bed, under-the-bed and fashion accessories to name a few of the product categories.”
For over two decades, the SSA has been an advocate and sponsor for emerging specialty sleep companies. Many of the larger mattress and bedding manufacturers started out with the SSA over 20 years ago on their show floors in Orlando, San Francisco or Las Vegas.
“We should also note because of this vital service, which we offer specialty sleep and accessories manufacturers and attending retailers of all types and sizes, we have sold out our show space for the past several years,” said Read.
This past summer at the Las Vegas Market, the SSA elected three new officers and added two new members to the SSA board. Angela Owen, CEO and Owner of Colorado-based Suite Sleep was elected to serve as Chairman of the Specialty Sleep Association. With more than fifteen years of experience in the sustainable bedding industry, Owen sees her leadership as a bold challenge to try to change the industry’s “smoke and mirrors” sales tactics to clear and transparent product labeling.
“As the new chairperson of the SSA, I see two distinct challenges ahead,” stated Owen. “First, we need to redirect our education and appeal for the BEDFAX transparency labeling program to retailers and consumers, as opposed to just manufacturers. Secondly, we are going to explore added-value for SSA members to encourage growth and expansion of our membership including specialty sleep retailers, manufacturers and industry suppliers.”
In addition to Owen, Sarah Bergman, Vice President of Marketing & Creative for PureCare, was elected to serve as Vice Chairman of the SSA—bringing with her valuable experience in brand development, design, social media, PR and marketing. At the same meeting, Pascal Roberge, Director of Sales for Beaudoin, was elected to serve as the Secretary/ Treasurer. Among other duties, Roberge will be focused on developing SSA-sponsored research and marketing advocacy for the expanding under-the-bed, frame and support category. Dale Read and Tambra Jones were also re-appointed to serve as SSA President and Executive Director, respectively.
In addition to the three newly elected officers, the SSA board also elected two new members to the board expanding it to a total of ten voting members. With the goal of increasing retailer representation and addressing specialty sleep issues at the retail level, the board elected specialty sleep veteran Brian Davis, General Manager of the Saint Louis, MO-based The Bedroom Store. Davis will serve for three years on the board. The board also elected Thomas Frismodt, CEO of US-based Danican to a three-year term. Frismodt has blazed a trail of marketing and product achievements at companies in Denmark, Sweden and now in North and South America—and will now bring this unique international perspective.
The unveiling of the new SSA logo was the final act of the SSA’s rebranding efforts. In addition to coordinating with the new BEDFAX logo, which was introduced at the ISPA EXPO earlier this year, the new SSA logo serves to effectively reflect the industry group’s goals.
“We are pleased to introduce this new, clean, contemporary and stylish logo,” Jones explained, “one that fulfills our vision, mission and our future plans.”