While the Kingsdown brand name has long been synonymous with science, luxury and quality, the company has been steadily cultivating a reputation for forward-thinking research and data-driven technology in recent years. Looking to the year ahead, we were struck by Kingsdown’s continued evolution—and its bold plans for the future. Today, the company stands at the forefront of mattress industry innovation. With a slate of new products unveiling at the winter Las Vegas Market—and a number of new manufacturing partnerships and the probability of newly owned manufacturing facilities on the horizon— Kingsdown is making a major push for growth in 2018.
“Over the last six years, and through the most recent evolution of Kingsdown, we’ve decided to broaden our product offerings at a point in time when retailers are looking for the best alternatives,” explains Frank Hood, President and CEO of Kingsdown Inc. “Concurrent to that, we’ve made a purposeful decision to grow our revenue, grow our manufacturing footprint and our brands’ distribution both internationally and in the domestic US. We’re going to be doing that through new affiliations with other quality bedding manufacturers, more Kingsdown salespeople out on the street and a more expansive offering of brands.” Founded in 1904, Kingsdown has a storied history of luxury hand-craftsmanship, high-end materials and timeless styling. At the same time, the company has firmly established itself as a leader in sleep science research through its Sleep To Live Institute.
As Kingsdown looks to grow its size, it is expanding its product portfolio to include a more diverse selection of mattress constructions, designs and price points. From promotional and hybrid to specialty and luxury beds, Kingsdown has developed a comprehensive suite of offerings that are relevant to all categories of mattress consumers.
Kingsdown has been laying the groundwork for such a bold expansion for years, building upon its core tenets of quality, craftsmanship and rigorous testing. An employee-owned company since 1985, Kingsdown has created a unique corporate culture that supports and empowers all of its workers.
“There is a measured, more attention-to-detail pace and conscientious teamwork,” says Kevin Damewood, EVP Sales and Marketing. “Some of our employees are second or third generation workers in the factory. They have a higher standard of quality that they’re adhering to—and they truly take pride in their work.”
With new facilities opening up across the country, the company is further expanding its operational capabilities—ensuring that every Kingsdown mattress, no matter the collection or price point, will always meet the brand’s exacting standards.
The Kingsdown Guarantee—What Is ICSA Testing?
Before any Kingsdown mattress leaves the factory for delivery, it must first pass through the company’s Inline Comfort Support Analysis (ICSA) machine. This patented technology allows Kingsdown to quantify and test the exact support level of all of its mattresses. If it does not pass this testing, that means it is not up to the Kingsdown standard— and it is returned to the assembly line to be remade. A passing grade earns the bed a Sleep To Live Institute Certification, which means it’s ready to be shipped. Though this level of testing adds more time to the manufacturing process, it ensures that there will be no surprises upon delivery; every Kingsdown mattress a customer brings home will feel and perform exactly like the one they tested in the store. A vital component of the Kingsdown brand, ICSA testing is a requirement for every mattress in every collection—no matter the construction, components or price. From promotional models, all the way up through the high-end luxury lines, Kingsdown is committed to delivering the highest quality and consistency.
The bedMATCH Diagnostic System: Technology That Builds Consumer Confidence
The mattress industry is at a crossroads right now. The growth of online bedding brands has revealed a reality that has long been simmering under the surface. “The consumer hates buying a mattress,” admits Kevin Damewood, EVP of Sales and Marketing. “They hate buying a mattress because they go in and they’re expecting assistance but instead get involved in price games and absurd advertising claims. And they simply lose trust in the RSA, the store and the industry.”
As many mattress manufacturers and retailers are just now scrambling to come up with new solutions to get customers back in the door, Kingsdown has long been developing and optimizing patented technologies that lend greater credibility to the mattress buying process.
The process starts with the product itself. While there is still no universal industry standard for how to measure mattress support, Kingsdown developed a system of its own. Designed by Sleep To Live Institute Director, Dr. Robert Oexman and Director of Research, David Scott, Kingsdown’s patented X-Factor machine allows the company to scientifically test mattress support levels for nearly all body types—from the 98th percentile all the way down to the 2nd percentile. By determining the exact support level of each mattress, Kingsdown is then able to categorize all of its offerings accordingly. Each bed in its line-up is grouped into a specific support level category: Gold, Green, Blue or Red.
From there, Kingsdown helps its retail partners re-establish a sense of trust in the mattress shopping process at the point-of-sale with its patented bedMATCH diagnostic system. For consumers who find rest-testing to be too overwhelming, bedMATCH simplifies the experience, while also providing a science-based legitimacy that has been missing in the process.
“It cannot be stressed enough how easy bedMATCH makes it for a shopper navigating the showroom,” remarks Anthony LaRocca, Key Account Manager. “When a shopper walks into a sleep shop or a furniture store, they might be looking at 50 white rectangles. Through bedMATCH, we narrow that down to four.”
As the customer reclines on the system, bedMATCH integrates data entered into the software, takes over 1,000 calculations and uses 18 statistical measurements that cover everything from gender, height and pain to the distribution of weight and the flexibility of the lumbar curve. This enables bedMATCH to pinpoint the customer’s support needs during deep sleep and recommend a list of beds on the retail floor that will provide the best fit.
Not only does this set bedMATCH apart from other analytic systems, it is also the only way to determine what level of support a consumer needs while shopping in the store. In 2011, results from the largest sleep study ever conducted on healthy, normal sleepers over 16,000 nights of sleep revealed that on their own, shoppers have difficulty identifying the proper sleep surface for their needs. Traditional rest-testing has always been a subjective process: consumers lie down on a few different beds and decide which one feels best to them. The problem with this approach, though, is that it is impossible to tell what type of support your resting body needs when you’re awake.
“When we’re awake, we have skeletal muscle tone,” Dr. Robert Oexman, Director of the Sleep to Live Institute explains. “It is the primary structure that supports our skeletal system. But we lose that skeletal muscle tone when we go into REM sleep— and during that time, we interact differently with the mattress because of that loss. The reason you need the bedMATCH process is because you cannot properly select support levels on the retail floor when you’re awake.”
Over the years, other companies have attempted to develop scientific approaches to mattress selection through pressure mapping. While these types of systems may seem impressive to an unfamiliar consumer, they only measure the body’s pressure at that exact moment—without looking at all of the other factors that contribute to comfort and support.
“bedMATCH is the only comprehensive diagnostic system that a consumer can use to find the right mattress,” explains Jacqueline Morton, Senior Director of Marketing. “This is the only system that sees the full picture, and evaluates all the factors that affect the consumer’s support needs: their age, their physique, their pain criteria.”
After bedMATCH directs the consumer to the mattress options in their support level, they are free to make their final selection based on comfort and price preferences—with the assurance that whatever they choose will provide them proper support throughout the night.
But Kingsdown’s science-and-technology approach does not end once the sale has been made. Before any mattress leaves its manufacturing facility, it must pass the company’s Inline Comfort Support Analysis (ICSA) test. With this patented machine, Kingsdown is able to measure the comfort and support layers of each mattress to ensure that it meets the strict standards—guaranteeing that the bed delivered to the consumers’ home feels and performs exactly like the one they experienced in the store.
“In a world of confusion and mistrust of retail, bedMATCH offers legitimacy,” Damewood asserts. “We offer a legitimate process where the consumer can get fitted to the right mattress and the right support. They can go home feeling assured that they have not wasted their money.”
What’s New For bedMATCH
While Kingsdown has had a diagnostic system in retail stores for nearly 20 years, the current in-store execution of bedMATCH has been in the marketplace since 2008. Since the 2008 release, Kingsdown has focused much of its POP materials on educating the consumer about the importance of sleep and how the mattress plays a major role in sleep quality. But as the interest in sleep health has grown over the years, today’s consumers are more knowledgeable than ever before about the value of sleep. As such, Kingsdown is shifting its focus towards educating the consumer about the diagnostics process itself: why do shoppers need to lie down and have their body profiled before buying a mattress?
With this new educational campaign, the company is committed to helping consumers understand how and why participating in a bedMATCH measurement is crucial to finding the right mattress for their needs. Kingsdown is also unveiling a new POP design for bedMATCH—including a new in-store diagnostic kiosk. Designed to be a much more visual experience, the kiosk screen seeks to more clearly and thoroughly communicate the measurements taken by the software.
“Through the years that we’ve had the current bedMATCH software on the market, we’ve had the opportunity to gather excellent feedback from our retail partners and sales associates—the people who use it day in and day out,” explains Morton. “It’s all about listening to our customers and making sure that we are delivering a product that adds value as we upgrade it.”
Updated Sleep To Live Collection
While bedMATCH is compatible with all of Kingsdown’s mattress collections and is also a brand agnostic technology, the system is most closely aligned with the Sleep To Live Collection. Mattress suggestions among the four Sleep To Live product levels, which are analogous to pressure relief options at the recommended support levels, tend to be the most accurate due to their design.
In order to maintain that level of accuracy, Kingsdown continues to fine-tune the Sleep To Live collection each year based on the data collected through bedMATCH. Kingsdown is able to tweak the features of each category to accommodate the support needs of changing consumer trends. “Every year we put a new line out, we go back to these 11 million profiles and examine what’s happening to the consumer base,” says Damewood. “Going into 2018, we have recalibrated the Sleep To Live line so that it represents more accurate support and pressure relief levels as you go up and down the line.”
“I think it’s safe to say we have the largest database of information around the consumer who is coming in to purchase a mattress,” Oexman continues. “Everything that the user answers—like shoulder pain, neck pain, back pain—we’ve collected and stored that data over the years. With 11 million profiles, not only does it give us a lot of ergonomic data, it gives us just plain human data. It gives us a point to where we can start focusing our product development where it really matters.”
This data-driven approach to product development has been a success—not just for Kingsdown, but for its retail partners as well. By upgrading the traditional mattress selling strategy, Kingsdown’s bedMATCH system not only helps retailers create a renewed sense of trust and legitimacy in the mattress shopping process—it also increases their sales and more importantly their profits.
“If a retailer is committed to the bedMATCH process, they not only differentiate themselves from the rest of the marketplace—but they will close more sales,” Damewood explains. “When firing on all cylinders, bedMATCH and Sleep to Live becomes about 17–25% of a retailer’s total mix. They will be selling better, more expensive products: $2,500 beds on average. They will have fewer returns and a much more satisfied consumer and that represents a lot more gross profit to the retailer.”
Find Value-Priced Quality With Kingsdown’s Prime Collection
Over the years, the Kingsdown brand has garnered a reputation for its unyielding commitment to high-end craftsmanship. The company has maintained this level of quality across its entire mattress portfolio—including the new promotionally-priced Prime Collection. With a price point ranging from $599 to $999, this line-up is Kingsdown’s first foray into a market segment that represents nearly 70% of all units sold in the industry. But rather than incorporating lower-quality materials or speeding up the manufacturing process, Kingsdown has built the Prime Collection with the same high-quality materials and hand-made construction for which it is known.
“With the exception of the exterior fabrics, we didn’t bring in anything new for Prime,” explains John Farnham, VP of Product Development. “We’re constructing these mattresses using the same materials that are also in our $1500, $2000 and $3000 mattresses, and they go down the line just like all our other products. We didn’t bring in any high-speed machines or robots. It’s still the same sewing room, the same people that sew the luxury product covers are putting these together, the same people hand-gluing and assembling all the components, the same tape-edgers. And ultimately at the end of the line, each Prime mattress has to go through our ICSA machine and meet the same standards of consistency that all of our other products meet. From top to bottom, this is a Kingsdown mattress—it just happens to be a Kingsdown mattress at a lower price.”
One of the stand-out features of the Prime Collection is its high coil count. Made with tri-zoned wrapped coils, each mattress in the line-up offers contouring comfort and support where the body needs it most—with the top-level queen-sized model touting 1,008-coil density. In addition to the zoned coil system, the collection also includes a latex support zone for additional resiliency and reinforcement for the lumbar region. With added cooling gel and Serene Comfort Foam, the Prime Collection provides superior pressure relief, all while dissipating body heat for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
“This collection gives the budget conscious consumer a product made by a quality manufacturer in the handcrafted fashion, using higher quality materials and it’s even tested before they get the bed into their house,” states Kevin Damewood, VP of Sales and Marketing. “They’re getting our technology, our style and our quality at promotional price points.”
Like all Kingsdown mattress collections, the Prime line-up also features classic styling. The company set out to find heavy weight materials that offered exceptional value, with details not typically found on mattresses priced below $1,000. Each mattress features an elegant border panel dressed in contrasting shades of gray, a deep charcoal diamond pattern and platinum accents.
“One thing that we don’t do at Kingsdown is de-spec a product to hit a price point,” explains Lance McElreath, VP of Sales for West Coast and Sales Operations. “What excited our retail customers about this line was the fact that they were able to have a handcrafted, high-quality Kingsdown branded product at lower, ‘meat-and-potato’ price points. The collection really sells itself at retail and our retailers are able to hold margin.”
With the look of a luxury mattress and the price tag of a promotional line, Kingsdown’s Prime Collection delivers a value proposition that consumers will immediately understand on the retail floor.
The New Miro Collection Delivers Meaningful Solutions At Competitive Price Points
The foam mattress category has become a staple in the bedding industry in recent years, representing nearly 40% of total bedding sales. Despite the increasing popularity, many memory foam mattresses are still plagued by a host of comfort issues. With all of this in mind, Kingsdown developed the Miro Collection—a new memory foam mattress line-up that offers meaningful comfort solutions at a more competitive price point.
“In the past five years, there’s been an a terrific amount of consolidation in the industry and concurrently the memory foam category has grown significantly,” Kevin Damewood, VP of Sales and Marketing emphasizes. “And it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any time soon. There are some major memory foam players that are making different strategic moves in the marketplace and producing a lot of advertising that goes along with it. There is now more advertising activity within this product category, and so we felt the need to offer something that added more value to this expanding category.”
While premium memory foam beds have historically retailed for upwards of $4,200, there are now a growing number of low-quality, low-cost foam mattresses on the market as well. Unveiling at the Winter Las Vegas Market, Kingsdown’s new Miro Collection provides retailers with a quality memory foam alternative at a price point that ranges from $1,999 to $2,999. With advanced temperature regulation and edge-to-edge support, this new line offers clear and distinct solutions for the specialty consumer.
“We’ve kept it very simple, offering two or three benefits that other foam products don’t,” Anthony LaRocca, Key Account Manager, continues. “Then it’s the price. It’s already received a lot of attention with salespeople and store managers, who say that it’s very easy to sell. That’s because it feels like a three or four thousand dollar mattress, but it starts at $1,999.”
The first step in developing the Miro Collection was figuring out how to address and eliminate the complaints commonly associated with memory foam. Given its high temperature sensitivity, standard memory foam doesn’t just retain heat—it can also harden when exposed to cold temperatures. Both of these issues can lead to consumer dissatisfaction and mattress returns.
“We focused on making sure that the materials we’re using are especially durable,” says John Farnham, VP of Product Development. “The Serene Foam that we’re using is exceptionally durable—but it also has a different way of achieving that memory foam feel that’s temperature neutral.”
Like traditional memory foam, Serene Foam is responsive and self-adjusting—but unlike memory foam, it is made with independent air cells that dissipate body heat and maintain a more temperature neutral environment. These air cells also act as shock absorbers to reduce pressure points for optimal spinal support. A layer of Gel-Infused Memory Foam further enhances the Miro’s temperature regulation properties. The cooling gel absorbs body heat from the surrounding foam to keep the body cool and stabilize the temperature of the mattress throughout the night.
Beyond offering a cooler night’s sleep, the Miro also delivers unique contouring comfort from top-to-bottom and edge-to-edge. Combining the durability of high-density foam with the zoned support of a convoluted surface, the mattress core provides greater stability. But it’s the Full Body Surround edge support system that truly sets this collection apart from the competition. With a high-density foam encasement around the entire surface of the bed, the Miro’s support system reinforces the top, bottom and all four sides of the bed to create a stronger edge and a more supportive sleeping surface all the way across the mattress. Even with these upgrades, the collection construction remains streamlined at 12 inches tall. This means that standard sheet sets will still fit, another key selling point for many older customers.
The final touch to this new collection is the styling. “While many mattresses today feature a darker color scheme, this has a lighter, two-tone scheme that really stands out on the floor,” LaRocca continues. “It has very big eye-appeal to it. Consumers are drawn to it walking through the door.”
In addition to its eye-catching aesthetics, the mattress ticking delivers added comfort benefits thanks to its omni-stretch fabric cover. While traditional knit ticking only stretches in one direction, omni-directional fabrics stretch evenly both lengthand width-wise. This allows for more balanced stretch and recovery, as it requires less force to articulate with the body’s form.
“Based on where this collection is priced, it provides a real value versus many other memory foam options,” explains David Kresser, VP of Sales for the East Region. “With all of the unique features we have added, it’s a real value proposition for the shopper that’s looking for visco memory foam.”
Kingsdown Introduces A Naturally Breathable All-Latex Sleep Haven Collection
For retailers looking to bolster their specialty mattress offerings, Kingsdown’s new all-latex Sleep Haven Collection is an ideal addition to any showroom floor. Positioned as a complement to classic memory foam mattresses, this new line delivers unparalleled conforming comfort at a comparable price point. With Sleep Haven, Kingsdown gives retailers an opportunity to retain more high-end customers by providing a quality alternative for those who don’t like the feel of memory foam, those who worry about it sleeping hot—or those who are simply looking for a more natural story.
“Right now retail consumers are looking for what’s the best new solution for better sleep,” insists Jim Puhnaty, Key Account Manager. “Sleep Haven provides a differentiated story from our other product lines. When you put someone on one of our latex beds, it doesn’t feel like a quilted bed and it doesn’t feel like a memory foam bed. It has a totally different uplifting feel that consumers can relate to.”
Unlike some “latex” beds on the market that feature minimal layers of latex on top of a pocketed coil unit or poly-foam core, the Sleep Haven Collection is actually made of 100% latex from top to bottom. Its high-density latex core delivers ultra-conforming support that maintains proper alignment, while layers of resilient latex foam provide the ultimate in pressure relief and comfort. Each layer is designed to respond uniquely to the body’s contours, providing supportive comfort throughout the night.
“Much like memory foam, latex is fantastic at relieving pressure points—but it actually rates about 33% higher in customer satisfaction than traditional memory foam,” explains Todd Freer, Key Account Manager. “At the same time, it gives you pressure relief and great support and postural alignment. The main difference between the two is, in a nutshell, that you sleep on top of latex while you sink down into traditional memory foam.”
In order to compete with other high-end latex mattresses, the Sleep Haven line-up features eye-catching specialty styling. Rather than a zippered cover, Kingsdown opted for a cut-and-sewn specialty foam sock, which creates a cleaner, more upscale look. More than just aesthetics, the Sleep Haven ticking was also designed to further enhance the latex feel. The cover is made from Omni-Stretch fabric, which articulates more closely to the body so that the customer can immediately experience the unique pressure-relieving benefits of latex when they lie down.
“Some people come into the store and they just don’t have the attraction to the premium memory foam mattress feel, but they still have the pocket-book to buy it,” Puhnaty continues. “Sleep Haven was designed to keep that high-end retail price point for the consumer when they walk in the door. We wanted to make sure retailers had something to roll off to, something that has a specialty foam look but offers a different feel and a different story.”
In addition to its buoyant luxury feel, Sleep Haven also provides retailers with a more eco-friendly specialty option. A naturally breathable material, latex foam delivers a cooling effect without the addition of temperature-regulating chemicals. Though latex is recognized as an inherently more environmentally-friendly component, Kingsdown purposefully decided against using an 100% organic latex foam. Instead, the company opted for Dunlop latex, which delivers a more durable and consistent feel while still maintaining a more natural story when compared to poly-foam. Additionally, it allows the company to manufacture larger mattresses without needing to glue separate pieces together which often distorts the feel of the mattress set.
“Traditionally in the latex category, you’re going to find a couple of segments where they’ll put an inch or a half-inch of latex in the bed and call it a latex bed,” Puhnaty explains. “On the other side of the spectrum, you might find an 100% natural, organic latex mattress. Sleep Haven is different in that it’s latex from top to bottom—but it’s not fully organic latex, which tends to be a little less durable and much more expensive. We’ve created a line-up that is much more unique in feel at a price that should be $500 less at retail across the board.”
Experience Luxury With The Kingsdown Vintage Collection
A long-time leader in the premium mattress category, Kingsdown is well-versed in luxury bedding. The company has expanded that high-end expertise with its Vintage Collection. Combining traditional components with specialty materials, forward-thinking technologies and exquisite styling details, this is a one-of-a-kind mattress line-up. With the Vintage Collection, Kingsdown provides a premium product with a luxury look at a value-oriented price point that retailers can enter the business with.
Initially designed as a middle ground between Kingsdown’s all-natural Diamond Royale and hybrid Crown Imperial lines, the Vintage Collection offers the “best-of-both-worlds” at a retail price starting at $1,799. “The Vintage Collection bridges those two worlds together,” maintains Jacqueline Morton, Senior Director of Marketing. “Not everyone can afford to spend $5,000 to $10,000 on a mattress, but for those who prefer natural components combined with more tech-focused components, this is a line that can interest them.”
The Vintage Collection is made with high-quality natural materials like cotton, New Zealand Joma wool, cashmere and silk—secured by inner tufting and classic hand-tufting. The bed’s tri-zoned coil unit provides added support to the lumbar region, while the resilient latex foam offers a sumptuous comfort feel.
“A lot of times there are collections in this pricing tier where the beginning price point tends not to provide the shopper with a super luxury comfort feel,” John Farnham, VP of Product Development explains. “With the Vintage Collection, we deliver that luxury feeling starting with the initial bed at around $1,799—it’s one of the best-selling and best-feeling beds.”
Further enhancing that premium quality, the Vintage Collection features elegant white-on-white styling. As a complement to Kingsdown’s signature crown subtly woven onto the ticking, the line-up sports vertical stitching and an inverted luxury seam—giving the collection a timeless luxury look.
“The inverted seam catches the eye of the shopper because it’s not something they generally see when they’re shopping for a mattress,” Farnham continues. “It does take extra time to do in the factory, but it gives the beds a really unique kind of look that stands out from the 60 white rectangles they’re looking at.”
The high-end designer styling combined with the robust product construction makes the Vintage Collection an exceptional value at a mid-range price point. It provides retailers with the chance to connect with mid-level shoppers and elevate their expectations.
“This line is right in the sweet spot of what it is that we do,” Kevin Damewood, EVP of Sales and Marketing, concludes. “It is really the epitome of the workmanship coming out of Kingsdown—and it is gaining quite a lot of traction at the retail level.”