BY BETH ENGLISH AND BARBARA NELLES
When it came to mattress introductions at High Point Market Oct. 17-22, the starring roles at this contracting bedding market were played by the industry’s boutique brands and regional factories. The editors of BedTimes and Sleep Savvy particularly enjoyed taking a closer look at new offerings because of their unique components and beautiful details. From budget to luxury bedding, manufacturers strove to bring new aesthetics and improved componentry to the forefront.
As Gerry Borreggine, Therapedic president and chief executive officer, noted—and others echoed—“bedding traffic is always slower in High Point than at the Las Vegas Market, but those exhibitors who do their homework ahead of the show can have extraordinary success.”
“Our New England factory opened new customers, and added the Tommy Bahama line with two existing accounts,” he said.
Accessories exhibitors seemed to target specific audiences with a number of new pillows and bed linens. For instance, PureCare selected the “fast-growing” youth segment with new adjustable pillows and other sleep accessories, while Fashion Bed Group had its eye on urban-dwelling millennials with its successful, easy-ship SN@P beds and contemporary upholstered headboards.
Beautiful beds, unique features
There were many attractive new models on display at Paramount Sleep, a mattress manufacturer headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, that reworked and redesigned several collections, building in new features and looks.
“The goal is to go back to basics,” said Richard Fleck, president of Paramount Sleep. “(We offer) simple selling stories to help train RSAs and educate consumers. We’ve learned that we need to make it as easy as possible for everyone to understand why consumers should buy.”
On Saturday, sleep expert and author Dr. James Maas was on hand to help visitors get back to basics on sleep. He signed copies of his most recent book “Sleep To Win!,” and spoke about common sleep issues and how they can be alleviated with the proper mattress.
At the front of Paramount’s showroom, additions to the luxury A.H. Beard Signature and Classic collections paired updated features with some new opening price points. The Signature collection has zoned Combi Coils with Q Spring support in the center third, topped with natural silk and wool quilting and stretch knit panels. New A.H. Beard Classic beds have a 100% natural latex, quilted lumbar section, as well as layers of natural latex and cooling gel memory foam. The two collections retail from *$1,499 to $4,000, are outer tufted and sit atop a new foundation with the look of upholstered furniture.
Paramount’s redesigned Nature’s Spa Hybrid Collection (polyurethane foam and latex) and Nature’s Spa Eco-Superior Collection (all latex) were upholstered in a striated white double-knit that was both simple and beautiful. The beds have nature-inspired color accents, with silk and wool quilting in the hybrid collection, and New Zealand wool quilting in the Eco-Superior collection. Nature’s Spa is priced from $1,299 to $3,500.
Shifman Mattress Co.
There was considerable news at Newark, New Jersey-based Shifman Mattress Co., which cut the ribbon on a roomy new showroom at 315 Fred Alexander Place. The new space had room for Shifman’s entire product lineup, including a redesigned Vintage collection. The two-sided, innerspring beds sit atop a traditional eight-way, hand-tied box spring and are upholstered with a sophisticated new take on traditional ticking stripes. Three beds retail from $2,799 to $3,799, and were displayed with Shifman’s new retail top-of-bed accessories in a rich brown that coordinated nicely with the new space.
The showroom’s dark chocolate walls were hung with sepia-toned canvases illustrating the company’s use of handcrafting with natural materials.
Also on display, a selection of beds that are part of a program for high-volume furniture stores. Participating retailers floor at least six models selected from the affordable Quilted and American collections, priced from $1,299 to $3,999, and two opening Masters collection models, priced at $4,999 and $5,999.
Bill Hammer, president of Shifman, said he is spearheading new marketing initiatives “to publicize the Shifman brand to consumers across the nation. I want more individuals to learn about our fine products, so they can choose to sleep on natural materials and enjoy the lasting comfort that is built into every Shifman handmade, two-sided mattress.”
In addition to new branding, a new website and outreach via digital media platforms, Shifman recently partnered with professional basketball player Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, who is spokesperson for the mattress maker’s new “athletic king,” an 80-inch by 98-inch mattress.
Gold Bond presented a range of new offerings in High Point. The most prominent was a new addition to the Hartford, Connecticut-based company’s Brilliance latex collection, which greeted visitors at the showroom entrance. The new Brilliance Hybrid bed had the signature blue and white Innofa eCover knit ticking, and Vytex Natural Rubber Latex over a Leggett & Platt Quantum Edge wrapped-coil innerspring unit. Displayed on a coordinating foundation, a Brilliance Hybrid bed set retails for $1,499.
“The launch of our Brilliance collection was one of the most successful in Gold Bond’s history,” said Bob Naboicheck, Gold Bond president.
The company also added to its futon lineup. Designed for sleeping and dubbed the “Organic Futon/Mattress” collection, three new futons, retailing from $1,599 to $2,399, come in three heights and are made with Vytex NRL, organic cotton and needle-punched wool, wrapped in a natural cotton canvas cover.
And there was more. The manufacturer filled in middle price points with three Prestige collection beds in firm, plush and pillow-top styles, priced from $799 to $999. The two-sided, innerspring mattresses are “built for durability and longevity and have Power Edge Support, a knit cover and a real steel box spring,” said Naboicheck.
Finally, tucked in the back of the showroom, was the new Gold Bond S Series featuring Carpenter’s Serene Foam for comfort layers. Two S Series mattress-only offerings, an 8-inch and 10-inch all-foam bed priced at $599 and $699, respectively, ship compressed and rolled—and challenge the memory-foam status quo.
A poster above the beds boldly declared, “Memory foam is obsolete,” and promised that Serene delivers improved comfort, pressure relief and temperature regulation.
Gold Bond also announced a new digital marketing campaign focused on social media platforms to raise brand awareness. Follow the company on Twitter, @GoldBondSleep, and on Facebook, “Gold Bond Mattress 1899.”
Restonic licensee Alliance Sleep Products Inc. presented a dramatically upholstered special buy for Black Friday. A handsome Restonic ComfortCare Signature box-top model with an intricately quilted, contrasting border and packed with special features—including a wrapped-coil core and specialty foams with gel—is set to retail for $999.
“Retailers really appreciated that we were thinking ahead and anticipating their needs,” said Laurie Tokarz, president of Buffalo, New York-based Alliance.
The holiday program includes point-of-sale materials, advertising insert and mailer, as well as a selection of special gifts with purchase—a bed throw, Bluetooth speaker or sheet set.
Five Star Mattress
There was drama and style at the right price at Five Star Mattress, too. The budget brand, which is part of Atlanta-based Serta Simmons Bedding LLC, displayed several retro-looking beds, covered with ornate damasks in deep, dark colors with silver and gold hints.
“Certain retailers clamor for color and these looks are doing really well,” said Paul Sullivan, vice president of Five Star Mattress. “Originally intended for our rent-to-own business, now we’re using the covers on select beds across the line.”
Five Star’s Pro-Comfort collection featured the bold, new covers on several models. The 12-bed innerspring line retails from $299 to $699 and uses specialty foams with gel.
Eclipse International/Eastman House
Licensing group and manufacturer Bedding Industries of America, based in North Brunswick, New Jersey, made a grand return to High Point Market, filling a new showroom with magnificent examples of its Eclipse International and Eastman House bed brands.
Manufacturing veteran and licensee Terry Spears was on hand to show us new Eclipse and Eastman House models manufactured at his new plant, Heritage Sleep Concepts in Rome, Georgia.
Many of the Eclipse and Eastman House models used the company’s various patented componentry, especially Spinal Zone Technology, a uniquely reinforced innerspring unit said to yield enhanced back support; and Zoned Quilt Technology, a tightly quilted middle section that prevents body impressions and adds extra support to the bed.
“We hold seven patents and have increased our use of them all across the product lines,” said Matt Connolly, Eclipse and Eastman House president, as he walked us through the showroom. “For instance, Spinal Zone is present in all of our lines, now.”
Connolly said he was especially proud of the handcrafted English Hand Tufted collection, which launched in advance of Eastman House’s 150th anniversary in January. Nine elegantly appointed beds retail from $1,499 to $4,499.
“These use old-fashioned lace tufting, Belgian damask fabrics, pocketed-coil innerspring units, and layers of high-end foams, latex and natural fibers,” said Connolly.
New angles on sleep accessories
Fashion Bed Group
Bedding accessory supplier Fashion Bed Group, a division of Carthage, Missouri-based Leggett & Platt, highlighted a set of five sleek, upholstered headboards in shades of charcoal and gray.
“Upholstered headboards are all the rage and these are the hottest colors in upholstery right now,” said Ron Ainsworth, FBG senior vice president of merchandising and procurement.
Available in two sizes to fit full or queen, and king or California king, the five headboard styles adjust to three different heights, depending on mattress thickness. Retailing for $299, each headboard strikes a balance between masculine and feminine, featuring accents of nail-head trim, tape and tufting.
In addition to focusing on the enormously successful Sn@p collection of decorative bed frames that fold—and unfold—for easy shipping and assembly, the FBG showroom also spotlighted five new complete bed designs, including the Madera. It’s a copy of a turn-of-the-century French design with an interesting rustic green metal frame that is finished is seven meticulous steps, said Ainsworth.
Madera retails for $599 and has rounded corners, fleur-de-lis motifs and circular details.
PureCare, a supplier of sleep accessories and protection products, put the focus on pillows, for adults and for children.
The Fairfield, New Jersey-based company debuted a complete collection of PureCare Kids pillows, protectors and sheets. It includes Rise & Shine Adjustable Height Youth Pillows, designed to keep up with young bodies as they grow. Two pillows use up to three removable 1-inch memory foam or memory foam and latex inserts. The outer pillow cover is filled with a proprietary down alternative, Identically Down.
“We’ve brought all of the features of our regular pillows to the youth market,” said Jeff Bergman, PureCare president and chief operating officer. “Pillow adjustability is especially important for children. They are growing so quickly—they can shoot up overnight!”
A second pillow group is modeled on the PureCare One adult pillow, but scaled to fit young people. The multipart Single Silhouette Support and Double Silhouette Support pillows use molded memory foam, memory-foam puffs and Identically Down.
The pillows, sheets and protectors in the PureCare Kids collection are priced from $49.99 to $69.99. Pillows are packaged in whimsically decorated pen-and-ink boxes, perfect for coloring and saving for special keepsakes.
Children weren’t the only ones to benefit from new introductions. PureCare also showcased the SUB-0 hybrid pillow, an addition to the Frio collection. The triple chamber construction mixes I.D. and Tencel fibers on the inside, with a cover that combines Frio Rapid Chilling Cooling fibers and Tencel yarns, retailing for $99. The SUB-0 White Down hybrid pillow has white down and feathers in the central chamber and retails for $129.
There was another “cool” pillow, this one at Danican, the Atascadero, California-based U.S. division of EverRest ApS, with headquarters in Aarhus, Denmark. New Cool Pointe Latex pillows retail for $119 and provide ideal head and neck comfort, said Thomas Frismodt, Danican chief executive officer.
The molded pillows use Talalay latex derived from natural rubber and have a thick double-knit cover with contrasting welt. There are four other Cool Pointe pillows, each with a molded memory-foam core in assorted profiles to fit different sleep personalities.
Top-of-bed supplier Bedgear took its enormous pillow selection to the next level, with the Level series of pillows. They offer comfort, cooling and performance features for side, back and stomach sleepers, as well as for different body types. There are four levels in all, 0-1-2-3, and all Level pillows retail for $99.
The company also sells 500-count boxes of “sleep napkins”—a tear-off roll of nonwoven, disposable pillow protectors.
Retail sales associates tear off a napkin for every shopper to use when rest-testing beds and pillows, explained Shana Rocheleau, Bedgear vice president of strategic development. “It’s not just about hygiene. (The 500-count boxes) provide an accounting method for managers—Are my salespeople selling pillows? Are they offering a complete sleep solution to mattress shoppers?”
Pillows were the focus at Asheville, North Carolina-based ViscoSoft, too. The pillow, linens and protection supplier launched the Infinity collection of back-, side- and stomach-sleeper pillows, with coordinating mattress protectors. The Dacron-fiber-filled pillows are covered with Cold Wire double-knit fabric made with “temperature-regulating yarns.”
The company officially launched the U.S.-made EcoSoft collection in High Point, as well. The products had a soft launch at the last Las Vegas Market. Five pillows in a range of profiles have bamboo viscose covers and memory foam cores that are formulated with a very high percentage of renewal content derived from castor beans and rapeseed.
“Sixty percent of the polyol used is vegetable-based, yielding a final product that is 43% bio-based,” said Gabriel Dungan, ViscoSoft managing director. “Not only are the pillows ‘green,’ they are better. They sleep cooler, are moisture wicking and they repel moisture.”
Sleep accessories supplier Malouf introduced texture and aroma at the Fall High Point Market. With its new French Linen by Woven sheets, the Logan, Utah-based company added a European touch to its offerings. Made with 100% linen yarns from French-grown flax, the sheets soften with use and come packaged in a canvas duffel. Available in natural shades of charcoal, flax, smoke and white, the construction ensures a durable fit on queen and king mattresses from 6-inches to 22-inches thick. A queen set retails for $449.99.
Malouf also launched Z Lavender Aromatherapy Spray to refresh its Z Zoned Dough Calming Lavender pillow. The spray uses 100% pure lavender oil produced by a small, certified-organic farm in Bulgaria. With a suggested retail of $49.99, the 2-oz. spray can also be used on other bedding to promote sleep.
“There is considerable care put into the growing, nurturing, harvesting and distilling of the essential oil, which we feel is manifested in the quality of this product,” said Jake Neeley, Malouf marketing communications manager.
* Unless otherwise noted, all prices are suggested retail for queen-size sets.
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