From Zenlike retreats to telescoping tornado shelters, Las Vegas vendors aim to help retailers lure consumers to stores
By Barbara T. Nelles
There were so many pleasant surprises for a bedding editor at a not-so-sleepy summer mattress and furniture show. Indeed, when it came to new sleep products and new showrooms, the Las Vegas Market July 28-Aug. 1 was happening!
Show organizer International Market Centers debuted B13 of its World Market Center as a dedicated mattress and bedding floor. There, several established exhibitors opened larger showrooms and new players made their appearance, too. In total, the twice-yearly market now hosts more than 50 exhibitors in the sleep products category.
This market, there were some unexpected exhibitors. Foamer NCFI and textile producer Culp Inc., both best known as mattress industry component suppliers, displayed finished goods in their own spacious showrooms. Other companies, like Casper and Nectar, famous for their status as direct-to-consumer upstarts, were there, as well.
Then there were all of the product rollouts. Even mattress majors, who in recent years have saved their biggest introductions for the January Vegas show, each had at least one significant piece of news to share.
Retail bedding buyers found plenty to draw them in but, unfortunately, their numbers seemed down. Perhaps those daytime temperatures topping 116 degrees F were a disincentive to travel. An informal survey of exhibitors reinforced an overall impression that traffic in bedding showrooms was lighter even than usual for a summer Vegas market.
Traditional mattress manufacturers continued to up their game when it came to boxed beds and the delivery logistics demanded by an omnichannel marketplace. But the importance of brick-and-mortar retail appeared to find new strength at this show. More than a few vendors with experience in direct-to-consumer sales told BedTimes that a significant proportion of online shoppers ask where they can try products in a physical store.
This is encouraging news for brick-and-mortar retailers at a time when many are struggling to maintain market share, especially in middle and promotional price points. To further those ends, bedding exhibitors presented a range of tools to help drive foot traffic to stores and captivate shoppers’ hearts and minds. Here are a few clever examples:
Ergomotion showed how to turn a sleep products store into a spa with beautiful bedroom vignettes — and meditation and massage sessions. Englander made a splash with both a rocking bed and a bed set that turns into a tornado shelter. Innova and InnoMax teamed up to show the first combination of a soft-sided waterbed on an adjustable base.
Appealing to consumers’ patriotic impulses is a powerful selling strategy for many companies that manufacture or assemble their products in the United States. The message was prominently displayed on labels and in marketing materials, often alongside the image of an American flag.
Cooling stories and mysteries
Worth checking out in person, the Soft-Tex Epic Chill Pad is unbelievably thin — and so very cool. (How it works is a secret!) But we clearly could see — and feel — how Mlily’s unusual bed with built-in fans cools an all-foam mattress. Glittering like freshly fallen snow, the top panel of the new Beautyrest Black Hybrid had bright flecks that drew us over for a rest-test of the bed’s multiple cooling characteristics.
Many bedding vendors excel at store displays and other types of marketing materials to grab shoppers’ attention. Malouf had a showroom full of them, including video screens displaying cinemagraphs (still photos that resemble a video).
About last night
Smart beds and adjustable bases are proliferating. Vendors talk about big data, sleep cycles, heart rates, automatic comfort adjustments and silencing snoring partners. Adding your mattress to the growing list of voice-controlled devices in your home, seeing graphs of your sleep patterns, feeling your bed move beneath you as if it has a mind of its own — well, that’s just fun and cool. Isn’t it?
Check out these new products from the summer show:
All prices are suggested retails for queen-size sets unless otherwise noted.
At the Beautyrest showroom, Atlanta-based Serta Simmons Bedding LLC continued its focus on hybrid constructions under its Beautyrest brand with the launch of Beautyrest Black Hybrid. The new beds carry new top price points for the brand’s hybrids and join other smooth-top models introduced in January as Beautyrest Hybrid. Targeted to the luxury consumer, Beautyrest Black Hybrid models are priced from $1,999 to $2,799 (mattress only). The beds provide a conforming feel in four comfort levels and have cooling features in the fabric and foams, said Michael Sileck, senior brand manager. The eye is drawn to the elegant panel fabric, which actually sparkles.
The Tempur-Pedic brand took on snoring with its Tempur-Ergo Smart Base powered by Sleeptracker. The unobtrusive sensor for the Sleeptracker technology slips into a pocket at the head of the power base, and it tackles a huge unmet need, said Brent Pfister, vice president of brand management for Tempur Sealy International Inc., headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. It can automatically detect and hopefully silence a snoring partner by raising the head of the bed. The Tempur-Ergo Smart Base with Sleeptracker ($1,799) solves other problems, too, offering an integrated system of sleep analytics, sleep coaching and smart home connectivity developed and operated by Tempur Sealy technology partner Fullpower Technologies Inc., based in Santa Cruz, California. “We are selling an entire sleep system, not one piece of technology, and are leveraging the power of big data to help you sleep better,” Pfister said.
High Point, North Carolina-based Culp Inc. took a long-term lease on its own showroom to highlight every aspect of its business, said Chadd Coltrain, director of sales for Culp’s eLuxury business. The space will serve as a year-round meeting place for the textile makers’ ticking, upholstery and sewn cover customers, and also will act as a wholesale showroom for the eLuxury line of home goods. At the new showroom (from left): Todd Gerdes, independent sales representative, holding an eLuxury roll-packed gel fiber pillow pack (two for $39); Coltrain; Paul Saunders, eLuxury chief executive officer; and Stephen Dudek, Culp sales manager. The Amish-made, solid-wood platform bed is available in five finishes and has a 1,000-pound weight capacity.
Onney Crawley, vice president of brand management for the Serta brand, part of Atlanta-based Serta Simmons Bedding LLC, introduced the next-generation iComfort by Serta line ($1,499 to $2,199, mattress only). “I’ve never been this excited about a launch. (The new iComfort) is sleek and clean, the collection is simplified and the branding really stands out. There are clear step-ups with visual cues making it easier for RSAs to understand and sell,” Crawley said. The beds feature “next-level cooling” with “memory foam infused with carbon fiber,” she added. Coolness is communicated to consumers through snowflake icons on the border. And for the first time, the iComfort line has its own Serta Counting Sheep — the new No. 32, to be precise.
In a large new showroom where it held a series of wellness events, Ergomotion used four bedroom vignettes with the themes Relax, Renew, Restore and Rewind to show bedding retailers how to create a spalike store atmosphere The displays paired the Santa Barbara, California-based company’s 330 Slim adjustable base with luxurious linens and upholstered bedroom furniture. Each setting, priced at about $2,495, included several sleep accessories as gifts with purchase. The adjustable base offers head-up, foot-up and auto-head tilt, relaxation massage, underbed lighting and sleep tracking data integration, as well as smart home integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
This really is cool!
Soft-Tex, with headquarters in Waterford, New York, introduced the Epic Chill Pad and the Epic Chill Pillow. Both use a patent-pending, pressure-activated cooling technology called Reactex, which was developed by Soft-Tex partner Radiant Thermodynamics Inc., with headquarters in Midhurst, Ontario. The two companies formed a joint venture in February called Reactex Technology Group. The Reactex material is quilted to the fabric cover of the pad and pillow and “functions like a battery, storing and releasing heat to provide cooling or heating through pressure activation,” said Jeff Chilton, Soft-Tex chief executive officer. The technology recharges when not in use. The 30-inch by 60-inch stain-resistant pad retails for $149. The fiber fill pillow retails for $99.
Visitors to the Spring Air International showroom found a forest where the Chelsea, Massachusetts-based company relaunched its Nature’s Rest brand. Five Nature’s Rest models ($2,499-$3,299) use Talalay latex, as well as other premium foams, and are upholstered with a knubby, linen-blend stretch knit with inverted seams. The back-to-nature theme is echoed in model names like Acadia and Yosemite and in product brochures that do double duty as guides to the national parks that inspired the names.
A luxe line and a comfort fix
Dallas-based Corsicana Mattress introduced NightsBridge, a new higher-end collection of eight beds priced from $699 to $999, with the tagline, “Luxury for All.” The NightsBridge group uses a range of specialty foams, pocket springs and, in some models, microcoils. NightsBridge beds, along with all Corsicana mattresses, can now be roll packed. To top things off, the company unveiled 3-inch toppers, one matching each of its brands, including the new NightsBridge (pictured). The five toppers have a zippered cover, NanoCoils and other comfort layers, and are priced from $169 to $399. The toppers were well-received, said Mike Loomis, Corsicana vice president of production development and innovation. “Not only can toppers fix comfort issues, you can turn any bed into a luxury mattress with a topper,” he said.
The display’s the thing
There was much to see at Logan, Utah-based Malouf, from new weighted blankets and pillows to upholstered complete beds ($599-$699) and headboards ($399) to an updated app for Malouf Structures adjustable bases. Available for iOS and Android, the voice-controlled, smartphone-based Malouf app now is easier to set up and use. Scott Carr, Malouf brand manager, snuggled up with a glass bead-filled Anchor weighted blanket ($129 for a throw; $199 for queen size), while hugging the updated CarbonCool LT pillow containing activated charcoal, now at a sharper price point ($99). Behind him is a new modular racking system for retailers. Another nifty display for new designer beds (inset) used four LED screens that showed eye-catching cinemagraphs, a technique that uses photographs in a way that looks like video.
NCFI, formerly NCFI Polyurethanes, opened its first wholesale showroom during the market. The Mount Airy, North Carolina-based company is a foamer and components supplier that in recent years has moved into finished products. “We decided to come out from the shadows and step to the forefront,” said Chris Bradley, NCFI executive vice president. “We’re a serious player in e-commerce fulfillment and private label (and now) are reintroducing the BedInABox brand.” NCFI acquired BedInABox from its previous owners in September 2018 and has revamped the product line and brand. Beds retail from $799 to $2,199 “and every single layer is made in the USA,” Bradley said. “We make the foams and the beds, roll pack them and provide shipping services and support, all in-house.”
Among the new bedding products at Natick, Massachusetts-based Customatic was the Magellan adjustable bed with coordinating headboard and attachable nightstands. Magellan is one of the company’s first forays into fashion bedroom furniture, said company principal Phil Sherman. The base has a 750-pound capacity and a wireless remote, and features head-up and foot-up adjustability. The prototype was priced at $1,299 in queen size.
Logicdata’s Chief Executive Officer Johannes Gradwohl (left) and Marketing Manager Stella Genge demonstrated the features of SilverLite, a lightweight adjustable base that launched in prototype at the Winter Las Vegas Market. Part of the Deutschlandsberg, Austria-based company’s Silver series, it ships in two small boxes, has a 1,000-pound capacity, comes in different colors and retails for between $800 to $1,000 in queen. Minimum order is one base. SilverLite assembles without tools in 10 minutes.
Chicago-based Englander sought to help retailers drive traffic with some truly unusual mattress foundations. The Vortex Vault converts from a bed base into a tornado shelter. It’s from Oklahoma City-based Life Lift Systems, which has appeared on the TV show “Shark Tank” and received funding from entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Mark Kinsley (top), president and chief executive officer of Englander, and Levi Wilson, founder of Life Lift, demonstrated how the metal base telescopes upward into a safe space and storm shelter. Another showroom conversation piece was the patent-pending Rocking Bed, from a company by the same name based in Canton, Georgia. The unique bed base gently rocks sleepers side to side — and off to dreamland.
Therapedic International, headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, launched the four-model Special Edition collection, with beds priced from $599 to $999. The mattresses use Biocrystal foam paired with Leggett & Platt Inc.’s Quantum Edge coil unit and are elegantly upholstered in silky white damask with contrasting borders. “True to its name, the Special Edition collection is special on a number of fronts. For one, the line has an exceptional value proposition, but there is so much more to this new assortment,” said Gerry Borreggine, Therapedic president and chief executive officer. The company also extended and updated PureTouch, its latex line. Seven PureTouch models use a combination of Talalay and Dunlop latex and range from $1,499 to $2,999.
Resident Home, formerly DreamCloud Holdings LLC, which owns the Awara, DreamCloud, Level Sleep and Nectar boxed bed brands, opened an expansive new showroom. Once a direct-to-consumer online seller only, the company found that “25% of its online shoppers weren’t ready to buy and were asking, ‘Where can I buy this in a store?’ ” said founder Craig Schmeizer. In 2018, the company began pursuing wholesale channels and its beds are now found at 1,100 brick-and-mortar storefronts, with the goal of being in 2,500 by the end of this year. Schmeizer said about 50% of the company’s products now are contract manufactured in the United States. He described the company as a digital marketing powerhouse whose enormous ad spend drives sales, industrywide. “Our price points are more approachable” (than similarly products), at $799 to $1,299, he added.
E.S. Kluft & Co. extended its Aireloom Aspire collection with new hybrid models. Priced from $1,999 to $3,500, the new beds have either a wrapped coil core or a foam core topped with microcoils. Aspire Hybrid features Luma SilverTech memory foam, a CertiPUR-US certified foam that contains particles of silver and aluminum, which are said to make the foam cooler and more hygienic. In keeping with Aireloom’s “Inspired by California” tagline, the new hybrid models are named for famous California mountain peaks and their border fabric brings to mind a mountain range.
King Koil, based in Willowbrook, Illinois, has obtained worldwide exclusive distribution rights for iOBED, a patented smart bed created by Seoul, South Korea-based KD Bedding System Inc., said King Koil Chief Executive Officer David Binke (center). He is flanked by Scott Shamely, (left) iOBED vice president of global sales, and Scott Smalling, iOBED executive vice president of global sales and marketing. Rebranded as the SmartLife Mattress by King Koil, three models retail from $3,500 to $4,500. Binke called the new smart bed a game changer, adding that King Koil’s business is booming since revamping its entire lineup in January. The company is undergoing a complete rebranding — from logo to marketing materials to website.
Kingsdown featured Sleep Smart Air, an airbed with IntelliMax technology. A command center and control unit beneath the bed integrates Kingsdown’s patented BedMatch diagnostics to enable sleep partners to adjust each side of the bed to their perfect comfort level and track a range of sleep data. “This mattress basically allows you to take our diagnostics system home with you,” said Frank Hood, president and chief executive officer of the Mebane, North Carolina-based company. Sleep Smart Air, which ships in a compact box, has multiple air chambers that adjust separately. The entire sleep system, with an adjustable base, retails for $5,999 in queen.
At Innova Sleep Systems, headquartered in Arlington, Texas, specialty sleep maker InnoMax Corp. did the seemingly unthinkable: It paired the Majestic, a soft-sided waterbed, with an Innova adjustable base. The results were quite comfortable, said Mark Miller, (left) president of Denver-based InnoMax; Lauren Wu, Innova director of communications, and Tommy Stricherz, InnoMax district manager. As a set, the Crown power foundation (capacity 950 pounds) and the Majestic waterbed retail for $3,999. The mattress features dual temperature controls for couples and an energy-efficient digital thermostat. It also comes with Drain Hero, a set-up and maintenance kit.
PureCare was on-trend with its introduction of Zensory weighted blankets. “Personally, I’m very excited to see this product launch because it’s been a project of mine – and this is my go-to blanket,” said Sarah Bergman, vice president of marketing and creative for the Phoenix-based company. The blankets come with reversible (woven on one side; fleece on the other), washable duvet covers. The blanket has 4-inch-square quilt pockets to keep its glass bead fill in place. Adult blankets are 48 inches by 72 inches and come in 15-pound and 20-pound versions ($179). The 7-pound child’s blanket measures 41 inches by 60 inches.
Shifman Mattress broke with tradition by replacing the classic damask panel on its Pure Comfort Talalay latex mattress collection with a stretchy knit. The tricot fabric complements the comfort of the latex, said Shifman President Bill Hammer. The pure white knit ticking has a lofty design and is tufted using the Newark, New Jersey-based company’s trademark Sanotuft technique. It’s a hand-sewn buttonless tuft that keeps the bed’s components in place. The two-sided beds are adjustable-base friendly and were exhibited in Las Vegas on Shifman PowerMotion bases. In addition, Hammer said, Pure Comfort now retails at more accessible price points, $2,649 to $4,299 (mattress only).
The Ergovea brand from Eco Bedroom Solutions, based in Camarillo, California, added some bounce with its new Pasadena Hybrid, a U.S.-made, 11-inch mattress that layers 3 inches of certified organic latex over an innerspring core. The pocket spring unit features a stronger seat edge. The mattress also sports a knit cover of certified organic cotton with a hint of Lycra, organic wool fiber — and an attractive price point at $1,699 in queen size, said brand founder Andy Freedman.
Blu Sleep, based in Pompano Beach, Florida, enlivened the packaging for its Gel Essential pillows ($189) with illustrations depicting some of the plant ingredients used in each, including chamomile, lavender and aloe. Principal Elizabeth Dell’Accio and her son, Stefano Ciccolella, held three of the Italian foam and gel pillows in their new compressed and sealed, easy-to-carry packages.
Adjustable base company Reverie, with headquarters in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, retooled its 4-year-old Reverie Nightstand app for iOS devices. Owners now can completely customize their controls and settings. Nightstand also is compatible with the new Reverie Connect voice-activation feature that works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. It handles nine voice commands and will be available for use with any Reverie Bluetooth-enabled base starting this month.
Southerland extended its American Sleep brand to include five hybrid Elite models priced from $1,500 to $1,900. The beds have a wrapped coil core and high-end foams and latex in the comfort layers. Box-top models (pictured) offer coil-on-coil conforming support. “We’re committed to providing our retail partners with great products that resonate with consumers, while protecting their distribution so that they remain competitive in today’s selling environment,” said Bryan Smith, Southerland president and chief executive officer. “American Sleep Elite offers a proven design that we know will sell.”
Wright Global Graphics’ woven FiberTec labels and plastic DomeTec labels “instantly add branding with dimension and sparkle to any bed,” said Vicki Fishman, vice president of marketing for the Thomasville, North Carolina-based company. “They’ve got great memory, too, and quickly return to their original state with no wrinkles or folds, so they’re great for today’s boxed beds.”
St. Louis-based Boyd Sleep has big plans for its new line of Nautica Home-branded mattresses. “(Nautica) is one of the most highly searched American lifestyle brands,” said Kristine Mattina, Boyd vice president of marketing. “And we’re providing lots of supports for retailers, from the collection’s imaginative styling and cooling comfort to its (POS) headboards and an upcoming, dedicated website.” The site will include a retailer locator “because one of the biggest questions we get from consumers is, ‘Where can I try the bed locally?’ ” Mattina said. Priced from $599 to $999, beds can be drop shipped directly to consumers or purchased by the container – and everything in between.
Stephen Chen, president of Mlily USA, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, pointed to one of the four quiet fans in the adjustable foundation of the company’s new AirDream sleep system. The air-cooled bed set retails for $5,999 and features a hybrid mattress with a number of other cooling components. Fans gently blow air up through the mattress and are operated with the base’s remote control.
XSENSOR Technology Corp., headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, updated its Reveal mattress recommendation system, which it says allows retailers to sell more and better bedding by helping consumers find just the right comfort. New Reveal 3.0 software offers a simpler interface that is easier to learn and understand, said Brent Bierman, XSENSOR business development manager. The pressure-point analysis system takes less than five minutes and now incorporates the use of pillows and adjustable bases, too.
Danican, based in Atascadero, California, sought to help mattress retailers increase tickets by offering several sleep accessories sets for private-label use. These included the ComfySleep bundle and the step-up CoolSleep bundle, each of which includes two pillows, a microfiber sheet set and a comforter.