Empowering Retail Success with Spring Air

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Spring Air International has a winning formula to set its retailers up for success.

Empowering Retail Success with Spring Air. As president of Spring Air International, Nick Bates keeps a close eye on the licensing and retailer side of the business.
FUTURE FOCUSED As president of Spring Air International, Nick Bates keeps a close eye on the licensing and retailer side of the business.

Nearly a century ago, Francis Karr founded Spring Air International in Chicago with a revolutionary-at-the-time free-end offset coil design, which adjusts to each sleeper’s weight. In the years since, the now Woburn, Massachusetts-based company has continued to push innovation from its introduction of button-free quilting in the 1940s to pillow-top mattresses in 1973 and more recently, luxury beds made with sustainable materials. 

Throughout the decades, one thing has remained the same for Spring Air International: its dealer-focused retail model. 

“Dealers are super-important to us,” says Nick Bates, president of Spring Air. “They’re our partners who will keep that Spring Air brand name alive for the next century.”

We recently caught up with Bates to learn the latest on Spring Air International’s products, licensing network and how they strive to make dealers as successful as possible.

How do you help set up retailers for success with your beds?

The biggest point that we do with retailers is no matter your volume, we’re going to give you a sales trainer. That sales trainer will come in and make sure everybody in your store is comfortable with every aspect of that mattress. The next part is, we have 13 independent factories banded together to form Spring Air. If you have a question, you’re going to get a live person right away. One of our biggest priorities is giving that personal touch to our retailers. And then, of course, you have on-time delivery, quality products and all the stock stuff that comes with that personal touch.

How does your licensing and manufacturing structure benefit retailers?

Empowering Retail Success with Spring Air. Spring Air showcased its Back Supporter hybrid bed at BrandSource’s annual show in August.
FORM MEETS FUNCTION Spring Air showcased its Back Supporter hybrid bed at BrandSource’s annual show in August.

As our volume grows, we want to keep innovating and bring new, exciting items to the industry with our approach of being a licensing network. When I chose our 13 domestic factories, I was looking for independently owned facilities where every person lives and breathes that factory — from themselves to the person who takes out the trash. They could walk me through that facility and know what’s happening and are there every single day. That was of huge importance to us, and we found all those people. There is no outside equity money inside Spring Air — every facility is privately held.

And that really helps our retail partners with lead times. It helps us keep costs down for our dealers, too, because they don’t have to bring in so much inventory and sit on five containers of six months’ worth of product. They can have weeks’ worth of inventory and if they need more, they can get it because our factories are all in the United States and easily accessible.

Are you involved with any buying groups?

We joined Furniture First about four years ago, and we continue to grow with them. It’s a great buying group. From that, we got invitations to join a few different buying groups, but we can’t say yes to all of them right now. We wanted to get good at each buying group before we move on to another because I don’t want to let anyone fail or bite off more than we can chew. We just joined Brand Source, which we’re super excited
to join. We’re going to their shows,
as well.

What collections are you most excited about sharing with retailers?

Empowering Retail Success with Spring Air.  Bates got comfortable on the Four Seasons mattress at the summer Las Vegas market. The flippable mattress features Joma Wool on one side for fall/winter, and cooling fibers on the other for spring/summer. Retails start at $1,599 for a queen.
ALL SEASONS Bates got comfortable on the Four Seasons mattress at the summer Las Vegas market. The flippable mattress features Joma Wool on one side for fall/winter, and cooling fibers on the other for spring/summer. Retails start at $1,599 for a queen.

We pre-launched our Four Seasons mattress in July. Four Seasons is a well-known brand for us, so a lot of people are happy it’s back. We kept it two-sided and added some benefits, such as pressure-relieving Serene foam and Talalay latex. 

Most importantly, Four Seasons is made for all seasons. A lot of our beds at Spring Air cover the cooling part, but I live in Boston, and I don’t want my bed to be cold in the winter. So, I can flip the mattress over to the side covered in wool-infused knit fabric and warm myself up, get to a neutral temperature and fall asleep.

What’s one important thing for retailers to know about Spring Air?

Five years ago, we said, ‘We need to build the strongest licensing network we possibly can.’ That means getting new licensees and replacing factories with stronger facilities that we believe could bring Spring Air to the next level to support our retail partners. We’ve been building the strongest licensing organization in the nation, and in doing so, we’ve expanded facilities. We have a full range of products, manufacturing, that human touch and a lot of capacity to support more retailers.