Design Eye for the Retail Floor

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Camilla Franklin shares her 2023 mattress fabric trends forecast — and some handy sales tips.

Editor’s note: This year, Managing Editor Waynette Goodson is writing Beds by Design, a series examining the impact of design on the bedding industry. Whether professional designers at ticking companies or celebrity designers endorsing products or interior designers buying mattresses for their clients, the field of design is touching all aspects of retail. 

Creative Vice President of Design and Marketing Camilla Franklin shows off a new pile fabric for an added textural look.
Creative Vice President of Design and Marketing Camilla Franklin shows off a new pile fabric for an added textural look.

While Camilla Franklin’s title is vice president of design and marketing for Creative, a division of Gastonia, North Carolina-based Beverly Knits, she’s highly aware that she’s not only designing mattress fabrics — she’s also helping sell beds.

“The closer I can get to the customer, that helps me understand what helps sell a bed,” Franklin says. “On a typical day, I try to talk with the Creative salespeople on a regular basis.”

In the mattress buying experience, Franklin says the first thing the shopper sees is the border of the bed from a distance, and then the top comes into focus. “And the way that it’s put together — the border, the quilting, the tape, the whole package — that is so important to bring the consumer over to that particular bed and help tell its story,” she says. “So, it’s a very key part of a successful sale — the fabric.”

In addition to the aesthetic, the performance of the bed and helping the consumer feel what’s inside the interior are also key components of the sale, she says. It’s important they know all its functionality: cooling, hygiene or wellness.


The Creative design team adds to a mood board in the design studio for inspiration.

“The hand is critical, too,” Franklin says, “because the feel is another subliminal touch point. Everything needs to be a pleasant experience, and you want to take all subconscious barriers away from the sale.”

If you haven’t guessed by now, Franklin spent part of her career in sales. “Because I have been in sales, it has been a huge help to me in design and managing the design process and understanding the merchandising of the product — the price points, what works, what isn’t going to work, what the customers care about,” she says. “And there are so many details that I didn’t know until I was out on the road.”

Here are Franklin’s top tips to help make the sale:

  • Make sure to have both ambient lighting and spot lighting.
  • Try to break up the floor and create a flow to lead the buyer around the showroom.
  • Add decor to impart a feeling of home.
  • Set the tone and feel of the space with wall color.
  • Keep a fresh scent for a clean feeling.
  • Turn on soft music or play ambient sound for relaxation. 
  • Loop a nature video on a wall to impart calm.
  • Add lighting and signage to call out the qualities and benefits of the mattress.

Talking Trends – What’s Next?

Floral patterns are back, and the bigger and more graphic the better.
Floral patterns are back, and the bigger and more graphic the better.

Perhaps the No. 1 topic that holds the most interest for readers is trends. Everybody wants to know — what’s next? We asked Camilla Franklin, vice president of design and marketing for Creative, to tell us what to look for in 2023 and beyond.

“Color and look trends come from the fashion end, obviously. And bedding does tend to move more slowly, because you’re not doing five product drops a year as with the fashion brands,” Franklin explains. “We’re generally launching a mattress brand, and it will run for a while — sometimes years, if you’re lucky.”

Reuse, recycle, sustainable

“We’ve all been talking about that for a while, but that’s just getting bigger and bigger. And the biggest growth in retail is in the reuse area, so, that’s exploding across the globe. When sustainability started to bubble up to the surface, it wasn’t easy to find sustainable yarns. If you did, they were a premium. But as it’s becoming more mainstream, and everybody’s ramping up, it’s becoming run of the mill, literally. So, we’re able to provide 100% sustainable product with a multitude of different types of fibers. We have yarns from recycled clothing, which I think is a really wonderful product called EcoLife. And then we have the recycled polyesters from the bottles. That’s becoming very mainstream: recycled polyesters. It’s becoming an affordable option with a really great value.”

Color

What we see first: “We have been in the cool area of the color spectrum, in grays and blues for a while. It is time for a change and the direction will be a move to the warmer natural tones. This is already happening in the home interior and decor area. Soft gold tones and warm beiges are beginning to creep into the color palette. They will also take the main stage with a touch of gray and blues in the fabric.”

Textures and surface interest

“For the borders, the trends range from nonlustrous textural looks to high luster with some sparkle. Sparkle seems to be coming back. We’ve got some lovely engineered border looks that have some little tweaks of sparkle to grab you from across the room when you walk into the store — bouclés, that type of look. And we’re working on pile fabrics for that added textural look.”

Floral patterns

“Big, grand, abstract. We launched a couple of those patterns at ISPA EXPO and they are out in the market. It’s difficult to make that jump back to florals because it’s been so many years since florals were in. When I started in ’96, it was cabbage roses. They’ve been long gone, and there haven’t really been many since. … Now it’s throughout the home, wallpapers all the way through, but it’s definitely in a new way and a different scale. It’s in apparel a lot. The runway shows had a lot of large floral prints this season. I think the market has been geometric and clean and a little bit on the more defined side for a while, so some softening up — comfort/organic designs — would add an inviting look to the bedding floors.”