“Inside the Mind of Today’s Mattress Shopper”: Culp Innovation Center

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Go on location to the Culp Innovation Center in High Point, N.C., for a behind-the-scenes look at Culp’s current sustainability efforts. Culp Vice President of Business Development Jeff Veach joins Rachel Bradley, brand sales manager at Unifi Manufacturing, to discuss the Better Sleep Council’s latest sustainability research — which reveals an “aha moment” regarding consumers’ buying habits.

Transcript

Waynette Goodson
It’s Waynette Goodson. You’re the managing editor of BedTimes and Sleep Savvy magazines. Welcome to this edition of “Inside the Mind of Today’s Mattress Shopper.” And we have a treat for you today. We are here at Congdon Yards in downtown High Point. We’re about to go upstairs to the Culp Innovation Center and interview Culp. Are you ready? Come on. This is such a treat.

Follow us inside.

Waynette Goodson
Here we are today with Jeff Veach. He’s the vice president of business development for Culp. Jeff, thank you so much for being here with us today. Of course, as you know, our “Inside the Mind” video is always tied to the most current Better Sleep Council research, which is all about sustainability. One of the things that we’re hearing and finding is that retailers feel as if they don’t quite have the knowledge or the educational materials to convey that sustainability message to consumers.

So, Jeff, what are you all doing at Culp to kind of help your clients with this information that they can then pass on to the customer level?

Jeff Veach
So we’ve worked hard to create along with Unifi. We have some digital assets and some videos that help explain it. But really, the best tools that we found are hanging tags that they help us with that tell a real simple story that, you know, the RSA doesn’t have to get to, you know, deep into it just tells the story of how many bottles are saved in that product. So I feel like that’s a really good, simple, transparent way to tell what you’re doing.

Waynette Goodson
Simple is good. Simple is good. What are Culp’s current sustainability efforts like? What are you working on now?

Jeff Veach
From a product standpoint, we’ve worked closely with Unify since 2016. In 2019, we started incorporating the Reprieve yarn into our upholstery and mattress fabrics. Today, we’ve recycled over 112 million bottles from landfills and waste streams, which is great. We’re also in the process in our mattress division of a textile takeback program that we’re very excited about.

Waynette Goodson
Wow, That is a lot. Yeah. Congratulations. So, one thing we are hitting Culp up with today is we’re in the middle of Interwoven, and we just happen to have Unifi here in the showroom, Rachel. So, since we’ve gotten to grab you today, are there any new developments with Reprieve?

Rachel Bradley
Yes, it is. Jeff just mentioned that one of our key new segments of sustainability offerings is a textile takeback that allows us to bring fabric scraps back into our facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and then get turned into yarn that can go back into fabrics again. So it’s also got a whole circularity story where the designing for circularity. Unifi manufacturing.

We’ve been around since 1971. So far, Unifi has diverted 36 billion bottles, which is amazing.

Waynette Goodson
Billion with a B.

Rachel Bradley
Billion with a B. So, with Culp coming on and being a great partner doing 112 million bottles with us. They are a champion of sustainability through us, and we are grateful for that partnership.

Waynette Goodson
Was there an aha moment for you? A key finding that, you know, opened your eyes or.

Jeff Veach
From the research, over 70% of the retailers know that in the next five years, the decision will be important when a consumer buys the mattress because of the environmental impacts. And from that, obviously, the data also showed that millennials and Gen Z are focused on that. And the things that they seem to be very focused on are, you know, is it renewable or sustainable?

Jeff Veach
Is it free of any harmful chemicals, and is it durable? We think, too, that it can’t come at a premium. It has to be that the consumer does not want to pay extra for that. So we’re focused on how we do those things. We talked about through our ESG to hopefully drive efficiencies in our operation and, working with our partners at Unify, how we can do this in a way that does not have a cost impact on the end consumer but is also checking the boxes that they want, that it’s doing the right thing for the environment so that for us, this is key.

Waynette Goodson
Well, I’m so happy we caught Rachel today because this demonstrates that with sustainability, it takes a village. It’s not just one mattress manufacturer. It’s the. It’s everybody from the retailers up to the manufacturers to the suppliers. So, Jeff, thank you so much for coming. You’re such a team player. Thanks for giving us some of your time today. And thank all of you for tuning in to this edition of “Inside the Mind.”

And, as always, get a great night’s sleep.