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  • David Perry

Niches spark sales for Tier Two bedding producers

HIGH POINT - Tier Two bedding producers are planning to grow their businesses this year by pursuing successful niches they have found in the bedding market.

The producers also said they believe they offer unique products and programs that help retailers stand out in a crowded and highly competitive bedding landscape. They are planning to expand winning lines in the new year.
The producers were asked this question: What will your company do to spark business this year? Here are their responses:


Walt Bader, president, OMI: "We will be celebrating our 10th year anniversary with new product launches and new merchandising support for our retailers. Our new showroom in Las Vegas is really designed to be a showcase for how successful retailers can market organic sleep products to the consumer. We are a light at the end of the tunnel for our dealers, who are part of a $30 billion and growing consumer revolution in organic purchasing.
"Retailers that join the bandwagon see higher total dollar returns, not only from what we would call the traditional organic consumer, but also from other consumers who see our products in their stores. They might not be as devoted to organic, but once they are given the choice and understand the benefits of a healthier night's sleep, they too step up and buy our products. Retailers increasingly understand they are not going to do well trying to compete with generic products and low-end pricing strategies."


Denny Boyd, president, Boyd Specialty Sleep: "We're planning to develop new platform beds and air beds and we'll continue our branding investment in the Natural Flex Ultra Latex program. Also in 2013, we'll increase our focus and product development in our patented Sleep Metrics Pillow/Mattress selection program."


Stuart Carlitz, president, Bedding Inds. of America: "Increased industry-related visibility will result from our return to the Las Vegas Market in January following a brief hiatus. In addition, we've developed a new advertising campaign.
"Beyond our core dealer base, we are pursuing selected major regional and national furniture, bedding and department stores, as our distribution network of licensees continues to expand both domestically and abroad. This has enabled our delivery range to increase to better service our current and future customers.
"And we will continue to do what we do best: Offer incredible product variety throughout our five-brand portfolio including Eclipse International, Eastman House, Therapedic, Ernest Hemingway Collection and Namco bedding products. We and many of our dealers see us as a ‘one-stop-shop' bedding supplier."


Jamie Diamonstein, president, Paramount Sleep: "We will continue to promote our existing portfolio of brands as well as launch two new innovative mattress brands. These new brands have been developed through a long-term demographic and psychographic study that we just completed. When released, retailers, retail sales associates and consumers will have two new brands that meet specific psychographic needs that are currently unmet in the marketplace."


Neal Grigg, president, Carolina Mattress Guild: "The best thing we have done is to provide a good value for the retailer and help them in growing their business. We are going to keep doing this until it doesn't work!"

Bill Hammer, president, Shifman: "Along with the introduction of our new Shifman Vintage line of bedding, Shifman will be celebrating its 120th anniversary. Shifman dealers will benefit from additional marketing intended to increase exposure of the brand utilizing various media channels."


Chris Henning, president of North American operations, Dormeo Octaspring: "At Dormeo Octaspring we are committed to a three-pronged strategy. First, is to manufacture a high quality mattress with credible features that resonate with the consumer. Second, offer higher margins, support and training to our select and ‘best in class' retail partners. Third, launch an aggressive multimillion-dollar national advertising campaign that will promote a high level of consumer awareness to drive qualified retail traffic to our partners. Consumers will embrace credible product features and spurn marketing gimmickry and that is the sweet spot for our brand."


Kurt Ling, president, Pure LatexBliss: "Our focus is on innovation and creating value in the specialty sleep category. When we say value, we don't mean less expensive, but rather offering innovative products and solutions that are so apparent to the consumer that they have no problem paying premium prices for them. We will introduce several new products - an adjustable foundation with latex inside and a ‘new to the world' latex technology that will be the most sustainable latex ever created and made in the United States. We will also work alongside Latex International to develop an all-latex mattress line with Dunlop cores featuring ‘Dunlopillo Latex Inside.'
"We will also expand our ‘CustomFIT for you' merchandising process allowing consumers to design the perfect mattress for themselves. We believe mass customization is a key trend to be established in the bedding space. International expansion is another opportunity for us. During the first half of 2013, we plan a significant presence across Canada. We will also expand across Asia, serving four countries in the region beginning with the Hong Kong market. We will also beta-test franchised Pure LatexBliss stores."


Rick MacLean, chief operating officer, Jamison: "We'll concentrate on what we do best. We have a compelling story for our new latex lineup that that we believe will attract shoppers and prove profitable for our loyal dealer network. We plan to enhance our service model to be more responsive to new selling opportunities and to provide unique design styling for top-of-bed to ensure ‘pop' on the sales floor.
"We'll also focus on further decreasing our time to market, giving retailers maximum in-line availability, as well as providing the solid marketing support they need to improve their close ratios."


Marco Magni, president, Magniflex USA: "Our company has grown its business over the past few years because our products are so unique to the marketplace. Our mattresses look different, feel different and each has a unique selling proposition. That makes us a real gem on the floor for the dealers who carry us. This year, we will increase our investment in sales and marketing to create more brand awareness. We will also spend more on customer care and services to our dealers."


Bob Naboicheck, president, Gold Bond: "Quality and value in our products is the key to our business strategy. Our Comfort Collection, which represents great design, quality and value, is flying off the floor. Our moderately priced two-sided beds are moving briskly as well. Gold Bond is getting more business because the retailers are getting killed financially with the body impression problems and replacements they are having to make on the lower-end ‘S' brand products that have now been out in the marketplace for the past four years. These mattresses are not holding up and are coming back to bite these retailers in a big way, at a time when they can least afford it. As a result, more of them are turning to us when they replace slots on the floor, opting for our quality and value."


Jim Nation, president, Five Star Mattress: "Five Star will introduce a new Pro-Comfort value line at the Las Vegas Market. It will follow up on the introduction of the TLC Luxury line from the High Point Market. The Gel Active Collection is getting a lot of traction as a value-priced gel foam collection. We will add additional models and price points to the Gel Active Collection."


Martin Rawls-Meehan, president, Reverie: "We are focusing on real innovation and paradigm shifts in adjustable beds. There are two aspects to this strategy. First, the innovation has to be real. We are not talking about adding an extra position or section, or superficial changes that don't resonate with the consumer. We are talking about things like a made-for-mobile platform or more enhanced features in the product than up/down movement and massage.
"Second, the innovation has to be something the consumer can understand immediately and that they see the value of right away. If you have to explain it, that makes it harder to sell and ultimately won't drive sales the way they need to be driven. We are also moving to a new product line of Made-in-the-USA/Assembled-in-the-USA products with better aesthetics and more functionality at a competitive price. We believe that is going to absolutely be a game changer."

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