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Specialty Sleep Assn. shifts focus to consumers

 Image of Dale ReadDale Read

FRIANT, Calif. — The Specialty Sleep Assn. is changing its focus from marketing and promoting specialty sleep to becoming a trusted authority for consumers who want to know more about the features of their specialty sleep sets.

The SSA, based here, decided on the change in a two-day retreat held earlier this year and led by Vicki Worden of Worden Associates, who has worked with the SSA for a number of years.

Specialty sleep producers, retailers and suppliers participated in the retreat.

They emerged with new vision and mission statements for the 18-year-old SSA. The new vision is "To be a trusted authority for consumers on product transparency and education for specialty sleep products." The new mission: "To serve sleep innovators, both manufacturing and retail, by promoting members, product transparency, and education."

"Our motto, ‘The Future of Sleep' remains the same, but the vision of that future is changing," said Dale Read, SSA president. "Over the next few months and years we want to transition from a group that merely markets and promotes innovative technologies labeled as specialty sleep to become a trusted authority for consumers to turn to when they want to know about the contents, the health, the wellness aspects and the safety features of specialty sleep products. We want to assist in educating mattress/bedding consumers about what is going on with the materials, components, construction and finished products of sleep products.

"To do this we have to help both our manufacturers and the retailers carrying their products," Read added. "We have to offer a mattress label/contents or consumer disclosure label that is not ‘green' oriented, but covers all materials in the sleep products category."

He said the SSA needs to work with its members to help them connect with consumers who are looking for "truth in marketing claims" concerning materials, processes, components, and chemicals.

"Consumers are demanding more product transparency," Read said. "We want to help our members feel comfortable about educating the consumer and how to successfully market a mattress/ bedding product transparency program."

The SSA has revised and relaunched its BedFax program, which is online at www.bedfax.org.

"Several of our members will be showing or marketing models under the new BedFax program," said Read. "This is not a ‘green' program. This is a simple contents label program, like a food label, telling the consumer what is in this or that bed or pillow or comforter. We are being open and transparent. More and more health-conscious and caring homemakers want to know what is in a product. This is a credible and impartial way of telling them."

The SSA will be making presentations on the BedFax program in its World Market Center showroom, C-1565, at the summer Las Vegas Market. The sessions are set for Monday, July 29, and Tuesday, July 30.

Read said that SSA's Environmental & Safety Program, a "truth in ‘green' marketing" labeling program, is still active for those wishing to make specific "green" claims. That program comes under the broader umbrella of the www.bedfax.org transparency program, he said.

SSA said it will also continue to meet with government agencies, other trade associations, lobbying groups, and certifying organizations.

"Over time our members will be faced with consumers wanting more information about the products they market and government agencies enforcing marketing claims," Read said. "We are helping our members to create powerful marketing messages with open and transparent claims that comply with certifications, standards and meet government regulations."

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