Summertime—and the shipping was easy. News from this quiet show emphasized easy-to-ship line extensions
BY BARBARA T. NELLES
Fewer buyers may have shopped for bedding at the Las Vegas Market Aug. 2-6 than during past summer shows, but if you walked the halls with shopping list in hand, you found what you needed at the market’s more than 100 sleep products exhibitors.
Many of those companies told the editors of BedTimes they are saving major product introductions for the January show—that’s nothing new—but at E.S. Kluft & Co., King Koil, Kingsdown and Sealy, we spotted new collections. Elsewhere, sleep products vendors focused on introducing accessories, adding cooling properties, covering new price points, freshening up existing mattress lines and, most notably, addressing e-tailing anxiety with products that ship compressed and rolled. Some companies didn’t tout any new product; instead, they told us about marketing and advertising successes, new research or unveiled retailer tools for in-store use.
We saw as many vendors as possible and offer you these six takeaways:
1 Accessories multiplication We saw intricate pillow constructions, cooling sheets, easy-ship bed frames and collapsible complete beds.
2 Options for online sales Many vendors offered more products to enable online sales—mattresses that can be compressed and rolled, ready-to-assemble foundations, etc. Six of eight new complete beds at Leggett & Platt’s Fashion Bed Group are designed to “snap” together and a new hinged bed frame fits in a small box. Some exhibitors offered direct-to-consumer drop-ship services for specific items.
3 Cool digital tools Cloud-based apps for retail sales associates, such as those offered by DreamFit, Restonic and Simmons, are designed to help educate RSAs and build trust among wary consumers during the sales process.
4 100% natural latex and organic latex Perhaps not at the mattress core, but definitely as a comfort layer, the popularity of latex in its purest form appears to be growing.
5 Pillow “fight” In the battle to fill the better-pillow niche, vendors disagree on the best way to classify pillow comfort—By sleep position? Softness or loft? Core type? Not at all? Should packaging specify comfort or does that needlessly disqualify shoppers and potentially lead to bad purchasing decisions? We predict more rounds in this bout.
6 Miracle sheets There are sheets that grip the pillow as you raise the head of an adjustable bed, sheets that cool you down and sheets that help you recover from a workout. There are sheets, seemingly, to solve every problem. Trust us, we could go on—and on.
Get down to details with the following photo album from our tour of the Summer Las Vegas Market.
King Koil took aim at current retailer needs—from affordably priced King Koil Advantage (pictured), a two-sided memory foam bed that rolls and compresses for online sales and easy shipping ($799-$999) to the feature-filled, four-bed iMattress Reaction group ($1,299-$1,899). Reaction has a proprietary pocketed coil system topped with an array of feature-filled specialty foam layers and a knit cover with copper yarns. Reaction’s innovative components deliver “highly specialized support that leads to a better night’s sleep,” said Owen Shoemaker, King Koil executive vice president and chief operating officer. The licensing group also unveiled an Extended Life all-foam bed ($999) with a high-density core designed for adjustable bases that also can be compressed and rolled for easy shipping. A floor model that withstood a rollator test simulating 25 years of use was as comfortable and supportive as a nearby new model. Extended Life also received upgraded knit covers meant to look good for the life of the mattress.
A raft of new products—many of them leveraging the St. Louis-based company’s Thomasville, Broyhill and Lane brand licenses—greeted visitors to Boyd Specialty Sleep. A central focus was an expanded Thomasville Natural Flex latex collection. The midpriced Elite series uses gel-infused latex over a synthetic latex core. The Premier series (above) has Talalay latex over a Dunlop latex core. The six-bed line extension is priced from $1,199 to $3,349. Another noteworthy introduction among numerous metal and upholstered decorative beds was Silhouette, a $199 pedestal base with the look of a European-style wood platform with extended edge.
Tempur Sealy International Inc., with headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky, celebrated the 65th anniversary of Sealy Posturepedic with a three-bed Anniversary Edition series. Priced from $599 to $799, the innerspring beds are available in tight-top, euro-top and pillow-top profiles. All have quilted knit panels with contrasting cocoa trim and zoned center support with SealyConform gel memory foam. Also on display in the Sealy showroom was an original 1950s-era Posturepedic. The spotless bed set, in service until recently, remains comfortable and supportive—a testament to the brand’s durability.
Natick, Massachusetts-based Customatic Adjustable Bedz partnered with equipment supplier Icon Health & Fitness Corp., based in Logan, Utah, to introduce a line of bedding under the iFit brand. Icon’s patented iFit technology syncs wearable devices and home exercise equipment with a cloud-based app that allows users to track their progress. The iFit bedding line from Customatic includes an adjustable base, mattress and mattress protector. Each is embedded with sensors that sync with the iFit tracking system. A queen mattress fitted with two sensors, the base and iFit program retails for $3,999. A queen mattress pad with two sensors and the iFit program retails for $399.
Specialty mattress and pillow maker Blu Sleep Products, with U.S. headquarters in Pompano Beach, Florida, expanded its pillow collection with Purity, a memory foam pillow that can be washed in front-loading machines. The Italian-made foam core is “500 times more breathable than traditional memory foam,” the company says, and has a honeycomb, open-cell structure. Its Tencel stretch-knit cover is treated with antibacterial SilverClear. Purity pillows, which retail for $249, are offered in four comforts based on height and softness—not typecast as being for “side” “back” or “stomach” sleepers, said Elizabeth Dell’Accio, Blu Sleep vice president. “Pillow comfort is a matter of personal preference, and our plush, squeezable pillows adapt to the bodies of all types of sleepers.”
The Tempur-Pedic brand, part of Tempur Sealy International, expanded its pillow collection with three shaped Tempur-Contour pillows. They take into account sleep position and, in some cases, the fact that you change position during the night. The Side-to-Back (pictured) retails for $129 in queen and has a center zone for back sleeping and loftier edges for when you roll to your side. Side-to-Side ($129), with a firmer neck support region and softer center, is for full-time side sleepers. Side-to-Side Breeze ($169) has a similar curved profile with the addition of a Tempur-Breeze cooling gel layer. “It’s about building in new features and having the right pillow comfort for everybody,” said Tiffane Thompson, Tempur-Pedic director of marketing.
The mood was jubilant at Spring Air because, as Rick Robinson, president of the Boston-based licensing group said, “Our products are kicking butt. Our factories’ sales are up 35% year-to-date through June compared with 2014.” Robinson attributed the healthy sales spike to new commitments from key retailers, the continued strength of Spring Air’s brand recognition and high consumer-satisfaction ratings at key review sites. The company supported retailers by launching a new advertising program—eight TV spots that retailers can easily customize to their stores and each available with accompanying email blasts. They are available at www.springairads.com.
Simmons Bedding Co., part of Serta Simmons Bedding LLC, focused on the success of its attention-getting multimedia Get Your Beautyrest marketing campaign (including the “Champagne” TV spot, pictured). The campaign is expected to deliver three billion impressions this year. “It’s so exciting when dealers want to use your creative, too,” said Michelle Montgomery, Simmons vice president of marketing communications, when discussing the popularity of the campaign’s three TV ads. The Get Your Beautyrest TV spots make merry with the after-effects of a great night’s sleep. Simmons also touted the success of its SleepSells.com website for RSAs, a one-stop content hub with more than 800 site registrants and 700 downloads as of Aug. 1.
Kingsdown capitalized on the wildly popular British TV series with Downton Abbey Home by Kingsdown. Thirteen bed sets retail from $1,499 to $3,999. The entry-level beds are innerspring topped with foam and have a masculine aesthetic with houndstooth borders. Middle-tier beds combine pocketed springs and memory foam comfort layers, along with a lace border fabric. The four top beds have a pocketed spring core layered with latex, gel-infused memory foam and natural fibers, all dressed in ticking with touches of leather and lace. “This is one of the most exciting product launches in our company’s history,” said Frank Hood, Kingsdown president and chief executive officer. “We took inspiration from the sophisticated, stately fashion and décor featured on the show and incorporated them into our most exquisite product introduction to date.”
Glideaway Sleep Products enlarged its pillow selection with the Sleepharmony Revolution Tech Pillow collection, retailing from $49 to $99. The rollout included an eye-catching store display and point-of-sale banner. “Accessories continue to represent a significant profit margin for retailers, and we are always looking for ways to expand those offerings,” said Dan Baker, Glideaway vice president of sales. “With Revolution Tech, we wanted to offer pillow choices based on sleep preferences and needs, instead of sleep positions.” Six pillows have a variety of cores and added ingredients—from shredded “gel-charcoal” memory foam to molded latex. The company also expanded its decorative complete bed collection with its Parkway series of upholstered platform beds. Prices range from $249 to $499 for youth twin through king sizes.
HomTex Inc., maker of DreamFit pillows, sheets and mattress pads, shone a spotlight on its retail sales training system, newly available at DreamFit.com. The showroom was ringed with information kiosks where screens and tablets allowed retailers to dig deeply into the new selling tools. “Our system starts with pillow selection and moves on to protectors and linens,” said Cindy Williams, HomTex vice president of marketing. “But the pillow is key. To find the perfect mattress, you must start with the perfect pillow.” The company also unveiled its first DreamFit duvet program (pictured). The two top collections (including duvet cover and two pillow shams) are 100% cotton ($199) and 100% Tencel ($219), respectively, and have a hidden zipper up the middle for easy filling. Duvet inserts are sold separately. Instead of classifying bed linens by thread count, DreamFit uses a “7-degree” program, where Level 7, or Elite, is best quality.
Restonic focused on the mattress licensing group’s Restonic Reality app, which launched earlier this year and is built on Wright Global Graphics’ RetaiLive technology. The interactive tool for tablets and smartphones (pictured) uses 3D modeling to help train RSAs and assist consumers in choosing a new bed. It complements a broad-based digital strategy Restonic launched in 2014, said Julia Rosien, Restonic brand engineer, and is continually being loaded with more features and content, including a full slate of Restonic videos currently available at the Restonic website (www.restonic.com/video-library). The app is to be available for iOS and Android devices this fall.
Therapedic International opened a new, larger showroom with 5,000-square-feet of floor space that allowed it to double the number of Tommy Bahama, Kathy Ireland and EcoGel beds on the floor and to add an enclosed conference room. The Princeton, New Jersey-based company displayed some concept beds under the Medicoil and EcoGel brands to solicit retailer input. It also introduced EcoGelFlex ($2,995), an adjustable base-friendly foam mattress with layers of memory foam and gel memory foam that will drop-ship directly to consumers.
Protect-A-Bed focused attention on its successful REM-Fit Sleep Recovery System lineup of accessories and launched a promotion that allowed purchasers of any REM-Fit or Protect-A-Bed product to receive a free sleep and activity tracker wristband. The device allows wearers to monitor their health using the REM-Fit Life Challenge app (Rem-Fit.com/lifechallenge).
Englander Sleep Products lowered the temperature and price points of its popular Lifestyle collection. Now retailing from $999 to $1,499, three models tell a cool story with their Thermo-Gel fabric finish, gel memory foam, latex and reticulated foams, and shades-of-blue, point-of-sale headboards. In the newest twist on hybrids, foam cores with strong edge support are topped with 2-inch, pocketed microcoils. The beds have a plush waterfall panel, contemporary knit design and dark contrasting borders.
Fashion Bed Group, a division of Leggett & Platt Inc., the focus was on the beauty and ease of its decorative bed frames. The Parkland bed ($699) was a showstopper with vibrant purple upholstery and a midcentury modern design. Six additional beds were part of a new easy-ship group. They fit into a single, flat-pack box and snap—or “Sn@p”—together. The Sn@p collection retails from $399 to $599 and includes headboard, footboard, decorative folding frame and an Allen wrench. “These beds assemble in 10 minutes,” said Ron Ainsworth, senior vice president of merchandising and procurement. “The beds bring delivery costs down dramatically and target both brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce.” The company debuted another easy-to-ship product: The hinged Solutions universal bed frame weighs just 35 pounds and unfolds and snaps together without tools. It has a suggested price from $99 to $129.
Accessories were big news at Reverie, which launched the Luxe Performance, Eco and Organic linens collections. “Our retailers have been asking for accessories specific to our power bases,” said Lisa Tan, chief marketing officer for the company, which has headquarters in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. “They were very excited about these, especially since it can be so difficult to find split-king sheets.” Luxe Performance ($140) has no-slip panels to prevent pillows from sliding off an adjustable bed while elevated and is constructed from an “engineered fiber.” Eco ($190) uses Tencel sateen yarns and an elasticized construction to keep sheets in place. Organic ($170) is made from 100% GOTS-certified cotton yarns and uses the same construction to hold snugly to adjustable mattresses. “We’re now set with our ‘plug and play’ pillow program designed to work for people using power bases,” Tan added. In addition to Dual Slumber, which launched at the last Las Vegas show, the new Latex Curve provides maximum neck support when sitting up in bed. Premium Cool Down is down filled, surrounded by a foam lining and covered with stretch-knit Rev-Cool fabric. Pillows retail from $115 to $150.
Pure-Care rounded out its premium Elements bed linens line—introduced at the winter show—with Glacies sheets, retailing for $269. Glacies (Latin for “ice”) tells a cooling story, combining the company’s proprietary, mineral-imbued Frio polyester fibers with Tencel yarns. The sheets are “a luxury, responsive textile more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk, (that) cools five times faster than traditional polyester—keeping the sheet three or four degrees cooler than any other sheet on the market,” said Sean Bergman, PureCare chief marketing officer.
Naturepedic added to its accessories with the Naturepedic Sculpted Organic Latex pillow and the Chablis Organic Luxury sheet set. The company also rebranded and repackaged its three-pillow collection in carry-away boxes with hand straps (pictured). “The new packaging is sleeker, with a more high-quality look than poly bags. They help make the accessories section really pop at retail and give us more space for our messaging,” said Jason Cik, Naturepedic co-principal. The new latex pillow retails for $99 and is covered with a plush, organic cotton double-knit fabric. The 300-thread count Chablis sheets ($239 to $259 for a queen set) have a subtle windowpane checkerboard pattern and are 100% organic cotton.
Serta, with headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, has replicated the feel of its iComfort mattress in a new line of branded pet beds. Layers of proprietary foams are wrapped in luxurious, upholstery-grade fabrics in shades of mocha and gray. There’s a zip-off waterproof mattress liner for easy cleaning. Three sizes in two styles—the Cuddler or Sleeper Sofa—retail from $149 to $349 and are available to retailers of Serta iComfort mattresses for humans. (Serta is part of Serta Simmons Bedding LLC.)
First-time exhibitor Seattle-based ExoMotion LLC does business as Thomashilfen North America and is a distribution partner of 60-year-old therapeutic and rehabilitation products manufacturer Thomashilfen in Bremervörde, Germany. The company used the Las Vegas market to introduce the patented Thevo Therapy bed to the U.S. market. The mattress uses “ ‘pressure-adjusting support paddles’ … to automatically convey the slightest movement of the sleeper—even breathing—into microsized counter movements,” according to the Thomashilfen website. Atop the paddles and their carbon-fiber support framing is a thick cushion of open-cell foam that is cut, contoured and cored. The mattress retails for $2,595 and is wrapped in a washable, breathable, moisture-wicking fabric.
Latex supplier Talalay Global introduced Talalay Copper in Las Vegas. “When we first introduced Talalay Graphite, we saw tremendous customer and consumer engagement from the natural benefits it brings to the sleep experience,” said Ken Hinman, Talalay Global executive vice president of marketing. “Our manufacturing partners have been very interested in using components featuring natural minerals. … We are helping them develop proprietary products that give their brands an edge in the marketplace.” The addition of copper to the latex creates a highly resilient, more durable product with myriad health benefits to the sleeper, the company said.
Salem Sleep Products, with headquarters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, added a new spruce bed base to its Port-A-Foundation collection. The all-wood platform base has easy, patent-pending assembly with metal threaded pins. It ships in a single compact box and comes with a drawstring FR cover with nonskid surface. It retails for $159.
In its Natura showroom, Toronto-based Sommex Bedding Corp. unveiled a re-engineered and expanded Greenspring collection. Up from five beds to seven, Greenspring has a new $799 opening price point and tops out at $1,399. In addition to new aesthetics, the pocketed innerspring cores now have five zones and are topped with various combinations of wool, latex and other high-end cushion materials. Whimsical footprint decals beginning alongside Greenspring became leafier and greener as you followed them on the Natura “path to purity” through the showroom. The $99 Sofa Bed Set in a barrel-shaped carrying bag—a new accessories trio—includes a filled cotton comforter, two pillows and a waterproof mattress pad.
To honor a big anniversary of the Aireloom brand, E.S. Kluft & Co., with headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, California, created the 75th Anniversary Limited Edition mattress. The four-bed group has deep charcoal borders and a double-knit panel with a dramatic charcoal-on-white design. The outer-tufted quilt covers specialty foams, latex and microcoils that sit atop a foam-encased wrapped-coil core. Kluft also announced its first television advertising campaign, targeting key markets this fall.
Malouf expanded its mattress protection offerings with three new Sleep Tite protectors. Pr1me Smooth ($119) is a smooth-surface version of the company’s Pr1me terrycloth protector. Encase LT ($119) is an encasement that fits mattresses up to 14 inches thick and locks out bedbugs, liquids, dust mites and other allergens and irritants with a three-sided zipper. The premium Encase Omniphase ($224) is a patented, mattress encasement with Tencel fabric enhanced with Omniphase phase-change material for temperature regulation. It has a 360-degree Micro Tite zipper for easy removal and fits mattresses up to 22 inches thick.
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