A time of change at BedTimes

This post is a reprint of the editor’s column in September BedTimes.

Julie A. Palm
Julie Palm, editor in chief

Since I was named editor in chief of BedTimes in February 2004 and shepherded my first issue into production, I have written 112 editor columns. This is No. 113 and it will be my last.

After 9 ½ years, I’m leaving the International Sleep Products Association and the publications team to pursue independent writing and editing projects. I am grateful for the many opportunities ISPA has given me to learn and grow professionally. ISPA President Ryan Trainer and I couldn’t disagree more about politics and occasionally wrangle about word choice, but he has been exceedingly fair-minded, providing steady support and leadership to ISPA and its publications. Mary Helen Uusimaki, ISPA vice president of membership and communications, has been a tireless cheerleader for our magazines, and I have appreciated her encouragement.

On this page, I’ve occasionally taken the opportunity to thank the members of our outstanding publications staff for their hard work, dedication and support. It’s my name at the top of the masthead. As editor in chief, I take responsibility for our errors, omissions, oversights and flaws. But it’s the team that gets credit for getting BedTimes into your hands every month on time, with the news and information you need to run your business presented in an engaging, interesting way. To Stephanie Belcher, Kerri Bellias, Mary Best, Barbara Nelles, Debbie Robbins, Betsi Robinson and Mary Rulli, I offer my sincerest thanks and appreciation. I will miss working with you all. My gratitude also goes to Debbie Chapman, an ISPA staffer whose name doesn’t appear on the BedTimes masthead, but who provides marketing support to BedTimes and its Supplies Guide and who has served as a valued sounding board since my early days.

When I started with BedTimes, the mattress industry was preparing for the federal open-flame standard, the most significant regulatory change manufacturers and their suppliers had faced since the cigarette-ignition standard went into effect in the 1970s. Sealy was firmly rooted in its spot as the No. 1 mattress maker and, led by the massive direct-to-consumer marketing efforts of Tempur-Pedic, memory foam was making its way into the minds and homes of consumers.

Much has happened since 2004, including the purchase of Sealy by Tempur-Pedic in March. Some venerable manufacturers have closed their doors, while promising new ventures have launched. We weathered the Great Recession. Innovations in both components and manufacturing techniques have given consumers comfort and support options unheard of a decade ago. Today, gel foams get a lot of buzz and the industry is focused on creating practical, cost-effective ways of recycling used mattresses to keep them away from unscrupulous renovators and out of landfills. It’s an interesting time to be in the bedding business.

Just as we were going to press with the September print edition, Jane Kitchen, editor of Kids Today, a trade journal for the youth home furnishings industry, was named BedTimes editor. I’ll let Kitchen tell you more about herself next month. In the meantime, I wish her and the entire mattress industry all the best.