ISPA EXPO 2018: The shape of things to come

Headshot of BedTimes Managing Editor Beth English

Beth English
Managing Editor

As a child, did you ever play with a *kaleidoscope?

We always had one around. My mother, with her creative flair, made one with heavy copper tubing, mirrors and bits of colored glass. It was so much better than the cardboard ones from the discount store. Holding it up to the light, we would turn the tube and the seemingly random pieces would fall into beautiful, intricate designs. Reds, greens, blues in endless patterns—it was enchanting.

I thought about that kaleidoscope today as I proofread the company profiles in our ISPA EXPO 2018 section, which begins on page 65. Two years ago, reading these profiles was a little like looking at disjointed bits of colored glass. Lovely, but slightly incomprehensible to someone who was still learning all the bits and pieces of the bedding industry and had not attended ISPA EXPO before.

KaleidoscopeThis year, reading each profile, the pieces click into place and a stunning picture emerges. In each case, a specific image comes to mind. Some are products—vibrant foams, soft ticking, supportive springs, powerful machines. Other profiles bring to mind people—especially those who have kindly and patiently shared their product and trend knowledge. All together, these memories combine to form a picture of the best of what this industry has to offer.

For this show, the number of exhibitors is mind-boggling. With such broad representation, there are sure to be amazing innovations that will make a difference to manufacturers and, ultimately, the consumers who lie down each night to rest and recharge.

Another piece in my mental image of ISPA EXPO is the beautiful array of countries represented. ISPA is an international association, after all, and its international members are well represented at this event. The booth setup and wide aisles make it easy to catch snatches of conversations in all languages and accents. (You’ll probably hear me say “y’all” one too many times. I can’t help myself.)

Plus, there’s a sense of camaraderie that pulls it all together. We have opportunities to dine, learn and spend relaxed time in one another’s company. The people who were once names on an email or in an article become colleagues and friends.

It’s exciting to see what’s in store this year. Craft and creativity will be on full display. The new concepts and innovations that will drive the industry forward are coming together in one place. What an amazing kaleidoscope of people, products, ideas and innovations it will be! I look forward to seeing each one of you and learning more about the beautiful part you and your companies play in this industry.


  1. a tube that has mirrors and loose pieces of colored glass or plastic inside at one end so that you see many different patterns when you turn the tube while looking in through the other end.
  2. a changing pattern or scene
  3. a diverse collection <a kaleidoscope of subjects>

Etymology: from Greek kalos “beautiful” and Greek
eidos “form, shape” and English -scope

—Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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