Producer shifts from local mattress maker to “national, omnichannel health and wellness brand”
Diamond Mattress Co. has been setting the stage for this year’s major transformation for decades. In the hands of the Pennington family since 1946, the Compton, California-based bedding producer has steadily evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers, investing in the new technology, equipment and personnel needed to expand its production capabilities for a diverse range of mattress constructions, price points and feature sets.
In its quest to improve and grow, Diamond Mattress has become more and more vertically integrated. The company now manufactures or finishes most of the major components for its mattresses on its equipment — producing its own pocketed coils; processing, cutting and convoluting its own foams; and cutting and sewing fabrics.
Having the ability to do this work in-house has several key advantages, says Shaun Pennington, the company’s fourth-generation president. First, it allows Diamond Mattress to be more flexible and responsive to customer requests for exclusive products. Second, it enables the company to control product quality and costs more closely. And third, it opens the door for more innovation because the company’s team has the capability — and the encouragement — to explore new ideas for products and features that strengthen the line and create new business opportunities for its customers.
“Working with our retail partners, we are continually pushing the envelope with innovations and product enhancements,” Pennington says.
An example is the patented wrapped coil system with zoned support that Diamond Mattress unveiled at the January Las Vegas Market. By increasing the density of coils in areas that need more support and eliminating gaps between coils in other areas that don’t, the honeycomb-patterned, nested innersprings offer more back support and better pressure relief, according to the company.
“Our new zoned coil system is a terrific value thanks to a highly efficient design that not only provides 25% more support but is also extremely cost effective to manufacture,” Pennington says.
A bold new brand identity
This year has been especially busy for Diamond Mattress. Since January, the company has launched a new boxed-bed program, rolled out a slate of updated point-of-purchase materials, debuted a robust online training program for retail sales associates and expanded its production capabilities with the acquisition of Royal Sleep Products in Fort Worth, Texas. In addition, the company has initiated a bold rebranding program.
“We’re repositioning our business as a health and wellness provider to better reflect the benefits that our products provide,” Pennington says. “When you sleep well, studies show that you live better — and you also live longer. That’s the message that we want to work with retail sales associates to deliver to each and every customer.”
The goal of the new approach is to “elevate our relevancy and value to the modern consumer,” Pennington adds. “Today, people value a company with a purpose greater than selling products. They want passion. This rebrand amplifies Diamond Mattress’ commitment to quality sleep by linking our reputation for quality craftsmanship, integrity and purposeful innovation to a higher-level brand purpose. In doing so, we gain trust for the sleep industry and empower RSAs to be more successful.”
A cornerstone of this rebranding is Diamond Mattress’ new GIFT line. Introduced at the Winter Las Vegas Market, GIFT consists of four foam-encased boxed-bed models. The starting model, Grateful, has a 13-inch profile with gel memory foam and retails for $899 in a queen size. Intention and Faith, priced at $1,099 and $1,399, respectively, are 14-inch models featuring Diamond’s proprietary Sparkle foam, which contains graphene and hyper-conductive flakes for advanced heat-releasing benefits. Transformation, priced at $1,599, has a 15-inch profile and also features the Diamond Sparkle foam. Each GIFT mattress incorporates the company’s new wrapped coil system. The Intention, Faith and Transformation models also sport covers with proprietary phase-change material that moves heat away from sleepers.
“Our climate-control technology is integrated into the fabric, comfort and support layers,” Pennington says. “RSAs and consumers can feel the difference the second they lie down.”
To reinforce the brand, the covers sport the company’s updated logo (a diamond shape that, when repeated, forms a sleep-themed hourglass pattern), Pennington says. And each model comes with a 120-night trial, free nationwide shipping and returns, and white-glove delivery.
The company’s rebranding includes an enhanced website spotlighting the GIFT line. The site also provides a more user-friendly experience with a focus on education and product information. Visitors can research products, take a quiz to identify products that best suit them and connect with a customer service representative if their questions aren’t answered by the site’s FAQ section.
In addition, the website offers a “seamless e-commerce experience,” allowing consumers to purchase GIFT mattresses from anywhere, Pennington says. The beds are available for in-store pickup from retailers carrying the line or they can be drop shipped from Diamond Mattress directly to the consumer’s door. The website includes a dealer locator to make it easy for consumers to find a store where they can test the beds.
Three core programs
The new GIFT line is one of three core programs the company offers its retailers. Its open line, available to all retailers, is now marketed as DreamStage by Diamond Mattress. It includes seven collections — Dream, Cool Spring, Cool Foam, Hybrid, DreamStage Naturals, Luxury and Black Diamond — covering a wide range of price points and constructions. During the past year, Diamond Mattress has seen increased demand in this part of the line for the “performance sleep” category, retail priced from $799 to $1,499 for a queen, and the “affordable luxury” category, priced from $1,299 to $1,999, Pennington says.
In addition, Diamond Mattress has a popular custom program called Engia. Through Engia, the company creates customized sleep solutions for retailers, providing them with branded products unique to their markets. Longtime customers include leading retailers such as Living Spaces, Jerome’s Dream Shop (the sleep shops inside Jerome’s Furniture stores) and The Mattress Hub.
“Engia enables our customers to differentiate themselves in the market and bring huge value to their consumers,” Pennington says. “These partnerships extend beyond product development to include a full range of branding services and marketing, offering retailers a one-stop shop for high-quality, customized merchandise.”
According to Steve Anderson, vice president of business development for Diamond Mattress, “over-saturated and commoditized merchandising” has made it difficult for retailers to maintain margins and a competitive advantage. As a result, “many of the top retailers in the country seeking to maintain relevance and increase market share have turned to us to create a program that is exclusive, exciting and new. With our extensive menu of innovative materials and flexible design, we tell retailers that if you can dream it, chances are we can make it.”
A Royal addition
Diamond Mattress’ ability to serve retailers took another big step forward in the spring with the purchase of Royal Sleep Products. The addition of 35-year-old Royal Sleep gives Diamond Mattress another 60,000 square feet of manufacturing, warehouse and distribution capacity in Texas and the ability to offer faster shipping to its expanding customer base in the central and southern United States.
“This new facility will be the springboard for a new round of growth and expansion in states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana,” Pennington says. “Royal is a great fit with our company. They do a number of things very well, and we expect to learn some new things as we integrate their operation with ours.”
With the acquisition, Diamond Mattress now has more than 200,000 square feet of production and distribution facilities and a total staff of 250. At the company’s 140,000-square-foot plant at its California headquarters, Diamond Mattress produces more than 1,500 mattresses a day.
“Our success is built on the integrity and industriousness of our team, which is one of the best in the industry,” Pennington says. The great-grandson of Jim Pennington, who bought Diamond Mattress in 1946, Shaun Pennington takes a hands-on approach to every aspect of the business, working closely with his sister, Breana Pennington, who serves as vice president, and other managers.
Near the end of 2018, Diamond Mattress added several executives to its staff, including Todd Freer, business development executive for national accounts, and Adam Ziegelman, vice president of marketing. Earlier in 2018, the company promoted Anderson to vice president of business development and Patrick Wolf to vice president of sales and education.
“This is a pivotal time for Diamond Mattress as we shift from being a local manufacturer of mattresses to a national, omnichannel health and wellness brand that is enhancing lives through sleep,” Pennington says. “Strengthening our team is an important step in accomplishing this mission.”
Education paves the way
To help retailers and their RSAs educate consumers about the connection between sleep and health, Diamond Mattress has developed a number of new in-store and online tools.
These resources include Diamond Mattress University, an online training program that uses video content and quizzes to engage RSAs, build their confidence and convert shoppers into buyers. The proprietary program is available at no cost to Diamond Mattress’ dealers. In addition to mattress specifications, brand information and product details, the educational program provides RSAs with easy access to a wealth of health and wellness content that focuses on helping RSAs better understand the importance of sleep using the BEDS framework of four key elements integral to wellness: breathe, exercise, diet and sleep.
Developed through the eyes of the RSA, Diamond Mattress University can be accessed through a computer or smartphone, and each module is just three to seven minutes long. The content is developed in-house by members of the company’s executive and education teams.
“Diamond Mattress University is unlike most programs out there because it goes well beyond product training,” Wolf says. “Our goal is to empower RSAs with sleep knowledge and sales training so they can build trust with their customers, help them understand sleep and the products, and, ultimately, help grow the ticket.”
As part of its effort to increase engagement with shoppers, Diamond Mattress also has rolled out the Diamond Mattress Experience Center. These customizable in-store displays feature creative new POP materials, such as LED-lit headboards and colorful fabric banners that deliver a sensory-driven demonstration of product features and benefits. Included are interactive modules that demonstrate the performance of foam versus pocket coils and the differences between Diamond’s foam and traditional foams in terms of airflow, buoyancy and cooling.
“Through visual and tactile experiences, we are giving the consumer memorable ways to better understand our products,” Pennington says. “Our Diamond Mattress Experience Center is about partnering with retailers who want to take the mattress shopping experience to the next level for their customers. The best way to compete against the one-mattress-only online retailer is to create more value with a customer experience that gives people a reason to leave their homes and shop and gives the retailer an opportunity to build the relationship.”
The interactive center is suitable for use with the GIFT line and other Diamond Mattress products, including the Rally by Diamond collection introduced in 2018. Rally by Diamond is a fully customizable mattress that allows consumers to choose their comfort level (firm, medium or plush), core (foam or hybrid) and cover (regular, cooling or “supercharged” advanced cooling technology applied to both the fabric and foam layers of the mattress).
Diamond Mattresss redesigned its entire 3,500-square-foot Las Vegas showroom in the World Market Center for the winter market to showcase its new brands, featured collections and new display approach.
The ICARE mindset
Going forward, Diamond Mattress will continue to look for ways to improve efficiencies and better service its customers, Pennington says. As part of its quest for constant improvement, the company regularly evaluates its performance with internal and external reviews, asking questions such as: How can we service customers better? How can we improve our products? How can we better inspire and engage RSAs in the selling process?
“Doing business with us means engaging with a culture and a company dedicated to quality and service,” Pennington says. The foundation of this process is the company’s ICARE value mindset.
“ICARE stands for integrity, customer service, accountability, responsiveness and engagement,” Pennington says. “These values define our culture and are the driving force behind everything we do.”
World Travels Led Shaun Pennington Back to Family Business
Shaun Pennington’s life journey, like the company he leads, has been characterized by growth and change. He is the great-grandson of Jim and Pearl Pennington — the husband-and-wife team who bought Compton, California-based Diamond Mattress Co. in 1946, after migrating from Oklahoma during the Great Depression in search of a new start. Shaun Pennington began working at his family’s factory at age 12, building bunkie boards for $1 per finished piece. As he grew older, he worked summers and weekends in the warehouse, on the factory floor and in the office.
While it seemed likely that Pennington might one day lead his family’s business, during college he headed in a different direction. At the University of California, Santa Barbara, he majored in anthropology and religion, studying human culture, and religious and symbolic systems, and how they affect behavior and emotions. After graduation, he headed to Southeast Asia to explore historic sites in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries in the region.
“It was a very transitional period for me, because I wasn’t at all sure when I left school whether working at our family business was what I wanted to do with my life,” Pennington says. But after meeting with a mentor and reflecting on the life-changing experiences he had while backpacking in Asia, he realized that Diamond Mattress was exactly where he wanted to be.
“Coming back to the U.S. after my travels gave me a much deeper understanding of the unique opportunity I had to build our business and work with our family,” Pennington says. “I no longer took that opportunity for granted, and I realized I was eager to get to work.”
While many years have passed since that adventure, Pennington continues to draw upon the lessons learned during his travels and college studies. His exposure to the spirituality and ancient storytelling traditions of Southeast Asian cultures played a direct role in the creation of Diamond Mattress’ new GIFT boxed-bed line.
“We talk about the gift of sleep because sleep is a gateway to feeling more emotionally and physically healthy,” Pennington says. “Studies have shown that, when you’re well-rested, you’re much less likely to have heart attacks and other health and emotional challenges.”
Being grateful and taking time before sleep to recognize blessings in life has been shown to elevate happiness, Pennington adds. Such practices also can reduce anxiety and set the stage for deeper, more restful sleep.
Within the GIFT mattress line, Diamond Mattress has created a brand identity for its beds that associates each with qualities that have deep spiritual roots and meanings. “These themes of gratitude and intention, faith and transformation are powerful ideas that have a direct connection to sleep and wellness,” Pennington says. “They give the retail sales associates a strong story to tell consumers that makes our beds a solution rather than simply another commodity.”
To underscore the marketing messages associated with the GIFT line, Diamond Mattress has created a sleep kit retailers can give away with each purchase. The kit includes a contoured eye mask, mala mindfulness beads and earplugs, bundled in a travel-size bag.
Diamond Mattress | At a Glance
- Company Diamond Mattress Co.
- Headquarters Compton, California
- Specialty Vertically integrated mattress and sleep accessories producer. Line includes pocketed coil innerspring, memory foam and hybrid mattresses. Also offers mattress protectors, pillows, sheets and foundations, including adjustable bases.
- History Jim and Pearl Pennington bought Diamond Mattress Co. in 1946, after moving from Oklahoma to Southern California in 1938 and beginning a small business making foundations for local mattress manufacturers in a garage. Their son, Richard Pennington, joined the business in 1954, later followed by his son, Randy Pennington. Today, the company is led by Shaun Pennington, the fourth generation to serve as president; his sister Breana Pennington is vice president. Randy Pennington continues to serve as chair.
- Ownership Randy Pennington and the Pennington family
- Learn more DiamondMattress.com, Engia.com and DreamStageSleep.com