Bedding Makers Seized Opportunities at Fall Show

Exhibitors were eager to greet retailers in-person and show them luxury mattresses to satisfy high-end consumers

Newcomers and new high-end mattress models provided excitement at the lightly attended Fall High Point Market Oct. 16-20 in High Point, North Carolina, exhibitors reported.

Exhibitors generally said that they were pleased with their showings, although some were disappointed with sparse traffic in their spaces. Product introductions spanned the gamut, from promotional models at $399 to ultra-luxury models at $25,000. 

Importantly, enthusiasm about the Winter Las Vegas Market, the traditional kickoff of bedding’s new year, remains high. That show is Jan. 23-27, 2022.

Face to face again

In High Point, overall attendance still was well below pre-Covid-19 levels, but manufacturers said they saw engaged, serious bedding buyers looking for new lines for their sales floors and e-commerce sites. A common theme among sleep products exhibitors was the opportunity the market provided for them to have face-to-face meetings with bedding buyers. 

In a year in which the pandemic has taken its toll on both the Las Vegas and High Point markets, meetings with key customers, whenever they occur, are especially important, producers said.

“We have to take advantage of every opportunity to get in front of our customers,” said Richard Fleck, president of Norfolk, Virginia-based mattress manufacturer Paramount Sleep Co. “There are only so many opportunities to do that.”

Brad Rogers, senior vice president for bedding at home furnishings major Ashley in Arcadia, Wisconsin, added: “A lot of viable, big retailers come to High Point to make their buying decisions. This market is big for us. If I can get in front of a buyer without someone else talking to them, I have an edge. Dealers want to come see us. They know we have new products.”

AW Industries, which introduced several lines at market, enjoyed “a great show,” said Paul Kahl, vice president of sales for the Landover, Maryland-based bedding producer, a Serta licensee. Kahl said he was surprised by the number of retailers arriving early, noting that Friday, Oct. 15, the day before the market’s official opening day, was a busy one for the company’s three showrooms, which displayed a revamped private-label Sleepwell line, offerings by Serta (including a new cool-sleeping, high-end Arctic line) and a line by Silentnight, a U.K. bedding brand that has entered the U.S. market.

Newcomers and returnees

Kahl welcomed the arrival of five new sleep products exhibitors — Mlily USA and Shifman Mattresses, which both returned after taking breaks from the market, and High Point newcomers GhostBed, Palmetto Pedic and Resident. “I don’t understand why more bedding companies don’t want to be here,” Kahl said. “If you build it, they will come.” 

That was the story at Shifman, a Newark, New Jersey-based high-end bedding maker, which refurbished a historic High Point building in the market district with the help of interior design firm Barbour Spangle Design.

“This was a great open canvas for us to put our mark on and build it the way we wanted,” said Bill Hammer, Shifman president. The result was a two-story showroom featuring what the company called “a rustic, modern aesthetic for a casual and familiar feel.” 

Shifman’s introductions included the Inspired collection, offered exclusively to select designer showrooms; a luxury pillow program; and an upgraded Masters collection, all designed to serve the high end of the bedding market, which is performing well on retail floors, the company said.

To reach the high-end bedding buyer, Paramount Sleep strengthened its luxury offerings, introducing the A.H. Beard Signature collection of three hand-tufted beds retailing from $15,000 to $25,000 for a queen-size mattress cushioned with Merino wool, cotton, alpaca and mohair. 

Eclipse International, a mattress manufacturer and licensing group based in North Brunswick, New Jersey, also touted high-end models and got a “spectacular” response to new Hemingway models retailing from $899 to $2,599 in queen size, said Steve Karns, regional vice president. “Nobody wants to get a lot of shoppers at market,” he said. “We got a lot of buyers. Important customers were here and they were here to select new products.”

Magniflex USA enjoyed another strong market, said Silvia Galasso, vice president of operations for the bedding company, which is based in Prato, Italy, with U.S. headquarters in Miami. The company keeps stock in its warehouses in Italy and the United States, which gives the company an edge in a market hurt by supply chain issues, Galasso said.

“It’s nice to see dealers in a pretty good economy,” Galasso said. “This is the highest number of dealers we’ve seen at any market this year.”

Expectations for the January Las Vegas Market remain high. 

“We think January will be very strong,” Galasso said. “The big question mark, again, will be Covid-19.”

Upcoming Markets

Las Vegas Market

Jan. 23-27, 2022

World Market Center, Las Vegas

High Point Market 

April 2-6, 2022

International Home Furnishings
Center and other locations 

High Point, North Carolina

A Sharp Line

Ashley’s Sierra Sleep line originally launched at the Las Vegas Market in January 2020. Now the newly consolidated collection is back. With three models priced from $1,099 to $1,499, Sierra Sleep offers a cooling environment with a choice of gel memory foam or latex. The mattresses stand out with a modern lined pattern on the panel. The borders are wrapped in a textured charcoal fabric. Ashley also introduced a metal ready-to-assemble foundation (pictured, inset) that can be put together in less than five minutes, said Brad Rogers, senior vice president of bedding for the Arcadia, Wisconsin-based company. Priced at $199, the foundation comes boxed and takes up less space on trucks and in warehouses. 

Coming Back in Style

After taking a break during early phases of the Covid-19 pandemic, Shifman Mattresses returned to the High Point Market with a new showroom at 108 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Covering the second and third floors of the building, the rustic yet modern space displayed both new and returning lines. On the second floor, the revamped Masters collection offered a clean, elegant look with Belgian damask covers, waterfall borders, matching tape-edges and gold-plated corners. With prices ranging from $6,099 to $10,099, the collection includes Matisse, a luxury firm mattress; Chagall, a plush mattress; and Cézanne, an ultra-luxury super-plush mattress, said Alison Minella, Shifman marketing director, pictured (right) with Bill Hammer, Shifman president. On the third floor, the Newark, New Jersey-based company highlighted its four-bed Inspired collection, created with interior designers in mind.

A New Element

Elements Sleep, part of Elements International and headquartered in Mesquite, Texas, opened a 180,000-square-foot manufacturing facility this year and brought its first three-bed line, Simple Sleep, to High Point. The memory foam collection includes Vitality ($599), Agility ($799) and Enhancement ($999) — all made with cooling covers. Two memory foam pillows — with lavender aromatherapy and cooling features — complement the beds. All are boxed and ready for shipping. 

So Serene

Magniflex USA, with U.S. headquarters in Miami, now offers its CBD Serenity memory foam mattress topper ($349) to complement its CBD Serenity pillow ($149). CBD oil, which is used for its calming properties, is infused into the covers of both products. Silvia Galasso, Magniflex vice president of operations, notes that the products are breathable and hypoallergenic. 

Cool Factor

The name and tagline make it clear — Serta Arctic is for people who want to “Sleep Cool. All Night Long.” The newest four-bed line from Atlanta-based Serta Simmons Bedding LLC features Reactex, a three-layer system. Each layer has more cooling power than the previous layer, drawing heat away from the body, which leads to a mattress with 15 times greater cooling power than Serta’s Perfect Sleeper, said Laura Brewick, senior vice president of Serta brand marketing. The mattresses are priced from $3,499 to $3,999. SSB also introduced a suite of Reactex accessories to go along with the Arctic mattresses, including a protector ($179) and pillows ($149). “This is the biggest innovation SSB’s had in a long time,” Brewick said. “The reaction has been so exciting.” 

Get Smart

GhostBed, an online retailer and manufacturer based in Plantation, Florida, made its presence felt in a first-time showing at the High Point Market. The company decided it was a smart move to take a 5,000-square-foot showroom in Plaza Suites to help it connect with retailers from the East Coast and Canada. On the showroom floor, GhostBed featured its Ghost SmartBed, which enables consumers to customize their comfort levels for a deeper, more restorative night’s sleep. (Pictured) Alan Hirschhorn, GhostBed executive vice president, demonstrated the comfort of one of the company’s performance mattresses. 

Top of the Line

The A.H. Beard Signature collection is designed for retailers and consumers with natural luxury on their wish lists. The Sydney-based company began offering the high-end mattresses a few years ago, but this is the first time Norfolk, Virginia-based Paramount Sleep Co. is producing the line in the United States. “This is one of the most intensive products we’ve ever made,” said Richard Fleck, Paramount president. Except for machine sewing the tape-edge, everything else is done by hand. The tufted and side-stitched beds are made with Merino wool, cotton, alpaca and cashmere and are priced at $15,000 for firm, $20,000 for plush and $25,000 for ultra-plush. The mattresses come in two colors — a soft white and a dramatic black. (Pictured) Lisa McCann (left), Paramount social media and marketing specialist, and Paula Fleck, Paramount merchandiser, explained the features of the ultra-plush model. 

The Natural Way

North Brunswick, New Jersey-based Eclipse International displayed its new Natural Dreams line, a three-bed collection that features Talalay latex and wool certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard. Suggested retails for the Tufted, Classic and Hybrid mattresses run from $2,495 to $6,995. “The demand for mattresses made with all-natural, environmentally friendly materials is growing exponentially, and the Natural Dreams line is intended to help our retail partners to take advantage of this trend,” said Stuart Carlitz, Eclipse president and chief executive officer. 

A Dramatic Look

Bedding producer and distributor AW Industries introduced the Sleepwell Black Swan collection (pictured), with an eye-catching gray cover with large medallions and a black, stitched border. The mattresses feature a coil-on-coil design, gel memory foam, cool comfort foams and a latex support layer. Suggested retail prices for the bed sets range from $1,099 to $1,299. The Landover, Maryland-based company also debuted Desert Rose, a two-sided mattress group that includes a plush ($799), firm ($799) and pillow-top mattress ($899). 

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