Enthusiasm, traffic high as industry returns to more normal footing.
The mood of the recent High Point Market was, in one word, exuberant.
Bedding and sleep accessories producers praised a market that featured heartfelt handshakes, strong traffic, a selection of new products and, importantly, a level of enthusiasm not seen in recent years.
“This is the strongest post-Covid market,” said Brad Rogers, senior vice president of bedding for Arcadia, Wisconsin-based Ashley Furniture. “We’ve been extremely busy. There is a lot of pent-up market fever. People want to get out. They want good things to happen, regardless of what is happening.”
Other bedding exhibitors agreed with that assessment, describing the show as the strongest since Covid-19 hit the industry in 2020, and saying retail moods were positive, despite a business climate that still poses some challenges.
“Market has been amazing,” said Richard Fleck, president of Norfolk, Virginia-based Paramount Sleep. “We keep building momentum. We always bring new ideas to market. We are here to be innovative. We had top 100 retailers coming through our space. They were very impressed with what we brought.”
Bill Hammer, president of Newark, New Jersey-based Shifman Mattress Co., was also pleased with the market, the strongest High Point show in three years.
“The attitude is so positive,” he said. “This is something we haven’t felt in a long time. That’s why we feel so good. Retailers were back in High Point and the industry is getting back to normal, whatever that is.”
He said the industry has shaken off the fears that accompanied the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“People were no longer afraid of talking to you,” he said. “We are back open as a people and as an industry. That feels really good to me.”
Also giving the October market a strong review was Eugene Alletto, chief executive officer of Bedgear, a bedding and sleep accessories producer based in Farmingdale, New York.
“This felt like the first time at a real market,” he said. “I am blown away by how many people are shaking hands. There is a level of human interaction here I haven’t seen in three years. We are getting back to what High Point has always been about.”
Stuart Carlitz, president and CEO of North Brunswick, New Jersey-based Bedding Industries of America, also gave High Point an upbeat review.
“High Point turned out to be a great market for us,” he said. “We had good traffic but, more importantly, quality customers who were in buying mode. Affordable luxury continues to be our category leader. The new models of the Ernest Hemingway collection, Eastman House Lifetime and Eclipse Glacier were incredibly well-received. The other superstar was the Eclipse Hope Collection. Every buyer who saw it, bought it, reacting positively to its design, price point and quality.”
Mark Akerman, president of the Enso Sleep division of Asheboro, North Carolina-based Klaussner Furniture Industries, was busy in a showroom that hummed with twice as many appointments as one year ago. “Retailers are buying, and they are putting new bedding programs in place,” he said.
BedTimes highlights some of the notable introductions at High Point Market below.
“Affordable luxury” was one of the themes at Bedding Industries of America, the North Brunswick, New Jersey-based bedding producer, which added a new latex line to its growing product portfolio. The emBrace latex line features all-natural latex on high-resilience foams at prices from $1,499 to $1,899. The beds offer the feel of all-latex mattresses, said Stuart Carlitz, BIA’s chief executive officer. “Latex is still strong in the market,” he noted. The emBrace name is a nod to Knickerbocker’s emBrace designer bed bases, which supported the emBrace beds in the showroom.
Shifman Mattress Co. introduced a Modern Shifman Vintage line, in addition to expanding Shifman Vintage to four models (cushion firm, super firm and two pillow-tops). “This is most like the original Shifman from 100 years ago,” said Bill Hammer, president of Shifman, based in Newark, New Jersey. “It has the tried-and-true techniques using very high natural content, primarily cotton. And they’re two-sided mattresses that are hand-tufted.” The new Modern Shifman line features the same sturdy construction, only with individually wrapped coils to allow for an adjustable base.
To fill out its bedding line consisting of promotional and luxury mattresses, Elements International debuted a new midpriced premium collection of boxed beds — all hybrids. “For this market, we took the technology that we’re using in our luxury line, and we put in a center zone of gel for the new premium line,” said Dave Brummett, vice president of sales for the Mesquite, Texas-based company. “It has pocket coils underneath and it’s conforming to your body.” The new collection is available in 10-, 12- or 14-inch heights, and can be shipped anywhere in the country. Average retails are about $799, $999 and $1,199.
Rollin’ Out the Dough
Thanks to the success of its six ActiveDough pillows — infused with lavender, peppermint, chamomile, CBD oil, bamboo charcoal and cooling gel — Malouf has added a seventh. The new Shoulder Zoned Gel ActiveDough pillow springs back like latex and conforms like memory foam. Designed for side sleepers, it features a shoulder cutout to better align the spine. “With a traditional pillow for side sleepers, there can be a void in support between your neck and your head,” said Jesse Gibbs, vice president of national sales for the Logan, Utah-based company. “This new pillow pushes your head farther up onto the thicker part and gives you better support.”
Accent on Airflow
Bedding and sleep accessories producer Bedgear touted a breathability story with new sleep accessories. The company rolled out its Air-X Performance mattress protector (displayed by Chief Executive Officer Eugene Alletto), which features a design that encloses a pocket of air for sleeping comfort throughout the night. The new Ver-Tex Performance mattress protector also incorporates breathable technology, as does the Dri-Tec Performance mattress protector, made with soft, breathable layers, and offered in a split-head king design. And new Hyper-Cotton Performance sheets also feature the split-head design, one that the Farmingdale, New York-based company says is gaining ground in the market.
Ashley Furniture rolled out a new marketing program for its fast-growing Sierra Sleep by Ashley brand. It’s one that features smiles on several messages, including “Sleep Happy” and “In Full Support of Naps.” Another key message: “Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams. Keep Sleeping.” Brad Rogers, senior vice president of bedding for Arcadia, Wisconsin-based company, said the new marketing materials were designed to keep the company’s bedding program on the ascent with an upbeat, fresh presentation. “Our new offerings from the last couple of markets are retailing extremely well,” he said. “We’ve got lots of velocity in better products.”
Paramount Honors “Mr. D.” With Luxury Line
Bedding independent pulls out all the stops with new beds, fancy food spreads.
“Mr. D” would like Paramount Sleep Co.’s new high-end Legacy collection. His name is embroidered on the beds and his commitment to quality materials and craftsmanship is sewn into the sleep sets.
Richard Diamonstein, Paramount’s managing director, offered that assessment of a line that honors his late father, Arthur Diamonstein, known affectionately as “Mr. D.”
Paramount successfully introduced three Arthur beds in the Legacy line at the High Point Market, where the Norfolk, Virginia-based independent bedding producer made a broad introduction of new products — and also treated guests to elaborate food offerings.
Arthur Diamonstein, who died in August at the age of 92, was president and chair of Paramount for decades, loved the mattress business and built his company with integrity, innovation and craftsmanship.
“Arthur’s stewardship and vision of building a quality product guided Paramount Sleep for more than 50 years and is what continues to sustain us today,” Diamonstein said. “The Paramount Legacy Collection is a direct result of this promise.”
Richard Fleck, Paramount’s president, described Arthur Diamonstein as “a true legend.” He worked with him for several years.
The three beds in the Legacy line, retailing from $7,500 to $10,000, all feature “Arthur” embroidered on the border. The top model incorporates side stitching, a calico-encased coil unit, inner and outer hand-tufting, more than 50 pounds of natural cotton, a coconut fiber pad and exotic fibers, including horsetail and Joma and alpaca wools.
The knit and damask fabrics covering the mattresses are inspired by 1930s art deco designs, and the mattresses are reminiscent of the luxury beds that would have been found at resort hotels on the Atlantic seaboard, Diamonstein said.
He noted that the new line is a natural for Paramount.
“Our goal was to create a ‘hero brand’ with the new Legacy collection,” Diamonstein said. “We should make the best of the best for ourselves.”
Arthur Diamonstein loved to design mattresses with lace-tufting to provide firmness and integrity in the beds. While Paramount no longer does lace-tufting, it continues to do inner and outer tufting, and those construction details are used in the Legacy line. The mattresses in that line feature an inner mattress to which comfort layers are added for additional luxury.
What would Arthur Diamonstein think of the line? “He would be humbled by it,” Diamonstein said.
Paramount put the top Legacy model in the middle of its Wrenn Street showroom, where it received considerable attention during the market, but the producer had several other new product stories to tell, as well.
The A.H. Beard Origins line — nine beds retailing from $1,799 to $5,999 — touts a sustainability story. All of the mattresses are constructed without foam and glue, allowing them to be more efficiently disassembled when they have reached the end of their product life. All of the components in the mattresses, including springs, fabrics and natural fibers, can then be recycled, Fleck said.
There are three lines in the collection: Planet, Populace and Prosperity, each available in three comfort levels. All of the models feature hand-tufted white wool rosettes, four horizontal embroidered handles, and natural rayon and wool fibers.
Paramount also redesigned its A.H. Beard Classic line to encase the mattresses with a high-density memory foam. Compression hand-tufting is featured throughout the line, which retails from $1,499 to $2,999.
As if all that new product wasn’t enough, Paramount pulled out all the stops with lavish displays of foods and drinks tied to its key lines on the night before the market’s official opening. That meant barbecue and slaw for the Legacy line, English sandwiches and pastries for its Hypnos line, and Australian honey, chocolates and wines for its A.H. Beard lines.
Paula Fleck, Paramount’s merchandiser, designed the “Paramount Pairings” to support Game Day, an event sponsored by the Centennial Wrenn South Neighborhood on the edge of the downtown market district.
AW Industries dove deeper into its Silentnight Eco-Range collection. “We had three models at the April market. Now, based on market trends, obviously inflation and gas prices, we’ve introduced three new models,” said Adrian Wertz, vice president of the company’s retail channel. “We have a $1,299 euro-top and a $999 firm and plush.” The Eco-Range line features cool-to-the-touch ChillSense fabric powered by Repreve technology — each queen bed set is made from 150 recycled bottles. “You’re getting a sustainability story at the front end when you purchase the product,” Wertz said. “And then if the mattress is taken to a mattress recycling center, almost all the components are recyclable.” The Landover, Maryland-based company is a Silentnight licensee, debuting the bestselling British brand to U.S. retailers in 2020. (Shown: Paul Kahl, vice president of sales for AW Industries.)
Enso Sleep Systems, the bedding division of Klaussner Furniture Industries, based in Asheboro, North Carolina, is doing well with a value-packed line of hybrid mattresses made in North America. The good-better-best story spotlights three mattresses, with profiles ranging from 10 inches to 14 inches, retailing between $599 and $999. “This is a strong value proposition,” said Mark Akerman, Enso’s president. “Pound for pound and inch for inch, these are the best values in our line. This is a simple, understandable package.” The ArcticTouch line features phase-change technology in the ticking.
Built-in, power-adjustable headrests. A console with cupholders and power grommets to hold and power your cellphone or tablet. Bluetooth speakers that sync with your device, as well as LED-touch reading lights. No, it’s not a motion sofa — it’s a Power Bed by Luxfort Home. “We’re adding long-past-due functionality to proven upholstered bed styles,” said Lee Boone, president of the High Point, North Carolina-based company. “Everything you need for healthy neck support, relaxation, personal entertainment and communicating is right there in the bed.” Available in a variety of cover options, including top-grain leathers and performance fabrics, Power Beds ship with an upholstered footboard, bed rails and a 14-slat mattress foundation. The starting price is $999.
Kingsdown Perches In StyleRow Pavilion
Local bedding manufacturer returns after two-year hiatus.
Kingsdown returned to High Point Market in style — or rather, style pod.
The Mebane, North Carolina-based company struck a pose in the StyleRow-sponsored HPMKT Selfie Pavilion by Center Stage.
To direct all the action, Kristi Hopper — Kingsdown’s new design community ambassador — met with other designers about its new to-the-trade program. She also helped take selfies atop the pod’s pièce de résistance — a perfectly coiffed Kingsdown mattress.
“I’m telling designers how to source their mattresses on StyleRow and how to make money and save their clients’ money so that everyone wins,” Hopper said. “The clients get a darn good, quality mattress, one of the best in the industry, and they love their designer for it.”
How was the new selfie pod received?
“The big party was Friday night, and everyone came,” Hopper said. “The head of IDS (Interior Design Society) Jenny Cano came. Tons of designers came. Other market centers came. Dallas Market Center came. A lot of my designer friends came; other product designers came. Just a lot of people were here. The word is getting out.”
Kingsdown closed its High Point Market showroom in 2020, and this year market officials approached the company about coming back in a new capacity.
“We’re thrilled to be here,” said Jacqueline Morton, senior director of marketing. “High Point Market is the heart of design inspiration for the furniture industry, and we felt it was the perfect opportunity to introduce the Kingsdown brand to interior designers with this unique brand activation. It was great to see the excitement and interaction with the product throughout the week.”
More than just a market exhibit, the selfie pod is an example of Kingsdown’s outreach program for the design community.
“This is part of a greater strategy to develop communities that have influence on the way people purchase beds and the reasons they should have greater consideration for the mattresses they choose,” Morton said.
She noted the company also has partnered with Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell, a physician, board certified sleep specialist and sleep coach, who addresses the importance of restorative sleep and shares the Kingsdown message — Sleep to Live — on her social media channels.
“And now with the addition of Kristi Hopper, based in Dallas, we’re able to extend our reach within the interior design community,” Morton said. “She’s highly regarded and passionate about our products and our process. Most importantly, she’s easily able to demystify any questions designers face when introducing the mattress into design projects with clients.”
Thanks to the success of the pop-up pod, the industry could see it again in the future, perhaps at the Dallas market, or boutique hotel shows in New York, or markets in Atlanta or California — all to engage with interior designers.
“We built a Kingsdown brand storefront on StyleRow.com as a design resource,” Morton said. “The platform makes it incredibly convenient for designers to source products with a trade discount. At the end of the day, designers are going to be able to satisfy their clients and add value to their lives by bringing them comfort and the benefits of restorative sleep. It truly is a win-win situation.”
Legends Furniture Details Bedding Growth Plans
Marty Melcher said Legends Furniture’s domestically produced bedding line is right for the times and offers the solution for retailers looking to grow their bedding business.
Remedy Sleep is a six-model line of boxed mattresses retailing from $599 to $1,699 that offers retailers the key features and benefits they need to boost their bedding volume, he said.
Melcher, vice president of sales for bedding at Legends Furniture, a case goods, upholstery and bedding producer based in Tolleson, Arizona, brought the Remedy Sleep line to the recent High Point Market.
A veteran of 32 years in the bedding industry, including 28 years with Serta and then Serta Simmons Bedding, Melcher said Legend’s bedding line is being produced in a state-of-the-art 70,000-square-foot factory in Phoenix. Mattress production was previously in Vietnam.
Legends has revamped its mattress line and is now ready to make a major growth push in the United States, Melcher said. The company had a soft launch of the new mattress line earlier this year and is now ready to hit the accelerator.
“We see a major growth opportunity,” Melcher said. “When times are tough, as they have been, retailers are looking for opportunities to grow their tickets. Retail traffic was down this year and may be down next year, so growing tickets is vital for retail success. We are very easy to do business with and we offer the values retailers are looking for in their key price bands. We offer quality and the ability to deliver.”
He said Legends can ship mattresses directly to consumers or to retailers from the company’s 300,000-square-foot warehouse in Phoenix. The company builds and ships mattresses in the same week that it receives the orders for them.
“I call these ‘oven-fresh’ mattresses,” Melcher said. “They won’t sit around in a warehouse.”
Melcher joined Legends Furniture this past summer. “This is one of the most exciting bedding opportunities I’ve seen,” he said. “Our goal is to be a top 10 bedding producer in the next three years.”
One reason for his optimism is the manufacturing expertise of Legends’ Chief Executive Officer Chris Dockter, who has more than a decade of experience in the boxed bedding arena with both overseas and U.S. mattress production. He is committed to producing distinctive, high-quality sleep sets.
“We are building very comfortable products in our price bands that will stay in consumers’ homes,” Melcher said.
The Remedy Sleep line features
copper-infused technology that helps promote a good night of sleep. The mattresses are made with premium materials.
The line includes the Regen, an 8-inch model; Regen+, a 10-inch model; Refresh, an 11-inch hybrid; Renew, an 11-inch foam core model; and Refresh LTX, a 12-inch hybrid model, and Renew LTX, an 11-inch model, both with a layer of Talalay latex.