E.S. Kluft & Co.’s Legacy of Luxury

“We don’t know how to make a $500 bed. … Handmade, high-end has always been what we’ve done and actually is the only thing we know to do.”

Legacy of Quality. Magali Castillo, vice president of marketing for E.S. Kluft & Co., perches atop a luxury memory foam mattress, part of The Pinnacle Collection.
Magali Castillo, vice president of marketing for E.S. Kluft & Co., perches atop a luxury memory foam mattress, part of The Pinnacle Collection.

More than 80 years ago in Alhambra, California, third-generation master furniture maker King Karpen decided to use his skills to create a handmade, luxury mattress. Karpen, who was mostly blind after a childhood disease took 95% of his sight, approached the construction and testing of his product the only way he could — through touch.

That tactile method led Karpen in 1940 to create a line of beds, dubbed Aireloom, that helped revolutionize the concept of luxury mattresses. 

In 1946, less than an hour away from the Aireloom headquarters, Harry Kluft founded a mattress company called Deluxe Bedding, in City of Commerce, California. And, in 1959, at the age of 14, Kluft’s grandson Earl began working in the Deluxe Bedding sewing room. 

Years later, Earl Kluft took the helm of the family business, growing it into Spring Air’s largest licensee. In 2003, he sold the Spring Air factory. 

In 2004, the Kluft and Aireloom legacies merged when Earl Kluft purchased the latter and founded the eponymous E.S. Kluft & Co. Two decades later, the company still produces luxury mattresses the same way those beds were crafted so many years ago — by hand, using the finest materials available.

“Handmade, high-end luxury has always been part of the company’s DNA,” says Magali Castillo, vice president of marketing for E.S. Kluft. “If we go back to King Karpen creating Aireloom, he maintained the quality control of all the product by touch. So, this attention to detail basically started with him, and, year after year, we continue in that same direction.”

Company evolution

Earl Kluft remained at the helm of E.S. Kluft until 2013, when he sold the company to Madrid-based The Flex Bedding Group, one of the world’s largest bedding producers. (He died in 2018 at age 70.) 

While its owners are based in Spain, Castillo says E.S. Kluft maintains the same small, family business ethos that has long guided the company. 

“We are a private company that started as a family business,” she says. “Though (The Flex Bedding Group) is an international company, our CEO Rafael González is the third generation, so it’s still a family business. We really try to keep this family vibe. Everyone here is very committed and passionate to perpetuate this legacy that was created more than 80 years ago.”

E.S. Kluft carries on that legacy through its production process. At the company’s three manufacturing facilities — in California, Pennsylvania and Texas — Castillo says there’s very little machinery. The bulk of the work is still done by hand by craftspeople trained to meet the company’s exacting standards.

“We don’t know how to make a $500 bed,” Castillo says. “And in the last few years, consumers have become more aware of the importance of sleep. They want to invest more in a good-quality sleep product, and while high-end mattresses are still niche, there is a high demand for them. Handmade, high-end has always been what we’ve done and actually is the only thing we know to do.”

Two brands, one mission

E.S. Kluft manufactures bedding under two brands — Kluft and Aireloom — with both embodying the company’s handmade, luxury ethos.

E.S. Kluft produces 11 models in its Kluft National line. The Divine Luxe is the company’s made-to-order luxury bed, featuring an eight-way, hand-tied foundation and nested pocketed coils wrapped in calico. Other materials include TerraPur latex, wool, cashmere and a Belgian jacquard damask fabric in the mattress. The Divine Luxe retails for $25,999. All prices noted are for queen size.

The Kluft line also features the Royal Ascent, which boasts layers of TerraPur latex and Marshall pocketed springs, along with cashmere, alpaca and horsehair layers ($20,499). The Imperial contains layers of ultra-plush alpaca fiber, wool and silk, as well as microcoils and a Belgian jacquard damask cover ($14,899).

E.S. Kluft & Co. at a glance.

The Princess model in the Kluft line is a low-profile mattress with layers of TerraPur latex, cotton and sustainably sourced horsehair ($5,999). The Viscount, which retails for $3,999, features nested and zoned pocketed coils, with plush foam and cotton layers. 

Kluft also produces exclusive lines for Bloomingdale’s and offers pillows. Castillo says the company will expand its accessories line by adding sheets this year.

“We have seen interest from retailers and end consumers who message us on social media or through our contact info, asking, ‘Why don’t you do comforters and sheets?’” she says. “So, we are introducing the sheets for Kluft this year, and they should be available in June.”

Aireloom produces five collections, each with multiple models. Aireloom’s Karpen luxury collection includes four models: Ivory, Lily, Lotus ($8,999) and Dove ($10,999). The beds are made with TerraPur latex, microcoils, graphite-infused viscoelastic foam and natural materials such as wool, alpaca, silk and horsehair.

The Pacific Palisades collection also includes four models, with prices starting at $2,699 in queen size. Those mattresses incorporate components such as CopperGel and Aireluxe foams, wrapped coils and natural materials like silk and wool.

The Preferred collection includes 10 models, each available in a range of firmness levels, from plush to extra firm. The Preferred collection combines layers of TerraPur latex, Figure-Sync coils that work in unison to improve the sleep experience, and natural materials such as silk, wool and cotton ($3,899 to $7,199).

Aireloom’s Karpen Natural collection features natural latex and SeaCell fibers ($4,999 to $6,999).

At the winter Las Vegas Market, Aireloom launched its new seven-bed Pinnacle collection. Four beds are made with memory foam; three are innerspring and memory foam hybrids. 

“(The collection) was motivated by asks from our retailers,” Castillo says. “They said, ‘You are my best option at the high end for innerspring, but we’d also like to have a memory foam option.’ This line will help retailers refresh their floor and have a more balanced display in their stores.”

Reliant on retail

Legacy of Quality. Like all beds from E.S. Kluft, the Monarch is largely handcrafted, using methods that go back decades.
Like all beds from E.S. Kluft, the Monarch is largely handcrafted, using methods that go back decades.

That type of retailer feedback is indicative of the relationship E.S. Kluft cultivates with its dealers. The company operates with a retail-only model — not selling direct to consumer — which Castillo says best serves the luxury category.

“We partner with the most important furniture and mattress retailers in the country,” she says. “We are in most of the top 100 retailers, and we are also pushing export markets, which is only around 5% of our business now.”

E.S. Kluft works closely with its retailers, not only taking their feedback into consideration for product development, but also tailoring its sales and marketing initiatives to the needs of its dealers. 

“We work hand in hand to drive traffic to the retailers, whether it’s physical stores or to their websites,” Castillo says. “We also partner with key retailers, creating co-branded campaigns. We do all the work, managing creative and everything with our agency, but when you see the advertisements, the two brands, Aireloom or Kluft, and our retailer name are shown. All the traffic we generate with these campaigns goes directly to the retailer.”

Kluft also supports its dealers in-store with everything from point-of-purchase marketing materials to one-on-one training for sales staff.

“We have invested a lot on improving how we present our brands and our product in the stores, whether it’s with displays, posters, lightboxes — anything you can think of,” Castillo says. “And our sales reps go store to store and do a lot of training. Our product is so different and more expensive than what most of these sales associates are used to, so you really need to educate them on why these beds are so unique.”

Innovating for the future

Legacy of Quality. E.S. Kluft has headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, California, plus two manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and Texas.
E.S. Kluft has headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, California, plus two manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and Texas.

As the bedding marketplace continues to evolve, Castillo says E.S. Kluft remains dedicated to staying at the forefront, not only with new products, but also with new materials and processes. Sustainability has fueled many of the company’s recent innovations and material choices. On both Kluft and Aireloom beds, the company has incorporated sustainably sourced natural materials, as well as cutting-edge technologies, such as SeaCell fibers, which are made from seaweed and tree fiber.

“Natural components — whether it’s a 100% natural material or with some natural components — are driving what we select as new materials, whether it’s on the fabric or the layers,” Castillo says. “We are in constant touch with all the different vendors to be on top of what’s coming to see if it actually makes sense for us to incorporate in our product.”

Castillo says E.S. Kluft also has introduced new materials based on their ability to offer more comfortable, supportive sleep. 

“We always try to bring new stories,” she says. “For example, our memory foam and our latex — they are not the standard components. They all features some unique minerals. We have it infused with graphite, with copper, with silver.”

As part of the larger Flex Bedding Group but with roots as an independent bedding brand, E.S. Kluft can be nimble and adapt to the changing needs of its customers, Castillo says. And whether through product development, material innovation or sales support, the attention to detail and hands-on approach established eight decades ago continues to drive and sustain E.S. Kluft. 

“When there is a need expressed by our customers, we just tackle it and see how we can bring an answer to them,” Castillo says. “Our main goal remains to continue providing the best, most luxurious sleep product, whether it’s to the retailers or to the consumers.”

Read more on E.S. Kluft & Co., E.S. Kluft & Co. Makes Leadership Change and Sales Promotions.

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