Advances in material innovation and consumers’ new stay-at-home mindset has made the bedroom cool again.
A move away from gimmicky advertising and products of questionable quality to a desire for better materials, e-commerce purchasing and reliable brands, has also helped the bedding sector become one of the most dynamic consumer product areas.
“For so long the bedding industry was such a racket and it was ripe for a big change with more transparency and technology,” Sharon Graubard, founder and creative director of Mint Moda, said. “People are staying home more. The whole trend toward being cozy and warmer, and having friends over and candles burning is strong and home goods fit right into that. There’s also the binge watching on TV in bed and that’s also feeding into it.”
Two U.S.-based companies–American Textile Company and Malouf–are expanding their operations to meet the increased demand.
American Textile, a maker of innovative sleep products, recently opened a 400,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art warehousing and distribution facility in Tifton, Ga., doubling its distribution capacity in the bedding sector.
Patrick Seiffert, senior vice president of marketing for American Textile, said the Tifton operations started in 2011 with a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that has since grown. The addition of this second, 400,000-square-foot warehousing and distribution facility more than doubles distribution capabilities and allows the company to meet the increasing consumer demands for our innovative sleeping products.
“We’ve seen significant increases in e-commerce in the home and bedding sector over the past few years,” Seiffert said. “For American Textile Company, we’ve seen 50 percent year-over-year e-commerce growth and that number always jumps during the holidays. Last year, our November e-commerce was up 98 percent when compared to November 2016. Retail demand has grown for us over the same period, but e-commerce is outpacing that growth as more consumers shift their shopping and buying habits.”
He noted that technology is key to addressing consumer needs. For example, the AllerEase line uses allergen barrier laminates and specially engineered fabrics that prevent allergens from collecting in bedding. The new Tempur-Pedic line uses ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene that dissipates heat rapidly so it is cool to the touch, and many of the company’s Sealy products use a patented polymer finish that responds to temperature and accelerates wicking as temperature rises.
American Textile is a U.S.-based, family-owned company, with pillow manufacturing facilities in Duquesne, Pa., Salt Lake City, Dallas and Tifton. It also has a research and development facility in Mooresville, N.C.
The company noted that its expansion has also created job opportunities and it has embraced a role in talent development and training future workers. The Tifton opening event concluded with a $35,000 grant to the Tifton College & Career Academy.
“Our strategy is driven by the consumer and to the extent that Made in America makes good business sense and addresses a consumer need or want, we will continue to invest and develop our U.S. capabilities,” Seiffert said.
Utah-based bedding accessories maker Malouf has acquired a warehouse distribution property in central Ohio that adds about 1 million square feet of space to its distribution portfolio.
“Acquisition of the new property is key to helping us achieve some important growth goals,” CEO Sam Malouf said. “All of our current customers will continue to receive efficient shipping and exceptional order support. In addition, the new location will help us streamline distribution and warehouse operations to expand our private label enterprises.”
Mike Douglas, vice president of sales at Malouf, said in the last five years the company has developed strong private label programs with major retailers, and added that, “as that becomes a bigger part of our business, we have to plan ahead to ensure distribution space and shipping efficiencies accommodate that growth.”
With the addition of the property, Malouf now has 2.8 million square feet of strategically placed distribution centers around the country that offer two-day ground shipping to 85 percent of the country.
Major retailers like Walmart and Macy’s are also giving greater attention to bedding.
Walmart recently introduced Allswell, a design-centric home brand featuring a collection of luxury mattresses and bedding. As part of an ongoing e-commerce strategy to differentiate the assortment offered through its main e-commerce sites, Allswell is Walmart’s first homegrown digital brand focused on an elevated assortment and convenient shopping experiences.
Allswell’s first collection is for the bedroom. The collection, sold only on AllswellHome.com, includes two luxe mattresses–The Softer One and The Firmer One–and four limited-edition bedding sets.
“Women aspire to have a beautiful, well-designed home, and not just a comfortable mattress,” Arlyn Davich, president of Allswell, said. “Now women don’t have to choose form or function and they can have it all in a few clicks.”
Allswell’s mattresses come with a built-in plush topper and are encased in a specially woven fabric designed to feel cool to the touch and constructed with natural ingredients like plant-derived oils, charcoal and green tea extract.
On the bedding front, Allswell partnered with top mills and artisans to craft its launch collection. Percale sheeting and duvets offer a light, luxurious feel achieved through a blend of cotton and Tencel, plus a garment washing process. Duvet inserts and pillows combine a Hygro Cotton hollow core yarn that has temperature regulating benefits, with a hypoallergenic fiber fill.
Blankets and coverlets are stonewashed for a textured effect and lived-in appearance, while accent pillows and throws come in bold patterns or muted colors.
Graubard noted that when people travel they are staying in boutique hotels more and more and the attention they give to interior design has influenced people at home. This is seen in the greater use of duvet covers and pillow stacking to be comfortable.
Material development has also helped move the bedding sector forward, with a lot of interest and product introductions in cooling fabrics.
“A cooler room is shown to produce better sleep and there are all these aps that connect to your mattress, so that’s a strong trend,” she said.
Graubard said natural colors like pink and nude tones, and textures such as crinkled and laundered looks are important trends, as are interest in percale and linen for coolness as opposed to satin.
The importance of transparency shows itself in Macy’s decision to bring Made in Green by Oeko-Tex traceable labels to select private brand textile products in its home collection.
The Made in Green label ensures products were made in environmentally friendly, socially responsible and safe facilities and were tested for harmful substances. The label will be featured on several Macy’s private brand sheets and towels that will be available in Macy’s stores across the U.S. and on Macys.com.
“Macy’s is committed to social responsibility and sustainability, and we know how important this priority is to our customers,” Roberson Keffer, Macy’s fashion director for Home, said “We have clear, stringent standards and requirements for our suppliers and the Made in Green label is the next step in ensuring our sustainability initiatives are visible to shoppers.”
The Made in Green label is traceable, meaning that Macy’s customers can confirm the authenticity by scanning the label’s QR code with their smart phones or enter the product ID on MadeInGreen.com to check validity and trace the product’s supply chain.