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BedTimes JUNE 2010



are they saying?

Managing your online reputation

Spirits up during High Point Market Would you want YOU for a boss?

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JUNE 2010

InSide Feature

16 What do people think about your company?

Nothing is more precious than your company’s good name, but in today’s world of 24-hour news, blogs and tweets, your brand can be damaged in an instant. Experts offer several ways to safeguard your online reputation.


7 Front Matter

Traditional strategic planning requires you to project three to five years into the future to determine your goals. A more effective method, one management expert says, is to imagine your company’s success decades in the future—and work backward to figure out how you got there.

9 Market Report

Moods were good at the spring furniture market in High Point, N.C., as mattress manufacturers rolled out new products in a wide range of price points to entice consumers back to retail floors.

29 Management Issues

5 Editor’s Note 33 Industry News 44 Newsmakers 46 Up Close 48 Calendar 49 ISPA Advocacy 50 Advertisers Index 51 Classifieds 52 Last Word

Here’s an easy way to gauge your effectiveness as a boss: Would you want to work for YOU? Learn how to solicit useful feedback and then put it to use to make yourself a better manager.

BedTimes | June 2010 |


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EDITOR IN CHIEF Julie A. Palm 336-727-1889 SENIOR WRITER Barbara Nelles 336-856-8973 CONTRIBUTORS Brenda Bence Dorothy Whitcomb Jim Whitt ART DIRECTOR Stephanie Belcher 336-201-7475 Vice President of Sales Kerri Bellias 336-945-0265 Ad Production & CIRCULATION manager Debbie Robbins 336-342-4217 COPY EDITOR Margaret Talley-Seijn BedTimes deadlines Editorial deadlines for the Industry News and Newsmakers sections of the August issue of BedTimes are Thursday, July 1. Volume 138 Number 6 BedTimes (ISSN 0893-5556) is published monthly by the International Sleep Products Association. Periodicals postage paid at Alexandria, Va., and additional mailing offices. Editorial and advertising offices 126 Parkview Lane, Reidsville, NC 27320 Phone 703-683-8371; Fax 703-683-4503 Administrative and ISPA offices 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, Va. 22314-1917 Phone 703-683-8371; Fax 703-683-4503 Postmaster Send address changes to BedTimes, 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, Va. 22314-1917 Contents © 2010 by the International Sleep Products Association. Reprint permission obtainable through BedTimes.

Editor’sNote What happens when we forget to keep our customers happy


ometimes you have to wonder if the airlines don’t have teams of people trying to figure out how to tick off their customers. They squeezed more seats onto each plane, giving us all a chance to be closer to the stranger sitting next to us than we get to many people we know and love. They’ve cut back schedules so that virtually every plane is packed. If you miss a connection, good luck getting on a later flight. Then the airlines started charging for food. Many got rid of blankets and pillows (opening a nice market, by the way, for the bedding industry to roll out additional travel products). The latest insult is the baggage fee, which starts at about $15 or $25, rising steeply from there as you add bags or, God forbid, overpack and incur charges for the extra weight. I tend to forget about the baggage fees when I’m booking a flight and the airlines do little to remind me until I’m doing early check-in online or standing at the ticket counter. So a ticket I bought for $400 ends up costing $450 or $500—unless I want to wear the same outfit for five days. I know many people who have taken to driving routes they used to fly. They often can get to their destination more quickly and less expensively. Airlines aren’t adding these fees to purposely anger their customers. They have been losing billions of dollars because of increased fuel costs and other factors. They have to find money somewhere. Some analysts have suggested that the airlines would be better off raising ticket prices and clearly explaining to customers why they have to do so. If nothing else, I’d appreciate a trip calculator that would allow me to factor in all the extra fees while trying to compare

prices between airlines. The mattress industry functions much differently, but we have our own issues that turn consumers against us. Body impressions immediately come to mind. As an industry, we know that those plush, fluffy pillow-tops will compress with time. But we do a terrible job explaining that to consumers. Then, when they are disappointed by their mattress’ performance, we quibble about whether the body impression is 1 1/4 inches or 1 1/2 inches or 2 inches. Consumers don’t care what the “industry standard” is. They bought a mattress that failed them. How eager will they be to buy your brand again? Another issue: The fact that manufacturers produce specific models for specific dealers, making it impossible for consumers to comparison shop. Our industry has an explanation for this practice that makes certain sense to us. You know what? Consumers don’t understand. More importantly, they don’t care. Airlines can lose leisure travelers to the interstate and business travelers to teleconferencing. Our customers have to sleep on something, but they can choose to keep sleeping on their current bed. The question is, who are we serving? Ourselves or our customers? BT

Julie A. Palm BedTimes | June 2010 |





Pagina 1



FrontMatter Stop strategic planning & start pioneering Readying yourself for the future takes new way of thinking By Jim Whitt


efore you invest time and money in traditional strategic planning consider this: Only 5% to 10% of strategic plans are ever implemented. Most companies undertake strategic planning to reduce anxiety. It’s like taking a couple of aspirin for a headache. In this case, the headache is the future and the aspirin is a couple of days locked in a room putting check marks in boxes. Mission statement: check; SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis: check; long-range goals: check. Ah, that feels better. Then, like the aspirin bottle, the strategic plan goes back on the shelf. And the headaches keep coming back. This process is flawed. Think back to five years ago. It seems like a millisecond, doesn’t it? If you look no further ahead than five years, you’ll see the future as an extension of the present. And you’ll be trying to solve tomorrow’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. If you really want your company to succeed, you need a pioneering process, not just a planning process. Instead of looking ahead three to five years, you need to look ahead decades. To get started, assemble key people in your company. How many and whom you choose will depend on the size and structure of your business. Ask the following questions, giving the group time to share and record their answers. 1. What did the world and the mattress industry look like 30 years ago? This question primes the pump. Once you’ve compiled a list of the monumental changes that have taken place in the past three decades, you’ll better understand that there will

be more monumental changes in the next 30 years. 2. What will the world and the mattress industry look like 30 years from now? While no one can accurately predict the future, remember that Jules Verne wrote about a trip to the moon 100 years before it happened. Don’t limit your thinking. Tell your team to be open. 3. What will your company have to be and do to succeed in the future you described? You aren’t bound by your current corporate structure. Borrow a page from Star Trek and dare to boldly go where no one has gone before. 4. What will you have to do to help the company get there? Planning for a company’s future requires collectively creating a picture of a future where we’ll find meaning and purpose—not just as a group but as individuals. The answers to these questions provide the information your team will need for the next assignment. Imagine that a major business magazine has selected your company as the “Model Organization for 2040.” Have each team member write an article describing what happened in the three decades between then and now that earned you that magazine cover.

Such articles engage your team in writing tomorrow’s history today. Everything you need to do to succeed in the future is contained in that history. You’ll determine your company’s purpose, operating philosophy, business model and structure. You’ll define goals and objectives and determine the people who need to be responsible for their completion. What makes this process effective is that instead of starting at the present and trying to work your way forward, you’re starting at the future and working your way back. If you want to reduce your anxiety about the future, take the road most traveled and use the traditional “check the boxes” method of strategic planning. If you want to succeed in the future, you have to do some serious pioneering. Pioneering is for those who want to thrive instead of survive. Pioneers take the road less traveled. Which road will you choose? BT Jim Whitt calls himself “an unapologetic people provoker.” As a speaker, consultant and author for more than 20 years, Whitt has encouraged people and organizations to reach their full potential. He is cofounder of Purpose Unlimited, which is in the business of transforming lives, leaders and organizations through the power of purpose. To learn more, check or call 918-494-0009.

BedTimes | June 2010 |


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MarketReport Bedding vendors happy with High Point Market

Manufacturers offer retailers new products at every price point By Barbara Nelles


ith more than two dozen manufacturers of all sizes exhibiting at the High Point Market in April, the bedding category has re-established a significant presence there. Generally speaking, sleep products exhibitors were in an upbeat mood, due in large part to strong firstquarter sales. Added to that, foot traffic at the show in High Point, N.C., was up over October, with more buyers in attendance—and more with mattresses on their shopping lists. New products were easy to find and they covered every price point. Fascination with foams Engineered and specialty foams were on display in cores, comfort layers, toppers and encasements as mattress manufacturers continued to tap into foam’s popularity and profitability. As a testament to the popularity of foam, Shifman Mattress Co., a 117-year-old manufacturer of highend, handmade innerspring mattresses, introduced its first line of latex beds. The Newark, N.J.-based company’s Pure Comfort Latex Mattress collection has a latex core (7 ½ inches to 9 ½ inches) that is covered in high-end damask. It sits atop the company’s all-coil box spring. Suggested retail prices range from $2,199 to $3,999 for a queen size.* Natura World, a mattress and sleep accessories manufacturer based in Cambridge, Ontario, unveiled Natura Latex, a collection with a range of constructions and feels. The beds are arranged in three groups but all have coir and natural wool in the comfort layers. Lower-priced models (beds start at $999) have latex in the top layers and

a polyurethane core with a percentage of plant-based content. The top bed, priced at $3,699, has a five-zone latex core and more latex in the quilt layer. EcoSleep, a line of compressed and rolled foam beds manufactured by Durable Products LLC in Whitewater, Wis., expanded its offerings. The Cool-Contour Deluxe, an addition to the Cool-Contour memory foam collection, sports a moisture-absorbing Tencel mattress fabric. Retail is $1,299 for a queen set. Other new offerings included a latex group priced at $699,

(Photos clockwise, from top left) Paramount Bedding Steve Mageland (left), Tom Burke and Richard Fleck introduced a number of new lines, including Back Performance. Therapedic Sleep Products Therawrap by Therapedic is the licensing group’s first line of encased coil mattresses. Five Star Mattress President Jim Nation shows off the True Luxury collection, which features knit tops, Talalay latex and suede borders. Jamison Bedding The Oceania foam line comes with ‘a party’ of marketing materials, says Ken Hinman, vice president of sales and marketing.

* All prices are suggested retail for queen size unless otherwise noted.

BedTimes | June 2010 |



$899 and $999. The beds have latex layers over an Acella-Flex polyurethane core, which has a portion of renewable content from castor oil. The beds are covered in super-stretch dimensional knits with contrasting, upholstery-style border fabrics. Maintaining a comfortable sleeping temperature was top of mind at International Bedding Corp., which has created The Sleep Doctor bed in partnership with sleep expert and author Dr. Michael Breus. “Having Michael design for IBC has been exciting and refreshing,” said Eric Johnson, senior vice president of marketing and merchandising for the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company. “He has magnificent insight into what sleep can do for your life. One of the strongest things about the beds is their thermal regulation.” The all-foam line features proprietary Tempsense, a combination of phase-change ticking material and temperature-regulating Celsion latex in the bed’s top comfort layer. There are six beds in the group, each upholstered in bright white with French blue check accents. Retail prices range from $1,499 to $2,999 for a queen. Pure LatexBLISS added a model with temperature-regulating Celsion latex to its collection of removable pillow-tops. It retails for about $350 in queen. Enso Sleep Systems, a division of Klaussner Furniture Industries, launched a nine-model line of all-foam beds imported from China. There are eight visco-elastic and one latex mattress. Most models have zip-off top panels that can be cleaned or replaced. The Grandeur, a duvet-top bed with a high-end look, retails for $1,499. The line presents retailers with an opportunity for “long, healthy margins on beds with stepped-up styling,” said Chuck Fisher, an executive with the Asheboro, N.C.-based company. “These are our initial offerings. Our direction will be based on where our dealers and the consumer want to take us.”

10 | BedTimes | June 2010

Serta The new Trump Home Luxury line was displayed in the company’s new, still-under construction showroom.

The foam mattresses are shipped rolled and in cartons from warehouses in Asheboro and Kent, Wash. Wood and wire foundations are shipped either assembled or knocked down. Suggested retail prices range from $299 to $1,999. Alliance Sleep, the Buffalo, N.Y.based Restonic licensee, added a number of new models to its lineup. In a “soft,” regional launch, the company introduced four Healthrest beds retailing for $1,299 to $1,699. Each has a polyurethane core containing plantbased content that’s topped with layers of Talalay latex in a range of thicknesses. The Oceania from Jamison Bedding is an all-foam bed that comes with “a party” of marketing tools, said Ken Hinman, vice president of sales and marketing for the Brentwood, Tenn.based manufacturer. “We’re trying to bring some excitement to the category. The coolest thing about the bed is its fast recovery and it temperature-regulating properties.” Ventilated viscoelastic and a densified, breathable fiber layer top the high-resiliency base foam. Point-of-purchase materials for Oceania include signage and foot protectors. Classic Brands, based in Jessup, Md., reintroduced its Dormia brand, debuting eight foam beds in a memory foam and a latex collection. The top beds have 5 inches of memory foam or latex

with a “free-floating” look—a box-top design without any tape-edge. “The brand has had a lot of nationwide visibility and we believe that there is an opportunity to re-establish that connection with consumers,” said Mike Zippelli, Classic Brands chief executive officer. Adjustable base and mattress maker Zedbed, based in Grand-Mère, Quebec, added new adjustable bases to its ZedMatic and Ortho Zed lines and introduced the Flex collection, its first wrapped coil offering. The beds’ top layer is memory foam, latex or a “hybrid” foam with characteristics of both latex and visco-elastic. There are three comfort levels. The suggested retail price is $1,999 for a queen set on a flat base. The manufacturer’s Black Label foam bed collection contains a new generation of “nonthermosensitive” memory foam. Durability messages Reaching out to consumers who’ve been unhappy with a past bedding purchase, Paramount Bedding, a Comfort Solutions licensee with headquarters in Norfolk, Va., introduced the Heavy Duty or “HD” mattress. “Many people have purchased a pillow-top mattress and experienced product failure after two to three years,” said Richard Fleck, Paramount Bedding executive vice president of sales. “They’ve felt taken. HD really gets back to the tradition of the industry. It offers solid support and comfort that is designed to last.” Product messaging revolves around comfort and durability—not body weight. The beds incorporate high-end specialty foams, inner tufting, heavygauge innersprings and foam encasement. An extra sturdy, all-wood foundation is made by Amish craftsmen in Pennsylvania. The four beds in the line retail for between $999 and $1,999. Paramount’s new Back Performance collection retails for $699 to $1,499 in queen. Its tag line is “Support Your Active Lifestyle.” The collection itself is supported by an array of lifestyle

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point-of-purchase photography and a series of videos. Gold Bond told a durability and value story with its collection of twosided beds. “The story is selling—especially in this economy—that you get twice as much bedding for your money when you buy a two-sided bed,” said Bob Naboicheck, president of the Hartford, Conn.-based company. Gold Bond’s new Imperial with Sacro-Support is a step-up, two-sided bed available in firm, plush and pillowtop. It retails for $799 and $899 for a queen set. The bed’s sleep surfaces have knit fabrics with delicate black floral motifs. Borders are a coffee-cream linen. Other manufacturers showing two-sided beds included Paramount and Therapedic Sleep Products. Park Place Corp., based in Greenville, S.C., showed in a new space in the International Home Furnishings Center and saw increasing interest in two-sided beds, according to Jimmy Orders, Park Place president. Moving into new prices, categories Ultra-premium bed maker Hästens, based in Köping, Sweden, unveiled the next generation of its lower priced frame beds. Three models retail for $5,100 to $6,950 in queen—about 20% less than its previous line. In addition to layers of horsehair, cotton, wool and wrapped coils, the upholstered beds incorporate a new “sectioned-off, Deltabonnell” system that reduces motion transfer. According to Janet Stein, U.S. country manager for Hästens, there has been a return to luxury goods conEcoSleep Cool-Contour Deluxe is an addition to the Cool-Contour memory foam collection.

12 | BedTimes | June 2010

sumption, but with a new ethos. “People are re-learning the value of sleep and placing more value on beds,” she said. “The luxury customer wants something that is authentic, differentiated and of real quality and craftsmanship.” Serta made a late-date decision to take its new permanent showroom in the IHFC. The bedding maker turned lemons into lemonade, decorating the space with an “Under Construction” theme complete with scaffolds, raw plywood decor and paint buckets filled with flowers. In high relief stood the elegant Trump Home Luxury five-bed, step-up collection. Priced from $1,699 to $2,999 in queen, the beds glimmer with gold damask fabrics and sparkling crystals. They feature specialty foams, foam encasement, wrapped coils and coil-on-coil construction in some models. The top bed has Serta’s Smart Support gel comfort layer. Shifman brought out the Limited Edition Mattress collection with a tack-and-jump quilt. A pilot program, the bed is available for the month of June only and is in a moderate price range for the high-end manufacturer—$1,499 for a queen set. In keeping with Shifman tradition, the beds are handmade, two-sided and sit atop eight-way, hand-tied foundations. Therapedic added some sparkle in its first foray into encased coil mattresses. The Princeton, N.J.-based licensing group put the spotlight on its five-bed Therawrap by Therapedic collection. Each bed is foam encased and upholstered in a silver, black and white ticking with a gleaming metallic silver tape-edge. The beds have up to a 2-inch specialty foam comfort layer—either visco-elastic or latex. The top model is an encased coil-on-coil construction. Retail prices range from $699 to $1,199. “We are very excited to finally have a branded, encased coil line like Therawrap,” said Gerry Borreggine, Therapedic president. “We’ve positioned the line as a value alternative to the other ‘like products’ cur-

rently in the marketplace. It is being exceptionally well received by both our dealers and the factory reps.” Promotional brand Five Star Mattress, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., reached for the higher end with its True Luxury collection, a 14-bed line retailing for $599 to $1,499. The top bed in the line has 2 ½ inches of Talalay latex in a “super pillow-top.” Rich styling in shades of mocha and tan, knit tops with scroll motifs, suede borders and thick tape-edges are teamed with point-of-purchase banners in chocolate satin. “It’s certainly a luxurious new look for us,” said Jim Nation, Five Star Mattress president. “And something people don’t often think about—those suede borders keep sheets in place so they won’t pop off the bed.” Emphasis on accessorizing Accessories collections continue to grow from market to market as vendors look for new ways to help retailers increase sales. Leggett & Platt’s Consumer Products Group introduced a 400-thread count sheet set with RestAssured EasyFit Corner Pockets, part of its Home collection brand. The fitted sheet has a stretchy fabric band that is guaranteed to keep sheets snugly in place over any mattress up to 18 inches deep. A queen sheet set retails for $99. “We added a number of new products, as well as new marketing collateral tying together all of our brands. The ultimate goal is to help retailers increase their average ticket by offering a full line of accessories,” said Herman Tam, group vice president of sales and marketing at the Carthage, Mo.-based company. L&P offers six categories of accessories, as well as display units and point-of-purchase materials in its Retail Solution program, which is being used by more than 135 retailers. Retail participants saw a 21% growth in average tickets during a six-month period in 2009, Tam said. The Cool Aire Memory Foam


Pillow from L&P’s Southern Textiles brand is a new ergonomically designed contour pillow. Southern Textiles also offered new microfiber polyester sheet sets with moisture-wicking properties. Two new mattress encasements address growing concerns about bedbugs and allergens. The Invisicase Surround Protector is a waterproof, bedbug and allergen-resistant encasement. The Platinum Surround Protector offers the same protection and has a terry top with four-way stretch. Hickory At Home is “putting passion and luxury” into sleep accessories, said Niles Cornelius, general manager of the company, a division of Hickory Springs Mfg. Co. based in Hickory, N.C. “No bed sale is complete until you put the right top-of-bed on it,” he said. “We want to help consumers spend more dollars in that store—it doesn’t

14 | BedTimes | June 2010

Hickory at Home Niles Cornelius, general manager, demonstrates additions to the company’s line of comforters, pillows and other top-of-bed items.

matter what brand mattress they buy.” With anything from 50 square feet to 1,200 square feet, a retailer can create a “Final Touch” accessories department in their store, Cornelius said. The product line emphasizes down

fills. Comforters and blankets come in different weights and contain European goose down. Retail prices range from $699 to $899. Feather beds in queen with European goose down are $699. Domestic goose down feather beds retail for about $200. There also are sheets with long-staple cotton, several types of mattress pads and 10 pillow variations with a range of fill types. Jamison has branded its own line of two-sided latex and visco-elastic pillows. There are three SKUs—for back, side and stomach sleepers—that retail for $129 in queen size. Classic Brands added the Perfect Pillow, bringing its pillow lineup to six. The Perfect Pillow is two-sided memory foam with a velour cover. One side is smooth while the other is contoured, making it suitable for all sleep positions. It retails for $89 in queen. BT

16 | BedTimes | June 2010

What they’re saying

Why managing your online reputation is critical H By Barbara Nelles

ave you noticed how quickly bad news rises to the top of Internet search results? It’s human nature: People love gossip and scandal. They’ll forward links and post comments on blogs, Twitter and forums. Before you know it, a video of two misbehaving employees “goes viral” on YouTube and turns up just below the company’s official corporate Web site in Internet searches. That’s what happened to Domino’s Pizza when a gross-out video created by a couple of unhappy workers garnered 1 million views before the company even discovered its existence. United Airlines had a similarly unpleasant experience when a passenger whose guitar was broken by baggage handlers chronicled the incident in a song that became an Internet hit. Nothing is more precious—and perhaps more fragile—than your company’s reputation. Damage to it can affect everything from sales to relationships with suppliers. And it can have longlasting impact on consumer attitudes toward your company and the entire industry.

BedTimes | June 2010 |


The rise of social media has created what some experts call the “people paparazzi”—the multitudes that stand by ready to broadcast a company’s every slip-up. “Online reputation management is critical and growing in importance. The fact is, there is so much incivility out there and anyone with a computer and an opinion can go online and malign you,” says Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at public relations firm Weber Shandwick, headquartered in New York. Among the potential troublemakers are angry consumers, disgruntled employees and malicious competitors, not to mention “squatters” and impersonators who can hijack your brands or company name online. What is a company to do? First, don’t think you can escape by avoiding the online world, reputation experts told BedTimes. That won’t stop others from talking about you, boycotting your products or launching defamation campaigns. “Many companies worry about engaging, but all they need is one crisis to realize they have not built a community of online advocates and evangelists who will come to their defense,” Gaines-Ross says. The business-to-business aspect of online reputation management is growing steadily, too. “Mattress manufacturers will want to keep an eye out for unhappy retailers or other business partners,” says Andy Beal, a reputation management consultant and author based in Raleigh, N.C. “For instance, if someone at a big chain is saying your product quality has gone downhill in the past five years, they may have lots of influence over consumers and other retailers. You’ll want to be able to reach out quickly and address that.” “Another thing companies need to realize is how online reputation relates to traditional media,” GainesRoss says. “Social and traditional media go hand in hand. Something that bubbles up online can easily show up in traditional media. It’s where many journalists are getting

18 | BedTimes | June 2010

their stories today. That type of news can impact all of your business’ stakeholders.” Plug in “It is imperative that all companies monitor their online reputations,” Gaines-Ross says. “Create your own baseline audit—or have it done by an outside agency or consultant. At the most basic level, create alerts in the major search engines with your name and brands, mattress industry keywords and your competitors’ names—because anything that hap-

7 traits of the ideal ‘community manager’ 1. Diplomatic 2. Lives and breathes the brand and the industry 3. Online extrovert and people person 4. Excellent written communication skills 5. Customer-service oriented 6. Creative—able to proactively manage reputation by building unique content that makes points about the company and its products, services 7. Easygoing and egoless

pens to the competition can easily spill over to you.” You can set up alerts at search engines that specifically crawl social media, such as Whos Talkin and BackTalk. Use Technorati to search blogs; for Twitter check By setting up searches at Boardreader or BoardTracker, you can follow comments on message boards and forums, which are especially difficult for major search engines to navigate. “Keeping an eye on forums is a great way for companies to solve a problem before it goes public. Many people post to them when they have a gripe, a problem with a product or need to know how to fix something,” says Rhea Drysdale, chief operating officer for Outspoken Media, an Internet marketing, search engine optimization and reputation management agency based in Spring Hill, Fla. “No matter what your company’s size, I recommend that you begin by monitoring your reputation yourself,” Beal says. “This will give you an idea of what kind of support you need. If you decide to outsource, you are better informed in choosing and directing an agency.” There are many free and paid listening platforms available for monitoring online reputation. “I created Trackur because I was disappointed with Google Alerts,” Beal says. “You don’t have to set each search individually and you get an intuitive console for viewing results online.” Trackur has a basic version available for free. Paid plans begin at $18 per month. If you outsource monitoring to your marketing or public relations firm or have a large budget, you might use a tool such as Alterian, Radian6 or Visible Technologies. Less expensive Scout Labs starts at $199 per month for individual companies and offers a free, trial version. Use your monitoring platform to gain competitive intelligence and market research insights. “Look to see what customers like and dislike about competitors’

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ucts and capitalize on that. Track for trends in mattress purchasing. Learn about the phobias and misconceptions within the category and how to better align your marketing,” Beal says. “Pass information on to your retailers: ‘We think consumers will find the experience more enjoyable if you do this.’ ” Get help “The prevailing school of thought is that it’s OK to outsource the monitoring of your online reputation, but companies should manage reputation internally. Yet some companies are not ready to take on the responsibility,” says Tom Martin, president and “social media guy” at New Orleans agency Zehnder Communications. “I recommend a hybrid approach,” Beal says. “Definitely look outside for help in developing best practices and strategy: Which media channels should you be involved with? What should you do in a crisis? But take ownership internally. The more you outsource, the less transparent you become.” “We would always prefer that a company takes its reputation management in-house and come to us for assistance at different levels,” Drysdale says. “When companies get more social, they sometimes delegate responsibilities to a marketing intern. Is that person well versed in your brand and industry? Do they have the maturity to be out there representing you?” Whether outsourced or in-house, community management is a growing field. The community manager is the company’s face in the social media arena. “If your company is attacked, it’s only natural to feel upset,” Martin says. “But the ideal community manager is able to separate out the emotion and ego and respond appropriately. They must be incredibly diplomatic and cool under pressure, in addition to being a great writer and thinker.” When the environmental group Greenpeace launched a concerted social media attack on food con-

20 | BedTimes | June 2010

Nasty or nice: Claim all your names & domains

Smart companies prevent imposters from “squatting” on their identity by purchasing all domain name variations for their brands and their company. They also purchase different domain name roots— .com, .net, .org, .us, .ca, etc. But you should take that a step further, reputation experts say. Protect your company reputation by purchasing unpleasant variations of your online identity such as “companyxyzsucks” or “ihatebrandx” and the like. Whether or not you participate, it’s important to claim your name on social media networks, such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter. The more expensive plans go beyond signing you up and claiming your name at each network. For instance, KnowEm will complete your company profile and post additional information that you supply, such as photos and bios. Pricing is a one-time charge between $99 and $599.

glomerate Nestlé in March 2010, the person managing Nestlé’s Facebook page got “snarky with commenters and only added fuel to the fire,” Martin says. “Choosing someone appropriate internally, with industry experience, and then training them to be more adept in social media is the best route,” Gaines-Ross says. “They know the terminology, they know the competition, they

understand what goes into building a mattress. They can identify the individual benefits of every product you make and understand the rigor of your R&D department,” Beal says. “Think of it this way, social media is just a communication medium. Like with email or the telephone, it’s the person on the other end who’s important.” Managing a company’s social media space “is a time-suck,” Martin says. “You need someone willing to work all hours. Nights and on weekends they’ll be checking Twitter and blogging, etc. It really helps to find someone who is already into social media.” Accentuate the positive Take steps now to insulate your brand from attacks. It’s what Gaines-Ross describes as “inoculating your brand” against future threats. One way you can do that is by dominating search results for your company and your brands in major search engines. If your online reputation is already suffering damage, expect it to take several months, possibly more than a year, to clean things up, reputation experts say. And don’t rely on vendors who claim they can fix things by asking sites to remove negative content about your company. It doesn’t work. For one thing, it’s in the best interest of complaint sites like Ripoff Report and Epinions’ to keep attention-grabbing negative commentary posted. “Look at Google not as a search engine, but a reputation engine. The good news is that about 85% of Web surfers don’t look beyond the first page of search results and about 95% don’t look beyond the second,” Beal says. So it’s important for a company to populate that first page with its own content. “Google is your brand,” says Heather Lutze, a search engine expert, author and chief executive officer of the Findability Group in Denver. “Dominate that first page of search results with your Web site, your Twitter account, your

ny’s LinkedIn and Facebook pages, your Flickr account, your personalized YouTube channel, microsites, your blog, etc. It will help quiet the criticism and push bad stuff off the page.” You may want to create additional Web sites for your company. For instance, build a separate site for customer service or to talk about your company’s charitable works, Drysdale says. Make sure the subdomain name includes your company name: “brandxcustomerservice” or “brandxinthecommunity.” Also, build microsites tied to product launches, special promotions or advertising campaigns. When searchers type a mattress company’s name or brands into Google, they often refine the search with terms such as “review” or “comfort.” “Find out where reviews of your product or product category are posting. Is it Epinions, Yelp, TripAdvisor? Encourage the growth of positive content there,” Beal says. “If

you do that now and face some sort of reputation attack later, there’s less chance negative posts will reach to the top of search results.” “Be sure to give your Twitter accounts and blogs personality,” Gaines-Ross says. “Use people from within your company who are able to step out and build relationships and a good reputation around the mattress industry and your company. It may be someone involved in designing or building mattresses who has their own blog and they talk about how the technology is changing. GM created the popular FastLane blog. In a crisis, it has a venue for addressing customers.” Putting the focus on employees is especially important when it comes to reputation management. “We think of employees as ‘embedded journalists’, ” Gaines-Ross says. Disgruntled employees could be among those bad-mouthing your brand online. Unfortunately, company guidelines and online monitor-

Learn more Books ➤C  orporate Reputation: 12 Steps to Safeguarding and Recovering Reputation by Leslie Gaines-Ross (Wiley, John & Sons Inc., 2008) ➤R  adically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online by Andy Beal and Judy Strauss. (Wiley, John & Sons Inc., 2008) Online resources ➤ “ Greenpeace vs. Nestle: How to Make Sure Your Facebook Page Doesn’t Become a PR Trojan Horse: Part 2,” The Brandbuilder Blog by Olivier Blanchard, March 24, 2010, ➤ “ Guide to Social Media Monitoring Platforms” by Social Target, The guide, available for $300, assesses 21 monitoring plans. ➤R  eputationXchange blog by Leslie Gaines-Ross, ➤R  eputationRx site by Weber Shandwick. Check out the free download: “Safekeeping Reputation: 99 Tips,” ➤R  eputation Dot Me by Andy Beal, compendium of current online reputation management news and information, ➤ “ Risky Business: 15 Realities and 15 Rules for Managing Reputation Online” by Weber Shandwick, ➤ “ The Online Reputation Management Guide” by Outspoken Media, free step-by-step assistance and a reputation assessment sheet, ➤ “ What You Need to Know About Outsourcing Social Media,” SocialMedia Examiner blog,

22 | BedTimes | June 2010

ing will not prevent the dissatisfied from becoming anonymous mudslingers. “But companies must listen and respond to employees’ needs if they are to turn unhappy employees into advocates,” she says. Battle plan “Theories on how you should react to online criticism are fluid. They are evolving and changing with time,” says Julien Smith, an author, consultant, podcaster and online communities expert based in Montreal. Don’t be surprised if you’re unsure how to handle your company’s first reputation crisis. It’s best to line up expert help ahead of time. A digital marketing agency or online reputation consultant can conduct an audit of your current reputation, develop a crisis plan and stand at the ready to help you diffuse situations. “When you are deciding whether or not to respond, you want to figure out if the person being critical is misinformed, if they have a real beef or if they’re just crazy,” Gaines-Ross says. Gaines-Ross and others hold up the U.S. Air Force’s “Rules of Engagement for Blogging” as a groundbreaking tool for deciding when to respond. Many reputation consultants use the flow chart as a jumping-off point for creating individualized response plans. The original chart can be viewed at www.globalnerdy. com/2008/12/30/the-air-forces-rulesof-engagement-for-blogging. There are times when you don’t want to respond. For instance, if a complaint is likely from a competitor trying to cause trouble, you may not want to give the comments “legs” or credibility by responding. You also might ignore a minor complaint posted in an individual’s blog. “But if your company has made a mistake—whether it’s product defects or poor customer service—then you need to respond,” Beal says. “If you don’t, the complainer may take their complaint to Facebook, Epinions or the Better Business Bureau.” “When you respond depends on the situation,” Drysdale says. “Who is behind it? If it’s a consumer, then you

Experts say ‘be human,’ not robotic or bureaucratic in your responses. On Facebook, use your real name and a thumbnail photo of yourself—not the company logo—when responding to an irate posting. do what you can until you realize they will not accept any apology. Then you let it go. Hopefully, you have built up a community that will rise to your defense in these situations. That is what

24 | BedTimes | June 2010

great brands do.” Experts say “be human,” not robotic or bureaucratic in your responses. On Facebook, use your real name and a thumbnail photo of your-

self—not the company logo—when responding to an irate posting. “Some people have never learned how to apologize when things go wrong and most companies haven’t either,” Smith says. “Yet the ability to be vulnerable in public is incredibly powerful and can gain you the empathy of tons of people.” “Responding doesn’t need to be complex,” Beal says. “I’ve distilled it down to three words when you’re facing a crisis: sincerity—offer a sincere apology, often that is all the person is looking for; transparency—be open about how the situation came about; and consistency—make sure this is an isolated incident and fix the problem that led to the crisis.” “Toyota did a bad job of responding to its recent crisis,” Beal says. “They were slow to react (customers had been complaining about accelerator problems for months beforehand) and slow to take responsibility. Now they’ve lost a lot of credibility. Jet Blue did a good job after having stranded all their passengers. They responded quickly, they apologized and introduced a passenger bill of rights. Dell is the poster child for reputation turnarounds. They went from really bad to having a really good reputation and being very engaged with customers.” “Making it easy for people to reach your company in the first place goes a long way,” Drysdale says. “Problems arise that are difficult to fix when consumers are unable to get ahold of a real person. Display your contact information online or create a separate customer service site.” “One thing we always tell clients if an online response is called for, do not go in and use your company and your brand names,” Drysdale says. “It’s correct to give your name and title and establish your credibility as an employee of the company—you want to be transparent. But I’ve seen people mention their company name 10 times in a single post. That shoots the complaint you’re responding to right up to the top of the search results for your company.” BT

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ManagementIssues Would you want to work for YOU? See yourself through the eyes of others to improve your leadership brand By Brenda Bence

ting regular, helpful feedback. That can be easier said than done, of course. If no one is offering you feedback because of your position as a manager or if you don’t feel you’re getting honest feedback from subordinates, it’s your responsibility to go after it. There is no better way to improve both your career and, ultimately, your company’s performance. Here are four ways to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to work for you:


he Starbucks brand of coffee can teach you a lot about your own brand as a leader. How? Consider this for a moment: When coffee is in its initial coffee bean state, it’s a commodity that sells for just a few cents per cup. When you add packaging, a brand name and place the coffee on a grocery store shelf, the price goes up to between 5 cents and 25 cents a cup. Throw in service and add “personality” to that coffee by offering it at, say Dunkin’ Donuts, and the price rises to between 75 cents and $1.50 per cup. Then there’s Starbucks coffee, which sells for $2 to $5 per cup. How does Starbucks do that? What does it have that those other cups of coffee don’t? It isn’t just a better tasting cup of coffee. What Starbucks offers is


If you’re unsure how to turn feedback into action or if you need extra motivation to change some nonproductive habits, find an executive coach to help you. something much more than taste: It offers a rewarding coffee-buying and drinking experience. When we buy a cup of Starbucks coffee, we’re paying for the experience of taking a break during the day, enjoying a jolt of java with friends or relaxing with a decaf mocha latte after a night at the theater. It’s those experiences that differentiate Starbucks from many other coffee brands. If you want to earn more money and advance your career, think about the experience you offer as a leader in the workplace. Are you a grocery store brand of coffee or a cup of Starbucks?

To put it another way, if you could step into the shoes of the people you are leading, what would it feel like to be part of a team with you at the helm? In short, would you want to work for YOU? Because you’re not in your team’s shoes, it can be difficult to answer that question. But if you don’t, your personal leadership brand will suffer. To make sure your individual brand is bringing you success and growth in your career, you need to learn how others perceive, think and feel about you as a leader. Only then can you find out if your brand needs improvement. And that means get-

Use 360-degree feedback tools These assessments allow you to get formal, standardized feedback from subordinates, your boss, colleagues and even customers. There are literally hundreds of them on the market, so choose carefully in order to find one that will help you meet your specific objectives. For example, if you want to improve your leadership skills, use a leadership assessment tool such as Leadership Agility 360. If you want to better manage your emotions on the job, try an emotional intelligence assessment such as the Emotional Capital Inventory (ECi 360). Before purchasing one, ask to see an example of the performance/ outcome report you will receive and check to see if you need a certified coach to administer the assessment.


Ask for feedback—regularly In a one-on-one environment, sit down and ask for feedback from your subordinates, your boss and key colleagues. The one-on-one part is important: If you try to have a group meeting for feedback, no one will be honest with you.

BedTimes | June 2010 |



Let each person know that you’re sincere in your request and that you want candor. Listen intently and write down what you hear. Don’t allow yourself to become defensive— no matter what is said. If you do, the exercise will backfire and chances are you’ll never receive honest feedback again. When the person is finished, simply say, “thank you” and nothing more.


Audio or videotape yourself conducting meetings Then sit back and review them objectively. This can be a real eyeopener. As you watch or listen, put yourself in the other people’s position and imagine what it felt like to be in that meeting with you. Are you communicating the leadership brand you want? If you find it difficult to assess the recordings, ask a trusted colleague for honest feedback.


Put it all together After you’ve gathered all of your notes from your feedback assessments and from watching and listening to recordings, look for the common elements and themes. Based on your review, what are the key behaviors that you want to focus on improving? Choose the top three or four and then create an action plan to begin to change. If you’re unsure how to turn feedback into action or if you need extra motivation to change some nonproductive habits, find an executive coach to help you. Work on making changes every day, but don’t expect immediate success. Long-lasting changes in behavior require time and persistence.

Many of the behaviors you will want to change have become ingrained habits, so you first need to become aware of what triggers the behavior. Then you’ll be in a position to stop yourself and do something different. Even if the feedback stings in the beginning, you will soon discover the many rewards of strengthening your personal leadership brand. When you succeed in changing a limiting behavior, you feel a strong sense of accomplishment. And the respect you will receive from your team as a result of listening to their feedback is invaluable. They will feel empowered by the fact that you took their comments to heart and you will become a great role model for how they can use feedback to

Let each person know that you’re sincere in your request and that you want candor. Listen intently and write down what you hear. Don’t allow yourself to become defensive—no matter what is said. improve themselves in the workplace, too. Only through strengthening your personal leadership brand can you continue to grow as a leader and further your career. That’s how you enrich the experience of working with you and make yourself someone you’d be happy to have at the helm. BT Brenda Bence is an internationally recognized branding expert, certified executive coach, professional speaker and award-winning author of the How YOU Are Like Shampoo personal branding book series. As president of Brand Development Associates International Ltd., Bence travels the world speaking, training and coaching individuals and companies to greater success through corporate and personal brand development. For more information, check

30 | BedTimes | June 2010

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IndustryNews L&P’s first-quarter sales tick upward C

omponents supplier Leggett & Platt in Carthage, Mo., reports that it generated $816 million in sales from continuing operations during the first quarter of 2010, a 14% increase over the same period in 2009. First-quarter earnings were $0.29 per share. Unit volumes increased approximately 18%, but were partially offset by reduced prices associated with steel-related deflation, the company said. David Haffner, L&P president and chief executive officer, said earnings were up due to the market’s improvement and sales growth, combined with the company’s 2009 cost-cutting measures. “Our balance sheet and cash flow remain strong,” Haffner said. “We have essentially concluded the first part of the three-part strategic plan we announced in November 2007, having successfully refocused the company by divesting lowperforming businesses. We’ve also made substantial progress on the second step of the plan—to improve margins and returns on the businesses we have kept—despite significant declines in market demand. The third step of our strategy is to grow the company at 4% to 5% per year, on average, over the long term.” In the first quarter, the company repurchased 2 million shares of stock and outstanding shares declined to 147.8 million. Net debt to net capital was 25.6% at the close of the quarter—well below the company’s 30% to 40% target range. Total sales from continuing operations in the residential furnishings division, which includes domestic bedding products, increased $20 million, or 5%, during the first quarter over the same time last year.

Total sales from continuing operations in the specialized products division, which includes the Global Systems Group machinery division, increased $32 million, or 31%. “For the next couple of years, gradual market recovery should provide ample growth and we should benefit significantly from

our advantaged competitive positions, improved cost structure and spare production capacity,” Haffner said. “Longer term, we aim for growth to come from development and commercialization of innovative new products and from identification of and expansion into potential new growth platforms.”

Select Comfort’s same-store sales rise 29% Minneapolis-based airbed maker Select Comfort reported improved performance during the first quarter of 2010. Net sales for the quarter totaled $158 million, an increase of 13% over the same period a year ago. The increase in sales was driven by a 29% increase in same-store sales, offset by the impact of the closure of 76 stores since the beginning of 2009 and the termination of retail partner relationships at the end of the third-quarter 2009. The net decline in store count and retail partner terminations represented $12.8 million in sales in the first quarter of 2009. Direct marketing and Internet sales increased by a combined 16%, as compared to the year-ago period. Net income for the quarter was $7.8 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $2.7 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2009. Gross profit margins were 62.1% of net sales, in line with company targets and 350 basis points higher than the 58.6% gross profit rate in the first quarter of 2009. Cash flows from operating activities were $29.5 million for first-quarter 2010 compared to $24.1 million, including a $23 million tax refund, in the year-ago period. Capital expenditures totaled $1 million, compared to $1.2 million in 2009. At the end of the quarter, cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash totaled $44 million and the company had no borrowings under its revolving credit agreement. “During the quarter, our solid execution resulted in improved performance, demonstrated by sustained same-store growth and strong operating margins,” said Bill McLaughlin, Select Comfort president and chief executive officer. “We took advantage of an improving consumer environment and positive in-market testing to increase media investments behind our proven value messaging. The result was sales growth across all company-owned channels.” McLaughlin continued, “While still cautious about macrotrends for the balance of the year, we anticipate an improved outlook for 2010 based on our continuing momentum and consequently are increasing our earnings guidance.”

BedTimes | June 2010 |



Tropical Bedding recalls 15,000 mattress sets T ropical Bedding Mfg., based in Caguas, Puerto Rico, has recalled 15,000 mattress sets because they fail to meet the federal open-flame mattress standard, 16 CFR Part 1633. No injuries or incidents have been reported in association with the mattresses, according to the U.S. Consum-

er Product Safety Commission, which issued the recall notice. The recall involves crib and bunk mattresses and mattress sets in twin, full, queen and king sizes. The crib and bunk mattresses do not have any labels. The other mattresses have “Classics,” “Classics II,” “Imagine,”

“Sweet Mysteries,” “Treasures” or “Comfort Dream” printed on a label located on the top panel at the foot of the mattress. “Classics” models manufactured between August 2008 and April 2009 are not included in the recall. That model has a federal label attached that includes the date of manufacture and “Classics.” The mattresses were sold at City Mattress and furniture stores in Puerto Rico from July 2007 through September 2009. They retailed for between $30 and $135. The CPSC tells consumers to “stop using the mattresses immediately and return them to Tropical Bedding Mfg. for a refund.” Consumers can contact the company by calling Carmen Martinez at 787-586-1139.

Short Dunlopillo offers PlasSpring

Innovations and technology for the future


34 | BedTimes | June 2010




Dunlopillo Indonesia, with headquarters in Jakarta, has introduced PlasSpring, a plastic spring that is 100% recyclable. It’s made from a nontoxic, nongaseous thermoplastic elastomer that is commonly used in food containers. The spring is extremely durable and its unique design can support five times the weight of a conventional steel coil, according to the company. Unlike metal coils, PlasSprings require no wire frame or encasement to hold them in place. Instead, the plastic springs have connectors that lock them tightly together.

Winco acquires Spring Air’s Florida license W

inco USA, the Spring Air licensee based in Corsicana, Texas, has acquired the license for Florida. The company will service the state from its manufacturing plant in Bartow, Fla. Previously, Spring Air-Midwest had been serving retail customers in Florida

from its facility in Columbus, Ohio. “With an existing mattress factory in Florida and the company’s knowledge of our products and how to manufacture them, Winco will be able to hit the ground running,” said Rick Robinson, president of the

Boston-based Spring Air International mattress licensing group. “This change will significantly strengthen our position in the Southeast.” The Spring Air brand is manufactured in 17 U.S. plants and 29 international facilities.

Shorts NCFI introduces new foam Foam supplier NCFI Polyurethanes, a division of Barnhardt Mfg., has introduced Bio-Lux Max, an extension of its Bio-Lux line of flexible foams with renewable content. According to Chris Bradley, director of sales for the Mount Airy, N.C.-based company, the high-density and conventional polyurethane foams in the new line contain between 30% and 33% total renewable content derived from Cargill’s soy-based BiOH polyols. “We have been working on this introduction for some time,” Bradley said. “Our customers have been asking us for a product that contains significantly higher amounts of renewable content than current products in the market.”


Sedlak remakes bedding dept. One of Ohio’s largest furniture retailers, Sedlak Interiors in Cleveland, recently completed a makeover of its mattress gallery. The space was remodeled from floor to ceiling with the goal of putting the spotlight on its featured bedding brand Shifman Mattresses. The redesign includes plush carpet and a six-panel skylight that gives the illusion of the outdoor sky with drifting clouds. Shifman crafts high-end mattresses by hand in its Newark, N.J., facility. Your mattress will provide years of comfort—and entertainment—if it’s sewn with A&E thread. Our filament brands, Anefil,® Anecord® and Cocoon Performance® Bobbins offer exceptional quality, performance and durability, so you’ll know you’re providing superior products to your customers. Call us at 1-800-861-3256 to try A&E filaments for your products.

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Simmons grows Mideast presence with Intercoil deal Atlanta-based mattress major Simmons Bedding Co. announced it has inked licensing and technical agreements with Intercoil International LLC, a bedding manufacturer and retailer headquartered in Dubai. The deal expands Simmons’ presence in the growing Middle East retail and hospitality markets. “While Simmons has been in the Middle East for some time, we know there are greater opportunities that we can take advantage of through our partnership with Intercoil,” said Todd Merker, Simmons director of global licensing. As part of the deal, Intercoil plans to have eight dedicated Simmons retail locations in place by the end of 2011. Intercoil also will distribute Simmons products through its established retail network in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. “We believe that our partnership with Simmons is an important milestone in the history of the company and it will definitely support us in realizing our vision to become the market leader in the Middle East region,” said Hassan Al Hazeem, Intercoil managing director.

36 | BedTimes | June 2010

Short Serta, Cargill hold contest In a lighthearted Facebook competition sponsored by foam industry supplier Cargill and Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based mattress maker Serta, entrants submitted early morning, “bed head” photos of friends, family and even pets. Contestants in the “Bed Head is Soy Stylish” competition were vying for an HGTV Green Home by Serta queen mattress set; four runners-up were to receive $100 iTunes gift cards. The public could vote for their favorite photo at Cargill’s BiOH Facebook page ( from May 29 to June 4.











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Glideaway revamps Sleepharmony line

In a move designed to reposition the brand, Glideaway Sleep Products has renamed its line of imported specialty sleep mattresses and pillows Sleepharmony. “You can be Kmart or Target in the value space,” said Carmi Fredman, president of the St. Louis-based company. “We want to be the latter. We conducted research and took a chapter from their brand positioning playbook. Consumers can expect the same value proposition from Sleepharmony that Target has captured in the general retail space.” To complement its rebranding, Glideaway has launched a marketing campaign evoking spa-like imagery and conveying a high level of design and performance at a valuable price point. It also has created a tag line “Revive your sleep,” new logos and new product names—Balance, Harmony, Revitalize, Renew, Serenity and Tranquility.

Short Producer adds specialty youth beds to its offerings St. Louis-based Glideaway Sleep Products has introduced the Jubilee visco-elastic youth bed, available with a pink or blue velour cover. The bed, which comes with matching pillow, has a suggested retail price of $399 for twin size. “Kids are smaller than adults and need a mattress construction better geared to their size and weight,” said Carmi Fredman, Glideaway president. The bed’s less dense 3-pound memory foam core is more responsive to a child’s body than the standard 5-pound foam used in adult beds, according to the company.

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38 | BedTimes | June 2010

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Carpenter, Betty White pair up for bedtime reading


ndustry components supplier Carpenter Co. has launched the Bedtime Stories Project, a campaign to encourage families to engage in creative storytelling, reading aloud and healthy sleep habits. Details are posted at the Richmond, Va.-based company’s sleep advice site, The project includes a range of elements: an online community, media appearances, events and specially commissioned research to raise awareness about the importance of a good night’s sleep and the value of story time before bed. The Web site features an illustrated online book, Sleep Tales, which contains short, funny takes on traditional fairy tales. Storytelling expert

Hillary Homzie lent her expertise to the Bedtime Stories Project, providing guidelines on how to weave original tales and bring more magic to storytelling. The public is invited

to submit original stories, one of which will be chosen to be illustrated by artist Bill Nelson. As part of the two-month campaign, which was launched May 4, television actress Betty White was scheduled to read several children’s stories aloud, including one of the original stories submitted by a participant in the project. The event was scheduled for May 26 in Los Angeles. “People think of Betty White as one of the family and we expect that through this consumer-education campaign, she will encourage millions of those families to take real steps toward getting better sleep,” said Dan Schecter, Carpenter vice president of sales and marketing.

BedTimes | June 2010 |



Sealy launches easier-to-use Web site B

edding major Sealy has revamped its corporate site,, after conducting market research that showed consumers’ greatest mattressbuying frustration is trying to determine which bed is right for them. “Consumers told us the mattress shopping experience is incredibly confusing—the terminology and difference between brands and products is difficult to understand and the online research experience is often disconnected from the in-store experience,” said Jodi Allen, chief marketing officer for the Trinity, N.C.-based company. “We took the feedback to heart, designing the new site to help end the confusion and create a far more satisfying shopping experience for our consumers, while driving more convinced traffic to our retail partners.”

40 | BedTimes | June 2010

The new site is easier for consumers to navigate with “mouse-over” interactivity that requires fewer clicks to locate information. Site content covers the mattress shopping process, as well as

brand, technology and product promotion and comparison information. Sealy worked with its marketing agency, Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago, on the redesign.

Short United Feather & Down expands top-of-bed offerings United Feather & Down, a supplier of top-of-bed and filling materials based in Des Plaines, Ill., has unveiled new offerings. The Power Sleep by Dr. Maas pillow collection was developed with James B. Maas, a sleep research expert, author and professor of psychology at Cornell University. In addition, United Feather is collaborating with eco-friendly bath and body brand Portico on the new Portico Hospitality bedding collection. The products use 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton fabrics paired with hypoallergenic Lyocell down fill, United Feather & Down’s patented blend of Freshness Assured Down and Lyocell fibers, or its down alternative Naturelle, which is made from recycled materials and Lyocell fibers.

EcoSleep touts flat-seal packaging technology EcoSleep, a specialty bedding brand manufactured by Durable Products LLC in Whitewater, Wis., says it has nearly perfected its flat-seal packaging technology for mattresses—a fact that the company says is reflected in a near-zero return rate for the products in 2009. Durable Products, one of several owned by VyMaC Corp. Chief Executive Officer Dave Young, developed the eco-friendly EcoSleep mattress line in conjunction with the packaging technology. “We took a decade-long, logistics-backward approach to developing our EcoSleep line and found we could reinvent the traditional torque-compressed approach used by the majority of our competitors to eliminate strain on the product, damages, returns and

unhappy customers,” said Mike Schweiger, vice president of sales for EcoSleep and VyMaC. “We searched the globe for our compression system and engineered the comfort and support layers to work with it.” Two common problems associated with torque compression and rolling are breaks and soft spots in softer foam layers and products not recovering fully. Durable Products’ flat-seal technology requires special equipment to compress the mattress to a uniform density before sealing and rolling. The system preserves the structural integrity of the whole mattress without creating undue stress on components. Mattresses recover completely to their original shape and size, quickly and without defect, the company said. 

BedTimes | June 2010 |



Simmons’ PU foams CertiPUR-US certified


tlanta-based Simmons Bedding Co. says that all of the polyurethane foams in the company’s mattress lines have earned the CertiPURUS certification seal, verifying that the foams are low-VOC and free from CFCs. The certified foam products are made without PBDE fire retardants, lead, mercury, formaldehyde, prohibited phthalates and other potentially harmful materials. “Consumers today are paying very close attention to what’s inside the products they purchase—whether it’s food, toys, paint, furniture or bedding,” said Anne Kozel, brand director of Simmons’ specialty sleep division. In a recent survey, Simmons found that almost two-thirds of consumers were “very” or “extremely” concerned about the health and safety of the

42 | BedTimes | June 2010

products they buy. To achieve the CertiPUR-US certification, foams are sent to an independent, third-party lab for durability and indoor air quality emissions testing, as well as a content analysis. The foams must meet the environmental, health and safety standards described in the “U.S. Voluntary Physical Performance and Environmental Certification Guidelines for Flexible Polyurethane Foam for Use in Furniture and Bedding Items.” A team of industry leaders, scientists and environmental experts contributed to the creation of the standards while developing the CertiPUR-US program for the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam, a foam industry trade organization based in Loudon, Tenn.

Short Carpenter partners with NSF Industry supplier and sleep products manufacturer Carpenter Co. is creating a top-of-bed line branded by the National Sleep Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit advocacy group. Products will bear the NSF logo and be independently and periodically tested by the organization for comfort and support. The line is being manufactured by the Richmond, Va.-based company’s Consumer Products Division.

Retailer joins WorldBed relief effort


pecialty retailer Relax The Back is joining mattress maker Anatomic Global’s humanitarian initiative, the WorldBed Project to aid victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. The WorldBed Project aims to deliver as many as 200,000 cot-sized, compressed beds made of 3-inch cushioning foam to Haiti. Anatomic Global, headquartered in Corona, Calif., led a similar effort to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As part of the retailer’s program, “Buy a Bed, Give a Bed,” for every mattress purchased at Relax The Back, the store will donate one WorldBed to someone in need in Haiti. A portion of the proceeds from every coordinating pillow purchase will be donated to WorldBed. Additionally, customers will have an opportunity to purchase WorldBed products online and in store at a cost of $35 each to be delivered to the relief effort. “Anatomic Global came up with a very unique concept in the way the sleep product industry can help disaster victims all over the world and we wanted to be part of this noble endeavor,” said J.D. Nespoli, vice president of merchandising for the La Palma, Calif.-based retailer. There are plans to include the program in Relax The Back’s summer catalog.

UF&D aids Chicago shelters Bedding accessory producer United Feather & Down has given pillows and comforters to two Chicago area homeless shelters as part of the United Relief Foundation’s Project Restoring Helping out Frank Slove (left), Hope. Project Restoring co-founder of the United Relief Hope is dedicated to easing Foundation, accepts product donations from Stephen Palmer, the suffering of homeless co-president of United Feather individuals and families, & Down. especially veterans. “We take pride in our local community and want to help those around us who are facing tough times,” said Stephen Palmer, co-president of the Des Plaines, Ill.-based company. The sleep accessories were delivered to the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans in Wheaton, Ill., and the Journeys from PADS to HOPE shelter in Palatine, Ill.

Pacific Spring Inc. An American company importing springs from Cambodia 6.5” H 312 Bonnel units 7” H 336 Bonnel units 8” H pocket units

Pacific Spring Inc. Victor Nguyen, VP of Marketing & Sales 6418 E. Washington Blvd. Commerce Ca. 90040 Tel: (626) 272-8882 • Fax: (626) 226-4166 Email:

BedTimes | June 2010 |


NewsMakers Sammons to lead sales at Transfer Master division T

ransfer Master Products Transfer Master, which is Inc. has hired industry vetbased in Postville, Iowa. eran Greg Sammons to direct “Greg’s background and sales for a new division of the contacts will help the company. Transfer Master recompany bring its unique cently purchased Maxwell Adsolutions to a wide range of justable Bed, a line of custom new clients.” adjustable beds, from Leggett “Our products were well received at the ISPA & Platt and has renamed it EXPO in Charlotte,” SamMaxwell Motion Bedding. mons said. “We showed the “We are building on our Greg Sammons original Maxwell K-Bed, strength and experience in the Valiant Hi Low and we introduced a the health market to enter the consumer new portable adjustable bed. All genermarket and Greg is a natural fit for us.” ated substantial interest.” said Aaron Goldsmith, president of

Chili Technology adds sales director Chili Technology, a supplier of heating and cooling sleep systems, has named David Dowdy director of sales, a newly created position. Dowdy reports to Todd Youngblood, president and chief executive officer of the Mooresville, N.C.-based company. His responsibilities include developing and implementing a national sales strategy and customer loyalty initiatives, as well as supervising the sales team. “Dowdy’s appointment marks a new and exciting time for Chili Technology,” Youngblood said. “He will focus on cross-functional collaboration that enables us to achieve our aggressive growth objectives. His exceptional leadership skills in strategic planning, sales and organizational development will serve the company well.” Dowdy has more than 20 years of experience in sales and account management. Former employers include Procter & Gamble, Worth Chemical Corp., Chemguard Inc., and Quest Custom Homes Inc.

Spring Air appoints national account manager


ogistics expert Jason Smith has joined Spring Air International as national account service manager. In the newly created position, Smith works with Spring Air factories to provide transportation, in-home delivery and other logistical services for national retail and contract accounts. He reports to both J.P. LeDoux, Spring Air vice president of

44 | BedTimes | June 2010

sales, and Bill Frame, vice president of manufacturing. “Jason has a very strong background in logistical services and we look forward to leveraging his extensive experience as we continue to grow our business,” said Rick Robinson, president of the Boston-based licensing group. Smith previously was an on-site account manager for Summit Logistics.

Bergman joins FabricTech as VP Mattress pro-

tection supplier

FabricTech International has hired Sean Bergman as vice president of sales and Sean Bergman marketing. The position is a new one for the company, which has headquarters in Cedar Grove, N.J. Bergman’s responsibilities include overseeing the company’s network of independent sales representatives, sales growth and brand building, as well as creating effective retail training programs. He reports to Jeff Bergman, FabricTech president and chief operating officer. Jeff Bergman is Sean Bergman’s father. “Sean brings a broad skill set to FabricTech that will allow us to continue our rapid growth,” said Arnold Hershbain, FabricTech chief executive officer. “His time spent on both the retail and wholesale side of the sleep products industry makes him an invaluable addition to the executive management team.” Previously, Bergman was director of sales and retail development for Verlo Mattress Factory Stores. “FabricTech is a company that truly cares about retailers and endconsumers,” Sean Bergman said. “I am extremely excited about joining Arnold, David Hershbain and my father in furthering the growth and shaping the future of this company.”

“BedTimes is and always has been great! It is where I get my news!” “It’s a quick reference to find suppliers.” “Readable. Concise. Timely.” “BedTimes is my link to the industry.”

Contact Kerri Bellias, 336-945-0265 or

UpClose Rosien taking Natura into new worlds Communications chief is big on social media marketing By Dorothy Whitcomb


hough she got her start in journalism and works for a mattress manufacturer, Julia Rosien is hardly bound by the idea of tradition when it comes to corporate communications. Instead of mailing press releases, she tweets the news. At least that’s what she’s doing today. Tomorrow? It will likely be something very different. Rosien may be a firm believer in the power of new media marketing, but she’s well aware that using it is like tap dancing on quicksand. “In social networking, the playing field is constantly changing,” she says. “It’s a fast-paced world and you have to stay agile and flexible.” Rosien, a self-described “information junkie,” began her career as a print journalist, working as a magazine editor, freelance writer and creative writing instructor. But journalism started to change and she watched as recessionary and other pressures pushed more and more print media outlets out of business. At the same time, the world of Web sites, blogs and other new media began expanding rapidly. About three years ago, Rosien made the platform switch herself, plugging into the world of social media while working for an online media company. Reinvention is something that comes naturally to her. “I definitely make my life up as I go along,” Rosien says. “Life throws so many curveballs at you that you have to learn how to change.” For Rosien, one of those many curveballs was being offered a job at Natura World, a manufacturer of natural and organic mattresses and sleep accessories based in Cambridge, Ontario. When Rosien joined the company a little less than two years ago, Natura

46 | BedTimes | June 2010

Jumping into mattresses Julia Rosien had a career in print journalism and online media before joining Natura World and the bedding business. ‘I definitely make my life up as I go along,’ she says. ‘Life throws so many curveballs at you that you have to learn how to change.’

World had no communications department, relying instead on outside public relations firms to get its message out. Ralph Rossdeutscher, Natura World president (or “head honcho” in the company’s parlance), had positioned the company as a technologically advanced provider of sleep products since founding it in 1994 with his father, Harry Rossdeutscher. Natura World has always emphasized its use of natural and organic components and has been expanding its product line to include new technologies such as gel. Rossdeutscher thought there was a disconnect between Natura World’s innovations and the marketing tools it was using. Rosien agreed: Natura World, she told Rossdeutscher, should be as forward-thinking in its approach to marketing as it is to product development. “Social media today is what radio

was in the ’80s,” she says. “Back then, if you wanted to be in front of your customers, you had to be on radio. Today you have to be on social media.” When Rosien joined Natura World, the company had a Web site, but consumers could only get to it by doing an Internet search for the company by name or through ads on Google. One of her first marketing initiatives was to begin interacting with communities on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Today, the company has 5,000 followers on Twitter and 2,500 “friends” on its Facebook page. “I’ve canceled all of those (Google) ads and now we can directly correlate a large percentage of the traffic to social media,” she says. “That’s up from zero— and we’re not paying for it.” Rosien pays close attention to “mom bloggers,” mothers who host online support and information communities. “They are very influential and prolific,” she says. “When one says something, the others listen.” Successfully promoting a company through social media requires transparency and a light hand, Rosien believes. “You have to develop the art of selling without selling. Nobody wants to be advertised to anymore,” she says. “Social media consumers want to be attended to as people and want a personal relationship with the company, no matter how large it is.” Although Rosien acknowledges the success she has had driving consumers to the Natura World Web site and, from there, to the doors of retailers, she doesn’t consider herself a social media “guru.” “No one knows where all of this is going, but I do think it’s going to be bigger than any of us can imagine,” she says.

Pioneering spirit Rosien is a naturalborn explorer who is always looking ahead to the next bend in the road. “Social media has taught me that there are still places in the world where you can be a pioneer,” she says. “But to do that you have to get out on the road and see where it takes you. Becoming too comfortable is dangerous. Innovation happens when you’re exploring.” Getting involved Though relatively new to the home furnishings and mattress industries, Rosien recently joined the Better Sleep Council, the International Sleep Products Association’s consumer education arm, and is a vice president of the board of WithIt, a professional organization for women in the furniture business. The power of running Rosien starts

➤ Bio in brief Name Julia Rosien Company Natura World Title Director of communications (aka “dot.communatrix,” according to her tongue-in-cheek business card) Location Cambridge, Ontario Education Rosien studied English literature at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. Family She and her husband, Stacy, have three sons and a daughter.

most days at dawn with a run. She says it makes her feel like a child again. “When kids run, they feel powerful and fearless. It works the same for adults, but

most of us have forgotten that. It also reminds me that I have to take all of the problems in my day one step at a time.” Small pleasures As wine connoisseurs, Rosien and her husband, Stacy, are interested in not just the taste of wine but also the science. “I’m very good at drinking red wine,” she says, laughing. “And I adore old cheese, rosemary bread and dark beer.” Balancing act “I place incredible importance on my family, but like many working moms, I struggle with work/ life balance,” Rosien says. To make sure she stays connected to her children, she takes long walks with them. The family’s annual camping trip to northern Ontario also helps. “I live for those two weeks,” she says. “We leave all the BlackBerrys and computers at home and disconnect completely.” BT

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BedTimes | June 2010 |


Calendar June

June 3-7 Furnex Egypt Cairo International Exhibition Center Cairo, Egypt Phone 202-2527-1010


July 15-18 Furnitex Melbourne Exhibition Centre Melbourne, Australia Phone 61-613-9654-7773 July 20-23 Movinter Interior Eventos Mirassol, S達o Paulo, Brazil Phone 16-2132-8936


Aug. 2-6 Las Vegas Market World Market Center Las Vegas, U.S. Phone 888-416-8600 info@lasvegas www.worldmarket Aug. 20-22 Tupelo Furniture Market Mississippi & Tupelo complexes Tupelo, Miss., U.S. Phone 662-842-4442 tfm@tupelofurniture www.tupelofurniture

Sept. 3-5 Perfect Home & Interior Warsaw Centre EXPO XXI Warsaw, Poland Phone 48-22-649-76-69 trade@ Sept. 3-6 China International Furniture Fair China Import & Export Fair Complex Guangzhou, China Phone 86-202608-0427 ciff@fairwindow. Sept. 16-19 ZOW Istanbul: International Exhibition of Components & Accessories for the Furniture Industry Instanbul Expo Center Istanbul, Turkey Phone 90-2123249610


Oct. 16-21 High Point Market International Home Furnishings Center & other locations High Point, N.C., U.S. Phone 336-869-1000 dawn@highpoint www.highpoint


Sept. 1-5 Habitare Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre Helsinki, Finland Phone 358-9-150-91

48 | BedTimes | June 2010

ISPAAdvocacy N.Y. lawmakers amend bedbug bill


or the past year, the International Sleep Products Association has worked with sponsors of a bedbug bill in New York to amend a provision that would have prohibited new and used mattresses from being transported, stored or sold together unless the used mattress has been sanitized. New York, particularly New York City, has seen the number of bedbug infestations jump in recent years. ISPA believes such a requirement would substantially increase retailers’ delivery costs because they would need to use separate trucks to deliver new mattresses and pick up used ones from consumers. The bill also would eliminate the current 30-day comfort return policy allowed in the state. The bill’s sponsors say a returned mattress could become infested with bedbugs during the time it is in the customer’s home. Under the bill, all customer returns (including comfort returns) will be considered used mattresses and must meet labeling and other requirements. In addition, the bill would require that all used mattresses be sanitized before being sold. Currently, New York law requires only that renovated mattresses be sanitized. ISPA opposed the separate transportation requirement and worked with legislators to find a suitable alternative. Sponsors of the Senate and Assembly bills agreed to amend the provision using language provided by ISPA. With the revision, used mattresses will be allowed to be transported on the same truck with new mattresses if the used products are placed in protective covering, such as plastic wrapping. For instance, the materials used to package the

new mattress being delivered might be used for packaging the old mat-

tress that is being removed from the home. The change should advance lawmakers’ goal of controlling the spread of bedbugs without imposing significant new costs on retailers, according to ISPA. The change is important not only for retailers in New York. Other states may use the N.Y. bill as a model when they consider how to address bedbug problems.

Shorts Calif. bill would regulate flame retardants Legislation introduced in the California Senate would require the state to study flame retardants and regulate them accordingly. The mandate would proceed under the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative. While it is unclear at this time whether the legislation would affect mattresses, the International Sleep Products Association has joined other business groups in opposing the bill on the basis that California’s Green Chemistry Initiative is designed to evaluate all chemicals and prioritize them based on risk—not regulate chemicals through “arbitrary” designations. ISPA will continue to oppose the legislation.

CPSC further defining ‘children’s product’ The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act sets new requirements for children’s products, including lead content restrictions and labeling and tracking requirements. The law defines a children’s product as “a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.” The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has released a proposed interpretive rule that lists criteria to be assessed when determining whether a product is a children’s product. They include the manufacturer’s statement on use, product representation, use as commonly recognized by consumers and the CPSC’s guidelines for age determination. To comment on the proposed rule, visit Comments must be submitted by June 21.

Feds propose toddler bed standard The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act requires the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue new standards for a number of children’s products, including toddler beds. The CPSC has released a proposed rule for toddler beds that is largely based on a recently approved voluntary standard set by ASTM International. The CPSC proposed standard doesn’t directly affect mattresses used in toddler beds. Separately, ISPA continues its work on creating a crib mattress safety standard. To read the proposed rule, check

BedTimes | June 2010 |


AdvertisersIndex A. Lava & Son Co. Steve Appelbaum 800-777-5282 (800-777-LAVA)


AFT Corp. Rick Brumfield 800-631-1930


American & Efird Inc. Sandra Reynolds 704-357-2378


Arch Chemicals Tom Robitaille 770-315-2646


Atlanta Attachment Co. Inc. Hank Little 770-963-7369

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Bloomingburg Spring 42 & Wire Form Vickie Schwarm 740-437-7614 BLR Martin Leroux 819-877-2092 Boyteks Tekstíl AS M. Nebi Dogan 90-533-685-6041



BRK Group Jeff Miller 562-949-4394


CertiPUR-US Robert Luedeka 865-657-9840


Costa International Daniel Vazquez 305-885-9761


50 | BedTimes | June 2010

Diamond Needle Corp. Abe Silberstein 800-221-5818


Eclipse International/ 25 Eastman House Stuart Carlitz 800-634-8434 Enriquez Materials & Quilting Inc. Silvia Enriquez 323-725-4955


Global Systems Group Russ Bowman 954-846-0300


Hengchang Machinery Factory Belinda Lau 769-83307931


Hickory Springs Mfg. Co. Rick Anthony 828-328-2201


John Marshall & Co. Ltd. Peter Crone 64-3-341-2004


Kenn Spinrad Inc. Randy Weinstock 800-373-0944


Latex Systems Kitti Charoenpornpanichkul 66-2-326-0886, Ext. 204


Lava Textiles USA Inc. Ann Weaver 864-998-4892 Lenzing Fibers Inc. Nina Nadash 212-944-7898



Middleburg Yarn Processing Co. Inc. Howard Reese 570-374-1284, Ext. 210


New England Needles Inc. Thomas Lees 800-243-3158


Pacific Spring Inc. Victor Nguyen 626-272-8882


P.T. RubberFoam Indonesia Andreas Janssen 62-21-53662190


Quilting Inc. Mark Gibney 800-358-0153


SABA North America LLC Jim Turner 810-824-4964

4, 28

Simalfa Darren Gilmore 973-423-9266


Starsprings International Kai Christensen 46-513-17800


Subiñas Confort S.L. Javier Subinas 34-94-416-04-40


Therapedic International Gerry Borreggine 800-314-4433 Tietex International Ltd. Wade Wallace 800-843-8390



Classifieds For Sale TAPE-EDGE MACHINES, MULTINEEDLE AND SINGLENEEDLE QUILTERS, long-arm label machines, sergers, etc. Contact Victor LeBron, American Plant and Equipment. Phone 864-574-0404; Fax 864-576-7204; Cell 864-590-1700; Email; Web REBUILT AND RECONDITIONED MULTINEEDLE QUILTING MACHINES. Specializing in PATHE precision parts and service. Technical consultants. SEDCO. Phone 201-567-7141; Fax 201-567-5515. TAPE-EDGE MACHINES, QUILTERS & MISCELLANEOUS SEWING MACHINES. Contact Frank Carlino, U.S. Mattress Machinery. Phone 815-795-6942; Fax 815-795-2178; Email GRIBETZ PARAGON M4 & RELIANCE M4 Equipped with PRO ME panel cutters. In excellent, like-new condition. Less than 2,600 hours of use on the Paragon; 1,400 hours on the Reliance. Will demonstrate for interested party. East Coast location. Email

Seeking Employment MULTINEEDLE QUILTER SPECIALIST ➤ Electronics & mechanical ➤ Servo drives, motors, computers & PLCs ➤ Retainer drive upgrade ➤ Re-timing eccentrics ➤ Training 101 operations ➤ Stitching problems Call 772-607-1851 or email

Place your classified ad today! Reach mattress industry professionals around the world with your advertising message through the BedTimes Classifieds. Rates: $3 per word for the first 100 words and $2.50 thereafter; minimum charge of $75. “Blind” box number: $50 per insertion. Ad copy and payment must be received by the first of the month preceding publication. Send ads and payment to BedTimes Classifieds, 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1917. Contact Debbie Robbins, advertising production manager. Phone 336-342-4217; Fax 336-342-4116; Email

SUPPLIERS: List your company in the only directory compiled specifically for the mattress industry! ISPA’s online BedTimes Supplies Guide provides mattress industry professionals around the world with comprehensive information about industry-specific products and services. Users can search by keyword or category to find the products they need without the irrelevant clutter of general internet search engines. The Supplies Guide will also be published in the December 2010 issue of BedTimes magazine. Companies that purchase a complete listing by September 17th will also receive a free listing in the print version. Complement your listing with a display ad in the December issue of BedTimes, insertion deadline October 25th. Contact Kerri Bellias at or 336-945-0265. ISPA’s publishing partner, MultiView, Inc, will contact you soon about listing options. Or call Bill Irwin at MultiView: 800-816-6710. ISPA: 703-683-8371 ·

BedTimes | June 2010 |


TheLastWord Contact us

Quotable “A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.” — Charlotte Brontë

A sound selling idea Have you ever searched a company’s Web site, trying to find a phone number or mailing address only to be led to a generic “Contact Us” email form? It’s annoying. Part of good customer service, whether you’re talking to consumers or business-to-business clients, is making it easy for people interested in your company to contact you. Every Web site should have a clearly marked “Contact Us” section that includes—at the very least—a company mailing address, phone and fax numbers, and an email address. You might want to put this information at the bottom of every page. If you have a Facebook page, Twitter account or are involved in other social media platforms, list those prominently on your Web site, too. The Web site for Jonestown, N.Y.-based furniture and mattress retailer Ruby & Quiri includes basic contact information for the company, but also provides owner Rick Ruby’s personal email address, cell phone number and home phone number. Now that’s someone who truly wants to hear from his customers.

52 | BedTimes | June 2010


eautiful tickings appeal to the consumer’s eye. Smooth organic cottons and fluffy microfibers practically demand that she reach out and touch them. If she does, she might discover the light scent of lavender. Mattress manufacturers know how to appeal to a variety of senses—sight, touch, smell. But what about sound? Sure, some high-tech, high-end bed sets include built-in sound systems or iPod docking stations. But could you be using sound to make your mattresses more appealing? Research by Martin Lindstrom, a marketing consultant and author of Buy*ology, has done research showing the feel-good effects of sounds—everything from a bird song to a cell phone vibrating to a cigarette being lit. Study participants were most interested in and made happiest by the sound of a giggling baby. Consider adding evocative sounds to elements on your Web site or to point-of-purchase materials you design for your dealers. We’re not sure that snoring would make a good soundtrack, but what about a babbling brook for your green products or a softly cooing baby for juvenile bedding?

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BedTimes June 2010  

The Business Journal for the Sleep Products Industry

BedTimes June 2010  

The Business Journal for the Sleep Products Industry