Sleep Industry Opportunity to Help Disaster Victims

Hurricane Harvey Project needs Corporate Donations

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Relief Bed International, an SSA Member Company founded in 2015 with a goal to provide better sleep to victims of natural disasters and to humans challenged by homelessness, has a way we can donate to the Hurricane Harvey victims. We can trust our donation will really get to the people in need!
 
Harvey Matching Project
Through a generous donation from Bekaertdeslee Solutions (www.bekaertdeslee.com/en/solutions) Relief Bed is able to match up to 500 beds to their relief partners in the impact zone. "This partnership will address an immediate need in the area for sleeping surfaces" say founder Scott Smalling.  Relief Bed International is currently working with Food For The Hungry (www.fh.org) who are assisting Orphan Care Solutions  www.orphancaresolutions.com who are on the ground in Texas.  OCS is working hard with foster homes and group homes for the purpose of keeping siblings together. Smalling says, "Currently there is a significant risk of the state separating siblings based on the flooding damages to group homes and host homes."

To Donate go to  www.reliefbed.org or mail checks to PO Box 503 Tacoma, WA 98401. 

Thank You! Please contact Scott Smalling for more information about a corporate donation towards their Hurricane Harvey Project or to learn more about their overall Giving Program (to date they have donated and distributed over 7,000 beds through international relief agencies around the globe and to homeless shelters in the United States). 

Giving Program
Part of the vision for Relief Bed International was to create a turn-key vehicle to help suppliers, manufacturers and retailers in the sleep sector create a Giving component to their companies which not only motivates their customers to purchase it also creates long term brand loyalty.  Another reason to partner with Relief Bed International is that they work with you directly in your market unless you are choosing to fund a specific event like a natural disaster here or abroad.   Hence, when you fund beds through their giving program they help you find the perfect partner in your selling region so you can keep your donations local.  This is not only successful for your local brand, but also a great opportunity for your team to get out into the community they serve. 

Thank You - our industry has a big heart - together we can make a difference!

 

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Specialty Sleep Association Hosts 29 Exhibitors at Summer 2017 Las Vegas Market

Press Release June, 2017      Celebrating 12 years of continuous presence at the Las Vegas Furniture Market (and decades of annual trade shows before that), the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA)  once again hosts a room filled with different brands and manufacturers in Showroom 1565 of Building C at the World Market Center, July 30 – August3, 2017.  SSA Executive Director Tambra Jones confirmed that the SSA has once again sold-out all its exhibit space with 25 returning exhibitors and 5 brand new exhibitors reaching out to retailers at the Las Vegas show as members of the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA.) “We continue to serve as an advocate, a marketing platform for new companies, and support for expanding entrepreneurial companies,” says Jones.

The five new exhibitors include:  Cariloha, makers of what they call “the
Softest Bedding on the Planet”; iAdjust Sleep Products, makers of unique and distinct adjustable beds; Kymdan latex rubber mattresses and pillows; uKnead; makers of the ultimate luxury in Massage Chairs, and The Futon Shop will return with their bio-friendly futons and mattresses.

Cariloha invites retailers to “get ready to bring your customers a sleep experience that's comfier, cleaner and cooler than anything else on the planet” with the Las Vegas Market introduction of The Cariloha Bedding Suite. These new-to-the market products feature “Unique Viscose from Bamboo based memory foam” mattresses, specialty pillows, as well as duvets, sheets, and a fantastic fixture program to help retailers sell in the store.

iAdjust Sleep Products will offer three new introductions for this Vegas market. These include: The1Bed - the perfect adjustable firmness mattress with an adjustable wireless base built into the mattress engineered to work perfect on any flat surface (box spring, platform bed, or RV); the i-Rise Adjustable base features a 9 inch vertical lift making it much easier for anyone to get in and out of their bed at home; and the i-Organic Mattress by iAdjust is a layered system with a removable cover making it easy for the consumer to change the feel of their GOTS and GOLS certified organic mattress for years. iAdjust will have two business card drawings on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday for $500 each. To enter simply come by and drop off a business card.

 Kymdan will debut pure natural latex mattresses and pillows featuring a unique, proprietary processing and molding technology for USA retailers. These distinctive latex mattresses and pillows with Kymdan’s fifteen unique features, offer exquisite comfort, elasticity, and resilient body support. Kymdan’s mattresses have been certified by several globally recognized, prestigious organizations for product quality and safety.

The Futon Shop, (TFS) tell us they are a national leader in natural futons, mattresses, pillows and shikibutons, which are handcrafted in San Francisco from USDA organic cotton, GOTS certified organic wool, GOLS certified organic latex, organic buckwheat hulls and natural coconut coir. They invite retailers “to the place where organic meets comfort at an affordable price”. 

uKnead invites retailers to experience the ultimate luxury in uKnead Massage Chairs. The company will introduce their all new hybrid Lohas model at the market. The new Lohas has zero gravity positioning, slumber program, innovative body detection technology, full cocoon air enclosure, and of course, deep tissue therapeutic massage programs. Combining advanced massage robotics with unparalleled aesthetic design, the uKnead Lohas will be sure to take your breath away.

In addition to these five new exhibitors, Jones invites retailers to visit 25 returning companies and organizations featuring new, refined or expanded sleep products in the SSA Showroom. Some of these participants include:

Danican will be introducing new pillow and mattress protectors. Because they believe that the benefits of always using protectors for your pillow and mattress are significant and should therefore be visually tangible and pleasing to the eye, Danican has streamlined their graphics and switched up their packaging to create a more contemporary and fresh new look for the company’s two popular protector lines – Nature Protect® and SilverTECH Ag4X®. 

Electropedic will feature the company’s Body Sense, the world's first double laminated cooling protector.  It has advanced cooling technology and is waterproof.

ErgoLifeis creating an introductory push this market.  They will showcase three new products  delivering what they say is an “unmatched level of body alignment through a combination of box-springs, pocket‐springs, foams and inserts in the undersurface of each bed, that are all fully adjustable to meet each individual’s needs, weight and height.” 

Their new products include: ErgoLife Zero Stress, suitable for most individuals. The base comes fitted with dials, adjustable slats and fully upholstered in a range of colors. It provides adjustable shoulder, lumbar and hip zones for zero stress and can be fitted to most existing bed frames. The ErgoLife Active, for medium to heavy weight individuals, features double-sided Bonnel springs, soft shoulder, Euro Top comfort layer and a built in ergonomic support.  Finally, the ErgoLife Contour: for medium to lightweight individuals, featuring single or double-sided Pocket spring, extra thick Euro Top comfort layer and built in ergonomic support. Buyers can choose from Dunlop Deluxe or Enduro Foam, pure latex or gel infused memory foam inserts.

Lifestyle Covers:  Longtime show veteran Lifestyle Covers will be featuring their huge selection of new & exciting fashionable futon cover fabrics, and will offer show-exclusive sales.

Naturepedic will feature the  latest in GOTS and GOLS certified organic sleep products, including some new prototype luxury mattresses. The company will also have a broader focus on kids mattresses, headlined by the Verse, which features a roll-packed design for more convenient stocking and shipping. The company makes organic mattresses for adults and children as well as accessories such as waterproof pads, pillows, and sheets. All Naturepedic products are made without harmful chemicals for a healthier night’s sleep.

Noctova Sleep will be introducing their new Hybrid Innerspring program this market. 

Palmpring Organic Mattress will  return with their chemical free mattresses, pillows, and sectional sofas manufactured in Los Angeles, using certified organic latex and recycled coconut husk fiber sourced from India. They offer hypoallergenic, germ, insect and mold resistant products.

REMarkable Pillow will be introducing their “Extraordinary 10 buck Hotel Pillow”.  This 100% “Made in the USA” pillow has high quality shredded CertiPur Gel foam with a beautiful Designer Cover.  It is machine washable and dryable as well. 

Royrack Co is introducing new color choices this summer, so retailers can choose their own color of a Select-A-Mat mattress display system for retailers.  Another new option is an "assembly required" Select-A-Mat, that will give retailers new pricing options.  

Sleep & Beyond is a 3rd generation family owned manufacturer of organic and natural bedding who will be introducing their New myTravel Pillow, which is a 3-in-1 ultimate 100% natural and adjustable travel pillow filled with 100% washable pearl sized woolly puffs, and wool fill and covered in 100% natural cotton Sateen.  They will also feature their New myComforter light, which is filled with 100% washable wool and encased in 100% natural cotton sateen, and ideal for someone who is looking for an eco-friendly comforter and lives in a warmer region or their bedroom temperature cool. This comforter quickly wicks away moisture without making you feel cold and clammy. Finally, the company will feature their organic cotton sheet sets. From seed to shelf, this organic cotton is grown and processed free of pesticides, harmful dyes, and carcinogenic chemicals. It is certified organic according to Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the international stringent standard for organic textiles.

Smartwerks invites retailers to “Improve the key areas of your sleep store with Smartwerks cloud-based Point of Sale, Inventory, and Accounting solution. Process sales and deliveries faster, bring in more customers, and spend less on inventory. Using their extensive analytics tools, retailers will increase bottom-line profits by making smarter buying and selling decisions. Unlike many of the over-simplified products out there today, Smartwerks is “a fully-integrated, complete software package that is equipped to handle the specific needs of the sleep industry." 

The Supernal Sleep System, a division of US-based Transfer Master Products, Inc., is a company that provides what they say is the first holistic bedding solution for today's Baby Boomers, using proprietary technology. They offer an adjustable bed designed with special "state of the art" features, including a simple ergonomic, illuminated wireless hand control, wall hugging action, a European style "head tilt" to cradle the pillow, and the option to vertically elevate the bed up to 10 inches.  

Thomashilfen features German-engineered, patented technologies using the sleepers’ weight to personalize the comfort of each Thevo Bed. Either side of the European Split Queen or Split King sizes can be customized depending on the firmness preference and weight range of the sleeper. Consumers simply visit the company’s website, select their mattress size, preferred firmness rate, and reference Thomashilfen’s recommendation for their body type. Every component of the mattress is altered to fit each sleeper’s needs. Thomashilfen says their Thevo beds provide grade-A, restorative sleep for each sleeping partner. 

U.S. Sleep Products ™ will be introducing their new SwanZey ™ line of mattresses and Cooling Touch pillows. These new mattresses include latex, gel, memory foam, pocket coils, Italian fabric, and a beautiful bamboo cover. New memory foam cooling touch pillows are offered in both gel and ventilated holes, both with a cooling ice fiber washable cover.

W. Silver Products manufactures bed frames and adjustable beds at their family owned plant in Texas.  WSP offers retailers a complete line of bed frames and adjustable beds, with retail price points on adjustable beds ranging from $799 in queen up to $1,299.  All orders are shipped in 48 hours.

For more information on the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA)  Showroom C-1565, Membership, or on BEDFAX.org, contact Tambra Jones , SSA Executive Director at: ssadirector2013@gmail.com or Dale T. Read, President of the SSA at: daler@marketingarmgroup.com; www.sleepinformation.org  

SSA Sponsored free Retailer Workshop at Las Vegas Market - Summer 2017

As a further expression of the SSA’s commitment to independent mattress and bedding retailers, we sponsored a FREE Workshop at the Las Vegas Market on Tuesday afternoon, August 1st.  The room was nearly filled to capacity. Jeff Giagnocavo, Co-owner of Gardner’s Mattress & more in Lancaster, PA was the featured presenter. He zeroed in on key retailer concerns addressing “How Today’s Independent Retailers Can Achieve Success with High Impact , Low Budget Advertising and Marketing.”  At the end of the presentation, the SSA gave out a FREE special edition of Jeff’s book entitled; “77 High Impact, Low Budget Tip To Sell More Mattresses Easily.”

We hope this is just one example of the SSA reaching out to,  and supporting mattress and bedding retailers. It is our plan to do more programs of this or similar nature in the future with a focus on helping our retailer members.

Click here for the Presentation Slides offered at this workshop

SSA President Dale Read talks about “hybrid” beds

In early April, Executive Editor of Furniture Today David Perry wrote a most informative piece in the “Mattress Math” column entitled, “Four reasons why hybrid beds are sizzling at retail.” No need to repeat Dave’s report on median best–selling hybrid prices at specialty stores and furniture stores or the important role that hybrid bed sales have played in increasing retailer sales (if interested, we encourage you to read Dave’s column in Furniture Today.)  The point Dave makes is clear that sales of hybrid beds give retailers a needed boost in sales volume and price points.

With this point in mind, as someone steeped in Specialty Sleep, I’d like to suggest that hybrids are not adversarial to specialty sleep products, but rather are a compatible entity that makes use of BOTH the latest innerspring designs and technology, as well as the innovative materials and design features of specialty sleep products. Hybrids are not just traditional innersprings with a fancy name. They embrace both the newest in innerspring advancements and a whole variety of specialty sleep components including latex rubber; memory foam; highly-engineered polyurethane foams; European-influenced designs;  gel columns and gel foams; natural and organic materials;  adjustable and uniquely designed bed-bases, platforms and support systems; phase-change materials and a whole host of textile covers that offer the latest performance features. The hybrid market today is a melding or amalgamation of the traditional innerspring mattress technologies and the wide variety of special sleep innovations listed above.

To make my point, let’s turn the clock back to the early-to-mid 1990’s. Approximately 92% of all North American mattresses sold were traditional innerspring mattresses featuring three or four basic innerspring or coil designs (Marshall, LFK, continuous or encased coil) with a quilt or some kind of foam or cotton comfort layer.)  These were not a joining of two or more technologies, but basically innerspring beds with a topper layer and a ticking or cover. At that time an estimated 8% of the mattresses sold fell under the new specialty sleep umbrella including waterbeds, airbeds, latex rubber beds, Swedish foam (memory beds), all natural cotton, wool beds and a few gel column beds as well as various types of futons.  Many of these technologies and new bedding companies first appeared on the market at the then Specialty Sleep Association and Futon Association shows held around the country each spring(in Las Vegas every other year prior to the Las Vegas World Market Center.)  During the 1990’s and well into the 2000’s , the specialty sleep categories boomed. Memory foam, airbed and latex rubber sales grew like crazy.  Gel foam, phase-change materials, performance chemistry such as Celliant, and a whole variety of materials with natural, green or health and wellness features advanced both through the innovative companies, as well as process of acceptance, then advocacy by the largest mattress companies.  (The adoption of the memory foam and gel swirl technology by Serta comes to mind.)

At the same time, as the specialty category was exploding in sales, the traditional innerspring designers and marketers fully redesigned and updated their innerspring technology to offer a vast variety of innerspring choices for mattress models. They also had the wisdom to not simply market against specialty products, but to marry specialty features and benefits with their new high technology innerspring designs; and in doing so, they created the new category of the “hybrid” bed, offering consumers the advanced features and benefits of both mattress technologies. Consumers could receive both the resilient support and push back of springs, as well as the conforming and enveloping embrace of various foam and textile technologies.

The fact is this melding of innovations and technologies is by no means completed. At every show, we at the SSA have the fun and the privilege of seeing new entrepreneurs and innovators introduce such things as performance textiles, 3D-string fabric construction, new foams, European bed support systems, heating and coolant systems, healthier and safer, well as sustainable and “organic.” mattress and bedding solutions.

So more than anything else, we see the “hybrid” phenomenon as a catalyst and an opportunity to move forward encouraging our members to introduce new ideas and to expand existing platforms. As one observer said to me, the explosion of the next round of specialty sleep solutions to enhance consumers’ lives is right around the corner. It will depend upon the introduction and advancement of the newest idea (the next memory foam…). Could it be suspended silicon gel mattresses? Or how about air flow suspension? A new combination of springs and air? Who knows for sure? It will come at some point, and we at the SSA will be ready to host, advance and promote the next innovation in sleep

SSA 2017 Member Survey

We really do care about what you think as a member of the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA). Your opinions, suggestions and ideas are important to us. In order to help us understand you better, we sent out a questionnaire to 77 of our active members. We heard back from 31 out of the 77 members giving us a 40% survey response, which by the way is a very representative sample size, and gave us some valuable information.

Fifty-five percent of the respondents told us that they became and remain members because of the SSA Showroom opportunities.  Twenty-two percent said we offer them “general support” within the industry (such as sharing information and industry engagement), and 13 percent stated they like the networking opportunities offered by the SSA. A few mentioned that they were attracted to the SSA’s promotion of marketing “transparency”  (the Bedfax® Program.)

Ninety-three percent of the respondents said they would recommend the SSA to others, really citing the Las Vegas Showroom(this was universal whether a retailer, a supplier or a manufacturer), as well as networking, social and general member support by the SSA staff.

Although the majority responded that there was nothing they would change about the SSA, there were a few who would like to see more offered to retailers, and some would like some innovative marketing ideas for SSA Showroom buyer retention (keep them in the showroom longer.)  Some suggested ideas including more catered hospitality events or a traffic-building, social event.

When specifically asked what they liked the most, 39% of the respondents clearly stated the showroom.  Offering your SSA team a reason to smile, 42% of you cited the SSA Staff (Tambra, especially) as your favorite aspect of the SSA.

For those of you who raised such issues as post market follow-up, greater outreach and communication, more networking and involvement, know that we are planning to expand this newsletter over time, that we are building a stronger, more inviting website, that we are using Facebook and other social /new media more and more. Also we are planning to bring more relevant speakers to the market who can address current mattress / bedding “retail” issues.

The SSA Staff and the BoD thank all of you who participated in the SSA survey. We thank you for the support you have shown us, and we will look at each suggestion offered thoughtfully.

By the way, if you’ve made a suggestion or have a project in mind that will enhance the SSA, and you’d like to step forward as a volunteer / leader, please reach out to us.

We look forward to seeing you at the Summer Las Vegas market.

Stop in to see us as C-1565….       

Dale Read -  President, Specialty Sleep Association

SSA Showroom Sold-out for Winter 2017 Las Vegas Market

2 New Exhibitors as well as space expansion for returning companies.

Friant, CA – January 16, 2017 – With 28 different mattress, bedding and home furnishings manufacturers exhibiting in Showroom C-1565 at the Winter 2017 Las Vegas market, The Specialty Sleep Association ( SSA)   is sold out and once again drawing in a mix of retail stores and e-commerce buyers. The main story for the SSA is that longer term, veteran exhibitors have requested larger spaces within the showroom. As a result there are only two brand new exhibitors, Kayfoam Woolfson / Kaymed from Dublin, Ireland and Muller Textiles from Germany and Troy, Michigan. “A review of our past retail attendees’ database,” says Tambra Jones, SSA Executive Director “reveals that we draw in hundreds of retail buyers ranging from the biggest mattress and bedding retail shops to the single store mom and pop boutiques and furniture stores.  We are pleased to count hundreds of different buyers who come into our show space to see the new ideas, innovations and products offered by our SSA members who show in Las Vegas.” Jones explains that the energy can be electrifying in the showroom with different groups of buyers ranging from the smallest one person design firms and mom and pop stores to the very largest mattress/ bedding retailers in the business. “There is always something new, something different to draw in the buyers,” says Jones. “This market presents an extensive cross section of all types of innovations and technologies from various mattresses, support systems, foams, textiles, heating and cooling technologies as well as furniture, top-of-bed and foundation or under-the-bed accessories.  “There is always something new, unique, cutting-edge and different in our showroom.”

New exhibitor Kaymed, the Ireland-based mattress and foam producer is emerging as a leader in technologies that measure and fit consumers to sleep products. The company’s diagnostic systems feature patented science and use modern consumer devices, that are accurate and effective - yet easy for retailers to adopt.  Kaymed will showcase one diagnostic system for mattress recommendation and another for pillow recommendation. Both systems capture the relevant consumer body characteristics to enable an accurate selection and come with sister devices to measure the characteristics of products sold with the system. Kaymed is making it very easy and quick for retailers to bring their technologies onto their shop floors.

Kaymed believes now is the era of sleep diagnostics systems. Bricks and mortar retailers have to compete hard against digital merchants with even better retail experiences to provide consumers with compelling reasons to leave the couch and come in-store.  The systems are proven to increase sales performance and are now used in stores across Europe and Asia.

Muller Textiles, also a new exhibitor, is the global leader in 3-D spacer fabrics. The company is a 4th generation family-owned company based in Germany. Muller is  excited to launch the company’s  3Mesh™ brand of technical textiles to the US Home furnishings industry in the SSA Showroom at the World Market. Muller has built the 3Mesh™ product line on two primary platforms: Maximized Breathability and Optimized Pressure Distribution. As North American Sales Manager, Nate Cangemi, explains, “ One of our primary objectives for exhibiting in Las Vegas is to educate the market about spacer fabrics. Our 3Mesh™ product line is designed for in-bed application, both as support and comfort. We invite retailers and manufacturers to come see the next step in the evolution of mattress breathability at our space in the Specialty Sleep Association showroom, C-1565.

Four returning exhibitors have reported that they will be featuring new products:

Contour Products is an innovative leader in the consumer health, support and wellness category. Since the introduction of the company’s product in 1991, Contour has emerged as a worldwide distributor of solutions-based comfort & support products. At Las Vegas Market Winter 2017, Countour will be featuring the Mattress Genie Incline Sleep System; adjustable support and comfort for any mattress.

 Danican® will feature the company’s new 3D flo™ bedding program which features pillows, mattress toppers and a mattress. Mattresses sport hybrid construction of pocketed spring coils and memory foam core, encased in Danican’s specialized 3-dimensional 100% TENCEL®, 3D-string fabric construction to encase this entire new line of bedding. 3D flo™ mattress toppers are a 3” combination of top layer memory foam and a firmer bottom layer, all wrapped up in the same supple TENCEL® cover. The result is greater comfort for the sleeper  caused by increased weight distribution due to lowered pressure points on the body - AND increased ventilation during slumber. Pillows include the 3D flo™ ELECT and 3D floTM FLEX designs which cater to both the side sleeper and a flexible option for more flexible [side, back, and tummy] sleepers. All 3D flo™ items are trimmed in red, white & blue webbed piping for bold appeal on the sales floor. Due to popular demand, all Danican® mattresses are vacuum and roll packed for easy distribution and storage. 

Danican is also very upbeat about announcing a European contemporary showroom merger, for the first time showing for Germany’s IQ-Bed celebrating a 5-year anniversary for Scandinavian/American Danican®. These innovative products will be showcased in the SSA showroom. Danican® (mattresses/pillows) and IQ-Bed (beds/bed frames) are pairing up at this market to bring dealers the best product designs of this niche market - with all the European-quality retailers and their customers have come to expect. 

Thomashilfen, North America -   This January Thomashilfen will launch the company’s new Thevo Pillow. The versatile Thevo Pillow compliments the benefits of the Thevo Bed by providing further support to the head and neck. The three part uniquely designed Thevo Pillow can be inverted to create a two-part pillow, providing targeted support to the neck and vertebrae at the top of the spine, and giving anatomic support in every position. Also, just as with the Thevo Bed cover, the Thevo Pillow is fully washable. This scientifically designed and tested anatomic pillow is expected to retail at $34.99

This last year Thomashilfen expanded their brand with the launch of Thevo Bed Sleep System, a mattress-frame combination designed to improve overnight rejuvenation by stimulating the nerves in the spinal column for full-body recovery, alleviating aches and pain through MiS Micro-Stimulation®. The launch of Thevo Beds to the consumer industry was no surprise, as Thomashilfen’s German engineering is backed by 60 years of sleep studies, user reviews, and a history of innovation in the medical industry, the proven product is now available to the consumer. Thomashilfen achieved partnerships with several internationally acclaimed ecommerce retailers, and now Thevo Beds can be purchased through Sam’s Club (www.samsclub.com), Wayfair Canada (www.wayfair.ca), Houzz Marketplace (www.houzz.com).

W. Silver Products: Building upon the explosive growth of the adjustable bed category, W Silver Products will be expanding its comprehensive line of adjustable bed bases with key improvements and new product introductions. New models will be introduced in the company’s Silver Series line, and the company will also be updating their wireless remote controls in their Gold Series to a more modern remote design. W. Silver will also be introducing their new Stormer Folding Foundation.

For more information on the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA)  Showroom C-1565, or BEDFAX.org, contact

Tambra Jones , SSA Executive Director at: ssadirector2013@gmail.com

or

Dale T. Read, President of the SSA at: daler@marketingarmgrp.com

www.sleepinformation.org

www.BEDFAX.org

SSA attends important meeting in Washington D.C.

By Dale Read, SSA President

On October 20th 2016 three people informally representing the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) attended a five hour Roundtable sponsored by the USDA-National Organic Program (NOP)  and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to Examine Consumer Perceptions of “Organic” claims for Non-Argicultural or Non-Food Products. Angela Owen, Chairman of the SSA and Owner of Suite Sleep, Dale “Sebastian” Luckwitz from SSA and OTA member company Naturepedic and Dale Read, President of the SSA attended the roundtable report on research conducted by the government agencies; and also, a research presentation on consumer perceptions and attitudes conducted by the Organic Trade Association (OTA).  The SSA is a member of the Organic Trade Association ( OTA) and attended the “consumer perception” research report session with other members and people associated with the OTA’s “Misleading Organic Claims Task Force” including people representing the Global Organic Textile Standard ( GOTS), Textile Exchange ( OCS-100), Control Union, Oregon Tilth, organic textile clothing manufacturers and several mattress and bedding manufacturers, as well as a number of key OTA staff members who have been advocating for a clear non-food “organic” claims definition at the federal level.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) participated in the roundtable along with experts from The Environmental Working Group, Consumer Reports, The University of Maryland, Texas State University, the FTC and USDA-NOP. A variety of government researchers, outside academic researchers and consumer advocates weighed-in on research findings and industry information concerning consumer perceptions and expectations regarding non-food products that make “organic” marketing claims. Noting that historically the USDA-NOP regulated “agricultural” crops at the farm or plantation level and processing and marketing of foods, but not non-food categories, the group discussed examples of blatant misuse of what might be expected to be an “organic” product, as well as existing non-government third-party standards for textile retail products such as mattresses and bedding.  The meeting also explored “Consumer Misperceptions and Organic Claims in the Marketplace…” as well as “Approaches to Improving Organic Claims…”

The Issue is Far from Resolved but there are Several Observations we can make:

•          The SSA is a strong advocate for transparency in marketing claims. The SSA’s BEDFAX® program is not a “green” program, but instead a contents label program advocating a 100% transparency for consumers regarding marketing claims. As a result, we are very interested in consumer education regarding mattress contents, and we are seeking to do away with “green washing” or any possible misleading or erroneous claims regarding mattresses and bedding. As a result of our vision and mission, our commitment embracing transparency and advocating consumer education, having unregulated and unclear non-food “organic” claims in the marketplace is a key concern for the SSA.  

 •         Mattresses and other “fiber or textile” based mattress, bedding and textile products are not the same as personal care products ( shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, creams, lotions) or dry cleaning services. There is a very clear and well-established third-party international standard for both textile components and finished products in the form of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). More on this in a second. Because there already exists a widely recognized credible international standard for mattresses and bedding, we would strongly suggest that non-food organic rules and regulations for mattresses and bedding not be lumped in with personal care products, dry cleaning or other products not covered by such legitimate standards as GOTS and the Global Organic Latex Standard ( GOLS). Due to the unique situation that already exists, mattresses and bedding should be treated separately from personal care products and other non-textile related products.

•          While not the only standard dealing for “organic” textiles and textile related products such as mattresses and bedding , (there is also Textile Exchange’s (TE) OCS-100 for textile components tracking) and the Global OrganicLatex Standard (GOLS) for latex mattresses and pillows;  the Global Organic Standard  ( GOTS) is indeed the most widely recognized and, long standing international standard for finished “organic” mattresses and bedding. GOTS certifications for finished organic mattresses and bedding are achieved only after a rigorous inspection by credible professional national and international certifying agencies such as Control Union and Oregon Tilth.  GOTS also allows companies to market “ Made with Organic” claims based on a 70%-plus organic content, and it allows for certified components, which can be marketed correctly.

•          Environmentally and socially responsible and conscious manufacturers can also make a variety of “sustainable” or healthier and safer claims with such certifications as Rain Forest Alliance, GreenGuard, Oeko-Tex 100 if they choose a transparent marketing claims program that does not entail an “organic” claim.  However some consumers DO specifically look for “organic” mattresses, pillows, sheets, toppers; and for those consumers, the GOTS program is a well-established, third-party certified program recognized worldwide. It does entail specific set-asides and 70% or 95% bio-based, naturally organic materials requirements. These specifications and standards have been studied for years and resolved on a worldwide basis. While not a “pure” organic standard from some consumers’ perceived viewpoints, it is clearly a widely accepted and worldwide standard that allows for healthier, safer products that are harmful chemical and GMO-free product for the consumer.

This issue is far from resolved at this point with the USDA-NOP and the FTC.  The industry has until December 1st. to submit comments on the topic of correctly marketing claims for “organic mattresses and bedding.” Not all SSA members who are concerned about this issue see this in the exact same light. We share a common belief in “transparency and consumer education” regardless of which “organic standard” you embrace. We welcome your comments and thoughts on this issue.

 

SSA Representatives Angela Owen, Dale Read and Sebastian Luckwitz (2nd, 4th and 6th from left respectively)

SSA Representatives Angela Owen, Dale Read and Sebastian Luckwitz (2nd, 4th and 6th from left respectively)

SSA Has Revised Its Vision, Mission, Elected New Officers and Board Members, Two New Websites, the BEDFAX® Program and Created a New SSA Logo

After two years of working-committee meetings and SSA Board of Directors meetings, the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) has completed the non-profit industry group’s updated vision and mission statements; elected new officers; created an expanded board; introduced two new websites (www.sleepinformation.org and www.bedfax.org ); introduced the final, restructured BEDFAX® consumer disclosure contents label program and promulgated the new SSA logofor membership and marketing purposes at the Las Vegas Summer 2016 market.
Starting with a meeting held in the snow in Boulder, Colorado in the early spring of 2014, over a period of two years the SSA redefined its overall vision for the future and its mission (see below) , and then set about restructuring the governing board, the association’s websites, its consumer transparency labeling program and concluded this fundamental phase of the change process with the introduction of the new clean, crisp and modern SSA logo (see attached). “It took us two plus years,” says SSA President Dale T. Read; “however, this focused non-profit industry association has emerged with new board members and officers, new vitality and energy, new websites, a renewed message and a new look and feel with both the BEDFAX® program and the SSA logo.”

MISSION STATEMENT
“To serve sleep innovators, both manufacturing and retail, by promoting members, product transparency, and education.”

Vision
SSA’s vision is to be a trusted authority for consumers on product transparency and education for specialty sleep products.

“Our re-focus with the updated mission statement,” says Read, “puts us back center stage in the business of advocacy for innovators and emerging companies in the specialty sleep field. If you look at our SSA Showroom in Las Vegas, where we have over 30 manufacturing exhibitors, you will see innovative, cutting edge products offered by emerging companies. These innovators offer the industry new types of foams, suspension systems, biometric monitoring and measurement systems, organic materials, new designs, accessories for heating and cooling,  power and electronics, as well as top-of-bed, under-the-bed andfashion accessories to name a few of the product categories,” says Read. “For over two decades we have been an advocate or a host for emerging specialty sleep companies offering new products to the retail marketplace. Many of the larger, well known mattress/ bedding exhibitors in Las Vegas today started out with the SSA over 20 years ago on our show floors in Orlando, San Francisco or Las Vegas. Both returning and new companies approach us for every market, and we are pleased to serve the vital role as an advocate and a sponsor for these emerging companies,” states Read.

“We should also note because of this vital service, which we offer specialty sleep and accessories manufacturers and the attending retailers of all types and sizes, we have sold out our show space for the past several years.  Since the time following the Recession in 2010, we at the SSA have experienced a strong rejuvenation, and financial solvency that allows us to carry out our multi-faceted mission focused around advocacy and retailer education of innovative sleep products.”

News Leadership and the Next Horizon  

This past summer in Las Vegas, the SSA elected three new officers to govern the board and added two new members to the SSA board.  Angela Owen, CEO and Owner of Colorado based Suite Sleep was elected to serve as Chairman of the Specialty Sleep Association. Owen, who has more than fifteen years of experience in the sustainable bedding industry, sees her leadership as a bold challenge to try to change the industry’s “smoke and mirrors” sales tactics to clear and transparent product labeling. “As the new chairperson of the SSA, I see two distinct challenges ahead,” states Owen, “First, we need to redirect our education and appeal for the BEDFAX®  transparency labeling program to retailers and consumers, as opposed to just manufacturers. Secondly, we are going to explore added-value for SSA members to encourage growth and expansion of our membership including specialty sleep retailers, manufacturers and industry suppliers,” says Owen.

Sarah Bergman, who is Vice President of Marketing & Creative for PureCare, who oversees the company’s brand development, design, social media, PR, marketing and retail enhancements ( POP,etc.) was elected to serve as Vice Chairman of the SSA. At the same meeting, Pascal Roberge, Director of Sales for Beaudoin, a leader in bed frames, support systems and upholstered beds was elected to serve as the SSA Secretary / Treasurer. Among other duties, Roberge will be focused on developing SSA-sponsored research and marketing advocacy for the expanding under-the-bed, frame and support category.  Dale Read and Tambra Jones were also re-appointed to serve respectively as President and Executive Director of the SSA.

In addition to the three newly elected officers, the SSA board also elected two new members to the board expanding it to a total of ten voting members.

With the goal of increasing and strengthening retailer representation on the SSA board, the board has elected specialty sleep veteran Brian Davis, General Manager of the Saint Louis, MO-based Bedroom Store with 15 locations in the Midwest. Davis’s long affiliation with specialty sleep guru and former President of the SSA Denny Boyd helps re-focus the SSA in its mission to address specialty sleep issues at the retail level. Davis will serve for three years on the board. At the same time, looking for new blood and an international perspective, the board elected Thomas Frismodt, CEO of US-based Danican, an innovative and growing specialty sleep company, to a three-year term. Frismodt has blazed a trail of marketing and product achievements at companies in Denmark, Sweden and now in North and South America. Frismodt’s company brings a new, expanding and modern touch to the SSA showroom C-1565 at the World Market Center, Las Vegas.

The unveiling or introduction of the new SSA Logo was the final act or icing on the new cake for the SSA. The logo was developed by a branding committee consisting of Sarah Bergman, Mark Miller, Angela Owen and Tambra Jones. “We are pleased to introduce this new, clean, contemporary and stylish logo: one that fulfills our vision, mission and our future plans. It works very well with our new BEDFAX® logo introduced earlier in the year at the ISPA EXPO in Florida, states Executive Director Jones.

New Companies Fill Out The SSA Showroom’s Show-Within-A-Show Product Lineup

With 30-plus different mattress, bedding and home furnishings manufacturers and retailers exhibiting in Showroom C-1565 at the summer 2016 Las Vegas market , The Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) reports that it is once again a magnet for retail store and e-commerce buyers. 

“We faithfully scan all buying groups entering our show space,” says Tambra Jones, SSA Executive Director, “and we are pleased to count hundreds of different buyers who come into our show space to see the new ideas, innovations and products offered by our SSA members who show in Las Vegas.” Jones explains that the energy can be electrifying in the showroom with different groups of buyers ranging from the smallest one person design firms and mom and pop stores to the very largest mattress/ bedding retailers in the business. “There is always something new, something different to draw in the buyers,” says Jones. “This market presents an extensive cross section of all types of innovations and technologies from various mattresses, support systems, heating and cooling technologies as well as furniture, top-of-bed and foundation or under-the-bed accessories. There is always something new, unique, cutting-edge and different in our showroom.”


This summer many of the returning exhibitors have taken larger spaces to offer more product displays and demonstrations to buyers. There are two new exhibitors in the SSA Show Space. They are Levitation Laboratories, which features the new multi-patented UpLift™ 3-in-1 Weightless Mattress System and Contour Products, Inc., which features top-of-bed cervical, orthopedic, side/back sleep, cooling, leg pillow, and bed wedges . 

According to Dale T. Read, President of The Specialty Sleep Association (SSA), the non-profit association has now completed their two year program of redefining the association’s vision and mission; the complete administrative and legal re-organization of the BEDFAX® Verified Mattress Contents labeling program and the launch of the association’s new logo and graphics standards. “It has taken us two years, (since March of 2014), but we now have a revised and updated duo-mission focused on consumers and our members. We also have the formal launch of the BEDFAX® Verified program under way and now we have a whole new modern, clean look and feel with new signage, graphics and logo for the SSA.” Read says that the SSA is now approaching manufacturers and retailers to explain how the BEDFAX consumer disclosure contents label helps educate the discerning consumer about “What’s In This Mattress?” The BEDFAX contents label program is a voluntary, third-party, industry contents labeling that informs a consumer of exactly what is inside a participating mattress model by weight or volume including what is in the cover, the quilt or comfort layer and the core of the participating mattress. 


The following individual manufacturers will be exhibiting in the SSA Showroom C-1565:


Allassea Sleep Systems will be introducing the company’s new Triple Threat Mattress shield, a mattress encasement that kills bed bugs, dust mites, mosquitoes, within 24 hours of contact. This patent-pending, hypo-allergenic, nano-net technology is unlike other shields on the market because it kills pests while it is safe for people and pets.


Bio Sleep Concept Inc. This company, which focuses on natural and organic latex mattresses, futons and latex toppers, as well as “Downia” feather and down pillows, organic cotton and wool pillows will feature their exclusively licensed “Downia” feather and down products. Downia is a century old company that focuses on best quality products that are certified by the New Zealand asthma foundation.


Contour Products Inc. will be showing top-of-bed cervical, orthopedic, side/back sleep, cooling, leg pillow, and bed wedges in the SSA Showroom in Las Vegas for the first time as the company celebrates their 25th year being an innovative leader in the specialty sleep, comfort and support industry. They manufacture a variety of pillows, wedges, seat solutions and CPAP accessories that help to comfort, support and properly align the body for overall comfort and improved well-being. An emphasis on posture, ergonomics and support is what separates Contour Products from the competition. We believe that being comfortable is not just an indulgence, rather it is a necessity to obtaining quality sleep and for maintaining good health.

Danican …. This fast growing Superior-Quality Scandinavian Bedding Products company featuring mattresses, mattress toppers, pillows, pillow protectors, mattress protectors, cooling pillow cases and cooling sheets is expanding on its highly successful container program by adding a wider and deeper product assortment. New at this market will be adjustable bed frames, as well as new types of mattresses, pillows and duvets.

East Grace Corporation of China will be showing their full line of mattresses including innerspring, latex and foam mattresses with cotton covers.

ERGO Beds International from Australia is featuring mattresses and sleep ensembles with “Ergonomic Technology” designed to conform the mattress and the bed base to the human form. The specially designed mattress can be adjusted to align the sleeper for a better night’s sleep.

Ergo Sleep Centers, a fast-growing retailer of ergonomic and symptom-specific sleep products, will show three of their market-tested Ergo Majestic line. At the last market, Ergo Sleep Centers first introduced four of the five-bed Ergo Majestic line, designed specifically for Baby Boomers and those over sixty-five, a majority of whom are coping with physical conditions associated with aging. The company will now introduce additions or changes to the summer Las Vegas market to show improved products to mattress / bedding and home furnishings retailers. Specific improvements and additions to the line include the ERGO-Majestic Solution to offer a firm mattress that is capable of providing superior ergonomic support with the capability of supporting up to 350 lbs. per side of the mattress. They also upgraded the ERGO-Majestic Plus providing better envelopment around the shoulders and hips using the new airflow layer to offer even more cushioning comfort for both back and side sleepers.

Forever Foundations will continue their commitment to re-inventing the foundation with their display of the latest updated and revised line of bedroom accessories. The company will feature the brand new Store More Black foundation, the Forever BedPower power strip, the under-the-bed LED bedlight and the revised and redesigned under-the-bed Store More BedDrawer. 

Grün Komfort is returning with their organic and natural products. Their certified product line ranges from latex mattresses, coconut mattresses, luxury duvets, pillows and even a full baby and teen line with accessories. They believe their premium bedding line provides a most healthy and natural sleep experience!

Innerspace Luxury Products, marketers of compression-rolled Certi-PUR memory foam and polyurethane mattresses, will be expanding their line by introducing new tables. These tables are a high quality low retail price point design.


Levitation Laboratories, making their Las Vegas Market debut, will be introducing two new debut products for 2016: GlideOn™ Mattress Maneuvering System that provides ease of mattress rotation and maneuverability—all while holding an optional bed skirt neatly in place; and its UpLift™ Weightless Mattress System that combines all the mattress maneuvering and bed skirt control features of GlideOn™ with its patented Weightless Mattress Technology, rendering the mattress virtually weightless in seconds for ease of bed making in home, health care or hospitality venues.

Naturepedic will feature their improved high-value Chorus Organic Mattress, New EOS Essentials Organic Mattresses and New Freight Program. The fast-growing Ohio-based pioneer in certified organic mattresses and bedding for adults and children, will be featuring two organic mattresses aimed at providing high performance with superior value for the growing adult health, wellness and safer living retail marketplace.

Noctova Sleep, manufacturers of the gel memory foam and youth collection mattresses, gel memory foam and latex pillows, adjustable bed bases and Noctova Cool, cooling protectors will be featuring their “Deluxe Model” adjustable bed base with massage features and a wireless remote.

REMarkable Pillow by TMI makers of American made memory foam pillows with high performance covers ( bamboo,Tencel, Cool Gel, mica crystal and cashmere) will be introducing their patented new Body Pillow. Unlike other body pillows, this body pillow has two separate cavities designed to give full support to your head as well as your lower back. Even the shape has been carefully designed for body shapes of all sizes including pregnant women. 

Sleep & Beyond, a third generation family owned manufacturer of organic and natural bedding, will be featuring their new myWoolly pillowcase, a 100% washable wool-filled pillow case, along with myWoolly Travel Pillow, a 100% washable and adjustable wool-filled pillow. New sizes will for the myWoolly pillow include king size. They will also feature organic cotton sheets in TwinXL size. 


Thomashilfen, North America, with its 60 years of expertise in the sleep industry and 180 international patents, is in the process of launching with Sams Club (on0line) and with Sears Canada. The company, which recently completed the Canadian Furniture show, has recently launched a new website that is retailer and consumer focused. Offered in a variety of firmnesses and softnesses these German e-engineered beds of the future provide a unique bed frame design with an open cell multi-density Swiss foam mattress using no harsh chemicals to achieve FR. Based on feedback in the North American market, consumers now have a choice between a Soft, Medium, or Extra Firm ThevoRelief.” 


Tyler Net, Inc. is bringing back Smartwerks, Inc. their affordable, cloud-based Point of Sale, Inventory and Accounting solution that is easy to use.  They say it will help retailers to process sales faster, know their customers better and be smarter about their products. Smartwerks will have Customer Referral and Rewards programming features.

Universal Forest Products, Inc. which features the Cinch Sleeper™ Bed Foundation Kit will show their patent-pending assembly which uses Snap-Tight™ clips that require no tools or metal fasteners making it quick and easy to assemble and disassemble their easy-to-carry bed foundation. The Cinch Sleeper serves as a mattress foundation, and can be used with or without most metal bed frames, and it pairs perfectly without any mattress.

Viscosoft, the International pillow and protector supplier will be expanding with the launch of the new Infiniti memory foam mattress program at the SSA Showroom C-1565. The new line will include three 12-inch memory foam mattresses that are specifically designed for the retailer to use with adjustable bases in their test-rest area. 

W. Silver Products, which is a family owned company that operates a steel mill in El Paso, Texas, manufactures their own angle iron from reprocessed railroad track. The company will be featuring their line of adjustable bed frames which they make in the same factory as their full line of bed frames and support systems.

SSA to host Greenguard seminar in Las Vegas - UL To Give GREENGUARD Certification Presentation to Furniture and Mattress Manufacturers and Retailers at the Winter 2015 Las Vegas Market

“Clearing the Air on Chemical Emissions Claims”

Sponsored by the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA)

Friant CA- November 12, 2014 -  The Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) and UL jointly announced today that Mr. Scott Steady, Product Manager, Volatile Organic Compound(VOC’s) Emissions Testing and Certification, UL Environment will be giving a presentation to the furniture and mattress/ bedding industry on chemical emissions and the UL GREENGUARD Certification program.  The program will be entitled: “GREENGUARD: Clearing the Air on Chemical Emissions Claims.”  and will be held in Las Vegas World Market Center, Room C-174, Monday, January 19th from 4 PM until 5:30 PM.

Dale T. Read, President of the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA), says that the association and its BEDFAX® program is very pleased to sponsor this in-depth informative program that reaches out to all furniture and home furnishings suppliers, manufacturers and retailers who wish to understand the GREENGUARD Certification program and how it works to back-up chemical emission claims concerning their products with technical data.

Discussing the topic of chemical emissions, also known as VOC Emissions, Scott Steady explains, “Most of our exposure to environmental pollutants occurs by breathing indoor air.  Bedding and furniture products can emit chemicals such as formaldehyde and other VOCs that can cause odor, irritation, and other health effects.  As consumers seek healthier, more sustainable products, increasing scrutiny has been placed on manufacturer’s health and sustainability claims.  The GREENGUARD Certification program tests products to strict chemical emissions limits, which contribute to the creation of healthier interiors.  GREENGUARD Certification provides the market with solutions and resources to identify products with lower chemical emissions, and provides manufacturers with credible tools to legitimize and promote their sustainability efforts.”

 The January program will provide concrete information to manufacturers and marketers of furniture and bedding products including:

 

 

• What is the importance of Indoor Air Quality and how does it affect health?

• Learn what GREENGUARD Certification is, the technical requirements, the certification process and how it differs from other programs

• How GREENGUARD Certification provides value to manufacturers, consumers and retailers

• What manufacturers can do ensure the product claims they make are accurate and credible.

The SSA’s Read states “This is another SSA sponsored program in a series focused on educating and informingmanufacturers and retailers about contents labels, certifications, truth in marketing claims and consumer transparency.  In the past SSA has sponsored speakers such as Environmental Consultant Vicki Worden of Worden Associates; Lori Wyman of Control Union who spoke on the Global Organic Textiles Standard(GOTS) ; and Attorney James Kohm, Enforcement Attorney for the Federal Trade Commission(FTC)  ‘Green Guides.’ This is one more service the SSA is providing to our members to keep them and their bedding industry colleagues informed in the arena of marketing claims, standards and certifications,” says Read.

 

About GREENGUARD Certification

UL's GREENGUARD Certification program helps manufacturers create - and helps buyers identify and trust - interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions, improving the quality of the air in which the products are used. All certified products must meet stringent emissions standards based on established chemical exposure criteria.

 

About UL
UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for 120 years. Its more than 10,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. UL partners with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visithttp://www.UL.com.

 

For more information on the Specialty Sleep Association ( SSA) and the Winter 2015 Las Vegas Market, go to:

 www.sleepinformation.org

 www.BEDFAX.org