Member Spotlight: Boyd Sleep - From Specialty Sleep to Mainstream

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It’s 1977 in a vibrant midwestern college town on the shore of the Big Muddy in central MO where a young entrepreneur gazes out a sparkling window of his newly opened Waterbed Store. A gaze that eventually spans four decades, multiple retail stores, factories and warehouses and many thousands of happy well rested customers. Understanding his mission early, founder Denny Boyd sought to develop and bring to market products that provide “Quality Sleep for a Better Life”. Rapid growth in its retail business and the drive to innovate led the company into developing and manufacturing a wide array of sleep products. Boyd began manufacturing under Boyd Specialty Sleep and Accent Bedroom Furniture and was soon supplying retail chains nationally, as well the company’s own Missouri based stores, with Waterbeds, Airbeds, Memory Foam, Latex and Bedroom Furniture.

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Since then, industry and consumer awareness of what constitutes healthy sleep and how it plays a vital role in the quality, longevity, and productivity of our lives has increased exponentially, continually reinforcing the importance of the mission Denny undertook with his company all those years ago. Denny Boyd is the first to say that his experience over the years as a retailer provides him with a deeper understanding of the priorities of his wholesale customers and retail consumers, as well as insights into product development to satisfy the end consumer’s desire for comfortable and supportive sleep surfaces.

Combining advances in sleep technology with this unique understanding of the consumer’s expectations continues to power the ongoing success of his company in its mission to achieve “Quality Sleep for a Better Life”.

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As part of the Specialty Sleep Association’s collective of retailers and manufacturers who tirelessly develop and bring to market mattresses that incorporate memory foam, latex, air and flotation into superior bedding products, Boyd continues to develop specialized patented mattress technologies, and innovations. Boyd Specialty Sleep has been voted to the Small Business Hall of Fame and the American Dream Award and has been recognized by Inc. Magazine 5 separate times as one of the nation's 500 fastest growing privately held companies. Boyd Specialty Sleep has also been recognized by Walmart as a No.1 vendor for complete shipments and on-time deliveries. With over 35 patents and worldwide distribution of its products, Boyd Sleep is honored to be the only company in the industry to be recognized as both Manufacturer of the Year and Retailer of the Year by the Specialty Sleep Association. Sleep products traditionally marketed as “Specialty Sleep” such as memory foam, air and latex, have grown substantially in popularity in today’s marketplace and are no longer segmented at retail as “Specialty Sleep”. Boyd Specialty Sleep added traditional innersprings and Hybrid bed collections to its assortment of memory foam, latex, air and flotation bed-in-a box offerings as well as adjustable bases, platform bed frames, and decorative platform beds.

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Adapting to changing consumer perceptions as well as the breadth of products now offered, Boyd Specialty Sleep changed its name to Boyd Sleep in 2017. Boyd Sleep is the only company in the industry to offer ALL the major types of specialty and traditional sleep surfaces under a stable of high-profile national brands that include Nautica Home™, Thomasville®, Drexel Heritage®, Broyhill® and Boyd Sleep™. These include waterbeds, air bed, latex beds, memory foam beds, innerspring beds and hybrid beds that combine two or more of these components. Boyd Sleep also offers a full line of temporary sleep solutions that solve a wide array of consumer needs for extra sleeping accommodations.

Denny Boyd and his company continue to drive growth with cutting-edge sleep product technology and distribution and marketing strategies that have improved consumer sleep quality as well as increased the profitability and success of retail partners.

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How mattresses are purchased has changed. Product research and shopping now occurs largely online where consumers demand convenience, choice and control as they shop. Having perfected the art and science of developing mattresses made of several material types that must decompress fully and correctly, Boyd Sleep began producing and shipping compressed mattresses in a box over 10 years ago. Today Boyd offers several collections of compressed Hybrid, Innerspring, Memory Foam, Latex, Air and Flotation mattresses, from the very simple inexpensive two-layer mattresses most commonly found on the internet, to complex multi-layer support structures that provide a range of comfort and support. This wide array of compressed bed in a box product includes patented technologies for cooling, and ventilation providing selection and choice of comfort badly needed in online mattress offerings. As digital marketing technology transforms the shopping experience for mattresses, and as consumers demand convenience, choice and control over the mattress purchase, Boyd Sleep’s Bed in a Box packaging strategy lends itself perfectly to these consumer preferences.

As the shopping trends unfold, industry analysts1 find a majority of consumers prefer shopping on-line in the comfort of their home and making final selections in a retail setting where they can experience the mattress.   Boyd Sleep accommodates the Omni Channel retail process in several ways.    Boyd Sleep’s company owned web sites   https://topaire.com/,  https://www.boydwaterbeds.com/ and https://www.nightairbeds.com/ offer the company’s waterbed and airbed sleep systems along with adjustable beds and platform bedframes with free returns and generous trial periods.  The  https://topaire.com/ site features the company’s proprietary innovation in air support that changes up your existing mattress into a personalized dual adjustable air bed,  transforming any mattress to perfectly support you!

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Retailers may purchase these products and have them available for customers who have found the product online but prefer to purchase in store. All Boyd Sleep mattresses may be shipped via Fedex or UPS direct to the consumers home. Boyd Sleep provides a full complement of digital marketing assets for retailers use in developing online andsocial mediaproduct presentations. Boyd Sleep also provides“My Mattress Now™” drop ship to the consumer service for retailers who want to offer their customers buying in store the convenience of shipping directly to their home.

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Marking its 42nd anniversary Boyd is excited to announce its first Nautica Home mattress collection at the upcoming Las Vegas Furniture Market. Nautica® is a top searched brand online. Nautica® brand’s search frequency per month is equitable to searches for Sleep Number® and Tempur-Pedic® offering retailers a powerful brand opportunity to drive their sales both in store and online at full margins. The Nautica Home™ bed in a box collection attracts a wide demographic that includes the 18-65 age group with features that support an active lifestyle. The Nautica Home™ collection includes both Memory Foam and Hybrid Innerspring models with proprietary patented cooling and support technologies developed by Boyd Sleep.

Fast forward 42 years, and  Boyd  Sleep finds itself perfectly positioned with products, national brands, omni channel retail tools and the passion and purpose to ride the wave of industry change into an exciting and bright future as they continue  developing and bringing  to market products that provide “Quality Sleep for a Better Life”. 

Boyd Sleep Fontana CA Warehouse Team

Boyd Sleep Fontana CA Warehouse Team

For more information see us at Vegas Market:BoydSleep/World Market Center Building B Suite 901
Kristine Mattina               314-997-5222 ext. 164
https://boydsleep.com/

Using Your Diet to Improve Your Sleep Quality

By Ellie Porter
Managing Editor | SleepHelp.org

The human body requires at least seven hours of sleep with some people needing up to nine full hours for the body to be completely rested. However, stress, anxiety, and the increasing use of technology has many people lying awake long into the night. Yet sleep can be improved through any number of ways, one of which is carefully monitoring diet, not just what’s eaten but when.

The obstacles to good sleep continue to grow. For many, it’s stress and anxiety. A changing political climate, a lost job, or changes in a family situation can be enough to make sleep elusive. And, technology has now entered as the new deterrent on the scene.

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The effects of technology start with light, namely blue light. The light that filters through the Earth’s atmosphere from the sun lies on the blue spectrum. The human eye has special photoreceptors that transmit this kind of light directly to the circadian region of the brain, which in turn, controls the sleep cycle. Sunlight suppresses sleep hormones, which makes sense since daytime is when people need to be the most alert.

However, devices like televisions, laptops, and smartphones emit a light that also falls on the blue spectrum. While their light isn’t exactly like sunlight, it’s similar enough to also cause suppression of sleep hormones. Any usage that’s within two to three hours of bedtime can prevent the start of the sleep cycle for several hours.

A delay in the sleep cycle can quickly turn into sleep deprivation, which takes hold anytime someone has gotten less than seven hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation’s effects continue to grow as more sleep is lost.

Lack of sleep also causes an increase in hunger and a decrease in satiety, the consequence of which is usually overeating. The types of foods that the body craves in a state of sleep deprivation also change. High-fat, sweet foods provide an increased reward in the brain during sleep deprivation. So, not only does the body feel hungrier, it wants to be filled with foods that lack nutritional value.

Despite the challenges of getting a good night’s rest, there are ways to promote better and more sleep. One, of which, is to focus on diet.

The brain uses circadian rhythms, biological processes that repeat in a 24-hour cycle, to help time the sleep cycle. Meal timing plays a role in regulating these cycles. Meals eaten at roughly the same time every day and spaced evenly throughout the day help the brain recognize when the sleep cycle should begin.

The composition of those meals also influences how and if the body stays asleep. Diets high in protein decrease the number of night wakings while those high in carbs reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Together, a well-balanced diet that includes both can create a more successful sleep cycle.

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When a balanced diet is used in conjunction with good sleep habits, it can solidify sleep patterns and drastically improve health. Start by prepping the sleep area well before bedtime to reduce stress and anxiety. Arrange any necessary medical equipment, medications, and a glass of water nearby just in case. For those who need a late night snack, eat foods with nutrients used to make sleep hormones like milk products, almonds, walnuts, and bananas.

Though sunlight suppresses sleep hormones, it’s also necessary to keep the timing of the sleep cycle on schedule. Be sure to spend plenty of time outside, especially in the morning when the body needs to be at its most alert.

The easiest way to a healthy, consistent sleep cycle is to follow a schedule the brain can predict and maintain. Regular meals with a balance of carbohydrates and proteins can help. And finally, make sleep a priority to make sure adequate sleep is a vital part of every day.

Business-to-Business (B2B) Networking and Negotiations -- a Key Role Played Out in the Specialty Sleep Association Showroom at Each Market

By  Dale T. Read, Former President of the SSA

When people think of the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) Showroom C-1565 located on the mattress and bedding 15th. floor of Building “C” of the World Market Center, they typically do not think of it as a center of manufacturing or supplier business-to-business marketing and sales.  In fact most people who are affiliated with or who visit the SSA “show within a show” know it for the 400 to over 500 retail buyers and visitors who walk through during each market. Many people have successfully reached sleep shops, furniture stores, department stores, big box stores and in recent years online e-tailors who walk through the SSA showroom.

Although not widely recognized, business-to-business networking and negotiations have played a major role in the SSA showroom since the first day. Although there have been countless examples of this over the years, I will mention a few standouts here for you.

About ten years ago when polymer gel was first making a splash as a new mattress/ bedding component for cooler comfortable sleep, the CEO of the soon to be number one mattress brand in the US visited the SSA showroom (then on the 13th. floor), and began negotiations with a new exhibiting gel supplier that later led to the gel supplier becoming a key vendor for this top-ten brand. Together the team that met in the SSA showroom helped make that brand Number One in impregnated gel and foam mattresses in the US.  

For many years regional sales reps who are long-time mattress and bedding veterans have met emerging manufacturers in the SSA Showroom, often leading to negotiations and business deals resulting in new markets and opportunities for both parties.

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It is very common for new companies to launch their product offerings and brands in the SSA showroom, build a following, and then open their own private showroom. A few years back, there was such a company who introduced high quality, exceptional European foam inspired mattresses and pillows. They were going through major changes in product offerings, marketing, shipping outlets, and wanted a new sales team. They approached the leadership of the SSA, who recommended a prime experienced specialty sleep sales rep as a candidate for the position of national sales manager.  This union has proven to be very successful for both parties and today that rep still serves as the brand’s national sales manager.  

An internationally based inventor / designer of an ergonomic zoned adjustable bed base system came to the SSA showroom looking for retail customers, but then also used the venue to strategically reach out to manufacturing and supplier partners in North America. As a result of the most recent SSA Show, the company identified at least a dozen potential manufacturing /marketing partners. They are in the process of following up and negotiating a possible business deal.  

A growing entrepreneurial European company offering an innovative, unique all-natural innerspring technology introduced their new product in the SSA showroom and targeted over 50 prospective manufacturers and retailers. The company went on to expand its business to capacity level doing business throughout Asia , Eastern Europe and Northern Europe. Today the door is still open for possible expansion of this all-natural support system into the USA. 

 A fast-growing Scandinavian and US based mattress, bedding and top-of-bed accessories company with a prime location in the SSA Showroom has recently launched the company’s growing private label program offering B2B solutions to retailers and other manufacturers. They recently published a “Guide to Private Label”, which they have posted online and distributed at the recent SSA Show. 

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A mid-western innovator focusing on offering health-based and ergonomic mattresses and bedding for sleepers who have pain or who are elderly, disabled, or physically challenged, showed several times in the SSA showroom. They approached the SSA leadership to find new sources for highly specified foams, cooling gel polymers, mattress materials and assembly. The SSA played a key role in introducing this ergonomic health-focused bed maker to eight different foam and latex suppliers, manufacturers and possible partners.  Over the past year a working partnership has evolved between the ergo-bed company and a leading latex and foam supplier. Patented bed technologies recently have passed both performance and burn tests. These beds are now taking off with older of physically challenged consumers.

Another form of business-to-business activities has also been occurring on the SSA show floor. Over the past several markets online marketers or e-tailer buyers have been looking in the showroom for innovators and sources in order to expand their lines. Many of the SSA exhibitors are now reaching online /e-tailers, not just the traditional sleep shops, furniture stores, department stores and mass merchandizers. 

SSA Executive Director Tambra Jones reminded me of several of the B2B deals that have been made between neighboring exhibitors in the showroom. Companies collaborate on new products, share raw materials knowledge, provide one another with private-label opportunities, and create team efforts in other shows or marketing opportunities. “The camaraderie within our showroom is palpable” says Jones.

 As change has occurred at a swift pace in the mattress and bedding world, the SSA showroom has led the way as a vital and powerful venue for business-to-business contacts. If you are interested in learning more about the SSA Showroom and the numerous business-to-business opportunities, I encourage you to reach out to Executive Director, Tambra Jones.
Email: tambra@sleepinformation.org
Tel: 559-868-4187

Each exhibiting company receives the list of buyer groups visiting the showroom

Each exhibiting company receives the list of buyer groups visiting the showroom

Member Spotlight: The Suite Sleep Story Has Been 16 Years in the Making

In 2003, Angela Owen started a little organic mattress and bedding wholesale & distribution business in Boulder, CO called Suite Sleep.

Over the next decade she became a voice for the natural and organic mattress sector through the SSA’s Green Initiative  and educational programs. As an industry pioneer, she has spent the past 16 years shaping this bedding niche and growing her distribution business into a boutique manufacturer of sustainable luxury bedding. Now, with almost 20 years' experience, she is committed to being a change-maker in sustainable mattresses.

The company has grown to include her husband Jim and daughter Kayleigh who manages the cut-and-sew department.

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You can find their Suite Dreams mattress in over a dozen hotels in the United States and three more internationally.  The Little Lamb Organics Kids’ line got it start in the SSA showroom in Las Vegas and is featured in boutique bedding stores throughout the country. Designed by a mom just for kids! 

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Angela is a proponent of sustainable products who generously shares her story and what she has learned with industry peers.

In her own words: “Suite Sleep specializes in latex mattresses using local wool from Colorado and organic cotton for boutique hotels that share our values of sustainability and reducing our impact on the environment. Hospitality offers a great opportunity make an impact on how we think about sustainable travel. Guests and hoteliers alike are beginning to appreciate businesses that share the values of luxury amenities with minimal environmental impacts. Suite Sleep is at the forefront of this movement in hospitality.

Angela at her local sheep ranch - “

Angela at her local sheep ranch - “

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Our pillow collection features our customizable designs that empower the consumer to make it their own. Product innovation is tantamount to our success in the crowded bedding space an we offer customers unique features to give them the best possible sleep. The entire collection includes mattresses, toppers, pillows, and comforters all made in women-owned facilities supporting US manufacturing and sourcing. 

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Because our mission at Suite Sleep’s is a fierce commitment to the environment , it drives us to continually evaluate product designs and processes, to bring the best sustainable, natural and organic products to boutique mattress stores and hotels. When one considers the vast amount of bedding and mattresses that end up in the landfills and the chemical off-gassing of these products in our homes, choosing a natural bedding solution is tantamount to good health and the health of our planet.” 

Explore what Suite Sleep has to offer at www.suitesleep.com and www.suitesleephospitality.com.


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Beaudoin • Succeeding and Growing for 3 Generations

Longtime SSA member Beaudoin is a family owned company based in Quebec, Canada. Now with its 3rd generation at the helm, this leading manufacturer of metal bed frames, upholstered beds, and upholstered platforms is well poised for further success within its product categories.

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Starting in 1963 with metal bed frames and bed supports, Beaudoin quickly grew to be a leading supplier to the industry across Canada and the Eastern United-States.

Not only was company founder Julien Beaudoin creative, he was excellent at manufacturing products efficiently. In that era, Daveluyville, QC was a hot bed of solid wood furniture manufacturing. These manufacturers needed suppliers of components and Mr. Beaudoin saw an opportunity.

The Balance bed frame

The Balance bed frame

Diane Beaudoin and Brian Crochetiere

Diane Beaudoin and Brian Crochetiere

20 years later, when his daughter, Mme Diane Beaudoin took the reins, she expanded both the customer base and the product line. The company was servicing the furniture retail industry initially from coast to coast in Canada, then in the Eastern United States.

Her son, Brian Crochetière is now the President of the company. In the last 15 years, building on their strong manufacturing expertise and desire to provide other support options, Beaudoin has expanded into the upholstered headboards, beds and platform categories.

With 4 factories and more than 120 employees, Beaudoin focuses on providing its customers with a variety of products to support their mattresses. With the rise in popularity of the upholstered beds, and more recently platforms beds, they are a great source for everything that goes under a mattress.

Beaudoin’s customers know them best for their great reliability as a supplier, their flexibility as a manufacturer and the value they can offer consumers. With a wide catalogue of products, Beaudoin can help any retailer maximize their offering and profits! You can find out more at http://www.julienbeaudoin.com/en.html

Pascal Roberge

Pascal Roberge

Pascal Roberge, Director of Sales at Beaudoin for more than 10 years, is an active member of the SSA Board of Directors. He tells us, “The Specialty Sleep Association is a fantastic group of suppliers to the industry. The Las Vegas market has been key, but also all year there are many opportunities between markets to work together and with retailers make this association a great resource.”

In-store display of Beaudoin products

In-store display of Beaudoin products

Reflexx Platform

Reflexx Platform

How to Fall Asleep Fast (in Five Minutes or Less)

by John Breese, www.HappySleepyHead.com

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Every person at least at one point of their life has had difficulties with falling asleep. And we all know that when insomnia episodes become more regular, it can seriously affect our quality of life.

I’ve also been there.

And when this problem started to bother me hard enough, I decided to get my sleep back.

In this article, I’ve collected the most effective, science-based techniques that will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.

So, set the timer and let’s do it!

Routine, Ritual, Rhythm: Rebuilding Your Sleep Habits

According to different studies, one of the most common causes of sleep onset insomnia (read: troubles with falling asleep) is anxiety.

Remember those nights before your sister’s wedding, an interview for a new job, or an important test?

I am sure that you didn’t get a wink of sleep.

But you could avoid that if you knew this:

Our brain quickly becomes attached to rituals.

When some things are associated with calmness and relaxation, doing these things can reduce stress levels, which makes it easier for us to fall asleep.

Therefore, it is quite important to build healthy sleep hygiene that makes you relaxed and puts you in the mood for sleeping.

Here are some ways to help you calm anxiety.

Stick to the Timing

Circadian rhythms are a thing. 

Like any clock, they sometimes require adjustment.

The easiest way to do this is to tie your sleep and wake time to the specific hours. Thus, when the evening comes, the body itself will help you fall asleep faster, and awakening in the morning will also become easier.

“If you spent the night without sleep, it is better to wait for the evening and go to bed a few hours earlier than to nap during the day. The thing is, daytime sleep can only make it worse by adding excessive alertness in the evening, which can result in an insufficient amount of sleep for one more night.”

Relax and Wind Down

The things we do before bedtime are as important as the night rest itself.

Therefore, dedicate 20-30 minutes before bedtime only to yourself. Drink chamomile tea, take a bath with candles or a hot shower, change into comfortable pajamas, or meditate.

Or, all of that together.

Or, do something completely different if this something is able to relax you and set you up for sleep.

Use Bed Only for Sleeping

Again, it's all about associations.

If you are sitting in bed looking through emails or working, if you use it instead of a sofa when watching movies, if you eat there, then the brain loses an association between a bed and sleeping very quickly.

To avoid that, organize the space around you so that the bed would be a sacred place for sleep.

Go for a Walk

Physical activity and fresh air increase the production of endorphins known as natural painkillers. It helps your muscles relax and reduces your stress levels.

Slow pace walking for 30-60 minutes will help you clear your head from heavy thoughts. Plus, you will spend a little more energy (hence, get a little more tired and sleepy).

Massage

Professional massage therapy is a great way to relax. But self-massage can also have a good relaxing effect. Use pressure in a hot shower, special heat or vibratory massagers, or just knead your neck and shoulders with your hands — all of this will do.

Sleep-Friendly Environment 101

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Home is where your bed is.

But sometimes your bedroom may be preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.

I have a few tricks will help you create a healthy environment in your bed and around it.

White Noise

It’s a proven fact that white noise helps you relax and tune in to sleep by increasing drowsiness. Pop up the headphones and turn on the white noise track in the player. You can also use special white noise machines that are widely available on the market today.

Temperature

The temperature of our body drops at night, and some scientists consider this to be the key to falling asleep.

Although this happens naturally, you can aid this process.

The optimal temperature for sleeping is 60-67°F. So, adjust your thermostat and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Scents

Aromatherapy can also help reduce stress and induce sleepiness. So,  it’s a great idea to get a bottle with one or more of the following essential oils:

●      lavender;

●      rosemary;

●      sandalwood;

●      jasmine;

●      ylang-ylang;

●      rose.

Rub a few drops in your temples or just put a diffuser on the bedside table.

And you’re good to go.

Lights

Our body depends on light and its absence more than you think.

By dimming lights 30 minutes before bedtime you help your body produce melatonin also known as a sleep hormone. The peak of its secretion is tied to the total darkness in the room. And if you like to check your social media in bed, say hello to insomnia.

“You can use high luminosity lamps to suppress melatonin during the morning hours, which will aid in waking you up. These lamps mimic the natural morning sunlight, thus inhibiting melatonin production.”

Science-Powered Hacks to Help You Travel to the Land of Nod

So, you’ve made your bedroom sleep-friendly and are practicing healthy sleep habits, but it still does not improve your sleep?

Or, the improvements aren’t as noticeable as you’d expect.

Don’t worry!

I’ve got science on your back!

Breathing Techniques

You probably heard about the 4-7-8 method.

So why don’t you try it?

The 4-7-8 method is basically a breathing technique that consists of four steps:

●      exhale completely via your mouth;

●      close your mouth and inhale via your nose while counting to 4;

●      hold your breath on the counts from 4 to 7;

●      exhale slowly out of your mouth on the count of 8.

It is important to place the tip of your tongue against the ridge behind your upper teeth throughout the exercise.

Those who have tried this method refer to it as a technique that is taking only 60 seconds to fall asleep.

Visualization

Imagination is a powerful tool.

Visualize an environment that makes you feel calm and happy. The key to success is thinking of a scene that’s engaging enough to distract you from your thoughts and worries for a while.

If this seems a bit unlikely to you, here’s an Oxford University study where participants were asked to imagine different pleasant scenes before bedtime and, as a result, fell asleep 20 minutes faster.

At least, you can try.

Check Your Diet

The quality of your sleep can be directly impacted by the food that you had on your plate a few hours before bedtime.

Thus, spicy and heavy foods, such as a chilli taco or a steak, won’t do you any favor.

What should you eat instead?

Many scientists agree that tryptophan-rich foods — such as turkey, eggs, nuts, and salmon — will work best as a late dinner.

Also, you can indulge yourself with dark chocolate and bananas since they can boost your magnesium levels, which in turn increases the levels of melatonin.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Danican® = Danish + American

Our spotlight member this month is Thomas Frismodt and his company, Danican. Thomas and his wife Naomi introduced their company to the U.S. Market in the SSA Las Vegas showroom about 5 years ago, and have become anchor exhibitors. Thomas is now the Vice Chairman of the SSA Board of Directors.

Let’s hear their story, in their own words (what they call their rags to redemption story) and how they’ve gone 100% private label.

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Who is the little Danish company that grew its business over 500% in five years?  If you guessed Danican® – you’re right!

Thomas Frismodt and his wife, Naomi, created Danican® (a name that blends their Danish/American heritage) in 2000. They adventurously moved Danican® from its roots in Aarhus, Denmark, to America in 2012. Their goal was to supply the market with affordable luxury in bedding.

 “It hasn’t always been easy”, admits Frismodt recalling that first year in the states, “We lost our biggest account within months of arriving – and with our three kids to feed.”

He persevered and looked for creative ways to expand their client base. They were offering a suite of products from their inventory line, which at that time included mostly mattresses and pillows.

Thomas visited the SSA portion of the Las Vegas show in 2013 and realized this was a great place to showcase his products. He liked the volume of foot traffic he saw and the flow of many companies exhibiting side by side in one showroom. By the next show he was exhibiting there with several other building brands.

“The foot traffic was always great,” he shares, “buyers always make sure to cover ground at the SSA portion of the show.”

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Naomi works with a showroom customer at Market

Naomi works with a showroom customer at Market

Little by little, things began to turn around for Danican®. They began providing cooling fabric to a large American mattress manufacturer. Then they were asked to supply a mattress protector program for a 2500+ European based chain. And not long after that, they began providing private label mattresses for multiple clients in the U.S. and Canada. Today their products are in more than 30 countries around the world!

Thomas attributes this success to two things:

1. Factory relations and trust. He has spent much time in Asia building relations and sourcing technologies. Over the years he has broadened his manufacturing relations to Europe and America. He believes trust is a key element when finding the right factories and he’s learned that the hard way. “I want our customers to benefit from my lessons. Our current factories are trustworthy, timely, and deliver quality.” he says.

2. Innovation and problem solving. NOBODY wants bed bugs – and this was a real problem for certain clients. That is how Thomas came upon the idea of creating a detachable “extra” layer on a 6-sided, fabric treated mattress encasement. This alleviated much suffering in the hospitality industry where housekeepers were constantly lifting mattresses to change protectors. Danican’s® encasements/protectors are also a lifesaver in the rent-to-own furniture sector where millions of dollars were previously lost on used furniture they couldn’t resell due to hygiene issues.

Fabrics

Fabrics

Organic Linens

Organic Linens

As a true leader, Thomas joined the SSA board in 2018. As CEO of Danican®, he sees this membership as a way to give back, and to build stronger relationships with leaders of other exhibiting companies. He has a lot of experience to share and looks forward to building an even stronger market for all.

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Spirits and Attendance Were Up Up Up at the Las Vegas 2019 Winter Market

The mood at Winter Las Vegas Market was an upbeat one. The companies working the in the SSA showroom were very busy, and many said they were able to close deals this Market that they have had in the works for years - a fact they attributed to the dealers feeling much more positive to plan and move forward with new programs. Overall traffic was up at Las Vegas Market, which was certainly reflected in the SSA showroom, where the buyer attendance was up 7.5 % over January 2018 (from 529 buyer groups in 2018 to 571 buyer groups in 2019). More significant than the number of buyers shopping in the SSA showroom was the upbeat attitude in the room. We suspect the dismal past July Market made this January Market seem exponentially vibrant.

The first 3 days were filled with presentation after presentation.

The first 3 days were filled with presentation after presentation.

Auntie Anne’s was in the house, and they were a HIT.   “Auntie Anne's pretzels were not only great to eat, buyer could take and go,” said exhibitor Butch Craig at Sleep and Beyond. “Awesome idea! Buyers loved it. Was real food for hunger,” from Brice Hata at TMI Products. Kyle Borreggine at CULP said, “Hard for me to sneak away for a “full lunch”, this made the hunger easier .”

Auntie Anne’s was in the house, and they were a HIT.

“Auntie Anne's pretzels were not only great to eat, buyer could take and go,” said exhibitor Butch Craig at Sleep and Beyond. “Awesome idea! Buyers loved it. Was real food for hunger,” from Brice Hata at TMI Products. Kyle Borreggine at CULP said, “Hard for me to sneak away for a “full lunch”, this made the hunger easier .”

Bill and Shana from I Love My Pillow

Bill and Shana from I Love My Pillow

The Swiss Bliss team doing presentations

The Swiss Bliss team doing presentations

Once again we did an exit poll of our exhibiting companies. We partner up with our exhibitors to create a positive and profitable market experience, and so we are eminently interested in everyone’s feedback after Market.

Here are the comments that came back to us this time.

Shana Hughes, pillow manufacturer I Love My Pillow:  I Love My Pillow had their best market yet. SSA always does an outstanding job & we’re looking forward to showing again at Summer Market. The layout of the showroom is extremely smooth for everyone inside. The flow of traffic works perfect not only for the vendors but retailers are able to see what all is offered without walking from different buildings or floors.

Brian Phillips - mattress manufacturer Swiss Bliss: This was our best market to date.  Not only did we open new customers but we also engaged with more than one well known industry individuals about new projects and future collaboration.  We have lots to accomplish between now and July and look forward to designing our new expanded showroom.

Kyle Borreggine, softgoods manufacturer Comfort Supply Co by CULP: Specialty Sleep is the best bang for your buck at Las Vegas Market.  High traffic and great destination for retailers.  It really can’t be beat.

TFS/Honest Sleep and Sleep and Beyond are showroom neighbors

TFS/Honest Sleep and Sleep and Beyond are showroom neighbors

Butch Craig - organic softgoods manufacturer Sleep and Beyond: Vegas 2019 Winter Market was # 14, for Sleep & Beyond and the best market ever. As I always say, 80% of success is showing up, and the 20% is follow up. Not showing up you are know as being absent, and therefore you have no % of being successful. The Specialty Sleep Association do an outstanding job of making buyers feel welcome and provide coffee, food & drinks. We as exhibitors have to do our homework of inviting and selling and follow up. Remember the 80/20 Rule.

Suzanne Diamond - natural and organic mattress manufacturer TFS Solutions: Excellent support from Tambra, everyone in all the showrooms were friendly and kind and we all worked together very well.

Peter Laurens - mattress manufacturer/distributor Baltica Naturals: This market show was the best that we have experienced so far; we received an unexpectedly large number of visitors and serious buyers.  The SSA showroom is literally the best place to be in the entire LVM for small- to medium-sized bedding companies.  There are other locations where a showroom feels isolated and off the beaten path--but the SSA is ideally located to attract traffic.  

Brice Hata and Tania Lopez from TMI/Remarkable Pillow

Brice Hata and Tania Lopez from TMI/Remarkable Pillow

Peter Laurens at Baltica Naturals

Peter Laurens at Baltica Naturals

Brice Hata - pillow manufacturer and foam supplier TMI Industries: I have to be honest with you.  With the tremendous decrease in foot traffic at the previous Summer Market, along with the continued challenges that smaller retail store fronts are experiencing, we considered pulling out of Vegas and investing in other foam trade shows.  We were pleasantly surprised with a better quality of traffic and buyer this Winter.  We finally got traction on an account we have been working on for years with our Rep, and opened up quite a few smaller size retailers as well.  We realized that sometimes you have to believe in building your customer base for the long haul.  Even if that means sacrificing a slow Summer Market to get there. 

SSA Showroom Hosts 34 Exhibitors - Including 6 New Manufacturers and Dozens of New Product Introductions

…not to mention the fresh warm pretzels for buyers as they shop.

The Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) showroom will be booming during this upcoming winter market according to Executive Director Tambra Jones. “We have 34 exhibitors in our showroom for the January market; 6 of whom are brand new. The changes we’ve made in the showroom have allowed for more companies to display products and services and will add to the depth and diversity of offerings to mattress and bedding retailers.” At the last winter market, Jones points out, the SSA had over 500 individual retail buying groups visit the showroom, and she hopes for the same or more at this winter market.

“We have noticed an increase in online e-tailers and big box stores coming through our showroom along with the traditional sleep shops, furniture stores and department stores,” notes Jones. “We see an increasing diversity in both buyers and manufacturing exhibitors.” 

The six new exhibitors at the winter market include, Comfort Supply Co. by CULP, I Love My Pillow, Signature Sleep, Sleep-Ezz, Sleep in Motion and Ultra Comfort America. These new exhibitors bring to the showroom floor a wide spectrum of new sleep products for retail buyers starting with Comfort Supply Co. by CULP® who will showcase their line up of aggressively priced top-of-bed sleep accessories featuring their eLuxury bamboo mattress pad, which they report is the Number 1 selling mattress pad on Amazon®. I Love My Pillow is featuring their updated and colorful packaging along with prototypes of in-store retail displays and samples of possible new pillow style additions.

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When it comes to cutting edge mattress technology designed to allow the sleeper to wake-up restored, Signature Sleep brings to the showroom their new Signature Sleep Reset 12-inch Nanobionic® Pillow-Top Hybrid made with Nextgen bio-functional material.

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Retailers interested in marketing specialty and leisure beds should stop by Sleep-EZZ to learn more about the ALL-IN-ONE adjustable and Power Lift bed. And speaking of unique adjustable features, Sleep in Motion will be introducing their unique specialty adjustable bed that rocks you gently to sleep. This product could change the way many people sleep for many years to come. Finally rounding out the new SSA exhibitors, Ultra Comfort America will be showing their power recliners which are equipped with their patent-pending Eclipse Technology tilting motion that cradles the body allowing for a rejuvenating night’s sleep.

“Many times,” says Jones, “the products and services we feature in our showroom are being presented for the first time in any market. They are brand new to the industry.  Our SSA showroom has been branded ‘an incubator’ for new innovations and technologies over the years. Educating and informing retailers and consumers is a key part of our SSA mission. We continue to serve as a platform for new and emerging companies in the mattress and bedding industry.” 

Returning SSA Showroom exhibitors cover the full gamut of mattress, bedding and sleep related products as well as motion furniture, ergonomic furniture, bed support and foundations, futon covers, top of bed accessories, natural and organic sleep products, smart-beds or app-driven comfort systems, heating and cooling applications and retail store support systems from software to display solutions.  

Retail buyers looking to carry bio-based, natural and / or organic products should stop in to visit Baltica Natural Products, Bio Sleep Concepts, Coolist Sleep Technology, The Futon Shop , Palm Pring Organic Coconut Mattresses and Sleep and Beyond. Baltica will be showcasing their Arcusbeds line of certified natural and organic handmade beds from Europe. Coolist Sleep Technology with their bio-based Coolist foam and unique nanotechnology will display the Coolist Blue, Coolist Silver and Coolist Pink pillows: all designed to be heat dissipating, breathable and temperature independent.

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The Futon Shop will be featuring their 100% Natural Sofas and Loveseats, as well as their mattresses and futons. Customers can choose from natural wool, latex, or coconut fiber – or organic wool, latex and natural coconut fiber with 100% linen and choose from a selection of 100 different fabrics for the cover.

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Sleep and Beyond, manufacturer of organic and natural bedding will be introducing their new myDual® Side Pillow, the ultimate 2 in 1, 100% natural, adjustable and washable dual side pillow, which provides extra support and pressure relief for the neck, shoulders and the spine.

Sleep retailers will find adjustable, ergonomic, heat and cooling control, sleep surface adjustable, medically driven, and Smartbed technologies in the SSA Showroom. ERGOLife, founded on the principle that beds should contour to the requirement of an individual’s spine, will be demonstrating their new ERGOLife iBed , which can be adjusted to provide individually targeted and tailored support to the lumbar area , as well as pressure relieving zones for the shoulders and hips. Controlled by a remote or by a newly introduced app, the iBed contours to each unique individual spinal structure by adjustability and targeted zoning.  Orthex of Canada will be featuring their healthcare inspired Posture Cushions and Posture Pillows, designed to help with back, shoulder, neck and leg pain, as well as sciatica, breathing, digestive and blood-flow issues. 

“AURIA” Bed

“AURIA” Bed

Sleep Research Technologies will demonstrate their “AURIA Climate Controlled Sleep System” delivering cool crisp, clean filtered air so the sleeper no longer experiences heat related discomfort and loss of sleep. The system is designed to give the consumer a perfect night’s sleep. Supernal (Transfer Master Products, Inc.) supporting the “Aging in Place” movement will be presenting their Hi-Low adjustable bed specifically designed with the option to vertically elevate the bed up to 20 inches to assist getting in and out of bed.

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W Silver Products will be highlighting their comprehensive line of adjustable bed bases, bed frames and folding foundations which are made in North America and not subject to the current import tariffs.

Focusing on products and services designed to make the retailer’s business life easier, Select-A-Mat mattress showroom display systems returns to the SSA showroom offering unsurpassed display convenience on the mattress store floor.  Another great service, SmartWerks from Tyler Net will be in the room to take you through their point of sales software program designed to help retailers increase sales, optimize inventory and “make better decisions across the board.” 

Private label, OEM and international import programs are growing in popularity. Long time SSA exhibitor Axiom Sleep Products (formerly known as Rest-Medic) has moved its operation from China to Southeast Asia enabling them the capacity to ship 300 containers a month. Axiom is looking to expand their Original Design and Equipment Manufacturing business with memory foam and hybrid mattresses and sleep products.  Danican, an emerging international private label partner will be presenting their retailer and OEM custom, focused private label programs, which offer container load or less than container load shipping options. They will also be introducing new designs of mattresses, pillows, mattress ticking and packaging designs. One of their new designs will be the Duck feather pillow with the option of either a laser cut or a solid memory foam core. Swiss Bliss Mattress Company will be debuting three new models of Swiss Made sleep products as well as introducing a new mattress cover scheme at the winter market.

Top of bed, pillows, toppers, protectors and all kinds of sleep accessories are on display throughout the showroom.  Bedding Technologies will be featuring their new line of pillows, along with protectors, comforters and bedsheets, as well as their RTA mattress foundation, which can be shipped by UPS.  Royal Heritage, a national leader in the bedding, mattress protection and futon cover industry offers their drop ship program and will showcase their 18 color Solid Collection of futon covers.

A full array of furniture, mattresses, massage chairs, foundations, adjustable bases and a variety of accessories will be shown by SSA veteran exhibitors: Arason Enterprises, Dreamzy Mattress, Electropedic/Body Sense, Grand Rapids Bedding, Innerspace Luxury Products, J P Products, NCFI Polyurethanes, Remarkable Pillow / TMI Molded Foam Tech., U.S. Sleep Products, and uKnead Massage Chairs. 

At this market, the SSA will offer retailers the famous and delicious Aunt Annie’s Pretzels in the showroom handing out fresh, warm pretzels to attendees. “We invite all sleep products retailers to C-1565 on the 15th. Floor in Building C to experience what is new and innovative in the sleep industry, to take in the energy of the room and enjoy our hospitality.  It’s a must-see and fun shopping experience for retailers,” says Jones.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: InnoMax Corporation gives us an idea of their journey into and through their success in the specialty sleep category

Longtime SSA Member InnoMax® Corporation, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is our Member Spotlight feature this month.  We asked them to send us a company summary, and give us an idea of the steps it took to get them where they are today.  Here is their write-up.

Today one of the largest sleep products manufacturers in the industry, InnoMax was originally founded in 1975 as Rocky Mountain Inflate-A-Bed.  InnoMax began its 43 year journey in a very modest fashion. Knowing there was a better way to sleep than on a set of cold steel springs, founder Tom Lavezzi filled his van with basic vinyl air mattresses and began visiting local bedding retailers to promote the idea of air suspension sleep. Early success offered encouragement, but the “butt-seam” construction on the mattresses proved to be less than ideal for daily use. Necessity is the mother of invention, so to keep the airbed business afloat, waterbed sealing technology was used to repair the air mattresses. This quickly led to adding a complete line of waterbed products to the mix, allowing retailers to join in the specialty sleep boom of the 1970’s. With each new challenge, a product design was improved and more new ideas were brought to life. The company name was changed to InnoMax due to the company’s “Maximum Innovation” mission for product evolution and development.

Waterbeds are ALIVE and well at InnoMax

Waterbeds are ALIVE and well at InnoMax

InnoMax was proud to be a part of the early days of the airbed and waterbed revolution. The company moved to larger facilities and expanded production into all aspects of specialty sleep. With the fervor of the waterbed craze, all types of alternative sleep systems were gaining in popularity, including adjustable airbeds. Soon memory foam and natural latex would join the category and then variations of all types were created.

InnoMax decided long ago to get direct feedback from the consumer to offer real time information to help their dealer network successfully promote these non-traditional products. The retail sales associate in a specialty sleep showroom had to have an immense amount of product knowledge and training to help consumers understand the benefits of specialty sleep products. The specialty mattress and bedding sales floor could not simply be a “pick one and we’ll deliver it Saturday” kind of experience. The products were complex and needed to be explained. In order to assist dealers to be better promoters, InnoMax remodeled some warehouse space and created a testing environment called the Retail Laboratory in Denver, armed with market-tested products, sales presentations and marketing strategies. If the innovative products could be effectively sold in a warehouse district far away from high-end malls, then InnoMax was confident the dealers would find success as well. The term “Hard to Find and Tough to Beat” became a marketing slogan for these products and the great benefits and high values offered to the consumer who searched them out.

The Denver Retail Laboratory

The Denver Retail Laboratory

Effective marketing campaigns were also tested in the Laboratory. For instance, to promote a product with a less-than-favorable set of beliefs surrounding it, a new approach was developed. The company replaced the high energy “Mattress Man” advertising with trustworthy local celebrities whose love of flotation sleep broke down the barriers and myths, and paved the way for a whole new generation of consumers eager to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of sleeping on a waterbed. The company created the name “Mud Bed” to alter the perception many consumers had with the term “waterbed”. Customer after customer would enter the showroom asking to see the famous Mud Bed, not really knowing it was a waterbed. Only after the customer had reclined on the bed to enjoy the relaxing massage and video presentation, would the sleep consultant reveal the true identity of what they were experiencing. The looks of shock and ear-to-ear smiles on the consumer reinforced the viability of this sleep option.

Mark Miller, SSA Chairman and InnoMax CEO

Mark Miller, SSA Chairman and InnoMax CEO

Based upon the premise that air and water can be refined to create some of the most comfortable and exciting products produced to date, InnoMax continues to develop both categories. Mark Miller, InnoMax President/CEO and current Specialty Sleep Association Chairman, continues to focus on product innovation.  One example is the InnoMax Waterbed Day Bed, called the Seaside youth bed, with all six drawers facing one side. This design created a new space saving bed that would fit in smaller rooms yet provide ultimate storage and comfort. They introduced Convert-A-Fit linens that wouldn’t come off until you took them off, solving some customer complaints with early waterbeds. Wooden waterbed frames moved over for the InnoMax Frame Free Sponge Bed. The creation of the Drain Hero Waterbed Maintenance Kit brought long term flotation owner’s the benefit of easy mobility with an electric drain pump and all the accessories needed to move a waterbed without hassle. The Convert-A-Bed modular support system allows each side of the bed to be adjusted to the individual sleepers own comfort level with the choice of Memory Cell, Latex, InnoCoils, Fluid or Air suspension. InnoMax’s latest development is the fully assembled Rolled N’ Ready Freedom Air system that allow dealers to drop ship, directly to the consumer, a fully assembled air bed that is plug-and-go instantly.

Many adjustable bed choices

Many adjustable bed choices

Maximum Innovation is still alive and well at InnoMax. The fast paced heyday of the waterbed may be long gone, but the benefits of specialty sleep are very much alive. In their never ending quest to provide sleepers with the best rest of their life, InnoMax continues to usher in specialty sleep products that offer their dealers a competitive advantage with unique selling propositions, and innovative sleep solutions that allow today’s consumers to enjoy the amazing benefits of specialty sleep for a healthier and happier lifestyle.

 It takes a real passion to love an aardvark, but at InnoMax, the idea of being different just means being better.

This is just one of the fun videos you’ll find on the InnoMax site - click above to watch

This is just one of the fun videos you’ll find on the InnoMax site - click above to watch