The science of sleep
People will spend at least a third of their lives sleeping, so it pays to ensure mattresses are comfortable and promote restful sleep. This is the meaning of Kingsdown’s strategy, which specializes in the design and manufacture of a range of luxury mattresses.
Headquartered in Mebane, North Carolina, and now in business for 118 years, Kingsdown has ten manufacturing plants in the United States, employs more than 500 associates, and sells in more than 20 countries around the world. The company has manufacturing sites in Canada (which hosts R&D, manufacturing and production from the province of Ontario), Australia, Brazil, China, Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan and Vietnam . It has representative offices in the UK, Hong Kong and Japan, and its revenue exceeds $100 million annually.
Sleep is big business. Mattresses do more than just cushion between the sleeper and the floor. A good mattress will promote restful sleep and last for years; a bad one will lead to pain and one night may be too much.
Kingsdown’s range of comfortable products ranges from its $699 Prime collection of “affordable luxury” to $8,000 designs in the Vintage collection. Its markets include individual home buyers, boutique hotel contracts and the interior design community.
“Product designs run the gamut, from innersprings, to hybrid, craft foam, premium latex, superior air systems, and even boxed bed solutions,” says Frank Hood, president and CEO of the direction of Kingsdown.
Finished mattresses are bulky and must be shipped by ground. With multiple facilities in North America, the company can serve its customers efficiently, quickly and with the lowest possible carbon footprint. Although not the largest mattress manufacturer on the planet, Hood sees this as a distinct advantage. “Our small size, combined with our large-scale capabilities, makes us an agile and flexible partner, and our speed to market allows us to meet the most ambitious challenges.”
Kingsdown is a forward thinking company. Whatever the price point, strategic analysis is the basis of the design and development of each product. Since its inception, the company has invested in technology to make its products better, more competitive and more attractive to buyers. Customer-centric product design is a collaborative process. Hood acknowledges that means it can take more time and create SKU complexity, but maintains that its personalized approach is worth it.
“As much of the industry moves towards centralization, automation and standardization, we still appreciate the hands-on attention provided by highly skilled and highly engaged associates,” he said. “We’ll do things on a personal level that the biggest brands just won’t take the time and trouble to do.”
Kingsdown is proud of its tradition of craftsmanship, but technology is integral. It sees distinct competitive advantages in its style and the quality of its materials and manufacturing techniques, which are very much driven by science and sleep testing.
“While we incorporate innovations in materials, construction and assembly techniques, we do so without sacrificing long-lasting performance and lasting comfort,” explains Hood. Product design is a customer-focused, collaborative process. Kingsdown argues that close business relationships and working with business partners can be complex, but it allows retail customers to ensure products meet specific needs in their showroom. The company continuously monitors the bedding market to spot emerging trends and identify new markets and opportunities.
Its advanced solutions are scalable across large retail networks, but can also be scaled to individual customers. The company claims its bedMATCH® app is the leader in consumer diagnostics. It uses 18 statistical measurements and over 10,000 scientific calculations combined with details of sleep preferences to provide personalized recommendations for products on the retail floor that will provide optimal postural support.
“Our product development process begins with X-Factor testing. Fourteen differently shaped trays work together to simulate body shape and mass, from the smallest to the tallest person. The support characteristics of the mattress are then measured and the performance curve data is entered into our database,” explains Hood. All Kingsdown mattresses are tested to ensure they meet appropriate support standards. “Our patented Online Comfort and Support Analysis (ICSA) system is the first in the world to measure every mattress to ensure the desired level of support is provided, every time.”
No Kingsdown mattress is delivered to a consumer’s home or a retailer’s showroom unless it meets ICSA standards. All test results for each product are recorded and maintained in the system and each manufactured item is tracked.
“These processes are unheard of in our industry, but Kingsdown is committed to exceeding industry standards, so our manufacturing integrity is of the utmost importance,” he says. “Kingsdown has been a ‘smart company’ for over 20 years, developing smart mattresses, the scientifically rigorous bedMATCH® process and our patented ICSA system. Lately, we’ve gone further in generating and using data insights in all aspects of our organization, from market strategy to specific customer insights. »
This has enabled the company to respond with agility to the difficult market conditions of recent years – and it has never stopped thinking about development and innovation. Growth is a permanent objective, both organically and through acquisitions; Kingsdown is constantly on the lookout for other businesses that will complement its existing capabilities, help it enter new markets or provide it with a competitive advantage. Licensing to manufacturers in Europe and Asia is another avenue of development. In addition to business sustainability, environmental responsibility is also a priority.
“We pride ourselves on sustainably sourcing natural materials, such as organic cotton, Joma wool, Canadian wood, and coil systems made from recycled steel. Zedbed, our artisan partner for foam beds, sources natural, sustainable latex and uses low-emission processes. We have comprehensive recycling programs at all of our facilities and the Kingsdown Group operates to Mattress Recycling Council and Forest Stewardship Council standards,” says Hood, adding in conclusion: “As consumers continue to evolve in their purchase, Kingsdown has many exciting developments on the horizon, and technologies like bedMATCH® are positioned to exceed their expectations.