Creative’s Textiles Tailor-Made for Mattress Industry » BedTimes Magazine

Bedding specialty division of Beverly Knits leverages its team and technical expertise to expand its bedding offerings

Beverly Knits executives Ron Sytz, left, chief executive officer, and Rich Pattinson, president, stand in Creative’s design studio in Gastonia, North Carolina. Both are mechanical engineers, and Sytz specializes in research and development.

Creative is sewing a growing success story in the mattress fabric and cover arena.

With the tagline “The Power of Sleep Starts Here,” Creative continues to expand the breadth and depth of its cover offerings to the mattress industry. Those fabrics and covers are favored by increasing numbers of mattress manufacturers who are looking for stylish, high-quality mattress materials, the company says.

Creative Ticking (rebranded as Creative about a year ago) was launched by Ron and Janet Sytz in 2006 as the bedding specialty division of Beverly Knits, one of the largest circular knitters in the country. That company was founded by Ron’s parents, Robert and JoAnn Sytz, in 1980.

Today, Gastonia, North Carolina-based Beverly Knits houses one of the largest knitting operations in the country, spanning 450,000 square feet in six facilities with a workforce of about 370.

Expansive expertise

High-tech knitting machines are the humming heart of the company. More than 300 in all, they produce fabrics for the activewear, automotive, industrial, intimate apparel, medical and outdoor products markets.

The technical teams behind those fabric products — and customers — bring fresh ideas to Creative, which has an international team of designers with broad experience in the bedding market. “Continuous innovation and research and development” are hallmarks of Creative’s approach to the market, says Ron Sytz, chief executive officer of Beverly Knits and Creative.

One example of product crossover: stretchable, breathable mattress covers that were inspired by designs in athletic wear.

Creative also sources fabrics and covers, including woven borders and luxury rayon panel fabrics, from its partner Maes Mattress Ticking in Zwevegem, Belgium, as well as partners in Turkey. Most of its knitting operations are located in the Carolinas.

Given the array of knitting machines in the Beverly Knits armada, Creative has the right equipment ready to produce mattress fabrics and covers in all price ranges, from entry-level fabrics to high-end offerings, officials say.

Innovation and variety

Cut-and-sew operations are a growing part of Creative’s product portfolio. Knitting and cut-and-sew facilities are located at one of Creative’s plants in the Gastonia area, ensuring a fast turnaround in the development of product samples. Another cut-and-sew operation is located in Hemingway, South Carolina. Larger cut-and-sew orders are produced at partner plants in Mexico.

In Beverly Knits’ finishing department, mattress fabric moves toward the chambers where a finishing process will lock in softness and cooling properties.

Creative’s cut-and-sew products include mattress covers, sheets, pillows, toppers, crib beds and pet beds. The cut-and-sew products are helping to fuel growth in the direct-to-consumer channel, officials say.

Ron Sytz says Beverly Knits’ manufacturing prowess and large, diverse customer base pay dividends in the mattress marketplace.

“We are vertically integrated, from knitting through finishing to cut-and-sew operations,” he says. “This allows us to innovate through the entire process, and it gives us short development lead times for mattress covers. We are unique in that we supply many other markets and therefore we bring a wider variety of knits to the bedding market.”

He also credits the company’s commitment to innovation, which he says delivers mattress fabric that stand out from the competition.

“Our innovation in new patented technologies and processes is a key core strength,” Sytz says. “We continually develop groundbreaking fabrics and have new patents in the works. This is driven by our extraordinarily strong technical team and good market knowledge.”

A knowledgeable team

That technical expertise starts at the top of the company. Ron Sytz and Rich Pattinson, president of Beverly Knits, are both mechanical engineers, and Sytz specializes in research and development, which led to the company’s introduction of its patented Flame Fence fire barrier.

“Ron knows yarn, he knows knitting and he thinks in 3D,” says Pattinson, who joined the company about two years ago.

Ron’s son, Parker, director of business development, says Creative has successfully carved out some key spots in the mattress market.

“Our FR-inherent fabrics and engineered covers are two of our niches,” he says. “We have unique finishing capabilities that enable us to offer a wide range of brands — custom made for our customers — to help them bring the best products at the best value to the consumer.”

He’s the third generation of the Sytz family in the business, and Parker Sytz is working with a cadre of new executives.

“We have a new team of sales and design associates at Creative with a strong background in the bedding industry,” he notes. “That team, combined with the Beverly Knits core technical team, gives us a strong edge to develop new products and grow our business. It’s an exciting time for Creative.”

The new team is led by mattress industry veteran Camilla Franklin, vice president of design and marketing, and it is backed by increased capacity that Beverly Knits has added to its plants in Gastonia.

“We continue to grow in existing markets, as well as expanding, with new plants in both knitting and finishing, each adding new capabilities,” Parker Sytz says. “The biggest change at Creative is our new team and our focus on bedding and sleep solutions. With our combined years of experience, we expect to continue to grow and bring new introductions to the market.”

Creative’s cut-and-sew operations, in place at plants in North and South Carolina, are growing in demand, official say. Mattress and pillow covers are among the products turned out by the cut-and-sew departments.

The expansions include an addition to Plant 1, the company’s original plant in Gastonia, and a new finishing line at nearby Plant 3, where the company’s Altus Finishing technology is based. Beverly Knits acquired Altus Finishing four years ago. The Altus technology uses a temperature-setting process to lock in key characteristics of the fabric and specialty finishes, such as those providing cooling and anti-microbial properties.

Beverly Knits has five plants in close proximity in Gastonia, as well as the plant in Hemingway.

Maintaining its standards to high quality will be a key to future success, according to Parker Sytz. “The commitment that our team has to making sure that projects are executed on time and that the quality of production remains high will keep us on a path of growth,” he says.

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