Kingsdown on the Rise

The Mebane, North Carolina-based bedding producer meets the needs of a changing mattress marketplace.

Kingsdown, based in the North Carolina town of Mebane (motto: Positively Charming), boasts a whole host of new faces and new products, from A (the Anniversary collection) to I (the new Insignia collection) and from S (the re- engineered Sleep Smart adjustable bed) to Z (the new Zedbeds). And, yes, the company is showing its Passions, the name of another revamped collection.

LIFE CHANGING Frank Hood, president and chief executive officer, says he has the best job in the world. “Every customer that we send a bed to, we ask them how they slept last night,” he says. “It’s nice to hear that we are still changing people’s lives.”

The new people and products are bringing new life to a bedding maker founded in Mebane in 1904. This is not your grandparents’ Kingsdown.

Bedding veteran Frank Hood, whose consumer marketing background includes a stint at the legendary North Carolina-based doughnut maker Krispy Kreme, became president and chief executive officer of Kingsdown in 2012.

He works closely with Mike James, Kingsdown’s chair. James co-founded Canada’s Owen & Co. in 1995, which merged with Kingsdown Inc. in 2018 to form The Kingsdown Group.

Together, Hood and James bring decades of bedding experience to their work remaking Kingsdown to meet the needs of a changing mattress marketplace with bedding customers served by brick-and-mortar stores and by online retailers. And they didn’t let the Covid-19 pandemic slow them down.

SMART SLEEP Kingsdown’s Sleep Smart adjustable bed has been re-engineered with a new design and a simplified app.

In 2020, during the tumultuous first year of the pandemic, Kingsdown recorded the best year since Hood joined the company in 2008. The company followed that performance with a 20% increase in its mattress business in 2021, despite supply chain challenges and inflation.

Kingsdown is poised for another growth year in 2022 and hoping to reach another record, Hood says.

The company is doing that by pursuing more omnichannel business opportunities, offering a growing number of boxed beds that cater to online mattress retailers, and building its expertise in the e-commerce channel. The company is transforming its “customer service teams” to the more consumer-friendly “customer experience teams.”

The company also is unveiling new products at a time when other bedding producers are more speculative models, with the introduction of new Hood says.

One example: Kingsdown’s Insignia collection, launched to positive reviews at the Las Vegas Market in January and featured again in July.

For that line, Kingsdown invested in equipment specifically designed to quilt dense foams directly to the mattress cover. The scroll quilting stitches up to 2 inches of foam together in the top comfort layer. The technique helps to resist body impressions and creates unique designs, the company says.

The eight models in the collection feature more than 1,000 wrapped coils and gel-infused foams in a hybrid design, a type of construction gaining ground in the marketplace.

“The hybrid mattress sector continues to grow in popularity with retailers and consumers looking for the benefits of multiple support and comfort features,” Hood says. “New equipment and new technology are giving us the opportunity to innovate with new components and constructions, which is what excites us about the new Insignia collection.”

MARK OF DISTINCTION The Insignia collection, introduced at the Winter Las Vegas Market, builds on the growing popularity of hybrid mattresses.

The Insignia line retails from $1,299 to $2,549 for a queen-size mattress.

Also new from Kingsdown this year is a re-engineered, domestically sourced Sleep Smart adjustable bed, which uses three zones of air chambers on each side of the mattress to provide individualized comfort. The lumbar zone can be independently controlled by each sleeper to maximize support for the lower back.

While earlier Sleep Smart models carried ultra-premium price points, the re-engineered model, which uses a Wi-Fi-based app rather than a wired remote, will retail for $2,299 per queen, a much more competitive price point, Hood notes.

Kingsdown has a long history in the sleep technology field.

Years ago, the company developed its proprietary BedMATCH diagnostic system that determines consumers’ sleep preferences and physical characteristics and then recommends beds to meet their comfort and support needs.

The system features a diagnostic surface in a kiosk-like setting. More than 1,300 retailers worldwide use it in their stores.

TEAM PLAYERMike James, chair, is a former hockey goalie at the University of Western Ontario in Canada who played minor league hockey in the United States. He knows about the importance of teamwork. “I’m a big proponent of the team,” James says. “Kingsdown’s achievements are accomplished by a lot of people.”

BedMATCH gives Kingsdown retailers an edge by providing them with science-based recommendation recommendations that can be more compelling to consumers than those made by retail sales associates, the company says.

Last year, Kingsdown logged the 15th million BedMATCH customer profile, a development that Kevin Spencer, vice president of marketing and branding, describes as a “significant milestone.”

“That’s a lot of primary insight that informs our product development process and helps us fit our customers with the proper postural support and pressure relief,” he says.

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