My husband and I have been in the business of both selling and producing mattresses and related products for 45 years.
Our industry has, by and large, gone the route of the appliance industry. You used to be able to purchase, for example, a refrigerator, and it lasted way beyond your desire to have one in harvest gold or avocado green! Only a few years ago, I purchased a new refrigerator and within a couple of years, the ice maker stopped working. Guess what, parts for it are no longer available! If I want to have an ice maker again, I need to get a whole new refrigerator – can you say ice cube tray! That’s not good for my pocketbook and it’s not good for the planet. Products shouldn’t be so disposable!
It used to be that people expected to have their mattress last 10-15 years; most mattresses were kept longer than that.
The industry as a whole has changed over the last 15 years and most mattresses are now designed to last only 5 years (though they still maintain a 10-20 year warranty). Large mattress manufacturers did a lot of research to see how few years a mattress would last without a big backlash from the consuming public. Most stores have no options; they sell only what is offered by the “major manufacturers”, whose warranties are nearly useless.
The first cheapening of mattresses was the introduction of the “can’t flip” mattresses, also dubbed “no-flip.”
Consumers were told that they no longer needed to turn their mattress over. The reality is that these mattresses CANNOT be turned over. Most mattresses have an incredible “ahhh” factor when you lie down on them in the showroom — after all, the consumer is in the market for a new mattress because theirs no longer feels good.
Unfortunately, nearly every day we have consumers come in and say, “I bought my current mattress only 2 years ago and I can’t sleep on it any more because of deep body impressions. The store I bought it from tells me that it isn’t defective, but I can’t sleep on it because it hurts my back.” I believe consumers think that these major manufacturers would never purposefully sell products that don’t last – NOT TRUE! These products are designed NOT to last.
We have, in the past, carried nearly all of the major brands. We felt that in order to have a legitimate mattress business, we needed to carry several of the big “S” brands, air type beds and memory foam. But one by one, we took them off of our floor. The first to go, over 15 years ago, were the air bed and the memory foam beds. Wow, are we are glad to have made that choice. Initially, we elected to take them off of the floor because of consumer reports of sleeping too hot or waking themselves up to turn over. Only later, did we discover that the toxicity of the memory foam was a huge issue for many people.
In our retail business, which has been in the same location for 45 years, we have always felt the best way to run our store is to give our customers products that will last for as many years as possible. With an honest business philosophy, we have been very successful and have been joined by our three sons and one daughter-in-law.
My frustration is that so much misinformation is being put out there, both by retailers and on the internet, most recently regarding latex. Unfortunately, our industry is not regulated. I wish it were!
We have carried latex mattresses from two of the major “S” brands along with others. One is a smaller manufacturer who has been making latex mattresses since the 1930s. More recently, we have begun to import our own pure botanical latex cores directly from Southeast Asia, and have them made into quality mattresses here in the United States.
Botanical latex comes directly from rubber trees, which grow in a narrow band near the equator. Unfortunately, we are encountering situations where consumers are being duped into believing that synthetic blend latex made using the Talalay process is more durable than 100% botanical latex. After carrying latex mattresses for over 28 years, we can state categorically that botanical latex, in its purest form, is the longest lasting material available for conventional mattresses. Period.
That’s why we branded the purest process as Botanicore™, which we use exclusively.
The last major “S” brand that we removed from our floor was using the Talalay process with synthetics to make the highest end product they carried at the time. They said, “Trust us, it is exactly like the botanical latex.” When 50% of them didn’t hold up — taking deep body impressions within 6-12 months — we removed them from the floor to blaze our own trail and started doing our own research.
The Talalay process used with pure botanical latex is ok for cushioning layers (although Dunlop and Botanicore™ hold up longer) but the best possible core for a latex mattress is the Dunlop process and Botanicore™. This is the tried and true workhorse for the latex mattress.
Blending in petroleum-based latex serves only one purpose (think Hamburger Helper) — to stretch the use of botanical latex. This is the greatest impact of our non-regulated industry. Such mattresses can and often are called “Natural” or sometimes “Organic.” Our experience is that blended latex does not hold up as well as pure botanical latex. The claim is that the Talalay process produces a more consistent product. We’ve found this to be an untrue claim. Pure botanical latex is a more expensive resource than the ingredients in “Hamburger Helper,” and such synthetic blends make it possible to sell a less durable product for more money.
The nation’s largest manufacturer of latex has inundated the internet with information about the way their products hold up. The statistics have been skewed to show results desired by the testers. The claim is: blended latex holds up better than the true botanical latex. What you don’t see is that the test was done at 158 degrees. Frankly, I don’t feel very comfortable sleeping at 158 degrees! How about you? What the reader will most frequently miss is that the test has been influenced to favor the synthetic latex. However, the test parameters have been relegated to fine print, and the bold headline that blended latex out-performs is prominent in the readers mind. At room temperature, the botanical latex will not break down like the alternative blended foam.