Why Confusion Abounds When Shopping For a New Mattress


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.

2 thoughts on “Why Confusion Abounds When Shopping For a New Mattress

  1. Dawn Kruse says:

    Hi Wanda,
    After reading your post on mattresses, I was wondering if you have any stores in SC? We are in the market for a new mattress, after many years of purchasing S & F flippable mattresses, but have been quite apprehensive in buying a pillowtop version for the obvious reasons of it breaking down quickly.
    Thank you!

    • Blake says:

      We have discussed setting up franchises, but have resisted to this point. We really pride ourselves on our service, and attention to detail. We have concerns about someone other than us running a showroom, and none of us are prepared to move to SC. We can send you any of our mattresses. We have product shipping all over the country everyday. We even have people make our store part of their travel plans, so that we can have their new mattress arrive at their home when they return from vacation.

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We only sell two sided mattresses. Here's Why:

A 2-sided mattress you can flip and rotate is better for your body and your wallet! Flippable mattresses last up to 3 times as long as ‘can’t flip’ ones. It’s simply untrue that 2-sided mattresses are no longer being made. Here at Bedrooms & More Seattle, they’re all we sell — because it’s what is best for our customers and the environment.

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Night & Day K-Series/P-Series

Spices Bed Rails

Dual System Headboards • Works with both K-Series and P-Series Rails •
dual_diagram
K-Series   P-Series
k-series-info   p-series-info

New “Dual System Headboards”

We are in the process of changing many of our headboards to be both “K Series” and “P Series” capable. The headboards will have both sets of holes for using either way. The new headboards will be marked “Dual System Headboard” on the boxes. This process will take time for all sizes and finishes to be available and will be gradual, as the new versions come in and the old version get depleted. We are telling you now so that you can be aware of what the “Dual System Headboard” terminology means when you see it on the box or in our catalog. The list of headboards that will be switched to the new “Dual System” are listed below. Of course, you will need to order the correct rails and footboards depending on whether the customer wants “K” or “P” Series. The new “K Series” height allows for the use of the bigger bunk bed drawers and/or trundle and “K Series” footboards already have the privacy panel built in. We are also making the Folding Footboard Bench Footboard “Dual System”. If you need one of the new items to be “Dual System” (for “K Series”), you will need to specifically request it until all old versions are gone, to make sure you get the new version.

Spices Bed Rails & Accessories Compatibility

  K-Series Rails P-Series Rails
Dual-System Headboard   Matching Accessories   Matching Accessories
Blackpepper Bed Dual-System tick
  • K-Series Basic Footboard
  • Folding Footboard Bench
  • Cinnamon Drawers
  • Cinnamon Trundle Bed
tick
  • P-Series Basic Footboard
  • Footboard Panel
  • Folding Footboard Bench
  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
Chameleon Bed Dual-System
Nutmeg Bed Dual-System
Rosemary Dual-System
Solstice Bed Dual-System
Tamarind Bed Dual-System
Folding Footboard Bench Dual-System Footboard tick
  • Cinnamon Drawers
  • Cinnamon Trundle Bed
tick
  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
 
  K-Series Rails P-Series Rails
Other Spices Headboards   Matching Accessories   Matching Accessories
Basic Footboard (P-Series) To form a Basic Bed cross   tick
  • Footboard Panel
  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
Coriander Bed cross   tick
  • P-Series Basic Footboard
  • Footboard Panel
  • Folding Footboard Bench
  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
Saffron Bed
Thyme Bed
Laurel Bed cross   tick
  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
K-Series Basic Footboard To form a Basic Bed tick
  • Cinnamon Drawers
  • Cinnamon Trundle Bed
cross  
Jasmine Bed tick
  • K-Series Basic Footboard
  • Folding Footboard Bench
  • Cinnamon Drawers
  • Cinnamon Trundle Bed
cross  
Sandpiper Bed
Vanilla Bed
Ginger Captain’s Bed tick
  • Rolling Bucket Drawers
  • Captain’s Trundle Bed
cross  
Carmel Bed cross Note: Carmel Bed has its own matching rails.

  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
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