IN THE SHADOWS OF MATTRESS GIANTS, TIER TWO PLAYERS FIND SUCCESS

Lately I’ve been hearing surprisingly positive news from Tier Two bedding producers. They are reporting that there is life in the shadows of the bedding giants.

Bedding’s Big Four — Serta, Sealy, Simmons and Tempur-Pedic — command 70% of the market, boast plenty of marketing firepower, and possess the industry’s best-known brands. They have been gaining share in recent years.

But some smaller bedding producers are finding paths to success on this highly competitive bedding landscape, three of them told me in recent meetings and interviews.

He said Therapedic is winning with its consistent promotion of its “No. 1 brand alternative” positioning in the market. Therapedic has the ability to offer retailers customized programs that the larger producers can’t offer, and it also has a brand presence that the “no name” smaller brands can’t match, according to Borreggine.

Therapedic is benefitting from smart brand-building programs and also gets a nice boost from a growing Therapedic-branded sleep accessories program at retail powerhouse Bed Bath & Beyond.

Toman says a consolidated ownership structure gives the group four owners who have deep industry experience. Perhaps more important, those four owners have meshed as a team and are committed to growing the Englander brand.

Englander will benefit from the moves by Southerland to expand its Englander production from one to three factories and by Symbol to boost its Englander production from two factories to five factories.

I also spent some time the other day with Ron Passaglia, president of No. 10 Restonic, and members of his Oregon-based licensee, including owner John Larsen.

Restonic is “far and away the best brand I’ve been involved with,” Larsen told me in an interview at his factory in Sumner, Wash., just outside Seattle. “The quality of the materials, the innovation and the openness to new ideas set the Restonic brand apart.”

For his part, Passaglia said Restonic is doing well by listening to its retailers and working closely with them to meet their needs. A robust digital program, headed by Julia Rosien, gives dealers valuable marketing support.

As those reports from the field demonstrate, some of bedding’s small guys are finding success in the shadows of the big guys. Good for them.