Bedding manufacturer IBC is bringing a European approach to the United States
IBC's Silhouette Collection is a new line of pocketed spring technology bedding, a construction more common in European bedding than in the U.S. The line, which debuted at the Summer Market here July 18 to 22, includes 15 SKUs priced from $399 to $1,299 in queen and king size futon mattress.
The line features zoned mattress units, various coil diameters and wire thicknesses, multi-coil count configurations, including some with more than 1,000 individual pocketed springs.
Pocketed coils have long been the point of differentiation for Simmons Co.'s Beautyrest line. But Leon Ellman, chief executive of IBC, believes the time is right to increase the availability of pocketed springs in the U.S.
Initial reaction to the new line has been strong, according to the company. "Never before have we had such an interest in a product so early. Many of the country's premium bedding retailers have been involved with the development of this product," reported Ellman.
The line, which will have a limited distribution, "gives the retailer a proprietary product, thus enabling the retailer to maintain higher profit margins," Ellman explained.
The company has collaborated with Walter Stump in the research and development of the new line, Ellman noted. Stump had previously worked for Simmons and has a number of patents and many years of experience working with pocketed spring technologies, according to IBC.
While IBC's manufacturing capacity has been updated to produce the new line and grow the business nationally, it remains to be seen whether the IBC pocketed spring line will eat away at Beautyrest sales, or expand the total market share for such products. In particular, the demand for king size futon mattresses increases these days too.
According to Neil Ellman, vice president of marketing, IBC expects to build the overall interest in pocketed spring bedding in the United States rather than compete for existing Simmons Beautyrest accounts.
"In Europe, pocketed spring bedding is made by many different manufacturers and is seen as a premium or ultra-premium construction," Neil Ellman commented. "We are going out as a completely new product, and we see everybody as our competition. We are not targeting to compete with Simmons specifically."
Even so, it the only pocketed spring product other than Beautyrest targeted for national distribution and Neil Ellman acknowledged that initially some retailers may be skeptical of carrying two pocketed king futon mattresses.
"Our feeling is that in the next few years, a number of manufacturers will develop pocketed spring units, so Beautyrest won't be the only choice. Besides, retailers already carry several competing open coil units, so pocket spring units shouldn't be any different."
However, the Beautyrest brand name is important to both the retailers and the consumers, according to at least one retailer. "The pocketed coil or spring story is important, but the Beautyrest brand and reputation means a lot," the retailer commented, adding, "I think IBC will find success depending on the pricing of the line and the level of retail competition in each target market."
Doug Kinde, director of Beautyrest for Simmons, also emphasized the importance of the Beautyrest name and the longevity of the Beautyrest line.
"Our patented pocketed coils are what make Beautyrest the 'Do-Not-Disturb' mattress," added Kinde, who had not seen the new IBC line at press time. "Our patents in terms of both product and process allow us to make a superior product."