Sleepytime pal: myriad mattress makers offer variety of colorful, kid-friendly lines with animals and cartoons
Several mattress and futon mattress manufacturers are designing products covered with clowns, dinosaurs and other designs to attract the children's bedding market. Mattress executives said that children's mattresses are becoming popular with department stores that feature youth specials and sales programs. Children's mattresses cost from $149 to more than $250 depending on the manufacturer. Companies offering children's mattresses include Springwall Mattress and King Koil Bed Quarters.
When Kingsdown introduced its Dr. Goodbones mattress in 1989, it was the only manufacturer marketing a bed on a widespread basis with a colorful cover and other specifications for the juvenile market.
Dr. Goodbones is no longer alone. Other manufacturers, including Simmons, King Koil, Eastman House (under the Thomasville label) and Springwall (on a regional basis), have also introduced kids mattresses, most within the last year.
Covered in brightly-colored prints featuring cartoons, animal designs, jeans looks and ecology motifs, these beds and futon mattresses are being positioned to fill a void in the growing children's furniture category.
Tom McLean, vice president of marketing for Kingsdown, noted, "We saw a void in the marketplace that nobody was addressing. It's become a very viable and meaningful part of our total program."
Paul Sullivan, national sales manager for King Koil, which launched King Koil Kids at the winter regional markets, explained, "Our dealers are showing more and more youth programs and they do not have mattresses that are youth-oriented. The growth that's in the youth category is just phenomenal and it's only natural to target bedding."
Ron Passaglia, executive vice president of marketing for Simmons, which introduced its Flavors kids line at the April '92 High Point market, noted, "I think there will be moderate growth in the overall area of children's products and it will fall into big-ticket items such as mattresses and box springs. We want to develop the business." Choose the best futon mattress for sleeping, futon mattress reviews
As more manufacturers have entered the category, these products have proliferated in a wide range of price points.
With its $299 price tag [for a twin set] Dr. Goodbones is positioned above the company's other twin-size sets, which retail in the $149 to $199 range.
Thomasville, which also targets a high-end market, added a line of kids beds in 1991. That line includes a $199 bed with a channel-quilted, denim-look cover and beds at $239 and $359 in more traditional covers.
Simmons targeted a broad range of price points with Flavors, a four-bed line in colorful prints. David Cocke, director of sales and account development for Simmons, noted, "We're trying to hit all categories and all price points just as we do with our mainstream products."
Covers include a "Bunkman" print inspired by video games, a "Pockets" print that looks like denim jeans, a zoo animals print and a dinosaur print. The line includes a $149 bunk set, a $229 Maxipedic set, a $249 Maxipedic set and a $299 Beautyrest set.
King Koil's kids bed, in a Save Our Planet cover with environmentally inspired drawings by kids, retails at $99. The company also makes Spinal Guard ($129) and Posture Bond beds ($199) which have covers imprinted with the International Chiropractor's Association logo in purple, pink and green.
On a regional basis, Springwall introduced its Kids Only program. The company's Texas licensee is making a $69 foam bed, and $79 and $119 innerspring beds in covers with ecology, skateboard and zebra prints.
To create attention-getting displays and build add-on sales, King Koil and Springwall also offer comforter sets (priced from $59 to $69) matched to the tickings.
To build step-up sales, more expensive beds have features which are being marketed with health-related messages. These features include high-density foam at the head of the bed, innersprings with a higher count of smaller coils, or bed boards.
The companies also hope these products will promote brand loyalty. McLean noted, "If we can capture these children now, then we may keep them for the rest of their lives."
Joe Harsa, bedding and futon mattress buyer for Sears, which does not offer such products, said the category "holds a possibility for us because of the amount of business we do in bunk beds and storage beds. I definitely think it's a growth area."
Tom Tennyson, bedding buyer for Dayton Hudson Corp., added, however, "We will probably play with something in that venue, but I don't see it contributing to any large increase in business."
The manufacturers noted that emergence of stores that specialize in children's furniture is another potential channel of distribution.