Six-bed companies from a shortlist of finalists selected by an independent jury celebrated when they received the highest awards at the. received NBF‘s Bed Show Gala Dinner last night.
This year’s winners were: Shire Beds as Bed Product of the Year; John Cotton Non-Wovens Component Product of the Year; Hypnos for the sustainability award; Dreams for the national bed dealer of the year; Mattress Online for Online Bed Dealer of the Year; and Sussex Beds as NBF Retail Champion of the Year.
After a year-long hiatus in 2020, the Bed Awards ceremony and gala dinner returned to the Telford International Centre’s Ludlow Suite, hosted by comic book artist and writer Jo Caulfield and attended by more than 350 industry guests. Now in its eleventh year, the awards recognize bed makers, suppliers and retailers who represent the best in inspiration, design, growth and innovation.
“The annual awards are known throughout the industry for recognizing outstanding companies in the bed sector. In a year of upheaval, we congratulate everyone who stood up for evaluation and celebrate all the brilliant finalists and award winners, ”said David Moffitt, President of the NBF.
Bed Product and Component Product of the Year were rated by: Paul Farley, Editor-in-Chief of Furniture News; Steve Adams, CEO of Mattress Online; Jerry Cheshire, MD of Surrey Beds; and Sue Davies, owner of Sue Davies Design Solutions.
This year’s Bed Product of the Year award went to Shire Beds for its Signature Range. Building on the success of the Constable Natural Pillow Top, which was named a finalist in the Bed of the Year category in 2019, Shire Beds has developed a range of high-quality, high-quality, hand-sewn mattresses that contain natural fillings of wool and cotton, cashmere, silk and latex . The judges felt that this highly specified range has the right appearance to compete with branded products and offers great value for money and exceptional margins for the independent retailer, coupled with an impressive lead time of two weeks.
The runners-up for the Bed Product of the Year Award were Sleepeezee for its PocketGel Poise Plus and Vogue Beds for its vegan mattress.
As the trophy for Component Product of the Year, John Cotton Non-Wovens was awarded PlatinumEco, which is already used in new mattress launches. Introduced as the “only” credible performance polyester component that can replace foam, the judges felt that PlatinumEco’s eco-friendly design – FR chemical-free and 100% end-of-life recyclable – fills a noticeable gap in the market as it is the first Polyester is that feels and works like foam, at the right price.
The Sustainability Award was judged by: David Fitzsimons, Director of Oakdene Hollins and the European Remanufacturing Council; Amy Peace of Innovate UK; and Professor Martin Charter of the University of Fine Arts.
The sustainability award was won by Hypnos, which pulled out all the stops and demonstrated activity and progress in all of the award’s criteria – product design, procurement, process improvement, packaging, transportation, waste and energy, end of life, employee and customer engagement, and corporate social responsibility. It was a compelling narrative and a shining example of the industry’s need to take the broadest possible approach to sustainability. Notable achievements include: 10 years of carbon neutrality; circular shaped mattresses; renewable and recyclable plastic packaging; direct home delivery service; Recycling system for mattresses; Social enterprise projects; and a new sustainability partnership with Plant Mark / Eden Project.
NBF Retail Champion of the Year, National Bed Retailer and Online Bed Retailer were judged by: Richard de Melim of Furnishing Report; Andrew Kidd of Interiors Monthly; and Bernard Eaton, MD of Greenwood Retail.
The Online Bed Retailer of the Year award went to Mattress Online, which posted record profits and the fastest growth in its 18-year history. It recently hit its major milestone of recycling 100,000 mattresses and has been featured on several major television networks. To show that people are at the heart of the business, Mattress Online launched an Employee Health and Wellbeing Initiative, a new training facility, added 61% to its team, and donated £ 51,000 to NHS employees. The online retailer also showed great initiative during the Covid-19 pandemic by preventing vacations by restructuring the shift patterns of non-remote workers.
Sussex Beds was named NBF Retail Champion of the Year. In the past 12 months, the retailer made a record profit, capitalizing on the opportunities the pandemic brought, demonstrating that creative thinking, solid planning and a united team can lead to success even in the toughest trading conditions. The retailer opened two new stores and a distribution center, invested in its e-commerce site which resulted in a huge increase in sales, as well as a virtual training platform to support staff and keep in touch with staff on a daily basis to review their wellbeing.
The winner of the National Bed Retailer of the Year was Dreams. For this national retailer, dreams truly came true last year, defying the notion that traditional retail is dead, opening six new stores and investing in warehouse capacity, which in turn created 30 additional jobs. However, the national retailer also expanded its online retail offering and, in recognition of the growing concern for sustainability, reached its milestone of recycling one million beds and mattresses. In view of the concerns about the work-life balance after a year that was for many personally challenging, Dreams also reduced the contractually agreed hours of the employees.