Our Editor's Secret 14 Year Love Affair With His Tempur-Pedic® Mattress- How It's Lasted So Long, And Why He Refuses To Stray...
Our Editor In Chief has been a mattress industry notable for over 25 years. He's owned and operated multiple chains of bedding stores, commanded the internet as the largest purveyor of pure latex mattresses, was one of the first companies to use compression and roll packing to ship his mattresses (the owners of today's biggest "bed in a box" retailers were still walking around in their diapers when he began shipping his beds) and freaked people out with amazing and innovative mattresses, year after year.
He's also written hundreds of scholarly and street smart reviews about mattresses, many of which exposed the insidious industry practice of using inferior foam and other ingredients which intentionally shorten the lifespan of a mattress. But this article is about quite the opposite. Not really a Tempur-Pedic® mattress review so much as a case in point about why and how someone could be magically enchanted by a mattress... for a very long time.
In 1999, a friend with back problems walked into our industry scion's stores in the Washington, D.C. area, squeezing a chunk of what appeared to be some kind of squishy, alien like foam that compressed easily in his hand, and then did the most unusual and bizarre thing..rather than immediately bouncing back, it slowly expanded, slowly enlarging back to its original size, like some sort of strange, oozing life form.
"I had never seen anything like this before, and I was very familiar with almost any kind of foam product that was used in conventional bedding design at the time" says our venerated industry lifer. "I got a sample twin size mattress from my friend who had some connections, and freaked out, like Anthony Bourdain eating the best bowl of street food he'd ever tasted". He was hooked on the material, manufactured by a company gaining steam in the marketplace called Tempur-Pedic® Swedish Foam, eventually becoming the bedding industry's most sought after and highly recommended mattress.
"Since that moment, I've invented dozens of mattresses, I became a whirlwind bedding designer, a mattress rock star nerd", he pontificates a little. Working with the industry's best fabricators and textiles people, he constantly created and test drove and put his signature on every one of them.
Although he created literally hundreds of mattress designs, using almost every inconceivable kind of ingredients, from latex to gel foam, to graphite and copper infused foam, top quality fibers like linter cotton, New Zealand wool, Alpaca, and other exotic materials, even coconut husk fiber and hemp- but there was one kind of bed he simply could not get the best of.
"For years I tried to create a memory foam mattress that would sell for less than a Tempur-Pedic®. A whole bunch of us were trying to knock it off, to copy it. I mean everyone was aware that they were the dominant player, they were God...and you knew it if you were in the business, but I wanted to catch some bread crumbs from that market, so I set out to imitate it. I tried for five years", he reminisces a bit about that struggle.
"I just couldn't do it. It's not possible." We had a sleep lab, where we'd spec'd and built dozens of prototype mattresses, and I could have taken any of them home", he states. "Their technology, the process, it's pristine, based on decades of research not a couple of years. I couldn't duplicate that melting sensation, that pure, nest like feel, exactly the way they could do it."
"At the end of the day, I went home to my baby. A Tempur-Pedic® mattress", he says with a smile. He had purchased a king sized Celebrity model, the luxury mattress that Tempur-Pedic® offered at the time. Remarking that there was just nothing that compared to it, he added that although the brand is often knocked off these days, and competitors are eager to tell you that memory foam is memory foam, he stresses how Tempur® foam is uniquely different. "You can't imitate it. They use a proprietary technique that creates pure magic. No other visco-elastic foam (that's the technical name for memory foam) even comes close."
He says that Tempur-Pedic® material has a very different feel than most memory foam. "The way you melt into it. The underlying arrangement of support foam layers, the cake recipe itself..it's just magical". He eventually became a Tempur-Pedic® dealer, and was so successful at it online, he became Dealer #35 out of 6,500 dealers.
Starting out in a small retail space, he became hugely successful, and caught the attention of another Tempur-Pedic® retailer, Brookstone, the gigantic shopping mall (now catalog and online) tech and homegoods retailer. "Eventually, Tempur-Pedic® HQ, under pressure by their large network of brick and mortar stores, had to let me go. I understood it, I got it. But it broke my heart. The regional VP a the time came down to my New Orleans offices to deliver the news to me personally. He didn't want to do it, you could see it on his face, but he did it.
"I bought my Tempur-Pedic® bed while I was a dealer in 2004, and I've had the same mattress for 14 years. You couldn't pry it away from me. It's my nest. I literally fantasize about crawling into it, oh, I'd say about 6pm or so, it starts", he laughs. It's the family media center. My kids loved it, and when each one of them left home, I sent them off with one of their own.The same mattress for 14 years. Unheard of these days.
"Nothing compares to it. The technology they own, the design team, the foam chemists, all of them, they are the best". He notes that the company now offers a variety of models that make choosing a very customized feel easier, and you're likely to keep it for much longer. "The industry says you should get rid of your bed every eight years. I'm on year 14, and have no intention of parting with my baby anytime soon."
He kept the fact that he owned and slept on a Tempur-Pedic® mattress very quiet and "hush hush" as he continued to develop the industry's top selling pure latex mattress, and many other hybrid mattresses, many of which were the precursors to the Casper, Tuft&Needle, Loom&Leaf, and others that dominate the market today.
"A few of us in my inner circle knew. We'd chuckle about it. I had back and neck issues, leg pain, joint problems, from years of high performance, elite level snow skiing. No way I could give it up", he adds. "I guess if you're going to really offer an honest review of a Tempur-Pedic® mattress, this would be the ultimate case". Laughter.
So, our veteran CEO's love affair with his Tempur-Pedic® mattress carries on. "It sounds crazy, but that bed is part of who I am. It makes me feel good, rested, I feel well after I've spent eight hours on it. It's that frigging amazing, yes".
-Written By MBG Senior Writer Colin McCloskey for Marc Anderson