The luxury bed market – An insight from British Beds Worldwide
Luxury products, in many different industries, are often accused of placing style over substance, that is, of giving the impression of superior quality without backing it up with a refined and well-executed product. Long associated with providing status symbols for the wealthy, in the past, luxury products in part had to conform to this idea of being 'showy', of providing style, having glamour and being aspirational.
However, over the past decade, there has been a changing tide of thought amongst the luxury bed market and luxury manufacturers, and that is that substance should take precedent over style. It is something that we at British Beds Worldwide have been delivering since our inception back in 2005, and it is a key element in what makes our beds so wonderful to sleep on.
If you were to look at the way that luxury manufacturers have changed over the years, many of their products have become more commoditised. Take Coco Chanel's perfume no.5 for example. When it was launched back in the 1920's it was extremely exclusive but as the markets and demographics changed it became more widely available so that today it can be purchased from tens of thousands of stores across the country.
Granted that this is an extreme example, spanning almost 100-year period, and it is not for us to say that the Chanel firm is no longer a creator of fine fragrances but it is more a reflection that styles change and that what once may have been perceived as a luxury product can soon be viewed in a different light.
In part, this could be down to products becoming more affordable or the markets becoming richer, but it is also down to a shift in attitude amongst the affluent, who perhaps no longer feel the need to show off their wealth. Therefore, firms that once relied on the exclusivity and the selling of few products at high prices, now find themselves targeting a slightly different marketplace.
Style is an intangible quality based around popular culture and what is in vogue at any given time. It is open for debate and varies from person to person based on their personal tastes, whereas substance is a more permanent attribute. There can be no arguing about a product built with quality in mind, using the finest materials and hand crafted by experts.
This is where we look to distinguish ourselves from other manufacturers of luxury products by producing high quality desirable beds that put a greater importance on substance and providing support and comfort to the sleeper.
We achieve this in 3 ways.
1. Quality craftsmanship. We have already established that in order to be classed as a luxury bed in today's market you need to be able to visibly see the quality of the work involved and that is evident in every bed that we produce.
You'll be able to see the fine detail of the hand side-stitching, how each golden thread creates a perfectly horizontal line around the bed holding it together and creating a more supportive edge.
If you take a closer look at our divan bases you'll notice how the joints are put together in the way a carpenter would, rather than simply being stapled together as you would find in a non-luxury bed.
When you lie on the bed you'll be able to feel the difference that the hand-teased lambswool, horsehair, mohair or cashmere makes to the sleeping surface. There will be even support across the whole of the mattress as the fillings are put in place by hand rather than by a machine.
2. Quality materials. Nothing but the finest materials make it into our beds with us sourcing many of the fillings from relatively local suppliers. This provides us with a tremendous opportunity to control the standard of materials coming into our workshop. An example is with the lambswool, whereby it is provided by a farmer local to our workshop in the beautiful Devonshire countryside. Here we can witness first-hand what the sheep are fed and how they are raised, all of which eventually finds its way through to producing a higher grade of the wool.
Our beds are covered in finely woven Egyptian cotton or Belgian damask which provide strong yet comfortable sleeping surfaces. We use pine wood in the construction of our bases and of a thicker size than other manufacturers to create a longer lasting more secure base on which to put the mattress.
It is not uncommon to find layers of cashmere, silk or alpaca hair in our mattresses, in addition to the more standard fillings of wool, horsehair and cotton.
3. Quality service. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority and that can only come about by providing each of our clients with exactly what they want. We listen to each of their requirements and take note of the beds on which they've had positive sleeping experiences on before.
We'll adjust the tension, size, fillings and finish of the bed based on what our client tells us so that they end up with a bespoke, one of a kind bed that produces the best night's sleep they've ever had.
But we go above and beyond simply manufacturing an amazing bed. From the very first moment a client makes contact with us, we go out of our way to get them the bed they need. This means we can pick them up from an airport and bring them to our showroom or let them walk around the workshop and talk to the people making their bed. We can ship the bed to any part of the world, giving us a truly global reach and we'll always be on hand to answer any questions a client has before, during and after the sale of a bed.
Clients are given the opportunity to join our Privilege Club which provides them with even more opportunities to benefit from our amazing customer care service.
It is for all these reasons that we consider ourselves a supplier of luxury beds and why we always place substance over style. While it is not to say that our beds are not attractive to look at, it is worth remembering that in the luxury bed market, it is the quality of sleep that is our primary focus, and that is why we believe we will not go the way of other luxury brands in becoming a commodity manufacturer.