Monthly Archives: April 2010

Would you buy a $27,000 mattress set?

I went to the spring furniture market in High Point this week. I always enjoy meandering through the IHFC building with its limitless supply of vendors, catacomb-like hallways, and people dressed in business suits. There’s modern furniture, cottage furniture, modern-cottage furniture, acrylic lamps, chandeliers made of seashells, upscale bedding ($12,000 for a down duvet!), and lots of teak outdoor furniture. It is a home shopper’s dream. I get so overwhelmed visually that I forget to watch where I am going. I always run into people as my eyes are drawn to an artist’s funky showroom or the artsy way a designer has showcased her wares.

This was the trance I was in when I spotted an upscale mattress line in one of the showrooms of the IHFC building. I had noticed this mattress line in one of our trade magazines, and I was drawn to the interesting ticking and design of the mattresses. I knew the bedding line was way out of the price range of beds we carry, but still I wondered what this luxury line was all about.

Anytime I’ve visited an upscale showroom in High Point, I get treated like I have leprosy. I remember visiting Ann Gish at last market, and I asked the Sex-in-the-City sales lady there for a price list. She said smugly, “We don’t have a price list.” You don’t have a price list? What? How the heck do you plan to sell these things? I think she meant that she didn’t have a price list for me.

Anyway, at this incredibly upscale mattress showroom, a lovely sales woman approached me. She was gracious and took the time to show me her company’s beds. What surprised me is how respectfully she treated me, despite the fact that I was not in a business suit, and despite the fact that I told her before she spent any time with me that I would definitely not be able to but anything. She showed me her best-seller, a $27,000 beauty in the back of the showroom. (That’s $27,000 retail.) I tried the bed, and yes, it felt magnificent, amazing, even. This mattress company makes every bed by hand, every single stitch is sewn by a seamstress. Every bed is made of all natural materials, horsehair, being one of the most important components. When I asked about all those bald horses, the sales woman smiled and said, “The horsehair comes from the horses’ tails, so no there are no bald horses.” (Just horses with cold butts, I guess!)

My next probing question: What about the warranty? I’m thinking a bed that costs $27,000 should really last a lifetime and never get body impressions. Indeed, the warranty is a long one for the industry – 25 years. But if you buy this bed, expect to get body impressions. Their warranty, like most mattress manufacturers’ warranties, does not cover body impressions (unless they are excessive). I never got a straight answer about what constitutes “excessive” for this luxury brand, nor could I find it on the company’s website. I did notice that the topper was flattened somewhat where I had laid on it. (I wish I could say that I’m super-skinny, but I’m about average size and weight.)

The bed was soft. It was as if you took a plush mattress and put a very nice quality feather-bed or topper on top. Really, that’s what it felt like. It was cloud-like for sure, but lots of beds that we sell are cloud-like for a fraction of the cost.

What I took away from visiting the showroom was a favorable impression of this luxury brand, despite its being unaffordable, impractical, and definitely out of reach for most people. I also left with greater certainty that a comfortable bed cannot be made that totally resists body impressions. If you can’t do it for $27,000, then it can’t be done.