The National Bed Federation (NBF) crowned its 2022 Bed Industry Awards winners last night at the Bed Show gala dinner in Telford.
An independent panel of judges, including Furniture News' Paul Farley, selected 11 winners from a shortlist of finalists comprising NBF members, their sales agents/reps, and supporting bed retailers.
This year’s winners were: Elevate Ultra Turing Plush mattress by Sealy UK for Bed Product of the Year; Himalaya Nettle, Cotton and Kapok Fibre Comfort Layer by Hypnos for Component Product of the Year; Harrison Spinks for Bed Manufacturer of the Year; John Cotton Nonwovens for Component Supplier of the Year;
Neil Steed at Shire Beds for NBF Member Sales Agent/Rep of the Year; Dreams for National Bed Retailer of the Year; Mattress Online for Online Bed Retailer of the Year; Now to Bed for Small NBF Retail Champion of the Year; Glasswells for Large NBF Retail Champion of the Year; Dreams for Best Marketing Campaign; and Glasswells, Bury St Edmunds, for Outstanding Bed Store of the Year.
TV and radio presenter Colin Murray hosted the annual gala dinner and awards ceremony, which takes place on the first day of the Bed Show and attracts over 400 guests from the industry. The evening recognised winners across bed manufacturing, supplying and selling for representing the best in innovation, growth and marketing.
Jim Gerety, NBF president, says: “Now in their 13th year, the NBF Bed Industry Awards are a pivotal event in the bed industry calendar and a real opportunity to recognise the businesses and individuals who have gone above and beyond during the last 12 months. Congratulations to all the worthy winners and finalists and those who put themselves forward to be judged.”
Harrison Spinks scooped the trophy for Bed Manufacturer of the Year, which returned for 2022. With well-established sustainability credentials, the Leeds-based manufacturer has built further on those in the past year with initiatives ranging from product-related innovation to tangible end-of-life processes. From a high base, Harrisons Spinks has also found growth with key independent retailers in the UK and successfully expanded its international horizons.
Worthy finalists were Sleepeezee and GNG Komfi. The judges were Tony Attard (Furniture Makers’ Company), David Fitzsimons (Oakdene Hollins and European Manufacturing Council) and Richard De Melim (Furnishing Report).
Taking Component Supplier of the Year was John Cotton Nonwovens. With impressive advances made to help its customers and the environment – alongside a truly next-level foam replacement product – John Cotton, described by judges as “West Yorkshire’s finest”, continues to demonstrate a world-class approach to developing the filling solutions of tomorrow.
A close runner-up selected by the judges was Wolf Components. The judges were Tony Attard, Paul Farley (Furniture News) and David Fitzsimons.
The coveted Bed Product of the Year was awarded to Sealy UK for its Elevate Ultra Turing Plush mattress, part of its Sealy Posturepedic collection. The mattress is based on simple skeletal symmetry, keeping the body’s posture parallel to the sleep surface, so that the hips and shoulders are aligned and the spine is straight, yet perfectly relaxed. The judges acknowledged that the product draws on the heritage of Sealy UK, using a lot of small innovations that come together to make a bed that does not just feel great, but looks truly fantastic and is sure to be a huge success.
Close runner-up was Harrison Spinks for its New Dawn Collection.
Hypnos took home this year’s Component Product of the Year trophy for its Himalaya Nettle, Cotton and Kapok Fibre Comfort Layer. Completely new to the bedding market, this product demonstrated that comfort layers could be effectively and sustainably derived from nature, making it suitable for vegan products or mixing with other protein-based natural fibres such as wool. The judges acknowledged that the product drives value for the community that produces it and for the manufacturer and retail partners that invest in this unique comfort story.
Judging the products were Steve Adams (Mattress Online), Jerry Cheshire (former owner, Surrey Beds), Sue Davies (Sue Davies Design Solutions), Paul Farley, and Rebecca Maloy (AIS).
Neil Steed from Shire Beds clinched the NBF's first NBF Member Sales Agent/Rep of the Year Award, which shines a spotlight at an individual level. Described by Shire Beds as “the father of the industry in the agent community”, Neil has worked in the bedding trade for 50 years, driving more than 1.5 million miles and booking over £100m worth of orders. Neil is known for his quote: “One always needs a good mattress and a good pair of shoes, because if you’re not in on one, you’re in the other.”
The finalists were Louise Hardy - Shire Beds, Graham Riggall – Deluxe Beds and John Saunders – Sleepeezee. Steve Adams, Jerry Cheshire and Rebecca Maloy also judged this award.
Continuing its 2021 success, Dreams once again scooped National Bed Retailer of the Year. The judges cited that the retailer overcame a different set of challenges, with evidence of some excellent work supporting and building relationships with NBF brands. Dreams, which recently joined the Tempur Sealy family, demonstrated a continued excellent performance from a top- and bottom-line perspective and was praised for its marketing, particularly in supporting ParalympicsGB as its official brand sponsor.
Close finalists were Fabb Furniture and Furniture Village.
Mattress Online was crowned Online Bed Retailer of the Year for an incredible fourth year running. The judges recognised its excellent achievements, from launching a new website to increasing AOV and conversions. Mattress Online has also grown its team by +14% and successfully launched its omnichannel strategy by acquiring its first two brick-and-mortar stores.
The finalists were Mattress Next Day and Simba Sleep.
New for 2022, the Small NBF Retail Champion of the Year category was awarded to Premier Retail Champion Now to Bed, which stocks entirely NBF-approved brands. With its new 8000 sqft flagship store, website and additional warehouse, the judges praised the retailer’s great improvement in margins and sales growth this past year. Alongside strong customer satisfaction evidenced in over 770 five-star Trust Pilot reviews, Now to Bed also invested in its staff, with increased factory visits to suppliers and an improved fleet of delivery vehicles.
Linthorpe Beds and Prestige Beds were named the finalists in this category.
Glasswells, one of the UK’s largest independent home furnishing stores and a newcomer to the NBF’s retailer scheme, scooped the Large NBF Retail Champion of the Year award. Described by judges as “one the finest furniture retailers not just in the UK but maybe all of Europe,” Glasswells proudly promotes its NBF Retail Champion status and is a supporter of many NBF-approved brands. Sustainability and staff development are high on its agenda too, with the NBF’s Introduction to Beds course now a key part of bedding staff’s induction.
Sussex Beds was announced as the finalist in this category.
The National Bed Retailer, Online Retailer, and the Small and Large NBF Retail Champion awards were judged by Andrew Kidd (Interiors Monthly), Bernard Eaton (Greenwood Retail) and Richard De Melim (Furnishing Report).
The Power of Sleep by Dreams, delivered in partnership with Team GB and ParalympicsGB, won the NBF’s first Best Marketing Campaign. In less than one year, Dreams, with its top athlete ambassadors, became the brand most associated with ParalympicsGB by its target audience, and the second most associated with Team GB. Its social media reached an incredible 35.5 million people, and the new Dream Team product range now accounts for a significant amount of mattress sales volume.
The finalists were Linthorpe Beds and Mattress Online. This award was judged by Phil Bennett (PIP Creative) and Richard McMurrough (The Propaganda Agency).
Finally, winning another new category, Outstanding Bed Store of the Year, was Glasswells of Bury St Edmunds. The NBF marketing committee produced a shortlist for this award, which was then mystery shopped by an agency to reveal the winner. From exceptional kerb appeal and immaculate presentation of products to merchandising and excellent product knowledge, Glasswells’ flagship shone as a store that truly knows its products, its customers and what is required to support staff to deliver the best possible service.
Bradfords of Evesham and Housing Units of Manchester closely were named the finalists in this category.
Read more about this year's winners in November's issue of Furniture News.