The National Bed Federation (NBF) crowned its 2023 Bed Industry Awards winners at the Bed Show gala dinner in Telford last night.
Comedian and podcast host Maisie Adam announced winners across bed manufacturing, component supplying and retailing at the annual ceremony. An independent panel of judges, including Furniture News’ Paul Farley, selected the winners from a shortlist comprising NBF members, their sales agents/reps, and supporting bed retailers.
This year’s winners in the NBF member awards were: the Centurial 3 mattress by Sleepeezee for Bed Product of the Year; ECO₂Blend Fibre by John Cotton Nonwovens for Component Product of the Year; Jay-Be for Bed Manufacturer of the Year; The Vita Group for Component Supplier of the Year; and Justin Read for Sealy UK, for NBF Member Sales Agent/Rep of the Year.
In the retail awards: Dreams was the winner in the National Bed Retailer of the Year category; MattressNextDay won Online Bed Retailer of the Year; Peter Betteridge – Your Bed Expert triumphed in the Small NBF Retail Champion of the Year category; Sussex Beds won Large NBF Retail Champion of the Year; and Prestige Beds was awarded Ad of the Year.
Jim Gerety, NBF president, says: “The industry-renowned NBF awards are a valued opportunity to recognise the stand-out companies and individuals in the UK and Irish bed sector. Congratulations to all the worthy winners and finalists and those who put themselves forward to be judged.”
The awards ceremony closed with a special Lifetime Achievement Award for Jessica Alexander, who was executive director of the NBF for 17 years, before stepping down in spring 2023 for Tristine Hargreaves to take the helm.
Jay-Be scooped the trophy for Bed Manufacturer of the Year. Aiming for global growth and demonstrating the extent of its ambition on many fronts, Jay-Be has seen its customer base expand greatly, alongside two Which? Best Buy accolades.
The Yorkshire-based manufacturer’s product development focuses on sustainability with the use of recycled materials and more recyclable designs. Judges were impressed by Jay-Be’s innovative approaches, such as the use of 3D printing and computer robots to produce new concepts, efficiencies and improved customer service. Clutching a fistful of certifications, the company is now reaching out aggressively on the export side, initially to the US, Canada, New Zealand and Europe.
The finalists were Harrison Spinks, Hypnos and Sealy UK. The judges were Richard De Melim (Furnishing Report), David Fitzsimons (Oakdene Hollins and European Manufacturing Council) and Jonathan Hindle (chairman of the British Furniture Confederation, MD and president of KI Europe).
Component Supplier of the Year was awarded to The Vita Group. Taking responsibility is at the heart of The Vita Group’s approach, and it is proud of its initiatives to measure and reduce its environmental impact – such as the Orbis range, using polyols from used foam, or its Lifecycle Analysis tool, measuring the environmental impact of its products. Vita aims to look after its customers and its people in equal measure, with customer contact across many departments and a new engagement manager role focusing on staff welfare.
The finalists were John Cotton Nonwovens and Spinks. The judges were Paul Farley (Furniture News), David Fitzsimons and Jonathan Hindle.
Sleepeezee was awarded the coveted Bed Product of the Year for its Centurial 3 mattress, a celebratory launch ahead of the manufacturer’s 100-year birthday. Centurial provides exceptional levels of comfort through an impressive array of natural fillings, including Talalay latex, British wool and alpaca wool. The judges commended the mattress for looking opulent and feeling substantial. It is glue free, 100% recyclable at the end of life, and backed up with excellent PoS for the independent retailer. Additionally, the judges acknowledged it being great value for money, and for each sale, a donation will be made to charity.
The judges highly commended Sealy UK’s Posturepedic Exquisite Indulgence Plush mattress, with its integrated technology and proven components producing a bed that looks and feels superb.
The finalists were Millbrook Beds for its Opulent Supreme 5000 range, and Komfi for its KomfiMed range. The judges were Steve Adams (MattressOnline), Sue Davies (Sue Davies Design Solutions), James Dunne (Prestige Beds), Paul Farley (Furniture News) and Becca Maloy (AIS).
John Cotton Nonwovens took home this year’s Component Product of the Year trophy for its new ECO₂Blend, a carbon-negative polyester binder fibre. Manufactured from recycled PET and biowaste gases, ECO₂Blend reduces its environmental impact by delivering a negative carbon output and a lowered carbon footprint, and is 100% recyclable at the end of life.
The judges commended the innovative approach to developing the fibre as a huge step forward, coupled with the ambitions to extend it across a broader range of polyesters without compromising performance or adversely impacting affordability.
The judges also highly commended The Vita Group’s Orbis flexible polyurethane (PU) foam. Orbis is a circular solution, manufactured from 20% recycled polyols and derived from post-consumer waste mattresses, with substantiations for every claim.
The judges were Natalie Armstrong (Sealy UK), Danny Blackmore (Silentnight) and Dave Morris (Sleepeezee). The finalists were BekaertDeslee for its recycled polyester from textile waste, Nestor Springs for its Harmony Technology, and Spinks for its Micro3D+.
Justin Read from Sealy UK clinched the NBF Member Sales Agent/Rep of the Year Award, which shines a spotlight at an individual level. His professionalism and customer-centric approach has allowed him to build strong, lasting relationships that have been instrumental in securing customer loyalty during a period of disruption and challenging trading. Justin demonstrated outstanding sales performance over the last 12 months and is hugely respected by his customers and colleagues alike.
The finalists were Jason Hillier from Komfi and Shire Beds, and Robert Moore from Sleepeezee. Judges were Steve Adams, James Dunne and Becca Maloy.
Dreams clinched National Bed Retailer of the Year for the third year running, having recently celebrated nine years of consecutive profit growth. Judges recognised its passion for customer service and impressive ratings, and strong support for both NBF manufacturer and supplier members. Staff development is a priority for the retailer, with several training packages and a financial support programme for employees.
Worthy finalists were Bensons for Beds, DFS, and Furniture Village.
MattressNextDay was crowned Online Bed Retailer of the Year for the first time. The retailer launched its new website in late 2022, with significant investments in photography, videography, an AI mattress-finder tool and comprehensive blog. Eradicating plastic packaging and an impressive upturn in traffic, orders and average transaction value helped to secure MattressNextDay as this year’s winner.
Mattress Online was a close runner up.
Peter Betteridge – Your Bed Expert, a Premier Retail Champion which stocks entirely NBF-approved brands, won Small NBF Retail Champion of the Year. In the past year, the Southwest-based retailer saw a healthy increase in sales volume and an uptick in margin. It completed a significant extension to one of its showrooms and increased presence of NBF-approved brands. Other highlights included enhancing its social media presence and launching new IT systems.
The finalists were Dreamland Bedding, Linthorpe Beds and Now to Bed.
Previous winner in the NBF Bed Awards, Sussex Beds, scooped the Large NBF Retail Champion of the Year award. Over the past year, Sussex Beds has achieved record net profit with two new store openings, as well as a full rebrand and new product training video programme for staff. Partnering with a sleep expert has not only supported the sleep of both the retailer’s customers and staff but helped to enhance its web and social media presence.
The Bed Post was named as runner up.
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 Dan Squires (Big Furniture Group).
Prestige Beds’ online video ad was crowned Ad of the Year. The Lancashire-based retailer created an engaging video ad, producing it entirely in-house to showcase their wide product offer, service and 60-year family heritage. Using Google’s Performance Max, it was promoted via Google, Facebook and YouTube, delivering impressive and measurable increases in store traffic and sales.
The finalists were MattressMan and Mattress Online.
This category was judged by Phil Bennett (PIP Creative) and Richard McMurrough (The Propaganda Agency).
Find out more about this year's programme in the official Bed Industry Awards supplement in November's Furniture News.