Paul Little, sales director of national accounts for Dunlopillo, answers Furniture News’ questions about the company's strongest product area and the issues surrounding it.

Tell us about your product offering
The Dunlopillo Signature Collection, launched in September 2014, embraces the comfort values that the Dunlopillo brand was founded upon in 1929.

All Dunlopillo mattresses are made using pure and simple natural latex, a wonderful material derived from the sap of rubber trees grown in managed sustainable plantations which has anti-allergenic, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. 

The unique open cell structure of Dunlopillo latex enables all of our mattresses to be self-ventilating for the whole of their life. The microscopic air bubbles promote constant air circulation and natural movement during the night which helps ventilate the mattress, keeping the bed at a constant and comfortable temperature.

Through its unrivalled elasticity, our latex provides instant pressure relief and encourages a healthy blood supply to muscles so you awake feeling refreshed and revitalised. Actipro technology is used in our mattress fabric to provide natural protection against allergens, dust mites and odours which helps to maintain a clean, fresh and healthy sleep environment.

Conceived to work in perfect harmony with all of our Dunlopillo mattresses, the Dunlopillo base plays an important part in maintaining the performance and longevity of the mattress.
A host of options that include the classic sprung edge base, a wirelessly adjustable base, a unique slatted base and a supremely stylish upholstered bedstead range, ensure the comfort and aesthetic style can be tailored to suit any bedroom style.

What are your historic and current bestsellers, and why are they so popular?
Even for such an iconic brand as Dunlopillo, it’s fair to say that the product offer has been somewhat neglected over recent years, so this fresh launch of the Signature Collection has been developed to create a bedrock of impeccably designed product that retailers and consumers alike can depend on, from Dunlopillo.

From the initial launch, the Royal Sovereign has proved to be a popular choice of model and has just been awarded a Which? Best Buy for best mattress, reflecting the quality of this luxuriously soft and supportive mattress.

What current trends are you experiencing?
This range reflects the increasing trend for a desirable aesthetically pleasing bed, which is now a much more considered purchase and is regarded as a piece of upholstered furniture, rather than simply a bed to sleep in.
With over 30 luxury fabrics, five leg designs and seven headboards styles to choose from, the Signature Collection offers seemingly endless options to create a perfect haven, designed to suit individual decorative tastes.

Have customer preferences in this area changed much over time?
In an increasingly technologically savvy world, where there are apps available to monitor all aspects of our lives and health, there is a growing understanding of the benefits of a good night’s sleep and how a good bed can provide this.
So, not only are customers demanding beds which meet their bedroom design tastes more so than before, they are prepared to invest in a Dunlopillo extra-deep natural latex bed, which will offer the ultimate instrument to aid a perfect night’s sleep.

What are the key issues affecting your product at a retail level?
In a market swamped with hundreds of bed manufacturers, all supplying beds to consumers who either purchase based on information given to them by the retailer or research they have conducted online, it is absolutely key to develop the correct presence online and also to train Dunlopillo ambassadors in every stockist, to sell our products confidently. 

In this regard, we have taken our time finding the correct partner to develop the Dunlopillo brand identity online and a new Dunlopillo website will be launched this month, including stylised imagery and animations, as well as all the detail a consumer may need when researching our product.

We have also invested significantly in a Dunlopillo training academy where we intend to hold monthly training events, to educate our retail partners and give them all the tools they need to successfully sell our products.

… and at a supply level?
Here at Dunlopillo we are dedicated to developing and further improving our environmental policy by maintaining long-term relationships with our suppliers to ensure they also invest and manage their environmental responsibilities.

We also work closely with our suppliers to create sales aids and brand assets to further enhance the appeal of the product, working in partnership to build upon sales and future brand identity.

What are your observations on how best to retail this product?
To give the Dunlopillo Signature Collection the best chance of standing out amongst the sea of beds on any retail shop floor, it’s vitally important that the Dunlopillo beds are displayed in their own branded studio environment. This gives customers confidence in the product and brand, and can work as a silent salesman when retail staff are busy.

What is your personal preference?
I am a total latex convert and would challenge anyone to find me a more comfortable night’s sleep! I now experience on my Millennium mattress, which we have on a slatted drawer divan.

This article was featured in the August issue of Furniture News magazine.