A good night’s sleep is important, letting our bodies and minds fully rest is like receiving a little piece of heaven. Having recently researched many mattress options and finally acquired a new organic latex mattress, we wanted to shed some light on our company of choice: Savvy Rest. Our exclusive interview with Michael Penny, CEO and founder of Savvy Rest, a leading maker of organic mattresses, follows….
As founder of Savvy Rest, please tell us about the materials you employ in creating your mattresses, mattress covers and pillows.
Back when we started in 2005, mattress companies were commonly using PBDE’s as flame retardants, as well as other chemicals that we couldn’t even pronounce; and there were no labeling requirements. We knew that the new open flame test for mattresses was coming (it was required nationally starting in 2007). So we wanted an alternative that was safe, comfortable, and durable. Two out of three was not an option.
Why did you decided to offer mattresses that can be made of either Talalay and/or Dunlop natural latex?
Dunlop has been around for much longer and is a very reliable process for making latex. Natural Talalay was just coming on the market in 2006 (we were among their first orders), and natural Talalay has a unique kind of soft feel that you just cannot achieve as well using the Dunlop process. Sometimes people like to combine them in a mattress–Talalay for an extra-luxurious soft surface, and Dunlop for very stable support underneath.
What’s the difference between each material – is one more “body friendly” or “planet-friendly” than the other?
Natural Talalay can be made to feel very soft, and it’s springier than Dunlop. Our Dunlop latex is made by Cocolatex in India and has recently been certified organic according to USDA standards. It is the first company to achieve this certification.
We noticed the casings are made from organic wool and organic cotton – what made you choose that particular combination of fibers?
We actually use organic wool fiber and organic cotton fabric. We don’t think that cotton fiber is a great material to use in a mattress because it compresses so quickly and tends to attract and retain moisture. It doesn’t matter whether cotton fiber is organic or not. It still will compress too fast.
Wool fiber, on the other hand, has microscopic scales on each strand which create excellent loft, and for a longer period of time. It does compress to some degree, but not as much as cotton fiber. If you limit the thickness of a wool fiber layer, it won’t create a body impression. Wool fiber also wicks moisture away from the body.
Cotton fabric is spun and woven — compression isn’t an issue with fabric. And because cotton is soft and strong, it works very well for a mattress casing.
What is the most common misconception in the minds of potential natural mattress buyers today, and how do you address it?
Probably the biggest error in thinking is that the word “natural” is all one needs to know. When practically anything, including petroleum, can be labeled natural, the “natural” label doesn’t carry much weight.
…But when you check for organic certifications, that’s when the descriptive term at least has to pass some standards….And these days, there is so much greenwashing–such as claiming a food or product is organic when it’s not–that certification truly matters more than ever.
In these tough economic times, what’s the current trend in mattress sales — percentage wise, are consumers moving toward choosing this type of bedding (natural, organic and healthful) as opposed to conventional mattresses?
More and more people are being introduced to the concept that we spend so much time on a mattress that the air quality around it contributes a lot to our health….or sadly, detracts from it.
Generally there is more awareness of how building materials impact our health. However, once someone realizes how much more contact we have with our mattress than building materials–you’re in intimate contact with this large object literally for years, breathing in whatever it’s “breathing out”– it’s an obvious and abrupt wake-up call.
Your personal journey from “ashram to organic mattress purveyor” is awe-inspiring. What advice to have for others seeking their path in life?
There are many different kinds of people in this world. My advice is to pay attention to the perspectives of people different from you.
What do I mean by that? If you are a fantastic businessperson, and you work well solving problems that are outside of you, pay enough attention to the inner world.
If you feel that you are successful at navigating the inner world, remember that everything happens in time or not at all. It’s okay to say that time is an illusion, but time does matter. Let’s suppose that you have a dream, for example, to land on the moon, and your death occurs before your achievement, you missed your dream.
Some things happen through will; some things happen through grace, but both are usually required to accomplish great things.
No matter who you are or what you do, allow life to touch you…now.
By the way, congratulations, Michael, on making The Inc. 500 for 2010 – (Inc.’s recent list of Fastest Growing privately held companies; September 2010). We thank you for your time, love our Savvy Rest mattress and wish you much continued success.
Related: previously on altCon (Sept 8, 2010)
Savvy Rest – a Tried and True Green Product Review