It’s a no-brainer that people expect their mattresses to be comfortable, but “supremely comfortable” is the benchmark touted by bedding woodcrafters Naturepedic. Such excellence is achieved through supremely detailed design and synergetic craftsmanship carried out by a tight network of specialists traversing the tracts of human health and physical serenity. By pursuing alternative routes such as omitting elements appended by toxic chemicals, sourcing organic materials, and devising novel supplementary features, the award-winning Naturepedic begets a host of products that surpass the standard-bearers of comfort and luxury. Here, we speak to Naturepedic founder Barry Cik, the mage behind the mattresses.
gb&d: What determines which experts and specialists Naturepedic collaborates with to design quality organic mattresses? Is there a set of standards and ethics all parties must share, for instance?
Cik: All of our design approaches begin with a no compromise understanding that toxic chemicals are not permitted. Built into the design process is an understanding that health and safety is at the core. In terms of experts and specialists, Naturepedic works with a variety of parties. We have garnered insights and suggestions for our products from pediatricians and medical professionals, chiropractors, environmental experts, industry experts, and of course, consumers.
gb&d: It is noted on the Naturepedic website that products designed by Naturepedic’s team are constructed by Amish craftsmen. What unique contributions do this group offer that can’t be found elsewhere?
Cik: Our Amish craftspeople bring a special attention to detail and quality. Their commitment to craftsmanship is in line with our dedication to quality. Like the slow food movement that focuses on careful preparation and integrity of movements, our workforce brings a type of “slow” approach to mattresses focusing on quality of materials and construction. Of course, our Amish craftspeople are anything but slow. Watching them build a mattress is like watching a skilled dancer, full of grace, speed, and accuracy.
gb&d: You systematically enhanced the organic mattress alternative by adding waterproof and non-toxic elements. How does Naturepedic stay true to your legacy of originality and innovation?
Cik: We love challenges at Naturepedic, and our ethos is to never accept status quo as satisfactory. Our corporate culture is built on constantly looking for better products and designs. That commitment to innovation led us to find a PLA made from non-GMO potatoes rather than the GMO corn often used in the industry. It’s also what led us to fine-tune our EOS modular design to mattresses, which is influencing mattress designs throughout the industry. We will continue to innovate and create. That’s what we do.
gb&d: What are some of the chemical harms we’re dodging by choosing Naturepedic?
Cik: There are so many. Our products don’t use chemical flame-retardants, which are proving problematic for both humans and the environment. You won’t find formaldehyde, antimony, or melamine resins. We do not use adhesives, a common source of some very nasty chemicals. We don’t use vinyl, meaning no phthalates or phthalate substitutes. No Triclosan or other biocides. By using organic cotton, you’re avoiding the pesticides, toxic chemical processing agents, and whiteners often associated with conventional cotton. The list goes on.
gb&d: Child health and safety is a central point of Naturepedic’s business platform. What benefits to child health and development have been quantified?
Cik: From Naturepedic’s beginning, we have focused on child health and safety. By law, a mattress maker cannot make medical claims, and even if we could, it would be difficult to quantify how many issues were avoided by removing toxic chemicals from the sleep environment. What can be quantified, however, is the growing body of research drawing more and more connections between flame retardants and phthalates, often found in conventional children’s mattresses, and a wide range of health, developmental and behavioral issues ranging from attention disorders to endocrine problems and even obesity.
gb&d: How does Naturepedic source its organic materials?
Cik: Naturepedic products are certified organic and nontoxic to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). As a result, all materials must be approved by GOTS. Our latex is certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). All of our vendors, then, are carefully vetted, with many holding additional environmental and social certifications, so for example our organic latex is purchased from FSC-certified vendors whenever possible. We source our certified organic cotton filling from a cooperative of US growers, supporting American small farms.
gb&d: How essential are green accreditation systems like Greenguard and Green America to Naturepedic? How have these systems fundamentally improved the quality of output from Naturepedic?
Cik: Certifications quantify the good work we already do, and provide a common language to showcase our dedication to healthier materials to the public. The certifications themselves have not changed our approach, which from the beginning was benign by design, but rather provide a level of proof of the quality of materials we use. We hold ourselves to higher standards than even those put forth by certifications, even conducting our own independent tests. Nonetheless, with rampant unsubstantiated claims and greenwashing common in the industry, accreditations systems provide a way for us to differentiate ourselves and validate our integrity.