Winners of The National Bed Federation (NBF) 2020 Bed Industry Awards have been announced.
They were named during a 30-minute livestreamed ceremony on YouTube, hosted by the NBF’s Jessica Alexander and Simon Williams. The 2020 awards included two new categories – one for sustainability and the other to recognise the exceptional challenges of the year with a Covid-19 Community Champion award.
The winners are: Bed of the Year – Velocity 8750 mattress from Harrison Spinks; Component Product of the Year – Enkev’s GOTS certified range of fillings; Small Bed Retailer of the Year – Prestige Beds; Online Bed Retailer of the Year – Mattressonline.co.uk; Large Bed Retailer of the Year – Furniture Village; Sustainability Awards – Bekaert Deslee (Highly Commended, Jaybe); Covid-19 Community Champion Award – The Vita Group.
Normally announced as part of the gala dinner event during the NBF Bed Show in Telford, this year’s virtual awards ceremony represents the association’s determination to retain the prestigious annual awards, now in their tenth year, despite the COVID pandemic.
“The annual awards have become an important highlight in the bed industry year and while we have been unable to hold the Bed Show itself because of the coronavirus crisis, we felt it was vital to go ahead with the awards,” said David Moffitt, president of the NBF. “They are a valued opportunity to recognise stand out companies and, particularly during such a difficult year, we thank all those who put themselves forward to be judged and congratulate our award winners and finalists.”
The seven bed industry businesses were chosen from a shortlist of finalists by an independent panel of judges. They were:
Product awards: Steve Adams (Mattress Online); Jerry Cheshire (Surrey Beds); Paul Farley (Furniture News); Paul Stott (The Virtual Works).
Retailer awards: Richard de Melim (Furnishing Report); Andrew Kidd (Interiors Monthly); Bernard Eaton (Greenwood Retail).
Sustainability award: David Fitzsimons (Oakdene Hollins); Izzie Eriksen (Zero Waste Scotland); Mark Allison (FIRA).
Community Champion award: David Woodward (Master of the WCFM); John Hancock, CBE (former MD of Sealy UK and Past President of the NBF 1998-2000).
Comments from the judges for each category winner included:
Bed of the Year – Harrison Spinks Velocity 8750 mattress
Paul Farley: “They say times of crisis bring opportunity, and Harrison Spinks has reacted to the needs of today’s market, without compromising its core principles. Eco-conscious, compact and delivered straight to the customer, Velocity really is a product for our times.”
Jerry Cheshire: “What gave their entry the edge was how they’ve reacted to the current Covid circumstances to create a product that fills a gap in the market. A pocket sprung mattress that, through the introduction of new technology, rolls and can be conveniently delivered direct to the consumer, therefore taking the mattress in a box market to a welcome, new higher level aligned with the existing Harrison Spinks brand position.
Component Product of the Year – Enkev’s GOTS certified range of fillings
Paul Farley: “The pressure to be more sustainable has driven the bedding market for years. Right now, with supply chains disrupted and people asking more questions about what they buy, where it comes from, and what the environmental cost might be, this solution opens the door to a brighter future.”
Jerry Cheshire: “There is a plentiful demand for Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) products being organic, plastic-free and free from potentially harmful chemicals used to meet UK FR regulation. The NBF’s ethos is to encourage transparent, sustainable products that are good for the consumer, the environment and most importantly, for our industry. Enkev’s submission, by qualifying for GOTS is our deserved winner.”
Small Bed Retailer of the Year – Prestige Beds
Bernard Eaton: “An outstanding application within a tightly contested field. It highlighted their achievements in growing sales and effectively adapting to the pandemic while simultaneously increasing profit margin and expanding their workforce, despite the challenges retailers have confronted throughout 2019 and 2020.”
Richard de Melim: “Prestige Beds impressed all the judges with the progressive steps they had taken during the first lockdown – making the most of their online channel and supporting key workers with special promotions. It also developed and leveraged its own in-house brand which it says has given it a true competitive advantage.”
Online Bed Retailer of the Year – Mattressonline.co.uk
Richard de Melim: “In the past year, Mattressonline achieved a 61% rise in website traffic and a 52% rise in sales. But it was not just top line growth that meant it won: it also achieved record annual profits.”
Andrew Kidd, editor of Interiors Monthly: “Mattressonline delivered a strong financial performance while investing in marketing, successfully revamping its product offer. During lockdown it supported its suppliers and expanded staff.”
Large Bed Retailer of the Year – Furniture Village
Bernard Eaton: “This application showcased a truly award-winning culture from the top down.”
Richard de Melim: “Furniture Village showed real industry leadership during the first lockdown this year, stealing a march on their rivals, going the extra mile across their stores, making customers feel safe and getting their stores back open at the earliest available opportunity.”
Andrew Kidd: “Furniture Village generated strong sales success, has invested in staff development, product development and raised the profile of the importance of sleep.”
Sustainability Awards – Bekaert Deslee
David Fitzsimons: “There were nine criteria we had to score across, and every company scored well. Several chose two or three of the criteria to emphasise. Sometimes it was net zero carbon, sometimes material recycling and in this most difficult of years, we appreciated it where we were told about the work they were doing with their staff and their local communities.
“But we came to a unanimous decision to select Bekaert Deslee as the winner because we especially liked the senior management commitment to sustainability and the application of new digital technologies to making it a more sustainable business.
“There is one other company we also want to mention – a company that surprised all of the judges, a company we scored well across all nine criteria and which has made very good progress on sustainability in the last 12 months. And that company is Jaybe. Well done Jaybe.”
Covid-19 Community Champion Award – The Vita Group
David Woodward: “We found this a very difficult decision to make as all three finalists were very close on our scoring matrixes. However, we felt the Vita Group entry just edged it with the diversity of their activities, included several innovative products. Going forward, the impact on their business is likely to be significant and these initiatives will continue to be of benefit to both the local and wider communities.”
Finalists for this year’s awards were as follows:
Bed of the Year (sponsored by John Cotton Non Wovens Division): Harrison Spinks – Velocity 8750 mattress; Hypnos – Orthos Origins range; Jaybe – Benchmark mattress range; Sleepeezee – Jessica bed.
Component Product/Machinery of the Year (sponsored by CPS Group): Boyteks VGuard ticking; Enkev’s GOTS range of fillings; Handy’s Tuft Length Adjustor; Kaymed’s IGel Advance Foam.
Online Bed Retailer of the Year (sponsored by The Vita Group): Land of Beds; Mattress Online.
Large Bed Retailer of the Year (sponsored by Sleepeezee): Dreams; Furniture Village; John Lewis; Sussex Beds.
Small Bed Retailer of the Year (sponsored by Hypnos): Now to Bed; Peter Betteridge Furnishing Ltd; Prestige Beds; The Winchester Bed Company.
Sustainability Award (sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland): Bekaert Deslee; Harrison Spinks; Hypnos; Jaybe; Silentnight.
Covid 19 Community Champion Award (sponsored by Furniture Village): John Cotton; Millbrook Beds; The Vita Group.