Americans are preoccupied with the brands that celebrities like—the clothes they wear, the food they eat, the vacations they take and the cars they drive. So here's a question that's gone largely unanswered: What mattresses do they sleep on?
Well, if you're talking about U.K. celebrities, one of the answers is Vispring. The 114-year-old manufacturer's bespoke mattresses (each one is made to order at the Plymouth factory) grace the bedrooms of David and Victoria Beckham, and of Olympic gold-medalist and gay heartthrob Tom Daley. In 2011, gossip had it that Kate Middleton spent the night before the royal wedding on a Vispring. Hotel heiress Paris Hilton sleeps on one, too. If you can afford to be a passenger aboard the Queen Mary II, you'll be sleeping on a Vispring mattress at sea—just like your considerably less fortunate predecessors did aboard the Titanic.
Most recently, Vispring partnered with Staffan Tollgard, the English designer whose influence has been singled out by the likes of House & Garden and Architectural Digest, whose new Vispring bed will debut at the interior-design show Decorex in London next month.
Until recently, Vispring remained something of a secret in the U.S. But since landing on American shores a few years ago (only 30 high-end retail stores stock the mattresses at present), Vispring has slowly been raising its public profile. "We started in a small way, and we're trying to get the word out," managing director Mike Meehan told Adweek. "We see that the North American market is a big opportunity for us."
At least it is when the upper crust is buying. Vispring mattresses are hand-assembled with all-natural components including vicuña, mohair, cashmere, raw silk and horsehair. Its Vanadium steel coils come in 60 different tensions. A top-of-the-line queen-sized mattress goes for as much as $30,000.
Which means Vispring has its work cut out for it. Americans tend to buy mattresses based on factors such as convenience and price. The concept of a luxury mattress—even taking increasingly popular brands like Sweden's Duxiana into account—remains something of an oxymoron on this side of the pond. "As a segment," Meehan says, "that doesn't really exist."
Though Americans spent some $7.5 billion on 37 million mattresses last year, according to the International Sleep Products Association, close to a fifth of the ones they bought cost less than $500. The same statistics show, however, that Americans are slowly waking up to quality—or at least the idea of dropping more than $2,000 on a mattress, which close to 21 percent of consumers did in 2014. According to research by IBISWorld, as Americans' disposable income increases, so does their tendency to purchase correspondingly pricier mattresses.
But are there enough well-heeled consumers in America to support a brand like Vispring? "Absolutely," says David Melançon, who runs New York-based performance measurement firm btr. Melançon explains that there are two levels of buyers within the luxury segment—the kind who show off their labels, and the kind who are so affluent they don't need to. "Luxury mainstream brands are for someone who aspires to luxury, but someone who is there already buys [a Vispring] mattress," he says. "It's not a huge market, but there's definitely a market."
In Meehan's view, a super high-end mattress is just part of the luxury continuum, and he expects affluent Americans will steadily gravitate to his brand. "We're really offering consumers who have luxury in other parts of their lives a chance to bring luxury into the bedroom," he says.