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Into 2012...

January 29, 2012 - 12:44am

We have been having to review our prices in the wake of huge increases in raw materials over the past year. We have been manufacturing for 22 years now and have never seen the sort of rises in materials that we experienced in 2011. In some cases it is good news for the people at the end of the chain - the British organic wool we use has leapt 100% and although that has had a big impact on the prices of some of our products it's great to see a much undervalued fibre coming back into demand. Along with wool costs, our natural latex has risen by 22% and organic cotton has been going up pretty much every month.

All manufacturers are seeing these sort of changes and some are responding by pushing down quality by sourcing cheaper, inferior materials and cutting corners in manufacturing processes. Some of the bigger players aren't playing fairly by putting pressure on producers, suppliers and manufacturers to cut costs by driving down wages.

We can't keep our prices at 2011 levels. We have just put our mattresses up by an average of 6% and our futons by 4.5%. But we can promise that these rises are fair in the light of changes to material costs and that we really do keep margins as tight as we can. It's why we don't (or, more accurately, can't) have sales or offer discounts but why our mattresses and futons cost less than any comparable products, often a lot less. We use the best raw materials, sometimes tracking down our own, unique supply chains, sometimes sourcing the same fillings from the same suppliers as companies that charge much, much more than we do.

We don't sell to shops or operate a wholesale structure. Our approach is simple and straightforward - we make great stuff and sell directly from our workshop. In many ways our prices are wholesale prices, to everyone. So although we can't reach all our customers geographically (but that doesn't seem to stop people travelling from all over the UK to visit our shop!) our mattresses and futons are within the reach of more people in terms of cost. It means we are growing more slowly, but it's the way we like it and after 22 years we know it's the way we want to do business.