How we started a natural bedding company

Posted by Andrew McCaig on

   
   
Our humble bedding company has been a labour of care, craft and love since
day one, and while we’ve come a long way, it’s always fun to look back at the
origin stories of a business, especially one like The Natural Bedding Company.
   
From learning how to make his first futon to opening a flagship showroom,
founder Andrew McCaig has been there every step of the way,  with his low tox
values and love of good craftsmanship at the core of everything he does.
So how exactly does one start a natural bedding company? We’re glad you
asked…
   
   

How it all started

   

In quite an unusual start to a new business, Andrew was doing yoga in the 80s
when he was shown by a student from Japan how to make a cotton futon.
Taking eight hours to complete, it might not have seemed like the most
sustainable business plan, but Andrew was obsessed, and he’s worked ever
since to perfect the art of production.
   
   

Pictured here: Andrew McCaig the Founder in the 80's with a futon sofa bed
& the original location and name of the business "Deluxe Futons"
   
 
     

What the early days looked like

   

Early to rise, Andrew would head out first thing to the fabric supplier to get the
cotton drill, while his then-wife Jan would cut and sew covers. And while their
son Sam slept, Andrew would stuff the futons. With their marketing plan
consisting of signs in coffee shops, word of mouth, and a sign on the roof of
their 1984 Suzuki Sierra, business took off. Within three months, Andrew had
gone from ordering two bales of cotton to fifteen.
      
   

Pictured here: The original oven that can still be found inside the Sydney
Flagship store, 122 Percival Rd Stanmore.

   

   

What are the big values of the business?

    

Working locally within Sydney’s inner west has always been the basis of the
company, which started as Deluxe Futons before being christened with
The Natural Bedding Company title in later years. 
   
Andrew is passionate about the transparency of how each product is made,
from the use of sustainable, natural materials, to non-toxic methods of
production, including practices like sewing the mattress layers instead of using
glue.
   
The Natural Bedding Company has also been an advocate for fair work
environments, using agencies and groups like the Asylum Seekers Centre
over the years to find staff.
   
       
   
  Pictured here: Head Woodworker Tracey putting the final touches
on our Cassia bedframe
  

What’s changed since starting the business?

   

For a long time, Andrew operated the business with a very small team,
even bringing his son Sam into the process for 15 years (no small feat!)
Together, they would sell, produce, deliver, and manage the business,
inspired simply by the desire to bring people beds they love that give them
the natural sleep they deserve.
   
These days, the business employs 15 people, with managers in each
department, and of course, a much bigger client base.
Speaking about his team during the past year, Andrew says,
“Tough times can either bring a team closer together or tear it apart.
We have chosen to use the last 18 months to connect with our team
(from 1.5m apart, of course) and grow internally.
     
The commitment to keep going comes from a belief both in our amazing staff
and the skills they have, as well as the incredible products that we have
worked hard over 37 years to create.”
   
As for the team itself, Andrew promises it’s “no ordinary business” and “no
ordinary team”. Each person in the team has their own unique set of skills,
from strategy to design to customer service, and they all blend together
to elevate the company.
  
Andrew says, “The overarching ethos of sustainability - and the commitment to
producing ethically sourced and made products - permeates throughout all
facets of the business, including our team.”
    
 
Pictured here: Andrew circa 2015 in the Marrickville factory

      

So what’s next for this low-tox bedding business?

   

The Natural Bedding Company has plenty of tricks up their sleeves,
including interstate expansion and a goal of opening a showroom or stockist
in every major Aussie city. Later this year, the team are opening a showroom
in south-east Queensland, and are keen to develop a fresh range of quilts, linen,
and mattress protectors to bring even more of their natural bedding products
in-house. 
   
And with the past year putting sustainability front and centre,
The Natural Bedding Company plan to continue their work with organisations
like Carbon Positive Australia, in order to be a part of the solution for climate
change, and to give back to the environment.
   

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