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Ethical Bedding Qs – The MALESTROM

Ethical Bedding Qs - The MALESTROM

We’re all about championing brands we love here at The MALESTROM, why don’t you tell our readers a bit about Ethical Bedding and how the business came about?

After spending a decade in Financial Services, I knew that I needed a change… In 2019 I started looking for consumer products that could improve people’s lives whilst also giving back and being kind to the planet. I didn’t want to just sell stuff to people on the internet – that didn’t sit well with me at all.

The more research I did into sleep and different textiles, I knew that I had found our niche. Eucalyptus is such a wonder fabric for sleep but is also so much kinder to the planet than traditional bedding textiles.

My background is in designing highly complex organisations, as well as accountancy, plus I also had previous ecommerce businesses – so we had a bit of a head start when compared with most new businesses.

What are some of the pitfalls you’ve faced along the way?

There have been countless… Ask any business owner and largely they will tell you that it’s a constant stream of problems and solutions!

It’s all about controlling the controllables though and learning from mistakes that we make along the way.

A few highlights for problems and pitfalls:

– V1 product failures and a need to establish an entirely new supply chain

– Covid forcing shipping rates up 400-500% (which makes up a large part of our COGS)

– iOS14 updates meaning data tracking became really weak and killed off a chunk of our marketing funnel

– GBP/USD exchange rates going through the floor (~$1.25 to ~$1.08) in around 12-months

– The list goes on and on… These are just a few highlights!

What is your ethos? And how important is it to the brand?

I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint my personal ‘ethos’ in a sentence. But I absolutely adore nature and the natural world – I have a highly overactive mind, so it’s one of the few things that brings me genuine peace. It activates all of my senses and fills me with joy.

As well, I feel that there isn’t enough kindness in the world sometimes. Kindness towards ourselves, towards one another and towards the planet. I would never run any business that didn’t align to those cores values of just taking what you need from the planet, whilst actively engaging in charitable donations and spreading a little bit of joy whilst improving people’s lives.

My vision for how I would like for the world to be underpins everything that we do as a business.

Given your name supplying ethical products must be at the very heart of Ethical Bedding?

Of course!

We are an award-winning BCorporation, we give at least 1% of our revenue to global sustainability initiatives annually and we ensure that there is a perfect balance between product longevity and environmental impact.

Does it make things more complicated and expensive? Yes

As a result, are we more proud of what we do and can we sleep better at night? Yes

Fundamentally, businesses should do the right thing. The world that we live in now is driven by big businesses who sadly don’t always do the right thing. When we are a big business one day, it’ll make me even more proud to think that maybe we helped to lead the way a little bit.

Tell us more about your products? 

They’re the best!

We are famous for our eucalyptus sheets, but also have a range of filled goods including pillows, duvets, protectors and toppers. Our Home Fragrances range recently launched, which includes soy-coco wax candles, mists and essential oils (It’s really difficult to get a perfume grade blend smelling quite as good as ours – so they really are impressive!). 

We also have mattresses launching in at the start of 2023, and true to our innovative approach to products our mattresses will be made using a non-dyed organic cotton, coconuts, recycled denim, hemp and bamboo. Pretty cool huh? (Seriously, you should test them. I’ve never slept on anything quite as special in my life)

It’s amazing what you can do if you just put a little bit more thought into your product range. Something that is non-negotiable for me is the quality of our entire range. I’m incredibly proud of all the feedback we get from our customers who have had their sleep transformed.

What’s the most popular item right now?

Our pillows are incredibly popular – made using a eucalyptus shell and filled with a blend of air blown bamboo and post-consumer recycled bottles.

Our Eucalyptus Silk pillowcases are also a best seller, given the attractive price point compared to silk whilst having all the same properties for hair and skin. As well, they are 100% cruelty-free and Vegan Society approved.

It’s our bundles that we sell the most of, which includes a fitted sheet, duvet cover and a pair of pillowcases.

We find that a lot of customers come back time and again. After sleeping in our range, it’s really difficult to go back to something of lesser quality.

What’s made your business stand out in the marketspace?

Unbelievably good, highly innovative products coupled with a seamless customer experience. We put our customer experience and their sleep at the heart of what we do, which really sets us apart in the market.

Then there’s other stuff… Award-winning BCorp, Vegan Society approved, cruelty free, carbon neutral…

We want our customers to feel good about what they are buying!

What does the future have in store? What are your aims?

Well, you’ll have to wait and see… I can’t say too much…

But I’ll be a lot more visible personally from Q1 2023 onwards.

In terms of products, we have heaps of products launching throughout 2023 and will be expanding into USA, Canada and Europe with a more tailored customer experience by geography.

What advice would you have for anyone thinking of starting their independent business?

There’s too much to write in a few sentences. But the best piece of advice I would give is to make sure that you love what you do, because if you don’t then it might be too difficult for you to navigate the inevitable difficult times.

How important is it to engage with other like-minded brands and makers?

It’s so key. More so than I had realised… From opening up opportunities, sharing ideas and adding two-way value.

As part of our business model next year, I will be personally engaging with other business owners more visibly through a series of podcasts. So if you, or anyone you know would like to have a chat then please get in touch!

What’s your favourite independent brand? Who would you nominate for us to feature next?

Ethical Bedding are my favourite independent brand. Next question please.

I would like to nominate Wick Fragrances to feature next. They are currently expanding into the UK and Lauren is a wonderful businesswomen as well as a good friend.

How can people track you down?

You can find me. In fact it’ll be difficult to avoid me soon…

@inbedwithjames for Instagram (please be warned, I’m a little eccentric!).

James Higgins (Ethical Bedding) for LinkedIn and serious stuff.

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