|Jamison Bedding: Giving customers and travelers the luxury of sleep for 120 years
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If you've stayed in a Marriott, a Choice Hotel or even some Holiday Inns, chances are you've slept in a Jamison Bedding bed.
Located in Nashville, Tenn., Jamison is a fifth-generation family owned business and is the fourth-largest bedding provider in the United States.
It recently acquired a more worldly distinction by obtaining a license to manufacture and sell British-based Hypnos Beds, which hold warrants from the late Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and soon, Prince Charles.
If Jamison President Frank Gorrell's ancestors knew their company would be holding a royal warrant (only a select few suppliers do, including Jaguar, Bentley Motorcars, Royal Doulton China and Waterford Crystal), they'd probably roll over in their graves, says Gorrell.
But perhaps it's not so unlikely, considering that since 1883 Jamison has established itself as the finest quality bedding available anywhere in the world.
According to Gorrell, whose mother was a Jamison, the company has three divisions—retail (selling to customers in nine southeastern states); hoteliers (it has been the exclusive vendor to Marriott since 1966); and now licensed manufacturer of high-end luxury beds (Hypnos from England, which is the exclusive supplier of bedding to the royal household).
"We've really created a niche for ourselves, offering high-quality products at a value to retailers. And we've created a niche in the hotel industry," Gorrell says.
His introduction to Peter Keen, owner of Hypnos Beds, was quite serendipitous. "Liggett & Platt is a company that most bedding manufacturers buy their coil spring units from," explains Gorrell. "About four or five years ago, Liggett set up operations in the United Kingdom market and began supplying Hypnos."
It turns out that there were many similarities between the two companies—Jamison and Hypnos. Both were long-time family owned companies, both served the high-end hotel industry and both had an interest in providing the highest quality product for customers worldwide.
After visits to Nashville and Buckinghamshire, England, the two companies set to work. "Hypnos beds are a handmade product, using the finest natural materials (silk, rubber from trees in Malaysia, New Zealand wool and cashmere). It took us about a year to get our employees trained, set up the supply chain and launch the product (which Jamison did in September at the grand opening of the Marshall Field's State Street store in Chicago).
"Generally, we were not able to sell profitably outside of a 300-mile radius due to weekly deliveries. But with this high-end product, we can now afford to expand nationally," says Gorrell.
He and his team have targeted national chains, including Marshall Field's, upper-end furniture stores, specialty stores and high-end linen stores.
Although the past couple of years have been tough for the company—new construction in hotel chains practically dried up after Sept. 11, 2001, and expansion and refurbishing also were halted—Gorrell has seen retail sales pick up since Labor Day.
"The one thing in a hotel that has to be replaced if it's worn out is the bed. What hotels are selling is a good night's sleep," he says. And he also believes that the addition of the luxury Hypnos beds will boost sales.
"There's not another bedding company that has the royal warrant. It's an exceptional product (selling between $3,000 and $6,000) that is handcrafted, not made on a production line," he says.
Jamison makes beds to Hypnos specifications, but uses U.S. sizing rather than metric and makes box springs that fit typical U.S. bed frames versus the divan-style that's popular in Europe.
And just in case you're wondering who else is sleeping in a Hypnos bed aside from the royal family: Gorrell says he doesn't have any big names in the United States, but that Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckwith and the Sultan of Brunei all sleep on Hypnos beds.
Hypnos Beds will be available at Glabman's Furniture in Los Angeles, so it soon could also become the choice bedding of the stars. e
Jamison Bedding is a client of Leading Edge accounting firm Lattimore, Black, Morgan & Cain, P.C. in Brentwood, Tenn. The firm handles audit work, administers the company's pension fund and assists with technology for Jamison.