When shopping for a natural mattress, organic mattress or natural, organic bedding in the San Francisco Bay Area, your options are fairly plentiful when compared to other regions in the United States. Having visited many natural mattress stores throughout America, I can tell you that the San Francisco Berkeley Bay Area has one of the most diverse selections of stores and products I have seen. While this is great for consumers, it can also lead to some confusion as to what brands are the best.
However, it is very encouraging to see so many choices. There was a time when I was working in the industry that there were very few choices, and if you went to a regular mattress retailer, they would look at you like you were some kind of crazy person if you asked for a natural mattress. Today's choices are plentiful and this makes the consumer's job a bit more difficult, as more choices means more to think about. Whether you are shopping in San Francisco or looking for a mattress sale in Berkeley, here are a few things to consider when looking for a natural mattress store:
- Experience - I had a customer in the store the other day who told me of their experience shopping at one of the natural mattress store chains in Oakland California. They walked into the shop and the salesperson was sleeping on a mattress! When she awoke startled, she said hello and went to her desk. She did not even engage the customer! When the customer asked for assistance, she nonchalantly answered a few of their questions. The best part however is when the customer asked what was in a particular mattress and the salesperson rummaged around in a drawer, produced a piece of latex and said here, this is what is in the mattress. Needless to say they shared this information while purchasing from Nest Bedding, however, it illustrates how important it can be when you are lost and seeking guidance just how important someone knowledgeable and passionate about their products can be. Do you want a salesperson who has gone through Sleep Train's 2 week classroom training on how to sell or someone who owns the business, has designed the products and works the store everyday?
- Narrow down the choices - It is almost comical, to me, to see stores with a huge selection of beds. Its not comical to consumers who have to wade through all the choices, but to me it is because these stores are just further confusing customers. How many different ways are there to make a natural or organic mattress? Not many. But there are lots of brands. And carrying lots of brands means a wide variety of prices and marketing claims, all adding to consumer's confusion. There really is only a couple of ways to make a natural mattress, and just a few materials. A smart natural mattress store owner shops the brands and weeds out the dross so you can focus on a good value without having to wade through a bunch of models that are redundant. If you are looking at a mattress made of cotton and latex from OMI, one from Savvy Rest, one from Naturepedic and one from the natural mattress store, they are all made the same: latex, cotton and wool. Just because there are many brands doesn't mean a store has to carry many brands. A smart store owner, with experience, narrows down the choices to durability, craftsmanship and affordability so you don't have to do all that work.
- Non-Pressure Sales - No one likes to be forced into a purchased, or pressured into making a decision. A mattress, whether its memory foam or organic, is a big, expensive, life-changing purchase, and should be done with patience and intent. I don't know where in history someone decided they should be sold like used cars, but its very common to be pressured and pushed when going into mattress stores. A good mattress store will present their products after listening to your issues and needs, make suggestions and price their products competitively so you can focus on which products will work best for you instead of what mattress you have to buy right now to get the best price.
- Business model - This plays an important role in how the products at a natural mattress store are priced. For example, if you shop at a natural mattress store on a tony shopping street in San Rafael or Berkeley on 4th street, these locations are expensive to rent or lease. Those costs are tacked on to the price of the mattresses, as this is the business's overhead. I have always felt it is the responsibility of the retailer to build a responsible, low-cost business model to keep prices low. Lower rent buildings, off the main shopping street, drop ship suppliers and low cost advertising all allow us to keep our prices low.