Bedding brand to transform U.S. licensing model to sell directly to retailers; will add its own manufacturing & sales operations
Embarking on a new business model in 2018, leading mattress manufacturer King Koil will transform its business and convert its focus to a manufacturing platform producing its own products and selling to retailers through a dedicated sales force.
“With the continuing shakeup underway on the retail side of the bedding business and the sorting out of manufacturing and retail alliances, the licensing model just isn’t as effective as it once was,” said King Koil Chief Executive Officer David Binke. “Under the new changes, we will build on the great 120-year-old King Koil brand and assure our products continue to be made to our exacting standards throughout the U.S.”
The new business model will be phased in over the next several years in stages. King Koil already has plans to open one factory to service the west and southwest regions of the country, and has entered into a new arrangement with Blue Bell Mattress, one of its oldest licensees. Under the new strategic partnership with King Koil, Blue Bell will manufacture and distribute King Koil products in the Northeast and Midwest from its two factories in Connecticut and its recently acquired factory in Roseville, Mich. King Koil is also building an experienced sales organization and adding to its corporate staff. Announcements in these areas are expected over the next several weeks.
“Blue Bell is a historically strong partner for us with great ownership and an excellent management team,” Binke said. “The company is uniquely positioned to be a strong, committed King Koil partner through its recent expansion.”
Binke had been laying the foundation for the shift toward direct manufacturing since joining the company late last year.
The company will continue with its international licensing strategy, and under the King Koil will be developing new opportunities, resources and services for its international licensees. Over the years, the company has developed strong international licensing relationships with leaders in their respective regions. Those partnerships have helped build King Koil’s international presence into a successful powerhouse.
A leading global mattress manufacturer, King Koil supports more than 30 licensees in more than 90 countries where King Koil mattresses are manufactured and sold. Headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Willowbrook, Ill., the company has a long, rich history that reaches back to 1898 when Samuel Bronstein founded United States Bedding in St. Paul, Minn. What started out as six employees in a small factory has continued to grow. During the 1930s, U.S. Bedding improved the bedspring and was looking for a new name for its product. From there, the King Koil name was born.