A good night’s sleep depends on a few key factors coming together to create a soothing environment. There is no denying that your mattress is one of the primary building blocks of a tranquil slumber. Not only is your mattress a major player responsible for comfort and sleep quality, but it plays a critical role in your overall health. Your bedroom should be a restful retreat but, unfortunately, more and more research is revealing that the bedroom may be one of the most toxic places in the home.
Between polyurethane foam, flame retardants and formaldehyde, the average conventional mattress contains more toxic chemicals than a 50 gallon oil drum, and our skin, the largest organ of the body, is the most porous entry point. From back pain and headaches to long-term health risks, how do you know if you are sleeping on the right mattress? Modern Home Victoria spoke to Duane Franklin from FAWCETT Manufacturing, Victoria’s leading manufacturer of organic and sustainable mattresses in Victoria, to explore the benefits of buying a custom, handmade mattress.
How did you get into the business of making mattresses? In 1983, I was hired by Gregg’s Furniture, a local furniture and mattress manufacturing company. Gregg’s was the only company on Vancouver Island that was building their own line of furniture and mattresses at the time.
Gregg’s was very busy with cruise ship refurbishment and I was one of many hired as a labourer. I worked hard enough to catch the attention of the owners and they offered me a full-time position. The mattress shop had just taken an order of 500 hospital mattresses for the new Victoria General Hospital. They needed help and asked if I would work in their Fisgard St. factory. Starting the next day, I was immediately immersed in the assembly of all things mattresses. I went on to work at Gregg’s for 17 years.
In 2000, I left to start my own business, Young and Franklin. With a focus on commercial and marine mattresses, Y&F made a variety of different mattresses; I had Y&F for 10 years before closing the business. That is when the opportunity to partner with Ross Taylor from Gabriel Ross presented itself and we put together the business plan for what would become FAWCETT Manufacturing.
We purchased industry specific equipment such as our Atlanta attachment tape edge sewing table and our king size pneumatic tufting press. This is the only equipment of its kind on Vancouver Island. We sourced high-quality, natural, sustainable and healthy components from the best suppliers we could find. These efforts have enabled us to bring very high quality, locally manufactured, organic, non off-gassing mattresses to the Victoria market.
What is different about the mattresses at FAWCETT? Our story is about being local, sourcing natural, designing for comfort and building a longer lasting product. We locally manufacture all of our mattresses on-site from our open kitchen concept workshop where you can view our showroom through large glass panels. We use 100% natural and organic materials where possible. We make a better, longer lasting mattress that will bring years of comfort to our customers. When we run into you on the street, we expect a high five because you are so thrilled with your new mattress.
I love that your mattresses are natural and don’t off-gas, but how does that play into comfort and longevity? Amazingly enough, all of the materials that we use are longer lasting and maintain their comfort much longer than their less sustainable counterparts. If you buy a firm mattress today, you’ll be sleeping on a firm mattress for years to come. Natural Latex foam has been around for decades and has always been known for its longevity as well as its long lasting comfort. It doesn’t soften over time like petroleum based foams. It is also naturally fire resistant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, dust mite resistant, mold and mildew resistant and it biodegrades at the end of life. The organic wool that we quilt into our organic cotton ticking is also a natural fire barrier, temperature regulating and moisture wicking. It is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
A locally made all natural and organic mattress sounds expensive? How do you compare on price to other options in the market? A FAWCETT Queen size mattress ranges from $1,389 to just over $3,000 which is reasonable given the quality. We have a new hand built individual pocket coil model in the works that will price closer to the $4,500 range. We want our customers to do their homework. If you’re in our price category and you stop by to see us, I think there’s a very good chance that at some point, you’re going to be sleeping on a FAWCETTmattress.
I’ve heard you call your mattress a “no compromise mattress.” What does this mean? We recently showed our mattresses at one of the local home shows and a woman said, “if I like the mattress firmness, my partner won’t.” I asked her to tell me the firmness each of them likes and which side of the bed they sleep on and we’ll make your mattress custom to your preferences. We truly believe that one person should not have to compromise just because the other person likes a firmer or softer sleep. That is how we came up with our “no compromise mattress” philosophy. We display several of our mattress models at FAWCETT with both a softer side and a firmer side so clients can literally roll from one side to the other to try a distinct firmness difference. When it comes to sleep, there should be no compromise.