Small Business Owner Evolves from Wonder Bread Truck Delivery to Bed-in-a-Box Pioneer with a $20 Million Factory
March 28, 2018 (Phoenix, Ariz.) – It was time for Brooklyn Bedding to set the record straight: the 23-year-old company launched its first ever brand video on social media in February this year, quickly amassing over one million Facebook views—due perhaps to the inspiring chord it struck with entrepreneurs, or the fact that customers value authenticity, or that Americans like to root for the little guy. Over the past four years competitors had begun to use the word “disruption” a little too often, leaving true pioneers like John Merwin to smile wryly, “I guess you had to be there.”
At least you had to be there in 2008 when practically no other online mattress company existed, let alone dreamed of putting a bed in a box and selling it online.
The Montana-born brothers of Brooklyn Bedding (known as R&S Mattress in 1995) began as liquidators in Phoenix, Arizona, purchasing overstock product from Montgomery Ward and delivering mattresses out of a refurbished Wonder Bread truck. Rob Merwin used to place ads in the local newspaper and take incoming orders on a Motorola brick phone, convincing local valley customers he could be at their home with all of his inventory in 15 minutes. John, a struggling college student about to get married, joined the business at the request of his brother. When Montgomery Ward shuttered in 2001, the Merwins found themselves at the proverbial crossroads many entrepreneurs encounter. They had to either produce their own product or face going out of business themselves.
Operating a bootstrapped company at the time, John managed to accumulate raw materials and equipment as he could afford them. He took every opportunity to visit manufacturing facilities across the country, learning both the art and science of mattress making while adopting best manufacturing practices. In 2008, John’s wife Kristin suggested he expand nationwide by selling online. John learned the Chinese had a technique for compressing mattresses—he spontaneously boarded a plane to the Jiangsu province only to find limited technology for compressing and roll packing beds. He took a calculated risk three months later, becoming the first to import the Italian Teknomac at a cost of $135,000, hoping customers would take a chance on buying a bed-in-a-box on Amazon. The venture was so successful he launched BrooklynBedding.com, named after his younger daughter, and built a state-of-the-art, 145,000 square foot factory in central Phoenix to meet the ever increasing demand for his online business.
Though hundreds of online companies have sprung up since 2012, Brooklyn Bedding remains one of the few to manufacture their own products. The company’s made in the U.S.A., end-to-end craftsmanship approach has empowered Merwin to offer competitively priced mattresses featuring higher quality.
Asked how he views both his success and longevity, John is introspective. “No one graduates from high school thinking, ‘I want to grow up to make mattresses,’” he says. “I read every book. I went to every seminar. Every expert said you’re supposed to find your passion and pursue that. The whole time I was trying to figure out what I should be doing with my life I was building stuff and doing what I loved. I finally woke up to the fact that that’s success.
“I never lose sight of the fact I build mattresses for people who are waking up to their own potential every day, who are working and dreaming too.”
ABOUT BROOKLYN BEDDING
Brooklyn Bedding is an American made manufacturer of mattresses, differentiated by master craftsmanship, a wholly owned state-of-the art manufacturing facility and exceptional customer service. Family owned since 1995, the company originated with two brothers delivering mattress products direct to customers’ homes. Known as the “mobile mattress guys,” John and Rob Merwin evolved their business by learning every aspect of the mattress making process. They tenaciously used every material in their inventory to pass savings on to customers, purchasing high grade manufacturing equipment and pioneering bed-in-a-box online delivery in 2008.
Today, the company owns world class expertise in mattress engineering, achieved through meticulous attention to detail, cutting edge equipment and patented materials created with advanced technology. Brooklyn Bedding designs and creates its entire line of high quality bedding, on demand, in its manufacturing facility in Arizona. Remaining true to its roots, the company still goes the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction, offering its expertly crafted mattresses, sheets and pillows at an affordable price with free online shipping, a generous 120-day trial period, and a 10-year hassle free warranty period on mattresses.