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Bed heads

85 years of family business experience helps Sleepyhead offer Kiwis the best sleep possible.

When Sidney Turner was offered equity in a small mattress manufacturing company as compensation for some electrical work, he couldn’t have envisaged the butterfly effect of what had just occured. It would not be until many years later that Sidney and his children would buy out the remaining equity, rebranding the business in homage to one of its most successful products, the Sleepyhead Mattress. Cut to 85 years later, and what began in a small tin shed in Auckland has burgeoned into one of New Zealand’s most recognisable brands.

Since those early years, a lot has changed at Sleepyhead. Like any successful modern business, they have adapted to the opportunities and challenges of increasingly global markets. However, what really stands out about Sleepyhead are the things that have remained ever-present across almost a century of business, such as its continual family ownership.

Current GM of Marketing, Felicity Turner, is part of the fourth generation to be involved in the company. She says that the ongoing stream of experience and knowledge this has provided is integral to the business’ success. “We all have such a genuine care for creating the best possible product. […] When it’s every dinner table conversation, it just absorbs your whole life. You can’t help it.”

Irrevocably tied to the Turner family’s passion for Sleepyhead is their unwavering commitment to being 100 percent New Zealand owned and operated. As the world continues to shrink it’s become increasingly profitable to manufacture overseas, yet this has done little to deter Sleepyhead from its commitment to local manufacturing.

Plans for the Ohinewai manufacturing facility in North Waikato. The ‘Sleepyhead Estate’ will see over $1.2 billion invested into the surrounding district alongside the creation of 1100 homes and an estimated 2600 jobs.
Sleepyhead has been a family business for 85 years, with current GM of Marketing, Felicity Turner representing the fourth generation of Turners to be involved in the company.

Felicity says, “Everything we do, our whole philosophy, is about designing the right products for New Zealanders in New Zealand by New Zealanders.” This philosophy is also central in Sleepyhead’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. By manufacturing their products on home soil Sleepyhead uses just a fraction of the shipping that other businesses do, cutting out an otherwise huge contribution to its carbon footprint. But this is just one of many ways that the company adheres to their zero waste policy, helping Kiwis to sleep at night in more ways than one.

Thanks to new technologies, more honus than ever before is also being given to the quality of our sleep, or lack thereof.

And Sleepyhead’s commitment to New Zealand shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, if anything, they’re doubling down; with plans underway for the creation of a state of the art manufacturing facility at Ohinewai in North Waikato. The ‘Sleepyhead Estate’ will see over $1.2 billion invested into the surrounding district alongside the creation of 1100 homes and an estimated 2600 jobs. Felicity says the company has been working tirelessly with local councils and Waikato-Tainui to ensure the development has a positive impact for both the region and its people.

In 2022–23, over ¼ of New Zealanders reported getting less than the recommended amount of sleep, a number that has been slowly increasing over the past few years. But it’s not just the quantity of sleep that is in decline. Thanks to new technologies, more onus than ever before is being placed on the quality of our sleep, or lack thereof.

Felicity says the two facets are inextricably linked, relying on one another to be effective, a notion that provides Sleepyhead even further conviction in their mission to give Kiwis the best sleep possible. From mattresses and sheets to duvets and pillows, both Felicity and Sleepyhead know that every detail counts when it comes to improving our sleep. Felicity says her gel-infused memory foam pillow is her ride or die and she takes it everywhere with her. After all, “if you can’t take a great mattress with you, at least you can take a great pillow.”