Posts Tagged ‘Sebastian’

Naturepedic Goes Beyond Certified

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

The time is here for Naturepedic to show off in a big way … to the retail industry, that is.

Naturepedic is prepping for Las Vegas Market in July, an industry show where companies showcase their latest and greatest offerings in furniture, home décor and gifts. The biannual Las Vegas Market is a whopper of a show: picture some 50,000 or more buyers for the stores you know and many you don’t arriving from all over the country, even world, to decide the products their stores will carry. It’s big.

For the July show, Naturepedic debuts its Beyond Certified campaign to educate retailers about the clever innovations and product variety offered in our adult organic mattresses, which, on top of everything are independently certified organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Not only do our mattresses earn GOTS certification, but so does our entire manufacturing facility. That gives us bragging rights.

The Beyond Certified campaign works toward two goals.  One is to reinforce the importance of GOTS certification, which separates organic products like ours from those making hollow “green” claims.  Another goal is to flaunt how Naturepedic is bringing a fresh approach back to organic mattresses, which for years was stuck in a latex-only funk.

Las Vegas Market lets us show what's in our mattresses. (display from previous Market)

Las Vegas Market lets us show what’s in our mattresses. (display from previous Market)

We do make amazing GOTS-certified all organic latex mattresses, but we do a lot more. Regarding latex, we are the only organic mattress manufacturer exclusively using latex certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard, or GOLS.

Latex is great, but many people enjoy the cooler sleep offered from the increased airflow afforded by coils or simply don’t want an all-foam mattress, organic or not. We provide a variety of GOTS-certified designs to make them very happy. Not only do we offer organic latex foam top comfort layers atop organic cotton fabric encased coils for a best of both worlds design, we also provide latex-free models with comfy encased comfort coils for luxurious latex-free comfort. Did you know Naturepedic is the only maker of GOTS-certified cotton encased coil mattresses in the U.S.? We are!  (I told you – this is our time to show off!)

Fresh also means doing things differently, like offering an organic sleep system that lets you customize your layers.  Our EOS™ brings a European flair to organic mattresses with a modern look, and allows customers to create their own dream mattresses, even with different firmness levels on each side of the bed for sleep partners with clashing preferences.  That’s something you just don’t see in typical organic mattresses!

EOS lets you customize your sleep experience

EOS lets you customize your sleep experience

And that’s the point of Beyond Certified.  At Naturepedic we are not typical.  We are constantly innovating, developing and offering creative new approaches to organic mattresses and accessories made with healthier materials, but always with a dedication to old-fashioned quality.

I guess we’re just an old-fashioned, non-traditional trendsetting innovator of healthier, safer, more comfortable mattresses!  It’s fun to brag sometimes.

Going to July Market? Visit us at Booth C-1565.

First Candle Works to Help Babies Reach Their First Birthday

Monday, July 21st, 2014

First Candle Safe Sleep Media Star logoIn a perfect world, every baby arrives at his or her first birthday, giggling and happy. First Candle is working toward that world.

The organization is dedicated to researching and preventing sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs), striving to put an end to the devastation of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and stillbirths. Both a research and advocacy group, First Candle also provides resources to help families touched by these tragedies. The name First Candle refers to that very first candle on a cake celebrating a one-year birthday. According to the organization, every year in the U.S. there are 26,000 stillbirths and 4,000 infants under one year who die unexpectedly.

In addition to spearheading research, First Candle also educates through their website and outreach programs. Their website alone is full of tips to help keep baby safe, including swaddling suggestions, basics for creating safer sleep environments, healthy practices for expecting moms, and more. Expecting parents can even download and print their own Kick Count Chart.

One of First Candle’s latest initiatives is the Safe Sleep Media Stars Campaign. According to First Candle, a study of magazines targeted to women of child-bearing age revealed that more than one-third of marketing images showed babies sleeping face down or in other unsafe sleep positions and more than two-thirds depicted babies in unsafe sleep environments. Through the Media Stars Campaign, First Candle promotes responsible media imagery of sleeping babies in print and online.

First Candle offers plenty of tips for moms and moms-to-be, but their website is also valuable to dads, grandparents, caregivers, and anyone and everyone who interacts with babies (or shows images of sleeping babies). By increasing awareness, First Candle works with everyone to collectively help each baby reach that first adorable birthday.

As a First Candle Media Star, Naturepedic has pledged to only show sleeping babies resting in safe positions or environments.

 

 

Naturepedic Handmade Mattresses: Real People, Real Quality

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

 

Our mattresses are handmade. Really.

A toy zipping down a conveyor belt, made from wooden pieces cut by a pre-programmed robotic machine then painted by an automated sprayer but in the end assembled with four bolts by hand is not “handmade” in my mind. To me, handmade is something lovingly made by a real person or persons.

Naturepedic mattresses are handmade in the classic sense.686A9499

Our manufacturing plant in Ohio (fully certified to the stringent Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), by the way) doesn’t use an assembly line, for starters.  Instead, you’ll see stations where skilled craftspeople are sewing, cutting, and otherwise building mattresses, each person paying close attention to the job at hand. The process reminds me of watching an heirloom guitar being hand built.

One of the greatest features of this approach is every individual employee in our factory is empowered to stop the process if something isn’t right, and by right, I mean perfect. One of our greatest sources of pride is the pride our employees put into their craft. Of course we use machines and tools, particularly for stitching, but behind every machine or tool is a detail-oriented person obsessively checking for quality.

Coils, made in house, are individually wrapped in organic cotton sleeves and hand attached

My favorite part, and one of the most remarkable processes to watch, is the creation of metal coils, each individually wrapped in organic cotton fabric. Amazing. To do this, we use reconditioned vintage machines from Europe that are in themselves things of beauty. The machinery creates the coiled springs from straight wire, compresses the coil and allows them to be sewn into the cotton pockets. The precision machinery, while old, is exceptionally complicated, with a remarkable number of moving parts. After each coil is wrapped, a craftsman hand attaches the individual coils.

The bottom line is we simply don’t take short cuts. We craft mattresses with real people, skillfully working together to make awesome products. That’s what I call handmade.

To watch some of the handmade process and to catch a glimpse of the machinery I mentioned above that coils the wires, check out our award-winning video.

Regrettable Substitutions

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

 

Questionable chemicals associated with health and developmental issues such as cancer, thyroid disruption and learning disabilities can show up in the most innocuous of consumer products. These chemicals sometimes, although infrequently, garner enough bad press to get them removed, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Unfortunately, removal may not be what it seems.

beakersWhy? Because an offending chemical can be removed simply to be replaced with a similar, possibly worse chemical. Called “regrettable substitution” by the Environmental Defense Fund and other organizations, this strategy may temporarily solve a company’s marketing or PR problem but does little to get an actual safer product to the consumer. And there are virtually no regulations to prevent this.

BPA

Take for example Bisphenol-A, or BPA. Following an outcry from the private and academic sectors on BPA’s links to hormonal disruption and connections to cancer and diabetes, the FDA banned it from baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012 (although according to the FDA it was not banned for health reasons but due to industry abandonment). Even before the ban, companies had begun making “BPA-Free” products and parents breathed a sigh of relieve.

The problem, however, is that BPA was commonly replaced with an equally questionable chemical.  Current regulations require no safety testing or even disclosure.  BPA-free does not necessarily equal safe.

Phthalates

Similar responses occurred with the phthalate DEHP (phthalates are plasticizers used to make vinyl plastics softer and more pliable). Following associations with disruption of male reproductive development, products, particularly those marketed to the healthcare industry, began being advertised as “free of DEHP.” While technically truthful, DEHP can be replaced with other phthalates, possibly trading one problem for another.

Curious about what phthalates can be used? Congress banned three types of phthalates (DEHP, DBP, BBP) in any amount greater than 0.1 percent in some children’s toys and select child care articles. Additionally, Congress banned on an interim basis the phthalates DINP, DIDP, DnOP in any amount greater than 0.1 percent, but only for articles that can be placed in a child’s mouth or sucked.

In other words, out of more than a dozen currently used phthalates and phthalate substitutes, six have been banned in very specific product uses for children. For a children’s item that can’t be placed in a baby’s mouth, unless the consumer has access to a chemical testing lab, there is no way to know if phthalates are being used or which ones or whether they are safe.

Lack of Regulation

Lack of regulation and transparency not only puts the consumer at risk, but also makes life difficult for companies legitimately looking to offer safer products. For us at Naturepedic, the answer was to avoid the questionable chemicals altogether.  Rather than attempt to find a safer phthalate (or flame retardant or many other chemicals) we simply don’t use them, period.

While consumers should continue to do their homework regarding product safety, they should also insist on stronger safeguards against harmful chemicals. Discussions have begun on potential reform to the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, but real progress has yet to be made.

For more information on the risks of BPA-free products, read Environmental Defense Fund’s Sarah Vogel’s article “BPA-Free” plastics may pose equal or greater hazard than predecessors. For tips on avoiding BPA and phthalates, read the tip sheet from the Silent Spring Institute.

State of Vermont Passes Stricter State Law Concerning Chemicals in Children’s Products

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Vermont state flagWhile national efforts to reform the outdated federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) continue, the state of Vermont has pushed forward on its own to create more stringent chemical safety standards than currently afforded.

On Friday, May 9, 2014, Vermont bill S.239 passed the Vermont Senate with a vote of 26 to 3, making the bill law and sending it to the Governor’s desk. The new state law gives power to the Vermont health department to require manufacturers to label or outright ban chemicals from children’s products sold in Vermont that the health department deems harmful.

Currently, the definition of “children’s products” is still being debated. For example, debate is underway if products that children commonly come in contact with, such as carpeting, should be included in the definition.

The Vermont legislature follows The Children’s Safe Products Act  enacted in the state of Washington as well as state laws in California and Maine. As part of the Washington state law, the state has established a Reporting List of Chemicals of High Concern to Children (CHCC) independent of federal law.

Currently, one point of contention in efforts to reform the national Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the rights of states to enact stricter laws than the national level, with some national legislators arguing that a national chemicals law must preempt state rulings.

 

Naturepedic Offers Factory Tour to CleanMed

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Hospitals and medical facilities throughout the U.S. are realizing the benefits in adopting sustainable business practices and integrating greener products and materials into their mix.

cleanmed2014_logoNaturepedic was proud to sponsor the recent CleanMed 2014 show, held at the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland, Ohio on June 2-5.  This national conference, held annually, brings together top thought leaders and key decision makers in the healthcare industry and promotes solutions for greater environmental stewardship.

Presented by Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth (of which we are a proud member), CleanMed provides exhibits, conferences and presentations to address the many facets of greener healthcare solutions.  The entire event engages the industry, sharing successes and exploring new, healthier ways of approaching healthcare.

Because the event was held in nearby Cleveland, we were excited to offer attendees a tour of our manufacturing facility in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The Naturepedic factory is completely certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), making the tour a perfect way to start the conference.

Currently, more than 100 hospitals throughout the U.S. use the Naturepedic pediatric pad, found in hospital nurseries.

Naturepedic founder Barry Cik invites CleanMed visitors to feel certified organic cotton

Organic Mattresses Just for Kids

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Ever wonder how a mattress made specifically for a kid varies from an adult mattress? Isn’t it simply the same twin-sized mattress as an adult twin-sized mattress?

Not at Naturepedic. Our certified organic mattresses for kids are designed specifically for developing bodies. Here’s how.

Be Firm with Your Kids

Essential for babies, a firm sleeping surface also benefits the developing bodies of older children. Naturepedic mattresses for kids feature a steel coil innerspring, and alternating coil directions create a strong stable feel and a medium-firm support perfect for kids. This added level of firmness might seem too firm for most adult preferences, but it’s best for kids’ growing bodies.

Additionally, our kid mattresses are made with a heavy duty edge support. This edge strength is a perfect reinforcement to allow adults to sit on the edge of the bed without sagging to read that bedtime story.

Get On Out, Allergies

In adult mattresses, organic wool and latex are awesome, but as adults, we probably have learned what allergens to avoid. In terms of babies and kids, our focus is on safety first and foremost, so our kids’ mattresses do not include latex or 100_0084wool. You will also find no coconut coir, another possible allergen due to the latex bonding agent. Because young ones with little-sized lungs sleep on these mattresses, we feel the best approach is to simply avoid possibly allergenic materials altogether, just in case.

Like all our mattresses, Naturepedic kids’ mattresses are free of polyurethane foam and vinyl and are made without pesticides, PFCs, chemical flame retardants and other questionable chemicals, and that’s not just our word. Our mattresses are certified organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and meet stringent clean air standards from UL/GREENGUARD. While all of this is beneficial to children with chemical sensitivities, we believe everybody benefits from reduced chemical exposure.

The Wetting Planner

When young children move from the crib to a big kid mattress, the occasional bed wetting accident can happen. The Naturepedic 2-in-1 bed for kids has one side fully waterproofed. This means easy clean-up without the need for an additional protective cover. Nice. Even better, our waterproofing is accomplished without PFCs or the phthalates found in vinyl, instead using food grade polyethylene.

As the child gets older, flip the mattress over for a quilted organic cotton fabric side. While the quilted side has a softer feel, it nonetheless provides a medium firm support.

100_0071The easy-to-clean wipe down surface of the waterproof side is also a benefit when kids get sick, regardless of age. As a parent I know how much I worry when my kids aren’t feeling good. Flipping the mattress to the waterproof side won’t help us parents worry less about our children, but it does mean we won’t need to add those extra layers of blankets or plastic shields to protect the bed.

Kid Power

Naturepedic mattresses for kids - kid friendly inside and out

Naturepedic mattresses for kids – kid friendly inside and out

Naturepedic mattresses for kids are designed specifically to support their unique needs while also making life easier for parents.

Learn more about our mattresses for kids, or even better check them out at any store carrying our kids’ mattresses.

The Human Side of Organic

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Every purchased product, even if mass produced, was made by somebody with materials gathered or processed by real people.

Naturepedic always remembers that, even when sourcing materials. I am fortunate to know and interact with the real people who build Naturepedic organic mattresses. Most of the manufacturing team is made up of Amish men and women possessing considerable skills, and it’s impressive to watch these craftspeople build mattresses. With an office just outside of the manufacturing floor, I see the process frequently.

A reflective moment as our life size organic cotton sheep stuffed animal mascot wishes to become a real sheep

A reflective moment as our life size organic cotton sheep stuffed animal mascot wishes to become a real sheep

That said, although we make our mattresses here in Ohio, even coiling our own springs and then hand assembling them with organic cotton encasements one at a time, we still bring in raw materials like organic cotton, latex, wool and wood.

We don’t have our own live sheep at this point.

Did you know the organic certifications we offer for our mattresses and materials also take into account the human, animal and environmental impacts related to those materials long before our mattresses are even made?

Organic Certification

As a writer for Naturepedic, I generally focus on the end user benefits of a certified organic mattress, such as not being exposed to toxic flame retardants. There are, however, other aspects of responsibility that are near to my heart that do not get mentioned.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the standard to which Naturepedic mattresses and our entire manufacturing facility are certified, ensures that crops are grown and harvested without GMOs and toxic pesticides and fertilizers, but it goes beyond that.

GOTS also examines the harvesting and processing of those materials and how it affects the soil, wildlife, insects, and the humans who gather and make the materials. In other words, GOTS looks at the entire global impact.

Cotton

The global cotton industry alone is responsible for some of the worst human rights violations anywhere. A 2007 report from the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) in collaboration with Pesticide Action Network UK found that six of the seven largest cotton producing nations regularly employ child labor, often under the most grueling circumstances.

For GOTS-certified cotton (and any agricultural products), crops must be harvested through employment freely chosen, and all levels of the product must be made without child labor in a safe and hygienic working area. Our mattresses use USDA-certified organic cotton grown in Texas, so we already have a huge step up using USA-grown cotton compared to mattresses made in other countries with lax human rights standards.

GOTS-certified organic cotton also doesn’t use the synthetic pesticides of conventional cotton.

The EJF report mentioned above estimates that cotton covers only 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land yet used 16% of the world’s insecticides. The report found in India, a remarkable 54% of the country’s pesticides were used on cotton, which occupies a little less than 5% of land use under crops!

These figures are just for the growing and harvesting phases, but the processing phase can also pose threats to workers and the planet. GOTS-certified cotton cannot be processed with the same harsh chemicals used in traditional cotton that are so detrimental. The certification looks at the whole process, from planting to processing.

Latex

Sourcing of organic latex foam, where rubber sap can be harvested from trees growing in countries without the same level of human rights afforded us in this country, requires even more vigilance for human rights. Our latex is independently certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard, or GOLS. Like GOTS, GOLS certification requires the latex be harvested responsibly, with workers treated fairly.

Additionally, it means rubber sap is harvested in a sustainable fashion with minimal environmental impact.

The Big, Sustainable Picture

Organic cotton fabric being stitched at Naturepedic

Organic cotton fabric being stitched at Naturepedic

Like GOTS, we strive to take a “big picture” approach in looking at overall planetary impact. Certified organic wool certified to GOTS, for example, must come from sheep raised humanely. But that’s not all. Even the wood we use to build our mattress frames has received certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to guarantee it was harvested in a sustainable and responsible manner.

We make you the safest, healthiest mattresses we can possibly make, and you can rest easy knowing that. We hope you’ll also feel better knowing your mattress was made with respect for the planet overall and the people, plants and animals living there.

Jenni June and Naturepedic want to help your kids sleep

Friday, May 9th, 2014
Jenni June, bringing sleep to babies and parents!

Jenni June, bringing sleep to babies and parents!

At Naturepedic, we appreciate the goodness of sleep, and so does our friend celebrity sleep specialist Jenni June. Beginning May 31, 2014, Jenni June kicks off her latest 15-city West Coast tour, bringing good sleep to babies, toddlers and parents!

The tour begins in California with The Family Sleep Event, made up of four 20-30 minute educational discussions. Jenni June understands the frustration parents experience when children won’t sleep, so she makes sessions fun, engaging and most of all empowering. Sessions are designed to give parents immediate tips they can begin using that same night as well as suggestions for building overall good sleep habits in children. Jenni will also cover ways parents can green-proof the sleep environment of their children to promote healthier sleep.

The first 100 registered guests per city get a gift bag with items valued at $80, including a Naturepedic Organic Cotton Fitted Crib Sheet. At the event, parents can also browse baby products from Naturepedic and other companies.

The tour ends on August 9 in Denver. Naturepedic is sponsoring The Family Sleep Event tour and we are thrilled, not only because of our commitment to Safe, Healthy Sleep™  (we are the most highly awarded crib mattress manufacturer in the U.S.), but also because we really like Jenni June!

WEST COAST FAMILY SLEEP EVENT FROM JENNI JUNE

San Diego, CA: Saturday, May 31

Del Mar, CA: Sunday, June 1

Newport Beach, CA: Saturday, June 14

Irvine, CA: Sunday, June 15

Pasadena, CA:  Saturday, June 21

Los Angeles, CA: Sunday, June 22

San Jose, CA:  Saturday, June 28

San Francisco, CA: Sunday, June 29

Eugene, OR: Saturday, July 12

Portland, OR: Sunday, July 13

Olympia, WA:  Saturday, July 19

Seattle, WA:  Sunday, July 20

Boise, ID:  Saturday, July 26

Salt Lake City, UT:  Saturday, August 2

Denver, CO:  Saturday, August 9

Jenni June at the grand opening of Naturepedic's Los Angeles store

Jenni June at the grand opening of Naturepedic’s Los Angeles store

Register for The Family Sleep Event.  You can find more about The Family Sleep Event as well as information on Jenni June’s overall work promoting sleep at her website at jennijune.com.  Read more about the event tour here.

What is Organic Certification?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

What is large? Bigger than a mailbox? An elephant? A gymnasium?

Big ... but maybe not to a dinosaur! (CC license , Eve Livesey, photographer, on freestock.ca

Big … but maybe not to a dinosaur!
(CC license , Eve Livesey, photographer, on freestock.ca)

The word “large” holds no value without a reference point. A sandwich the size of a dachshund is large. An alligator that size is not.  The same holds true for “organic.”

Alone, the word “organic” is of questionable value. If you’re trying to sell me a product, I have even more reason to question the value of that word, as it will often be contorted to imply elements that simply are not there.

WHAT DOES ORGANIC MEAN?

If a mattress contains “organic” cotton but has a cotton fabric cover treated with a chemical flame retardant, is the mattress organic?  What if the mattress is waterproofed with chemicals like PFCs?  You probably don’t want a mattress off gassing fair amounts of VOCs regardless of whether there is organic cotton there or not, so how do you know what “organic” actually means on a label? How do you know if the label is even truthful?

You demand certification to a rigorous, globally recognized, third-party verified standard such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOLS)  or the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). Whether for an individual component or an entire finished product, a global standard defines and ensures materials or products live up to the definition.

RED FLAGS FOR THE GREEN WORLD

So what greenwashing organic logo tricks are out there? Here are a few:

 Organization Memberships as Proof

Be cautious when you see memberships to organic and environmental organizations and groups used to prove organic authenticity of a product. We proudly belong to many organic and sustainability organizations but know membership doesn’t verify our products. While we are members of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), for example, we don’t suggest that demonstrates our mattresses are organic; we use GOTS to show that. Sadly that sneaky join-a-club logic is used by some companies: pay membership dues to a trade organization then use the organization logo to “prove” organic veracity. It just doesn’t work that way.

Improperly Used Logos

Naturepedic uses USDA certified organic cotton grown in Texas which we proudly mention on our website. What you won’t see though is the USDA logo on our mattresses. Why? Because that is a label for agricultural materials. The USDA does not certify cotton fabric, furniture or mattresses. They don’t even allow the use of their logo on manufactured products, so if you see that logo, it doesn’t verify the mattress or fabrics are certified organic.

Fake Certifications or Meaningless Graphics

The great thing about living in the information age is you can quickly find out the details of a “certification” with a quick online search. If you’ve never heard of a certification before, it’s time to check.

The FTC is becoming more vigilant against deceptive green labeling practices, but that they won’t catch all offenders. In 2013 the FTC required EcoBaby to stop using their made-up NAOMI organic seal. The FTC said the logo gave the impression of a third-party, independent certification based on objective criteria, which wasn’t the case. In this extreme example, the company had actually created a false, and meaningless, certification!

Similar to fake certifications are eye-pleasing graphics masquerading as certifications. A pretty image of a leaf that reads “organic,” “earth friendly,” or some other green claim may simply be a picture created by the company’s graphic artist.

Pieces vs. Whole

We offer GOTS certification for our entire mattresses, but that certification can also be for individual components. (Our entire manufacturing facility is GOTS certified.)  GOTS-certified components are great. However, if you want your entire mattress GOTS certified, be careful. Sometimes the GOTS logo is used to imply a whole product is certified when in reality only select components are.

 WHY CERTIFICATION? SO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING.

Look for the GOTS logo for organic authenticity

Look for the GOTS logo for organic authenticity

The bottom line is independent, legitimate organic certification lets you understand exactly what you’re getting, and not what a company wants you to think you’re getting.  Demand more and understand what a certification means.

Otherwise, you might just get a pretty logo and a bunch of chemicals.