How 3Z Brands is redefining the art of sleep with innovations in mattress technology 

3Z Brands is a vertically integrated manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, and direct-to-consumer (D2C) distributor of exceptional sleep products, including mattresses and bedding. Founded in 1995, 3Z Brands began as a liquidator and was one of the first companies to introduce the ‘bed-in-a-box’ concept in the US. 

Today, the business houses a portfolio of consumer sleep brands, such as Helix Sleep, Brooklyn Bedding, Birch, Bear, Nolah, and Leesa. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, 3Z Brands boasts a state-of-the-art, 650,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with the capacity to produce around 4000 mattresses per day. 

John Merwin, CEO
John Merwin, CEO

To learn more about the company’s evolution, we sit down with John Merwin, CEO. “My brother, Rob, and I started out as liquidators in the Phoenix Valley area back in 1995,” John opens. “Rob later asked me for help in growing the business, and at the time, I was a college student who didn’t enjoy school, preparing to marry my high school sweetheart; so, I agreed to join him, thinking that I could always move back home to Montana if things didn’t work out. 

“We evolved the business slowly, learning every aspect of mattress making and accumulating materials until we were confident enough to produce our own brand. It was my wife’s idea to sell mattresses online. We had heard about a newly developed technology overseas, involving roll-packing a mattress and decided to embark on a mission to introduce the concept to the US. After a trip to Italy, we invested $135,000 to import the first roll pack machine into the US and hoped that the bed-in-a-box movement would soon take off. We sold our first bed-in-a-box in 2008 and the venture was so wildly successful that we launched our own brand, Brooklyn Bedding, shortly after. 

“In 2021, Brooklyn Bedding was merged with Helix Sleep, one of the most well-known D2C mattress brands in the US,” he continues. “Since the merger, we have acquired three more DTC brands: Bear, Nolah, and Lessa. As a result, we now employ over 500 people across our manufacturing facility and corporate offices, and we carry over 200 mattress models that range in size, style, material, and comfort, as well as bedding accessories like sheets, pillows, bases, protectors, and blankets.” 

Reflecting on the factors that lead to the success of 3Z Brands, John says: “Building positive relationships with suppliers and vendors, like UFP, is crucial to the success of our business. We strive to work with companies that are equally passionate about the bedding industry.” 

The company’s manufacturing process also contributes to its success, especially as the process has evolved to enable greater efficiency and productivity. “With world-class expertise in mattress engineering, cutting-edge equipment, and patented materials created with advanced technology, we pride ourselves on designing and producing high-quality mattresses on demand, with meticulous attention to detail,” John elaborates. “We’re vertically integrated, meaning we make our own coils, pour our own foam, and are responsible for assembly from start to finish. 

“There are several benefits of being vertically integrated: enhanced quality control, cost efficiency through streamlined processes, increased flexibility for customization, and greater innovation potential. By controlling every stage of production, we can maintain consistent quality standards, quickly adapt to market changes, and innovate materials and designs. Such integration also provides supply chain stability, as we can mitigate risks associated with external suppliers and instead ensure our products consistently align with our brand standards and values. 

“In 2022, we moved to a new manufacturing site, which enabled us to triple our production capacity compared to our last facility. We’ve also implemented state-of-the-art technologies and automation throughout our manufacturing process to maximize efficiency without compromising quality. From automated quilters to advanced robotics for mattress assembly, we leverage the latest innovations to streamline production and minimize waste. 

“However, while we embrace new technologies, we also recognize the irreplaceable value of skilled craftsmanship. We still have operatives that handcraft certain mattress components, and only by combining traditional craftsmanship with modern techniques can we achieve our desired level of quality and attention to detail. 

“We also have a ‘dream factory’ that holds Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification, which is regarded as the highest organic textile standard in the world,” John adds. “This third-party certification recognizes the gold standard that 3Z Brands embraces, ensuring that every component of an organic mattresses is not only constructed with GOTS-certified materials, but also made using ethical labor practices and backed by an ethical supply chain.” 

Having experienced significant growth, John is passionate about supporting those in need and giving back to the communities in which the business operates. “In the past year alone, we’ve worked with several organizations across the US, including Sojourner Center, Homeward Bound, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital to name a few,” John reveals. “Leesa is our brand built on the social mission to give back. To date, Leesa has donated more than 40,000 products to organizations like Thrive Arizona and WIM Victim Services to provide bedding to those who need it most.” 

When we ask about the future of 3Z Brands, John’s answer is simple. “We will continue to grow and innovate to provide sleep products that exemplify our commitment to comfort, quality, and customer satisfaction,” he concludes. “We’re also planning to release some new products later this year, but you’ll have to wait a while longer before we reveal our latest innovations.”