Stars

DOWNPASS Partners in the Spotlight

Get to know producers, retailers and partners who work with the DOWNPASS - the animal welfare and quality standard.

We introduce you to the people behind the companies. We have asked them about personal attitudes towards animal welfare, environmental and climate goals and their mission of "good sleep".

RIBECO - On the way to climate neutrality

Company profile Richard Behr & Co. GmbH

In Kaltenkirchen, a 30-minutes’ drive from Hamburg, there is the headquarters of Richard Behr & Co. GmbH. Founded in 1917 and now managed by the fourth generation, the family-owned company is proud of its traditional Hanseatic approach of still offering customers and partners the "old-fashioned" personal service as the basis of a good working relationship. With great attention to detail, continuous innovation management and a willingness to change, Ribeco, a bedding supplier to major retail groups, has consistently moved towards climate neutrality since the 1980s. At the product level of the environmentally friendly bed, this goal has already been achieved..
 
Downpass Talked to Christoph Habertag, Managing Director at Richard Behr & Co. GmbH. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

As a family business, Richard Behr & Co. has been around since 1917, and today you are one of the European market leaders. Your vision is a climate-neutral, environmentally friendly bed that is manufactured according to the highest social standards. How do you put this vision into practice in your day-to-day business?

The climate-neutral bed has long since ceased to be a vision for us, but rather a concrete everyday reality: we avoid CO2 wherever possible. What cannot be avoided in the supply chain, we can offset - and will do so completely for our product range in our online shops from the end of this year.

Already in the 80's we started our production according to the latest standards, years ago we converted to our own combined heat and power plant; compressed air power generation, GreenLight program, green electricity for all our forklifts, the conversion of our company vehicles to electric drives, heat generation by means of solar thermal energy in our Chinese joint venture, or a solar-powered heat pump for our new distribution center, as well as climate-neutral delivery by electric runabout are only a few highlights that help us to avoid CO2 on a daily basis. The next step to complete climate neutrality is not very far.

Richard Behr & Co. GmbH Netto or Jysk and the Otto Group as retail groups. How have purchasing agents’ requirements in terms of sustainability and ecology changed in recent years, and what are you doing to meet them?

Our major partners are often pioneers of ecological trends before they become the focus of public discussion. As a supplier, we are at the forefront of many of these developments.
In most cases, we solve issues that smaller, local manufacturers are only confronted with years later. And sometimes we are even so far ahead that our proposals - for example, on sustainable packaging or climate-neutral products - are well received by our customers and partners, but then rejected by the purchasing department for economic reasons.
So far, however, none of our developments have been in vain: at some point, everyone will fall in line, and we will then have an advantage in the market.

Richard Behr's product portfolio includes many bedding products whose fillings are made from animal ingredients. What is your animal welfare policy and how closely do you work with animal welfare organizations on these issues?

It is our declared company policy to increase the proportion of vegan products. In our own online shops, we already register over 50% vegan products in terms of sales. In every segment, we strive for a completely sustainable offering - from plastic-free alternatives where vegan materials are used; and with "closed loop" recycling and reuse where we still use synthetic materials..

For us, products with animal ingredients are animal welfare products, where the "five fundamental freedoms of animal welfare" are taken into account: Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour, Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area, Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment, Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind and Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Animal welfare organizations are our benchmark with their positive and negative lists, according to which we even exclude certain suppliers. And all products and raw materials are subject to our general guidelines, on the avoidance of chemical products and additives, on sustainability, and on social criteria.

How important are independent certifications for your success, and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS label as a sign of animal welfare & quality?

Our work is only successful if we can also communicate it to the final consumer. The attention span of the end user is getting shorter and shorter - with labels like DOWNPASS we can communicate a complex topic visually in a short and precise way.

Christoph Habertag

DOWNPASS is therefore an elementary element for our animal welfare guideline, both for efficient external communication, but also for efficient measurability of the supply chains. Only with uniform standards industry structures and global supply chains can be aligned in the long term with where we all need to be: a climate-neutral bedding, sustainably and socially produced, committed to animal welfare. If our work with the DOWNPASS also provides other suppliers with structures that we can all align ourselves with, we will have achieved a great deal.

billerbeck Betten-Union - Individual bedding for every sleep requirement

Company Profile billerbeck Betten-Union

billerbeck Betten-Union GmbH & Co. KG is an owner-managed family business based in Kraichtal, Germany. Since 1921, it has been manufacturing high-quality duvets, pillows, toppers, mattresses and other bedding products with selected filling materials and cover fabrics. Research results from scientists and institutes form the basis of the bedding. An environmental management team certified according to DIN ISO 14001 takes care of product and company-related environmental issues for more sustainability.
 
Downpass talked to Friedrich Ermert, Managing Director of billerbeck Betten-Union GmbH & Co. KG. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

When you visit the billerbeck Betten-Union website, one statement immediately catches your eye: "A PERFECT DAY BEGINS AT NIGHT®". In your experience, what actually constitutes good sleep and how can bedding support it?

Sleep is not a stand-by mode, but a process of regeneration of body and mind - true to our motto "A PERFECT DAY BEGINS AT NIGHT®".

Restful sleep strengthens our immune system, supports our metabolism and our brain processes what it has experienced during the day. Among many other factors, the best prerequisite for restful sleep is a balanced sleep-wake cycle. It is particularly important to pay attention to a balanced sleep pressure and our own biorhythms.

In addition to our physical factors, the right bedding also determines good and restful sleep. After all, who hasn't experienced it? If you don't sleep in your own bed, you start to sweat under a strange duvet, the beloved cozy down pillow is missing or the much too soft mattress robs you of the sleep you need.

This shows us that sleep needs differ from person to person. What we recognized early on has been confirmed by science, and so we have developed and manufactured individual bedding for every sleep requirement. We attach particular importance to high-quality materials, because they influence our sleeping comfort.

The internationally active billerbeck Stiftung Schlaf & Gesundheit® (Sleep & Health Foundation) brings together specialists from a wide range of disciplines: physicians, physiologists, psychologists, biologists, physicists and textile research institutes. They award targeted research contracts in order to expand the state of knowledge about sleep behavior sustainably and on a broad basis. What findings in particular have been incorporated into your products in recent years?

The billerbeck Stiftung Schlaf & Gesundheit® (Sleep & Health Foundation) develops billerbeck bedding together with selected scientists and institutes. The focus is particularly on product properties such as thermal insulation capacity, air permeability, moisture balance, weight and the importance of lying surfaces and how they can relieve and relax. As a result, we have already been able to develop a wide variety of product innovations for healthy sleep, such as one of the first neck support pillows in Germany (1981).

As our ecological standards are very high, we attach great importance to sustainability and have been successfully expanding our natural product range for many years, so that we are currently the market leader in the natural bedding sector.

With the latest findings of science and institutes, world novelties have been created in the natural assortment. These include the neck support pillow COSINECK® NATURE (2017) and the natural latex mattress COSICOMFORT® (2018) with a 100% natural latex core consisting of Natural Vita Talalay® latex. This latex core is manufactured entirely without artificial additives using the Talalay process and is 100% certified organic.

Billerbeck is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Much has changed since 1921. Today, the company operates with its own environmental management team. Environmental policy, climate, recycling, packaging, logistics, commitment to the region and corporate social responsibility - how do you fill these tasks with life?

Environmental protection, climate protection and sustainability are the driving forces behind our thoughts and actions. Not only do we make an important contribution to the climate and the environment by supporting numerous environmental projects, we are also particularly concerned about ecologically relevant issues within the company. The billerbeck CSR report provides an insight into our entire environmental commitment.

A logical step in our ongoing commitment to the environment was the certification of our environmental management system in accordance with the strict guidelines of the internationally recognized DIN ISO 14001 standard.
Through this system, we have bundled our competencies in this area. This has resulted in a dedicated environmental team that deals exclusively with product- and company-related environmental issues for greater sustainability. To this end, there are environmental goals set, that pursue a CO2-neutral carbon footprint. Together as a team, we discuss on a monthly basis, plan in detail and implement consistently all necessary environmental and climate-relevant projects from the various divisions.

How important are independent certifications for your success and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS label as a sign of animal welfare & quality?

In addition to sustainability, animal welfare is particularly important to us. That's why we pay particular attention to certified and controlled origins for down and feathers, where the geese and ducks are guaranteed traceable back to the egg, are not plucked alive and are not kept for foie gras production.

Friedrich Ermert

We are grateful that there are quality seals like DOWNPASS, which check the processes with regular inspections of the standards to be met at the farms, in order to keep the commitment to animals and humans and let us sleep with a clear conscience also in the future.

Badenia Bettcomfort - With us you are in the right position!

Company profil Badenia Bettcomfort GmbH & Co. KG

More than 70 years ago Badenia Bettcomfort Badenia Bettcomfort started with the production of quilts and pillows in Friesenheim in the Black Forest. Today, the product range has grown considerably and extends from products such as high-quality bedding with fillings made of synthetic fibers, natural hair, feathers and down, to mattresses and furniture such as upholstered and box-spring beds. The brand portfolio is also impressive. Badenia Bettcomfort is the manufacturer of well-known and popular brands such as irisette, Brinkhaus and BedCare, and is one of Europe's leading manufacturers in the industry. As part of the EuroComfort Group, Badenia Bettcomfort has access to a wide network of production facilities.
With the acquisition of Brinkhaus in 2011, the EuroComfort Group expanded its competencies for the first time in the area of down and feather processing. In doing so, it secured an enormous wealth of experience and expert knowledge that has grown over decades. Today, the Brinkhaus brand stands for top quality in over 40 countries around the world and manufactures bedding for the premium segment in state-of-the-art manufacturing processes.
 
Downpass talked to Timo Sinz, Managing Director of Badenia Bettcomfort GmbH & Co. KG. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

The motto of the coporate group your company belongs to is "Smart solutions for your comfort." Which smart solutions and innovations in bedding for sleep comfort are you particularly proud of?

Badenia Bettcomfort is a member of the EuroComfort Group and is uniquely able to complement its own expertise with the expertise of other parts of the company for new product developments. The latest example of such intelligent and innovative product development is the Brinkhaus DORO pillow. The DORO pillow is a three-chamber pillow with exceptional elasticity that provides optimum support for the head and neck area. The outer chambers of the three-chamber pillow are filled with high-quality down and feathers in the usual way. The secret of the pillow is in the supporting middle chamber. For this purpose, the group's existing and patented filling material Rhombo-fe has been reinterpreted.

Rhombo-fe was originally developed by Lück as a filling material for seat cushions in upholstered furniture and has proven to be a very comfortable and particularly durable filling material in high-quality upholstered sets. It consists of a mixture of feathers and rhombically cut foam rods. For the Brinkhaus Doro pillow series, the Rhombo-fe brand filling was newly adapted to the special requirements of a three-chamber pillow. The result is the unique DORO three-chamber pillow series, with unusual sleeping comfort, special durability and in four comfort variants as well as two height versions.

Thanks to the know-how transfer across the group, we have already succeeded in developing a number of innovative products, some of which have even led to new patents and whose quality has also convinced independent consumer test institutions. But the slogan "Smart solutions for your comfort" is not just about products, because clever logistics and packaging solutions have also been developed, as has a box-spring bed configurator to promote sales by specialized retailers.

Badenia offers its retail customers large-scale shop-in-shop systems where the various brands of the EuroComfort Group, to which the company has belonged since 2004, are presented. Sleeping culture from box spring beds to mattresses to cozy down pillows - what do your retail partners particularly appreciate about this form of presentation?

When drawing up the contracts for our shop-in-shop systems, it was important to us from the outset to find a very convenient and fair solution for retailers. Retailers do not have to make any financial advance payments to us. Instead, the store system is financed by predefined, moderate sales targets that are agreed upon when the contract is signed. Retailers only have to share the costs if the agreed sales targets are not met. In this case, a compensation payment is due for the year in question. Our store systems are therefore also a particularly attractive option for young entrepreneurs in the sector and for new openings. Our customers also appreciate the modular design of the store systems, which can be adapted very flexibly to spatial conditions and also allow subsequent extensions.

The high-quality Brinkhaus brand portfolio can be presented particularly well and convincingly in the appealing store systems. Our shop partners are also regularly visited and personally supported by our field service throughout Germany. Our most renowned shop-in-shop projects, of which we are particularly proud, are for example the Brinkhaus Shop at KADEWE Berlin and the Brinkhaus Shop at Harrods in London.

You decided to buck the trend of importing washed down. Not so long ago you built a full-fledged raw feather washing line with sorting facility in Küstrin, Poland. What prompted you to make this investment, what challenges did you have to overcome, and how does this affect the quality of Badenia Bettcomfort's bedding?

Only a couple of years after the acquisition of Brinkhaus, we were already reaching capacity limits and a production expansion was inevitable. In 2016, the foundation stone was laid for the new Brinkhaus production facility, which is only about 200 m away from the old location.

This was particularly important to us in order to be able to retain the long-standing and expert staff. The result is a state-of-the-art production facility with very low primary energy requirements and exemplary wastewater management.

Timo Sinz

The non plus ultra for the production of the highest quality down and feather products is to achieve and maintain a consistently high quality standard. We do not leave quality to chance. Only if we purchase down and feather raw materials from trustworthy and certified sources, wash and sort them in our own facilities and carry out permanent quality checks on incoming and outgoing goods in our own laboratory, we can meet this quality standard without compromise. We want to know exactly where down and feather raw materials come from and therefore purchase our goods from Downpass and RDS certified companies directly on site in Poland. Our production is fully integrated, from the ready-made shell, washing and sorting to the filling of the high-quality down duvets and pillows, everything comes from one source. We are one of the few companies that still have a fully integrated production chain for feather and down products and can therefore ensure traceability.

How important are independent certifications for your success, and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS label as a sign of animal welfare & quality?

Buying down and feather products is purely a matter of trust, because ultimately no consumer can look inside down duvets and pillows. It has always been a special concern of ours to actually offer the consumer the promised qualities. Traceability and certification are so important to us because they create additional trust and ultimately confirm and document our high-quality standards to the consumer, such as the DOWNPASS. Our raw duck and feather products come exclusively from certified slaughterhouses in the poultry industry that are known to us and that respect animal welfare. We rigorously reject live plucking and the production of foie gras geese and do not process down and feathers of this origin.

Böhmerwald - For the benefit of the animals and the customers

Company profile Böhmerwald Bettfedern & Bettwarenwerke GmbH

Quality is the motto of the Bavarian manufacturer, Böhmerwald Bettfedern & Bettwarenwerke GmbH. The company, based in Cham not far from the Czech border, relies on tradition in craftsmanship combined with the latest manufacturing technologies and permanent quality controls. The team, which prefers to use natural filling materials for its high-quality bedding, is continuously working on keeping supply chains as short as possible so that they can be monitored efficiently and without long travel times.
 
Downpass Talked to Jochen Häffner, dem Verkaufsleiter der Böhmerwald Bettfedern & Bettwarenwerke GmbH. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

Böhmerwald has been manufacturing its Downpass bedding exclusively at its headquarters in Cham in the Bavarian Forest since it was founded 83 years ago. What does Bavarian craftsmanship mean to your company and what makes your products special as a result?

We are convinced that the statement "Made in Germany" or in our case "Böhmerwald - Betten - bayerisch - gut" places a higher demand on our products than on other products. We like to align ourselves with these demands and grow with them. For the benefit of the animals and our customers. After all, we all profit from it.

We succeed best in guaranteeing the high quality, in checking it again and again and in increasing it, if we bundle all our production steps in the Bavarian Cham. Relocating production to the nearby Czech Republic, which would certainly be attractive for economic reasons, is out of the question for us. We are a Bavarian manufacturer and want to remain and promote this. Our staff consists mainly of employees with many years of experience. This ensures that everyone involved in the production process knows what has to be done, knows what is important. Because let's be honest: What advantages do we have as a German manufacturer compared to low-cost suppliers? Speed, flexibility and consistently high quality. We work very hard on these things on a daily basis. But also with a lot of pleasure!

Regionality has become a quality criterium, especially for food, as regional products are seen as an expression of a sustainable lifestyle. Does that also work for an animal by-product like down and feathers, and what criteria do you use to select your partners in the supply chain?

If you ask us about regionality, we have to admit, if we are honest with ourselves, that here wish and reality are often far apart. We also have to try to define the term itself. In doing so, we will find that the winged word of the "2 scholars and their 3 opinions" also applies here. Regionality does not have to mean that all ingredients come from the immediate vicinity. Not a single duvet or pillow would be manufactured in our production facilities if we were to make this claim. Do you already recognize the dilemma?

The water we use for our feather production is absolutely regional. It comes from our own well and does not require any treatment. Nature provides us with the best quality that can be obtained. Feathers and down come from Bavarian geese and ducks, from animals from East Westphalia, from Schleswig-Holstein, and so on. Is that still regional? We think yes, it is! The distances are relatively short. The controls, which are necessary for the DOWNPASS certification, can be relatively easy to carry out without overlong journeys.

But of course, we also purchase feathers and down from abroad. The high demand for these materials alone makes this necessary. We cannot cover it from German resources. In addition, not all German qualities are suitable to guarantee the demands on the down. Regional purchasing and high-quality standards are sometimes a balancing act. In any case, we are always working to keep the supply chains as short as possible. At the moment, we have the impression that some upstream suppliers are also bringing their production facilities closer to us, to their customers. We would very much welcome this development.

Böhmerwald and nature. A successful connection for more than 80 years. What is the secret of this success?

Secret? It is not a secret. It is the result of the work of people who do not follow any ideologies. Böhmerwald has been producing bedding for over 80 years from materials that nature gives us. And predominantly these are feathers and down. However, we also process other filling materials of natural origin. From natural fibers, such as wild silk and cotton, to the highest quality natural hair such as camel hair, yak hair and alpaca hair.

As much as we love down, we must also admit that nature keeps surprises in store in the form of the above-mentioned materials. Who does not know the unsurpassed robustness of cotton, the great temperature balance that can bring camel hair? Not to mention the hair of alpacas. These hairs are incredibly good. They are very fine, soft and endowed with the best properties. As always, it is provided that you are not tempted by simple, cheap qualities. Only the finest qualities from German or even Austrian breeding produce the finest hair for high-quality bedding. As you can see, regionality plays a role here as well.

You wonder if these products do not contrast or even compete with our DOWNPASS down duvets? No, they do not. Rather, they complement each other perfectly. As already mentioned at the beginning, we do not fight ideological battles. We prefer to focus our energy on providing high-quality bedding for every type of sleeper and every need.

How important are independent certifications for your success and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS label as a sign for animal welfare & quality?

On one hand, the DOWNPASS label is a necessity for Böhmer-wald in order to survive in an increasingly critical market. On the other hand, it is also a matter of the heart. Böhmer¬wald has been involved in the development of the DOWNPASS from the very beginning. We label our products with the DOWNPASS with a certain pride. It guarantees that the down and feathers we process were ethically obtained and that the animals do not have to suffer unnecessary torture due to live plucking or force-feeding (keyword: foie gras).

Each seal bears an unique test number, which the consumer can independently check for validity. In this way, consumers can be sure that they have purchased a product that has been produced in accordance with the highest possible standards and requirements for animal welfare.

In contrast to other seals, the DOWNPASS also highlights the important point of quality. For us as a German manufacturer of high quality bedding, this is of particular importance. DOWNPASS puts "one on top". Here, care is taken to ensure that consumers get what they pay for. Thus DOWNPASS is not only obligated to the animal protection, which was its original task. Rather, it is also active consumer protection. It must be our goal to protect all sides.

Otto Keller - With sleeping comfort for a better quality of life

Company profile Otto Keller GmbH & Co. KG

The family business of Otto Keller GmbH & Co. KG in Altenberge, Westphalia, has been manufacturing high-quality down and feather-filled bedding for 75 years. As one of the leading bed feather factories on the European market, it attaches particular importance to ecological and animal-friendly production: the proportion of cotton used for the shells of pillows and duvets comes increasingly from sustainable cultivation, and species-appropriate animal husbandry is a must. All products filled with down and feathers are audited according to the zero-tolerance standard DOWNPASS. Electricity is supplied by the company's own solar power system.
 
Downpass talked to Nils Wienker, in charge of Sales & Management at Otto Keller GmbH & Co. KG. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

Otto Keller is not only a producer of bedding, but also a marketing partner for retail companies. Among other things, they offer product training, develop private label collections and provide support at the point of sale. The latest project is a lifestyle magazine that revolves around the topics of family, health, food and travel. How is the response to such offerings?

As a family business, we have been dealing with the topic of sleep since 1946, which for us is the basis for a balanced and happy life. As a manufacturer of high-quality pillows and duvets, we try to actively improve the quality of our customers' sleep, but we also know that it only contributes – even if significantly - to a better quality of life.

We are convinced that sleep comfort and quality of life are interdependent. That's why we want to start at exactly this point and, in addition to high-quality duvets and pillows, develop products that improve our customers' quality of life beyond sleep.

With the magazine, we would therefore like to support the consumer with exciting interviews, reports and expert knowledge on the journey to a healthy, mindful and sustainable life. The feedback from our retail partners has been consistently positive. The magazine is an additional service for consumers who want to ensure a better quality of life in their lives. We are pleased that the added value is seen and that the next issue will already be published in November.

Down bedding is a purely natural product and promises a long service life if cared for properly. So that duvets and pillows keep their optimal quality, in a maintenance platform you offer tips to instruct consumers for the down care. Can the right care extend the service life?

We manufacture our bedding to the highest quality standards and want our customers to enjoy their down and feather products for a long time. That is why we have developed the care website. It provides consumers with important down care tips and tricks to keep pillows, duvets, comforters and even down jackets in top shape. Daily fluffing helps to keep the products cozy. At the same time, it is sustainable, because consumers enjoy their products longer.  

To protect nature, we have developed a natural down detergent. With this natural care power, environmentally friendly washing becomes as easy as a feather - and the customer can sleep peacefully.

Your andeo collection presents the first down duvets and feather pillows awarded by the German ecolabel The Blue Angel for Textiles. What else are you doing in the company in terms of sustainability, climate and environmental protection?

For the andeo collection, we were the first bed feather factory to be awarded the Blue Angel for Textiles, the German government's ecolabel for the highest requirements in terms of eco-balance.
 
We believe that every company must do its part to treat our living space with care. Sustainability means treating our living space with care. Sustainability is not a trend for us, but part of our company philosophy. Our vision is to improve the quality of people's sleep in the long term through sustainable products. That is why we only work with natural down and feathers and try to drastically reduce the amount of plastic - be it through cotton carrier bags or recycled auxiliary materials - in all our products.

Through employee discussions and company internal initiatives, we manage to reduce our waste and avoid materials that cannot be recycled as far as possible. To this end, we consistently invest in and avoid materials that are not recyclable as far as possible. To this end, we consistently invest in state-of-the-art machinery, because state-of-the-art machines work much more efficiently. This enables us to save valuable resources. It is also important for our customers that we produce exclusively in Altenberge, Westphalia. Thanks to "Made in Germany", we avoid environmental pollution. “Made in Germany" means that we avoid environmentally damaging transports from other regions of the world and can better control compliance with our sustainability standards.

How important are independent certifications for your success, and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS label as a sign of animal welfare & quality?

For our duvets and pillows, we place particular emphasis on ecological and animal-friendly manufacturing: we increasingly use cotton from sustainable cultivation for our shells, as well as for our packaging. In addition, we consider the species-appropriate husbandry of geese and ducks to be an absolute fact.

Nils Wienker

That is why we have chosen to follow the strict guidelines of the Downpass standard. Our complete assortment is tested according to the Downpass-Standard. We do not buy any goods that do not meet the requirements. We particularly like the fact that, in addition to the strict animal welfare guidelines, the quality of the products is also tested on a regular basis.

For all our products, we only use fillings that comply with DIN EN 12934 Class I (best new goods). This is very important for our customers.

Seibersdorfer - Sleep as you dream of it

Company profile Seibersdorfer Bettfedern- und Daunenfabrik GmbH

Seibersdorfer Bettfedern- und Daunenfabrik GmbH celebrated its 60th birthday in 2021. The company, located in Lower Austria, manufactures duvets and pillows in studio work. After a fire in 1999, one of the most modern bed feather and down processing plants in Europe was built in just two years, where around 1,000 kg of feathers are processed daily in two independent production lines. For almost 30 years, the family business has been working with the harmony teachings of Feng Shui, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), kinesiology and computer-assisted meridian analysis for special product innovations.
 
Downpass talked to Manuela Schneidergruber, managing partner of Seibersdorfer Bettfedern- und Daunen-fabrik GmbH. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

In 2021 you celebrated 60 years of Seibersdorfer Bettfedern- und Daunenfabrik GmbH. What challenges have you faced in the past and what are your expectations of your company for the coming decades? What is the significance of your high level of service competence, for which you were awarded the title of leading company in Austria a few years ago?

As in so many areas, our down industry is currently affected by an escalating purchasing situation with a shortage of materials and rapidly rising material prices, as if the pandemic-related challenges of the past two years were not enough of an unpleasant experience. In 1999, our entire company was completely destroyed in a major fire and within one night we were left with nothing. Presumably, this dramatic experience at that time and the tireless fight back to the top made us so solution-oriented that nothing can shake us so easily now.

Thinking in a solution-oriented way and acting responsibly is also our motto for the main focus of our family business, namely to guarantee our customers the best, most natural sleep in harmony with nature, the environment and sustainability. Which is why we are constantly expanding our cooperation with local goose farmers - animal welfare and regional added value in harmony. Innovation and top service in the product itself as well as our production location in Austria also led to the award as a leading company. This is an honour and an obligation for us to continue on this path.

How “crazy” is Seibersdorfer? Or to put it differently: Why do you develop such special product ideas and what makes them stand out from the crowd? As keywords, let's just mention the music pillow or the Energy Oasis sleeping system according to Feng Shui.

As early as 20 years ago, we began to develop products in symbiotic cooperation with energeticists and radiesthesians in order to offer our customers a maximum of "good vibrations" during sleep, so that they can start the new morning well rested. Our Feng Shui products are the best example of this.

We are currently working on a music cushion that lets you drift off into the realm of dreams with gentle relaxation music. Thanks to our studio work, we can produce everything in-house, from samples to series products.

Which projects are you particularly proud of in the context of your environmental management and how does Seibersdorfer deal with natural resources?

Our entire company - production and administration - is energy self-sufficient. The electrical energy we need comes from our own hydroelectric power plant. The Leitha, the border river between Lower Austria and Burgenland, is used with two turbines to produce electricity, and approx. 20 % that is not needed is fed into the public grid. All process heat - from the down drying facilities to the heating of the company premises - is provided in a CO2-neutral way by a state-of-the-art company-owned wood chip heating system. A large photovoltaic system is currently being planned, especially as our industrial flat roofs are logically suited for this purpose. Of course, all waste water is also purified in a biological sewage plant, made possible by a state-of-the-art grease separation plant for the down washing water.

Manuela Schneidergruber

How important are independent certifications for your success, and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS label as a sign of animal welfare & quality?

Certifications such as DOWNPASS are immensely important for us, especially as we work in an extremely sensitive area with down and feathers. It is therefore all the more essential for us to clearly and unequivocally stand up for active animal welfare.

DOWNPASS serves as an incorruptible guarantee for the end customer that the chain of traceability of our down and feathers with regard to animal welfare is unbroken and transparent. For six decades, the name SEIBERSDORFER has stood for top quality as well as for the highest responsibility towards our animal suppliers.

Treude & Metz - With passion and a love of nature

Company profile Treude & Metz GmbH & Co. KG

Climate-friendly products and climate protection are embedded in the core of the corporate DNA of Treude & Metz GmbH & Co. KG. Founded in 1884, Germany's oldest bed feather factory processes feathers and down for pillows and duvets in the Siegerland region. At the end of their product life cycle, reusable products are recycled into a high-quality follow-up product. The down and feathers are processed into a fine plaster and can then be used as an insulating material in construction, both indoors and outdoors.
 
Downpass talked to Dr. Paul-Friedrich Metz, the Managing Director of Treude & Metz GmbH & Co. KG. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

Treude & Metz is the oldest bed feather factory in Germany. Since 1884, the company in Siegerland has been processing feathers and down for pillows and duvets. Today, the company is a pioneer in sustainability. What environmentally friendly processes are used in procurement, production and post-production?

As a company, Treude & Metz takes both economy and ecology into account in all its decisions. We concretise the aspect of sustainability in our entrepreneurial actions and create a transparent, comprehensible decision-making aid for customers with regard to our products. Climate-friendly products and climate protection are not just a marketing tool for us, but are deeply embedded in our corporate DNA.

Dr. Paul-Friedrich Metz

The three most important stages of our work are the knowledgeable, animal welfare-friendly selection, the gentle processing and the careful refinement of the raw materials.

We primarily use natural resources in our value creation process. Our laundry gets most of its water from the nearby Laasphe river and does not use any chemical processes at all. The water required for cleaning, as well as the fresh water, is recycled and reused after the washing process. Out of conviction, we observe strict ecological rules (certified company according to Ökoprofit).

At the end of the production process, there is a product with verifiable ecological added value. However, the life cycle of down and feathers does not end after the use phase as bedding, but is significantly extended by our innovative processes. At the end of their life cycle, reusable products are recycled into a high-quality follow-up product. Among other things, the down and feathers are further processed into the lime-clay-feather-fine plaster Anserit®.

Treude & Metz is involved in the Ars dormiendi association for good sleep. From top athletes to schoolchildren, the association advises and shows ways to reduce stress and get a restful night's sleep. What is the significance of its health issue, especially in times of corona crisis, and to what extent can choosing the right bedding help?

The Corona pandemic has had a strong negative impact on the quality and quantity of sleep in the population. Recently, a study by Danube University Krems in cooperation with the Medical University of Vienna and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (Austria) found that 25 per cent of students suffer from sleep disorders. Depending on the study, this represents a five- to tenfold increase compared to the pre-pandemic period.

Ars dormiendi e.V. is based, among other things, on essential findings in sleep research. In order to guarantee the best sleep, each sleeper must be considered in his or her individuality. This means that the sleep products must be adapted to the sleeper according to various parameters, e.g. moisture and heat transport or lying firmness, and that good sleep hygiene must be created. Sleep hygiene means, for example, the duration of sleep, brightness or the start of sleep. Only those who optimise all areas can start the new working, sports or school day rested, refreshed, regenerated and concentrated. Those who sleep well and for a sufficiently long time even strengthen their immune system.

In 2019, the University of Tübingen demonstrated that the function of T cells, i.e. the white blood cells responsible for fighting pathogens, is reduced after sleep deprivation. It is clear that sleep is essential for the regeneration of the body, both in terms of physical and psychological suffering. Corona has upset the sleep rhythm and thus also the body's own processes of many people. Anyone who wants to do something good for their body should therefore make sure to choose the right bedding and go to bed in good time, ideally at 10 pm. This way, all bodily processes such as hormone release and repairs can proceed "according to plan". This is the essential concern of Ars dormiendi e. V.

On the way to climate neutrality and circular economy, or in other words: from bedding producer to insulation supplier. What are the company's goals and how did this expansion of the portfolio come about?

As a doctor of agricultural science and ecologically committed entrepreneur, I cannot and do not want to see valuable and multi-layered natural products such as feathers and down simply end up in the rubbish. It has become my life's work to create new innovative products with added value for the customer and society from the leftovers from production or the feathers and down that are no longer needed in the sense of upcycling. This is how the patented idea of the lime-loam feather-fine plaster Anserit® came into being.

Our commitment to animal welfare and sustainability is regularly checked and certified by independent auditors and institutes. We are currently working on recertification for Ökoprofit - this will be our third recertification. We are also a member of the German Sustainability Code, a Climate Partner and have been a DOWNPASS partner from the very beginning. Of course, all these certifications also mean a lot of work and constant "thinking outside the box". We want to change something, we want to make a difference, we don't want to stand still. The name Treude & Metz stands for quality, passion, tradition and closeness to nature. Therefore, we will continue to work towards ensuring that Treude & Metz produces the highest quality products from natural materials in an environmentally friendly way. Our innovation pipeline is well filled and we will continue to establish new products and production processes on the market.

How important are independent certifications for your success and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS seal as a label of animal welfare & quality?

Independent certifications are confidence-building measures for the customer!

As part of my dissertation, I was the first person in the world to prove, among other things, that the feather and down coat of water fowl kept in a species-appropriate manner has better properties than those of animals not kept in a species-appropriate manner. To this day, I continue to update my findings and results in this regard. This has led to the Treude & Metz core message "Buying down is a matter of trust". Animal welfare has always been established in the company philosophy. We have never and will never use feathers or down from live plucking, poor husbandry or even extra breeding for feather and down processing. Every creature deserves to be treated with respect, as do the materials used from it. We are grateful to nature for this unique product! This way of thinking underlies the DOWNPASS in particular!

The management of the Association of the German Down and Feather Industry VDFI, my colleagues on the board and I have been striving for the welfare of waterfowl for almost 30 years, from the development of the egg to the harvesting of feathers after slaughter. In the meantime, a broad front of supporters has emerged, coming from a wide range of disciplines. Thus, agronomists, poultry farmers and breeders, animal welfare activists and politicians from all political groups are working to ensure that animal welfare is preserved and that consumers can subsequently sleep refreshed in our valuable and transparently created natural products.

WESSLING Group - Audits for the down and feather industry

Company profile WESSLING Group

Since its foundation in 1983, the internationally positioned WESSLING Group, headquartered in Westphalia, Germany, has offered customised analytical and consulting services for a wide range of industries at a total of 26 locations in Europe and China. Around 1,600 employees provide their expert knowledge, deliver reliable measured values, optimise products and processes and develop holistic solution concepts. For several years, WESSLING has been supporting producers in the down and feather industry with incoming goods inspections and auditing in accordance with the DOWNPASS standard.

Downpass talked to Lisa Hesener, Project Manager & Auditor in the Functional Materials department at WESSLING GmbH. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

WESSLING offers a wide range of consulting services, laboratory analysis and testing procedures in the areas of quality, safety, health and environmental protection. You have been auditing and testing for the DOWNPASS standard for several years. What makes this task so challenging?

Even though many companies are similar in their processes and structures, each one is unique. This makes it a challenge for me as an auditor to get to grips with the different systems and work processes of the companies within a very short time, to understand them and to question them. We respond to the companies individually and together we discuss possible potential for improvement in the work processes and documentation.

Lisa Hesener

The down and feather industry works with global supply chains. A large part of the goods come from Asia. As a company, you are decentralised: To what extent do branches in China, Western and Eastern Europe help with the auditing tasks?

Our experienced colleagues also regularly audit companies in China. The multilingual communication on site facilitates the exchange when, for example, European companies want to have Asian suppliers audited. In our experience, this is an absolute plus.

What has the pandemic changed in your daily working routine and how have you ensured on-site inspections in the down and feather supply chain?

Due to the pandemic, on-site audits were made more difficult, especially abroad. If the situation did not allow it otherwise, we conducted them remotely as an alternative. For this purpose, relevant documents of the companies were shared with us in advance and discussed during the online audit appointment. This was followed by a digital tour of the production sites, during which the documented information was verified. Of course, personal on-site audits are still the better choice. We are therefore very pleased that these are increasingly becoming possible again.

How do you assess the importance of independent certification for the success of a company nowadays, and why do you recommend companies to be audited according to the zero-tolerance standard DOWNPASS?

The DOWNPASS is a recognised certification standard that is independently audited. Both the supply chain and the product quality are inspected. This is why we recommend the DOWNPASS standard, where independent auditors inspect the companies and take samples on site. Manufacturers can thus distinguish themselves from other products through their transparency and quality standards, which is increasingly being taken into account by consumers.

DOWNPASS Standard

Traumina - Passion and courage for the extraordinary

Company profile Traumina GmbH

From hemp wholesaler to bedding manufacturer - this is how Traumina GmbH from South Baden describes the path it has taken over the past 100 years. Many things are still made by hand in the bedding manufactory. "Made in Germany" applies to all products that leave the company in the direction of bed retailers and renowned specialty mail-order companies. Meeting the demands of a modern society in an innovative and sustainable way, supporting restful sleep and also working in a courageous and design-oriented way - these are the goals of the medium-sized company.
 
Downpass talked to Andreas Veil, the managing director of Traumina GmbH. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

The beginnings of today's bedding manufactory TRAUMINA can be traced back to 1921. From the 1950s onwards, the company concentrated on the production of box-quilted duvets and down comforters. Today, the product range includes a wide variety of products with fillings made of animal hair, plant fibres, functional fibres and down. What values will shape the future of the company and what are you planning for the next 100 years?

Our top priorities have always been and will continue to be quality, working in partnership with our customers, and the well-being of our employees. Especially in the future, it will be even more important for consumers to know who are the people behind the goods and the products. To know where the products come from and where the raw materials originate. Because especially if we have set ourselves the ultimate goal of offering a high-quality product, it must be guaranteed that the entire supply chain, from the raw material to the end product, consists of the finest materials and is manufactured by qualified employees.

White bedding is often said to be "boring". Traumina is passionately committed to being bolder with colour, patterns and high-quality processing techniques. For this reason, you have created an exclusive design collection. How exciting do you find bedding and how are retailers and consumers reacting to it?

Bedding is always said to be all white and constant. We don't see it that way! Because today, and also in the future, light colour accents and detailed workmanship are a guarantee for outstanding products.

With our design collection we wanted to proof that especially colour can be attractive and sexy for bedding. For us, it is a confirmation when we receive feedback from our retail partners, where consumers enter the stores and ask directly for these products because of their outstanding colours and shapes. It is precisely the customers of the upmarket bed retail of today, and also tomorrow, who are looking for the extraordinary, and not just for "off the peg" products.

In recent years, the topic of sleep has received unprecedented attention. From sleep hygiene to sleep medicine, there are always new guides and studies. On your homepage you can find a "short guide for healthy sleep". To what extent do you incorporate new findings into your product design and collections?

Especially with regard to product physiology, we work very closely with institutes that provide us with excellent support in the form of measurements and test results. For customers, the climate is a very important point, especially in the area of duvets. A duvet must not be too warm, but also not too cool. It must also be able to manage moisture regulation and still be cosy and soft.

HTo achieve this, we use outstanding and innovative materials in our collections in addition to sophisticated processing techniques - for cosy sleeping comfort, night after night.

Andreas Veil

How important are independent certifications for your success, and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS label as a sign of animal welfare & quality?

The DOWNPASS is a very important quality seal for us. Especially in the age of transparency, sustainability and animal welfare, it therefore represents an independent and well-known certification for us.

In our view, this will become even more important. Because it is clear that simple confirmations are no longer sufficient to quench consumers' thirst for knowledge.

For this reason, we have also been working very closely with other labels from other sectors for many years. These include, for example, the GOTS seal, which has made organic materials and labour conditions its top priority. Because not only animal welfare is on everyone's lips today, but unfortunately also working conditions, especially in third countries, are a very big issue, which interests the consumers.

OBB Oberbadische Bettfedernfabrik - Creativity with values and core identity

Company profile OBB Oberbadische Bettfedernfabrik GmbH

The medium-sized company OBB Oberbadische Bettfedernfabrik GmbH with its 50 employees has been manufacturing duvets, pillows and mattress toppers in the border triangle of Germany, Switzerland and France for more than 70 years. Characterised by its closeness to nature in the Black Forest and its respect for traditional values, the fully integrated company feels a special responsibility towards people, animals and the environment - this includes environmentally friendly production with a deep well of their own, water recycling plant and combined heat and power plant. The team is currently undergoing the certification process for "OEKO TEX STEP" and the "Green Button".
 
Downpass talked to Petra Schweigert and Bastian Roscheck, managing partners of OBB Oberbadische Bettfedernfabrik GmbH. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

The beginnings of OBB can be traced back to 1900. In 1948, the company was rebuilt under its current name in Lörrach in the Black Forest. Last year, you launched your first organic collection. What influence do values such as tradition and the love of home and nature have on your entrepreneurial work?

These values are, so to speak, the basis of our work. It is not without reason that our most important collections have the name of our homeland: "Schwarzwald" / "Black Forest". It is a challenge to bring tradition in harmony with innovative ideas, or in other words, how creative can we be in product development without losing our core identity. Because another driving force of ours is to constantly develop products that optimize sleeping comfort.

OBB had two reasons to be happy this year: It received two German Brand Awards 2021 for its "OBB Sensitive" collection - in the "Brand Innovation of the year" and "Interior & Living" categories. What is special about this collection and how important is brand communication for you and your retail partners?

The OBB Sensitive collection includes bedding with protective and caring properties for the skin, and with a lasting effect, i.e., even after years of use and washing the textiles. The clear basic statement of all tests conducted is that due to the antibacterial and/or antimicrobial and/or antiviral smartcel™ sensitive fibers, colonization of the cover with bacteria, fungi, viruses and/or other microbes can be reduced or even avoided. OBB Sensitive bedding also remains longer hygienic and needs to be cleaned less often.

Since our core competence and also our heart and soul clearly lie in bedding filled with down and feathers, the greatest challenge for us was to develop a down-proof fabric with an effective proportion of the smartcel™ sensitive fiber. We succeeded in doing so, and as a result we were the first and only company to develop various down-proof fabrics with the smartcel™ sensitive fibers and apply for a patent.

With the brand "OBB Sensitive" we want to be understood as what we are: a company that works on sleep problems with innovative solutions, because at the end of the day, or to us it is rather "at the end of the night", we only want one thing: that everyone can sleep well and of course preferably in our beautiful bedding!

Petra Schweigert

As one of the last fully integrated bed feather factories in Germany and with a production area of 17,000 m², you monitor all work steps from incoming goods to the last seam on the finished bedding item. How indispensable is a well-functioning control system and what was crucial for the decision to set up your own certified laboratory where you can check fabrics and filling materials continuously? 
 
We consider our fully integrated production, including our own laboratory at our location in Lörrach as a great fortune, because only this way it is possible for us to constantly check our quality standard in all production steps. Therefore, we have also made major investments in the expansion of our production and storage areas in the last two years, in order to create the prerequisites for the constant growth and efficiency of the production processes, as well as to make production more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Our laboratory is managed by a very experienced employee. Just now we have again successfully passed the EDFA round robin test in the first attempt.

Bastian Roscheck

How important are independent certifications for your success and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS label as a sign of animal welfare & quality?

In general, certifications are of course becoming more and more important. They will certainly become increasingly important for success, but first and foremost the standards of the certifications give us a good guideline as to whether we are "on the right track".

Those who know OBB understand that we have always been pioneers when it comes to animal welfare. We have always rejected any form of feather and down extraction from live animals. Of course, it is also important to be able to communicate this to the outside world. The DOWNPASS offers us the transparency we want to have internally and of course also externally to make sure that we process down and feathers neither from live animals nor from foie gras production.

Another benefit for us is that, in addition to animal welfare aspects, the DOWNPASS is the only standard that also tests product quality in terms of consumer protection.

ARO Artländer: Premium - Small but brilliant

Company profile ARO® ARTLÄNDER GmbH

ARO® ARTLÄNDER GmbH, based in Lower Saxony, Germany, has been committed to its "passion for down" since 1919. The traditionalist operates three fully integrated raw feather washing lines in northern Germany, and all products are “Made in Germany”. In addition to more than 100 years of core competence in this natural filling material, expertise in mattress production was added around 50 years ago. The full-range supplier concentrates on the premium segment with its products and exports to Japan, Korea and other Asian countries.
 
Downpass talked to Peter Gumbel, managing director at ARO® ARTLÄNDER GmbH. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

ARO® ARTLÄNDER GmbH has about 100 years of experience in development and production of sleep comfort. The company's product portfolio includes bedding for adults and children as well as mattresses. What are the advantages of such a portfolio for the company's success?

In addition to the expansion of our core competence, the washing and sorting of feathers and down, it has always been the intention of the shareholders to position the company broadly in the market.

The specialization as a premium manufacturer in the Siberian down comforter segment (snow goose down in silk covers, highly fluffy Siberian wild duck down in batiste) as well as the orientation as a baby and children's bedding manufacturer were inevitably accompanied by the development into a "full-range supplier" in this field, and so for many years we have also been known in mattress production.

Following the strategy "small but brilliant", one building block has been placed on top of the other. Thanks to its own variability and this wide range of products, ARO Artländer has succeeded in further expanding existing partnerships and establishing new connections both at home and abroad. Based on a passion for down and feathers as loose goods, ARO Artländer GmbH has consequently developed further and today delivers all over the world.

ARTLÄNDER is very critical in purchasing its down and feathers and uses mostly goods from Siberia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe, which collectors procure directly for the company. Why did you decide on such a restrictive procurement policy?

There are no compromises for ARO Artländer. Because of decades long partnership with our suppliers, partly even joint ventures, we now benefit from these transparent and very well-established supply chains.

Please allow me to use another scene. A restaurant's menu alone rarely provides as much information as a look into its kitchen. In other words, we want to know how, where and who works with this wonderful natural product that we ultimately refine.

Artländer is also a supplier to the exclusive hotel industry - the Corona crisis with its various lock-down phases was certainly a challenge. To what extent are sustainability criteria increasingly relevant for purchasing decisions in contract furnishing, and how is the company prepared for this?

As far as purchasing decisions are concerned, as in many other areas of life, there has almost been a change of paradigm in the hotel industry. The consumer seeks and expects information about the origin and production of a product.     

Bedding is rightly no exception. ARO Artländer offers not only complete traceability for its products, but also an internalized sustainability concept, which we implement and consistently pursue through many individual projects, including our own, fully integrated wastewater treatment plant.

How important are independent certifications for your success, and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS seal as a sign for animal welfare & quality?

The issue of animal welfare continues to take center stage. As a company, we would like to do justice to this in its entirety. The traceability of the origins, their documentation and control are indispensable today. Together with our partners, we want to comply with all legal and ethical requirements and wishes.

This is in our very own interest and so the DOWNPASS seal helps us with its clearly structured framework and processes. Especially for our international business the high worldwide acceptance of this certificate is a crucial point. Especially geared to the bedding industry, the DOWNPASS seal is an important certification for our company on the way to even more transparency and safety.

Spessarttraum - We love and live sustainable action

Company profile Spessarttraum GmbH & Co. KG

Since 2005, Michael and Thomas Pflugbeil have been running the medium-sized family business Spessarttraum GmbH & Co. KG. in the third generation. Around 90 employees manufacture bedding at two modern production sites in Rengersbrunn and Gemünden am Main (Germany) for the high-quality and exclusive trade on the German market and export to Benelux, Austria and Switzerland.

Downpass talked to Thomas Pflugbeil, Managing Director at Spessarttraum GmbH & Co. KG. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

For more than 15 years you have been managing Spessarttraum GmbH & Co. KG together with your brother, now in the third generation. Which principles are guiding you and what do you mean when you say "We are holistic"?

Running a business together with your brother is certainly not always easy, but it has very significant advantages. In particular, we are bonded by our personal guidelines and principles, which our parents passed on to us. Especially in terms of the strategic direction of the company, we pursue concurrent goals, and that is very valuable for us and for the company.

Thomas Pflugbeil

After 15 years of working together, we know who we are and what is important to us in our products and service offering. A high-quality duvet is one thing, but it also has to fit the customer's sleeping needs. And because everyone has their own individual standards for restful sleep, we always take a holistic approach to our work. Covering materials, filling materials, manufacturing, sizes – everything is communicated to us through holistic marketing. Because: comfort and lightness play an important role for us as a company. On the one hand, we look to the well-being of our customers, but also to a special extent to our partners and our great employees.

We always make important decisions as a team and look at them from different perspectives. In this way, we have jointly created an identity for our two brands with a great deal of passion and defined precise specifications for this. Our product development is based on a clearly defined product range strategy that offers our partners' customers the best possible buying experience.

Spessartbaum

Together with three other companies, Spessarttraum 2021 launched the non-profit organization Spessartbaum. The focus is on planting campaigns to reforest areas and care for the seedlings over a period of three years. Why is a Bavarian bedding producer involved in such a project?

"Let's shape our homeland together" with this vision we founded the non-profit organization Spessartbaum together with three befriended companies
As regionally rooted companies, we want to work together to leave a sustainable footprint for our homeland and future generations. The condition of our forests is becoming increasingly critical. Climate change and monocultures endanger our livelihoods in the long run. Today, our Spessart is the largest contiguous area of mixed deciduous forests in Germany, and we want to keep it that way. Through new projects every year, such as planting trees together, we would like to shape our region in a future-oriented way, provide information and create a new awareness for our homeland.

An end consumer is looking for a new down duvet. What are the criteria you give him to make the right choice in the variety of available products? And under which duvet do you sleep best?

The secret to restful sleep is as individual as the sleeper. For this reason, you should tailor your duvet entirely to your personal sleep needs. With our brand Schlafstil, we do not only offer bedding for the highest demands, but above all a consulting system that makes the search for the right quilt very easy. We recommend choosing according to three criteria: 1. HEAT REQUIREMENT – What is my heat requirement? Winter, summer or all-year duvet. 2. SLEEPING COMFORT – How much sleeping comfort do I want to enjoy? The better the quality, the lighter and more comfortable the duvet. 3. SIZE – Which size suits me? Single or double duvet – there is a suitable size for everyone.

Personally, I sleep under a different duvet every now and then, after all, you have to know what you're selling. But my absolute favorite duvet is the Schlafstil D800EL, a super light summer duvet - a touch of nothing and still covered.

How important are independent certifications for your success and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS seal as a label of animal welfare & quality?

We love and live sustainable action. For us, this means dealing with all three dimensions of sustainability: environment, economy and social aspects. Today, Spessarttraum stands for high-quality duvets and pillows, manufactured in the Spessart region, where our manufactory was once founded. The way to a safe and good future is only through transparency and the willingness to have our promises to the end consumer checked by independent testing institutes. Our customers should feel safe with us and be able to trust the products we provide them with. Independent certifications are a very valuable tool for this. We have committed ourselves to using only down and feathers from supervised animal breeding and pay attention to perfectly traceable supply chains. Therefore, we purchase all down and feathers according to the Zero-Tolerance Standard DOWNPASS. The traceability of the fillings via an individual identification number on the end product and the regular control of the filling quality through targeted test purchases guarantee maximum safety for the end consumer.

Furthermore, we had been audited according to STeP by OEKO-TEX® this summer – an independent certification system for brands, trading companies and manufacturers from the textile and leather industry. The certification is suitable for production companies at all stages of processing that want to communicate their environmental measures credibly and transparently to the outside world.

As soon as our sub-suppliers also have been certified accordingly, we will be able to label our products "Made in Green". The requirements for this have been met and this is another step towards bolstering the sustainability of Spessarttraum.

NorviGroup Denmark – Scandinavian lifestyle is part of our heritage

Company profile NorviGroup Denmark A/S

At NorviGroup Denmark A/S, most of the duvets and pillows are designed, developed and produced at their factory in Denmark - doing this for more than 20 years. Formerly best known as Quilts of Denmark®, today this is their largest brand with the most wide-spread range of down products. The company was the first to develop an active temperature regulating duvet by leveraging NASA research into their Temprakon® products. Today there are many similar products - but the "original" that is continuously being upgraded to be the best, is still Temprakon®.

Following the merger with their Norwegian sister company in 2019, the product range has been further expanded with e.g., bedding and accessories for the sleeping and bathing environment under the brands TuriForm®, representing trends of the time and modern colors, as well as Borås Cotton®, standing for more classic style and exclusive patterns.

Downpass talked to Morten Tychsen Rasmussen, Head of Products and Development at NorviGroup Denmark A/S. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

NorviGroup Denmark A/S has been designing, developing and producing most of its quilts and pillows in Denmark for more than 20 years. The best-known brand is Quilts of Denmark®. What filling materials do you work with and what criteria do you use to select your suppliers?

For us, a good relationship with our partners is essential, and we have been working together with many of our suppliers since we established our company in 2000. The criteria’s have remained the same ever since; price/quality as well as just in time supplies.

In Scandinavia, the customers are often more familiar with the Fill Power rating rather than the down percentage. We are using both Goose and Duck fillings, mainly 60-100% down qualities. One of the most used fillings is a Muscovy Duck Down, with a 750 cuin fill power.

Collection ISLANDS

Last year you launched a new collection: ISLANDS. What is special about this collection and to what extent does the Scandinavian lifestyle of the North flow into your products?

This collection was created for two reasons; To make a clear difference between the various qualities. E.g. the TUNØ range always has a Tencel/cotton shell, and 100% Goose Down, and the RØMØ always has a sateen woven shell and 90% Goose Down.

The other reason is to pay tribute to some of the many wonderful islands in Denmark. To each product, there is attached a little story with fun facts about the respective island. We are encouraging both Danish and foreign customers to send pictures or stories about a Danish Island they have visited, and sometimes our customer service seems to be more a tourist office rather than a duvet factory.

The Scandinavian lifestyle is a part of our heritage, and it is a natural to incorporate both HYGGE and Danish Design into everything we make. 

You are monitored by various certification organisations, including the Nordic Swan Eco Label. How important is the careful treatment of the environment for you, what influence does the idea of sustainability have on the production of your bedding and how do you live climate protection in the company?

Sustainability has always been a natural part of our company. Even before it became trendy to be sustainable. It goes both for the factory and the products, where especially the Nordic Eco label (the Swan), which is a well-recognized Scandinavian sustainability certification, plays an important role.

Morten Tychsen Rasmussen, Head of Products and Development

We use a lot of efforts to maintain our status as a business leader within sustainability. Thus, we get all our power at the factory from renewable wind energy and all waste is carefully recycled.

How important are independent certifications for your success and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS seal as a label of animal welfare & quality?

Independent certifications are very important for our business. Our company has played an active role in the development of the traceability part of the DOWNPASS certification, and we were one if the very first companies to use this certificate. It gives both the retailers as well as the end-users an assurance that no animals have been harmed for the sake of the good night’s sleep.

More than just a Slogan: Heinrich Häussling - Made in Germany

Company profile Heinrich Häussling GmbH & Co.

Heinrich Häussling GmbH & Co. has been part of the Herbert Neumeyer Group since 1988. Since Häussling was founded in 1850, the company has been clearly committed to Germany as a production location. Consumers can find its high-quality down and feather-filled bedding in exclusive specialist and furniture retailers as well as on selected online platforms.
 
Downpass talked to Markus Ertel, Managing Director of Heinrich Häussling GmbH & Co. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

Heinrich Häussling GmbH & Co. produces its bedding articles exclusively in Germany. What were the reasons for this location decision and how do you see the prospects for your site?

The Heinrich Häussling company was founded in 1850 in Lambrecht near Neustadt a. d. Weinstr. by Jakob Häussling. So - out of tradition - we are committed and loyal to Germany as a location, but we also appreciate the geographical advantages, such as the high quality of the water that we use for washing our feather and down fillings. This is why we can largely do without washing additives. We value the people here we work with - their expertise and their reliability. Even afterwards, when Herbert Neumeyer took over the company in 1988 as a sister company to fan frankenstolz, we continued to do so. Made in Germany was and still is the philosophy of our company group.

Markus Ertel

Today, the Herbert Neumeyer Group includes the sister companies Centa Star, fan frankenstolz and Heinrich Häussling. We produce down bedding, fibre and natural hair duvets, mattresses and box spring beds in six production facilities in central and southern Germany with over 170,000 m² of production space - 100% Made in Germany. We are a one-stop-shop provider for everything to do with sleep. Häussling is the specialist for all down and feather-filled bedding.    

At Häussling – from the washing machines for down and feathers, to the sorting facilities to the sewing room - we have all the production stations on site and therefore direct access to the various production processes, right up to the dispatch of our products. This is very important for our quality promise, but also for the service and speed we offer our customers. We are extremely flexible and can react quickly to special requests. In order to maintain this high level, we constantly and continuously invest in our company.

This answers the question about the perspective for our location - we stand for it! There are certainly major challenges ahead of us. The topics of sustainability, circular economy, energy efficiency, environmental protection and digitalisation will fundamentally transform our economy. But we will actively face these challenges. We are well positioned for this, belong to a strong group of companies and have one of the most modern production facilities in Europe. And, by the way, great employees.

Pillow production line

The beginnings of the Heinrich Häussling company can be traced back to 1850. For 85 years you have been working with down and feathers and producing high-quality bedding. What is so fascinating about this material and what will you be particularly proud of in 2036 - the 100th anniversary?

Down is fascinating with its three-dimensional fine structure, its lightness, fantastically soft and warming - a pure natural product that is 100% biodegradable - no fibre in this world can do that. The awareness for these important sustainable materials is growing in society. And as far as the future is concerned - we are currently finalising our energy renovation concept. Extensive structural measures will follow in order to eventually have a completely climate-neutral production. That would be a phantastic birthday present!

Collection Hygge

You have two children - what will you tell them at home when they ask you in a few years' time: Dad, what have you actually done in terms of sustainability with the company?

It makes me smile a little and thinking of home. I am already faced with this situation, so are many of us - the topic is present and there is a lot to talk about. Sustainability and emission reduction are our focus in all areas. The entire company group is already certified according to STeP by OEKO-TEX® as sustainable textile production.
 
We have developed great sustainable product lines - with fine organic cotton fabrics and sustainable packaging materials. We rely on environmentally friendly detergents, which we use with minimal dosage, and do not stop with the simple polybag made from 100% recycled material. At Häussling, we already live the idea of a circular economy. It is a constant development...    

Collection Daunenliebling

How important are independent certifications for your success and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS seal as a label of animal welfare & quality?

It is essential for Häussling not to use down and feathers from live animals in its bedding articles. Alike we do not use goods from foie gras production and want to ensure that our supply chains are monitored and certified.

Thus, we can produce an ecologically sensible product from a by-product of the poultry industry through our craft. In addition, the DOWNPASS operates a policy of randomly purchasing in the shops as part of the mystery shopping for quality controls to ensure a higher quality standard in the market.

Consumers can trust the quality.

Sanders-Kauffmann – Innovations for Sleep Quality

Company profile Sanders-Kauffmann

Sanders-Kauffmann is a leading European manufacturer of high-quality bedding. The internationally active company with headquarters in Bramsche, Lower Saxony, has locations in Eastern Europe and Asia. Originally founded as a weaving mill at the end of the 19th century, the company initially concentrated on the production of down and fibre-proof fabrics. Soon after, finishing and sewing were added, followed by the production of bedding. Today, Sanders-Kauffmann is one of the few fully integrated bedding manufacturers with a high level of expertise in both fabrics and fillings.
 
Downpass talked to Alexander Singer, CEO at Sanders-Kauffmann. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

How important are innovations for the success of Sanders-Kauffmann?

For us, success means the surpassing of goals that we have set jointly. We define our primary goals in terms of our clients:

  • healthy sleep,
  • optimal rest and
  • well-being at the highest level.

Alexander Singer

We see innovation as an essential part of consistently expanding our market leadership. Innovation refers both to the further development of our portfolio in order to meet the expectations of the market and to the development of our structures and organisation (in the sense of a "best fit"). We want to set trends. We want to promote innovation by:    

  • creating a climate to foster creativity and ideas: The working environment should offer everyone the opportunity to contribute creatively and to communicate their ideas openly.
  • enabling change: Only if we are willing to face and to implement change, we are able to innovate and develop efficiently.
  • seizing opportunities responsibly: We want to seize opportunities that present themselves to us if they are conducive to the company's goals.

We recognised early on that the perfect climate control of bedding is an elementary component for particularly high sleep quality. Many of our innovations therefore deal with this important topic. One example is the CLIMABALANCE® system, which is patented worldwide: We have virtually "broken up" the homogeneous structure of a down duvet and provided it with ventilation zones that enable sleepers to be relieved of excess heat. At the same time, the moisture released during sleep is removed so that a perfect and healthy climate can develop.
 
The lightness of bedding has always been a major issue at Sanders-Kauffmann, therefore the development of fabrics with the lowest weight combined with the highest safety and best usability properties has been driven forward in Bramsche. This was indispensable for today's trend towards ever lighter, yet warming quilts. Our fabrics, which are offered on the market as "Bramscher Tuch", are produced by a refinement process that has been optimised again and again over many years. The sum of the individual steps is unique and bears the name SanProCare® sensitive.

Last but not least, Sanders-Kauffmann has also focused on innovation in quilted articles - with new trendy and also particularly precious fillings. The latest example of this is the Vicuña duvet. The particularly rare hair of the camel-like animals is sourced from the high Andes of Peru and processed into fine fleece in an elaborate process. The result is a duvet with an exclusive filling that is hard to beat in terms of lightness and softness - of course with all the advantages that nature has given the finest natural hair and cotton, such as natural climate balance and perfect moisture transport - for a healthy sleep, optimal relaxation and well-being at the highest level.

As a European company with headquarters in Germany, you stand for high-quality fabrics and first-class fillings in the bedding market. You have sites in Germany, Ukraine and China. What importance do you attach to the complete traceability of your supply and production chain?

Sanders-Kauffmann is in the focus of national and international comparison as a provider of top quality and takes a pioneering role in various areas. We are very aware of this responsibility. The current discussion about animal welfare has always been supported by our company, and we have already been able to set pioneering accents in the market with a self-defined standard - "Down-Right-Down". We consider complete traceability and transparency to be absolutely necessary and support corresponding targeted measures to the best of our ability. This is the only way we can prove our responsibility in an ethically sustainable supply chain.

Sanders-Kauffmann prefers to work with natural materials. What can cashmere, camel hair, wild silk and down do better than other filling materials to help develop the perfect product?

In its origins, the company Sanders-Kauffmann has always worked with natural materials. For example, Sanders has always used fine-threaded cotton fabrics for upholstery, which have incomparably good properties compared to synthetic materials. Kauffmann has traditionally worked with feathers and down, and here, too, synthetic substitutes cannot come close to the properties of natural materials; neither from a technological nor an ecological point of view.  

A relatively new field in our overall portfolio are quilts, which are preferably also wrapped in cotton fabrics from our own production and filled with fillings such as cashmere, camel hair, wild silk and recently also flax and linen. Each of the fillings mentioned is incomparable in its own special way and impresses with natural properties such as particularly good moisture management, softness, lightness, durability and last but not least sustainability.

Because the fillings are cleaned and bonded by purely physical processes, but are not chemically altered, the fillings and casings can be recycled at the end of the product life cycle by simple separation. In the area of feathers and down, professional bed feather cleaning is an option for processing high-quality down fillings and then allowing them to live another product life. This saves resources and avoids unnecessary waste.

How important are independent certifications for your success and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS seal as a label of animal welfare & quality?

The current discussion on the subject of animal welfare and the end consumer's desire for the security of a completely clean supply chain make it necessary for the legal and ethical framework conditions that we take for granted to be documented externally by seals of independent institutions. Our company has chosen the DOWNPASS because it is a valuable seal that on the one hand particularly supports animal welfare as a zero-tolerance standard, but on the other hand also emphasises the quality aspect of the bedding that has been labelled. Ultimately, this underpins the high requirements that our customers place on Kauffmann products.

Thanks to its broad network and the large number of audited partners, DOWNPASS offers us good opportunities to query and procure the required down and feather supply in the various regions. The lean but effective organisation of the DOWNPASS team simplifies the handling of the necessary work steps through short communication channels and a high level of competence.

All in all, the DOWNPASS - also due to its increasingly international orientation - is an important building block that contributes to the success of our company.

Société Nouvelle Interplume – Buy with your heart

Company profile Société Nouvelle Interplume

Société Nouvelle Interplume is situated in the Vendée province, Western France, one of the main areas of duck production in Europe. Interplume specialises in the treatment of feathers and down, natural by-products recovered from the agri-food processing industry. Not involved in the finished products business, the company is a supplier to different sectors offering a complete range of products, from feathers for upholstery & cushions, to the most sought-after down fillings for the bedding, apparel and technical clothing sectors, including sport/outdoor clothing & accessories for extreme cold.

DOWNPASS talked to Enrico Bagetta, Sales Manager at Société Nouvelle Interplume. Read the interview directly online or use the Download.

 

What makes working with down and feathers so demanding and what do you pay particular attention to in production?

Down and feathers have to be handled very carefully: they require special washing, drying and sorting processes. They are thermo-regulating, naturally hypoallergenic, retaining superior qualities of softness and smoothness, eco-friendly.

We source directly from the region. The collection of the raw material is carried out as it becomes available at the various sites throughout the day. In order to ensure the highest quality of production, it is paramount to process the feathers in the shortest possible time. At SN Interplume, all feathers are washed and processed in less than 12 hours from pick-up, enabling to guarantee the perfect quality of the products with sanitising and physical integrity after treatment.

While ensuring caring practices in the supply chain, we do the same for our production processes: A water treatment plant, green type (bacteriological), recycles our industrial needs. Indoor lights are all LED, for 2/3 less power than standard lights, and the outdoor lights are autonomous solar-powered streetlamps, zero grid-power. Thermal energy and hot water are from our partners across the road, a biogas producing plant recycling local agri-food sector waste for its production.

What can down do better than other filling materials such as man-made fibres? What is Interplume's recipe for success?

Enrico Bagetta

Down is light and breathable and can absorb and release moisture. They are also completely biodegradable. Thus, this natural product flows back into the natural cycle and leaves no "footprint" when the material reaches the end of its life cycle. Interplume only works with selected, regional partners and this has a positive effect on the eco-balance.
 

Interplume is an expert for down and feathers as filling material and does not produce any finished products itself. As a partner, you work closely with the clothing, bedding and furniture industries. How have the requirements for sustainability and animal welfare developed among your customers in recent years?

The greatest challenge is convincing a more significant share of the market to privilege eco-responsible materials and products, and this includes manufacturers and consumers alike. Lower price is often the first criteria that buyers apply – at least in our industry segment – with sustainability down the list after quality and traceability.

The key to change could be governmental initiatives encouraging green models of production. Perhaps Tax Credits, rewarding low-impact manufacturing, favoring goods made with environmentally and animal-friendly materials, promoting circular economy, hence costs reducing economies of scale to drive such change.

Eco-responsibility must be integrated within the industrial processes of every manufacturer to strengthen its commitment towards the environment. Without it, the damage to the environment, already sizeable, will keep growing significantly as well as its adverse effects on human, animal, and plant life.
 

How important are independent certifications for your success and why do you rely on the DOWNPASS seal as a label of animal welfare & quality?

Interplume has its supply chain and products monitored for quality and traceability by several independent certification organisations - this is a key feature of our way of working. For us, this means credibility and reliability.

Therefore, we are trying to influence people to buy more with their heart, at a little higher cost perhaps, but driving home the need for ethical considerations to brands and manufacturers.

Having a Certificate stating that you care for animal welfare should go together with actions that demonstrate the same level of care and commitment for all bionetworks. And we demonstrate that we are fulfilling this commitment via the DOWNPASS label.