Sustainability is at the heart of Hypnos. The world’s first carbon-neutral bedmaker, Princes Risborough’s finest has long pioneered greener processes, products and partnerships – and the bedmaker’s eco-conscious DNA was part of what drew its new group MD to the business, writes Paul Farley …
“We all evolve as we go through life,” begins David Baldry, “and some truths just become clearer over time – such as the need to protect the planet. Just look at the weather we had this summer …”
Being “a man of action, rather than beliefs”, David was quick to raise the bar at the bedmaker, tasking his new colleagues (principally Hypnos’ sustainable development director, Richard Naylor) with a fresh challenge, entitled Project Zero, with the aim of broadening the scope of the business’ green thinking.
“There’s a lot of topics going off in the world right now, but it pays to have a long-term strategy,” he explains. “Being new, I have a slightly different view on things to many of my colleagues, so I decided to push the boundaries from the off.
“At Hypnos, sustainability isn’t just a poster on the wall. It’s intrinsic in everything that happens in the business, from our car scheme to staffing, product flow, investment, sourcing, development … it all builds a culture that drives us forward. Project Zero is about how we might go on to approach that culture tomorrow.”
David says there were two rules for any suggestions put forward in this grand brainstorming exercise – that any directions mooted must prioritise comfort and ethical practice.
“Although customer demand varies somewhat by generation, we know that our primary mission is to make and sell something to sleep on. We’re selling the most comfortable beds in the world, which are also truly sustainable,” he says. “The retailer wants to be able to sell those beds to their customers with as few barriers as possible, and they want them to have a fantastic experience, every night.
“All we’ve done with Project Zero is take the brakes off. We’re already looking at going beyond our [wool assurance scheme] Red Tractor guarantees to enable British farmers to get more closely involved with the brand, and bringing a new global textiles standard to the UK (it’d be nice to source all our products from within 20 miles of the factory, but nationwide will do for now!). But what’s next?”
David says James Keen (now CEO) is a “visionary” from a sales and marketing POV, and is proud of the company’s progress – yet also determined to maintain momentum. Directors Chris Ward (marketing) and Richard Gretton (global retail sales), working alongside Richard Naylor, have also been instrumental in helping to shape David’s vision of where Hypnos will go in the next 5-10 years.
Yet, for all of Project Zero’s blue-sky ambitions, progress must be achieved in manageable steps. “I’m a bit impatient, but I’m very focused,” says David. “I find that if you focus on the small things, looking at what will help to add value, the results come faster.”
Read the rest of the interview in October's Furniture News, here.