Dreams has today celebrated 20 years of making mattresses and beds in the West Midlands, marking the milestone by opening the doors to its factory in Oldbury to showcase the craftsmanship that goes into making every Dreams mattress, divan and headboard.
The event was attended by Shaun Baily MP and coincided with National Manufacturing Day.
The site first opened in 2003 with just 13 colleagues. Twenty years later, it has a 250-strong team of specialists spanning quilting, sewing, fabric cutting, upholstery, tape edging, mattress building and frame and draw assembly. It takes more than 10 of these experts to produce just one mattress, divan or headboard. Today, 60% of the mattresses Dreams sells are handmade at the site before being delivered to bedrooms across Britain and Northern Ireland.
Dreams makes over 1000, 700 divan bases and 200 headboards each day, and says the factory uses over 13 million meters of thread each year, and includes state-of-the-art equipment such as embroidery machines, multi-needle quilting machines, and advanced mattress border manufacturing machinery.
"To ensure high-quality products that last, the team receives in-depth skills training," says Dreams. "For example, tape edging is the process of bringing the edges of a mattress together. It is one of the most skilled jobs in bedmaking and it requires six months to become fully competent – in part because it requires the tape edger to walk backwards as they work. Dreams employs 18 tape edgers at Oldbury. On average, they will each walk 7.5km a week – that’s 375km a year."
There are currently five apprentices starting their careers at the factory, and Dreams is also inviting members of the community to visit to learn more about jobs within the manufacturing sector.
The factory sits at the heart of Dreams’ West Midlands operations hub. In addition to the Oldbury factory, the region is home to three distribution sites and eight retail shops. In total, Dreams employs over 500 colleagues in the West Midlands area.
Jonathan Hirst, CEO, says: “This is a really special moment for our business. I want to say a huge thank you to every single colleague who has played a part over the last two decades. We’re incredibly proud that today the majority of our market-leading, quality products are handcrafted in Britain, right here in the Midlands. Our manufacturing sector is world leading, and we want to play our part in inspiring the next generation of highly skilled bed and mattress makers.”
Shaun Bailey, Conservative MP for West Bromwich West, comments: “I am strongly committed to supporting local manufacturing, which plays a vital role in our economy by driving innovation, exports, job creation, and productivity growth. It was great to visit Dreams today to see the process of how mattresses and beds are manufactured and to celebrate 20 years of Dreams manufacturing in Oldbury.”
Anthony Follows, new product development and quality manager, who has spent 15 years as a Dreams employee at Oldbury, adds: “The way we make our beds and the factory itself has changed a huge amount over the last 20 years, to make us a more streamlined and efficient production facility. What’s unchanged is the care and attention to detail that we put into every single mattress, base or headboard that we produce.”