October 19th, 2016
Bedmat celebrates 55 years of making beds and mattresses
Life is great when you had an excellent night’s rest, right? Thousands of people have been served with excellence since Bedmat started in 1961. And the company is growing from strength to strength ever since.
Eddie Papendorf made his first bed under the proverbial tree. The company was initially registered as E.F. Produkte and changed to “Bedmat” a few years later (Bed+Mattress=Bedmat).
Today Bedmat celebrates 55 years of being the industry leaders of quality, comfort and client service. Still owned by the same family the company has a contemporary outlook, yet the foundations have not changed: dedication to serve. Staff ages span four generations, with Mrs Papendorf the oldest at 83 still fully active in the business right down to Kay Moropa (23) who is heading the online shop.
Clients span three generations, making bed a family business in every sense!
Choosing a bed is one of the most important decisions that you can make – it affects every aspect of your life. This is what made Eddie and Mats Papendorf realise their calling way back in the early sixties. Eddie built the first beds for farmworkers on the farms of the British retirees in the White River area. They only had grass mats to sleep on. They called him mabhaganeisa, which meant “the man who lifts us from the floor” and so Bedmat began.
The couple bought a piece of land for R200 with business rights and a railway sideline, built their factory and moved their business from the farm where they rented facilities to the new premises on a small holding on the Plaston Road. Still operating the headquarters here, amongst the farms, clients are often amazed when the calling of fish eagles fill the sky while they are shopping for the most comfortable bed… or choosing the best quality foam to re-upholster their furniture.
Eddie was a very innovative, driven and creative man. He designed and built each manufacturing machine by hand and Bedmat is still using some of these today to cut foam, chip foam or cut circles from foam sheets. While renting on the farm he literally worked under a big tree for a long while to get the business going.
Their first bed was sold for R3.25. Mats sewed the mattress covers made with thick tight woven, striped ticking and had helpers to tease the coir and fill the covers. The filling was held in place with leather tufts cut in circles with zig-zag scissors and sewn in place with a very long 300 mm needle, sharp on both ends pulling string.
Their business started to evolve rapidly when they received a big contract to manufacture wooden bases, so at the end of 1968 they were making steel and wooden beds as well as coir mattresses and pillows. Export to Swaziland was flourishing and later large manufacturers from Johannesburg sent trucks to collect wooden bases on a weekly basis.
Initially it was difficult to get their products in local shops. A neighbour gave Eddie a hint to put on his best suit and use his (the neighbour’s) grand car to park in front of the shops in Nelspruit where shop owners could see. This promoted the business and Bedmat started to grow with local support as customers realized the quality of the beds at the excellent price. Sponge/foam rubber entered the market in 1971 and Bedmat implemented it into their business, which soon became a roaring success.
Daleen Mulder joined her parents’ business during 1991 and eventually took over the reins a few years ago. “We want to be known as the most authoritative bed company in the Lowveld. We take our client’s needs seriously. From the needs of a growing child to the requirements of a bed and breakfast owner, a luxury lodge to a school hostel, from a nursery school to a college, private homes to old age homes and hospitals… we serve them all with attention and the best care humanly possible,” Daleen explains.
Often a grudge buy, beds play the most important role in everybody’s well being. Successful owners of lodges and B&B’s realise that they are building their business on the guest’s good night rest. Therefore Bedmat is honoured to count Ulusaba Privat Game Lodge as one of their clients.
“And yet we pride ourselves in the fact that we really have a bed for each and every pocket that is still top quality. All our clients are equally important, says Daleen.
Over the years the company has expanded to supply quality bedding, linen, foam/sponge cut to the client’s specification, they do upholstery, supply school desks, steel lockers, filing cabinets, canteen units, to name a few. Bedmat is still an independent Lowveld based company competing on a national level. They are affiliated with FEDHASA, BABASA, Legacy Lifestyle and Lyoness. They also designed a mattress to the specification of a local doctor for the beds at Lowveld Hospital.
Bedmat has extended their range of linen to include lovely pillows, mattress protectors and the new eco-friendly non-iron linen which is now highly in demand. Even Oprah raved about it on one of her shows. Their huge warehouse in Plaston is packed to the brim with foam of all shapes and sizes – ready to create anything you want. They produce foam mattresses for caravans, the back of LUV’s as well as non-standard size beds, cots and camping. The company now also uses Memory foam and latex which enhances the range of traditional mattresses.
If it has comfort and quality, you will find it at Bedmat. Be sure to visit them on their farm on Plaston Road, alternatively their outlet in White River and now also in Riverside Park, Nelspruit.
Soon you will be able browse for a new bed and or mattress in the comfort or discomfort of your current bed with their new online shop.
Call us on 013 751 2248 or contact Daleen on 082 341 5522.