what of the alternatives and why do we dismiss them?
MEMORY FOAM PILLOWS. Best known brand in the world is Tempur and in Australia the Dunlopillo Therapillo brand is growing fast. Marketing hype always talks about it being developed by NASA scientists for the comfort of astronauts during space travel. In practical terms, the difference to other foam pillows is that the recovery is very slow, with no bounce. You can sink your hand in and the indentation will remain for a few seconds. They are comfortable in that they compress in all the right places, with good support.
I am friendly with an amazing youg guy named James Ni and have watched him start from scratch developing what is today the largest group of memory foam factories in China. He supplies most of the best known brands all over the world. Never mind the rest of his customers, last time I spoke to him he was shipping over 150 containers (40' HQ) PER MONTH just to COSCO in the US! He told me if I were to market his pillows, he would supply my first conatiner at cost price, no profit to him.
But I couldn't bring myslef to do it. At the end of the day they are simply a chemical product - visco foam made from visco polymers, oil derivatives. They adjust to body temperature so tend to sleep hot and cannot breathe. They even give off a slight chemical aroma.
They are not natural and not for TLC. The same goes for polyurethane (PU) foam pillows - a much cheaper and less comfortable alternative.
FIBRE FILL PILLOWS. Of something like 10 million pillows sold in Austarlia each year, at least 85% are fibre filled. Almost all are filled with polyester fibre. There are various qualities of poly fibre, recycled (PET plastic bottles) or regenerated being the cheapest used in budget pillows - to proprietry hollow fibres (such as Dacron) that can have up to 4 holes in every tube-like fibre that creates loft and won't matt, crush or lump. Brands such as Tontine market some very nice polyester fill products at the top of their range. Poly fibres are also sometimes blended with something more up-market or exotic like wool, cashmere or even silk to add some marketing sizzle - and extra $$$'s. Of course.
Apart from quickly losing loft (height) and not being long lasting, the big negative with all these types of fibre fill pillows is that they quickly become breeding grounds for dreaded dust mites, creating fungi and mould within the pillows. Tontine itself launched a very succesful marketing campaign back in 2010, date stamping all their pillows and advising it's customers that in order to retain 'freshness' all their pillows should be replaced within 2 years! Natural latex pillows are naturally antimicrobial and will last for 10 years without this type of problem.
DUNLOP PROCESS LATEX PILLOWS. A budget and much more common version of latex produced via a far more simple and less costly process - similar to that used for PU or visco foam pillows. Confusingly, Dunlopillo, the best known brand of latex pillows in Australia, are produced NOT by the Dunlop process, but by the Talalay process, just like TLC! The difference is like chalk and cheese. Dunlop process pillows are heavier, firmer, usually made from a synthetic latex blend (cheaper), and, unlike Talalaly latex do not have an open cell structure so cannot breathe causing them to sleep hot. They even have a skin.
FEATHER AND DOWN PILLOWS. A perennial favourite in 5-Star hotels. These are all natural and the very best of the rest. They do need continual plumping up - but we like them. Naturally we have a very nice luxury feather and down pillow in our range.
Tendre est la nuit!