With over 30 years of experience importing all kinds of products - bedding, mattresses, clothing, toys, homewares, manchester - we could have set up our own business importing almost anything.

 

Attending countless International Trade Fairs, we have come across hundreds of great product innovations worthy of taking to market - everything from lightweight electric bikes that fold into a carry case, to garden gnomes that glow in the dark hand painted to look like whomever you want.

 

But no. It was natural Talalay latex pillows that sailed the TLC boat.

 

Forget all the mumbo jumbo doctor this, scientist that and panels of so called experts telling you what is best for you; all we know is that pretty much every one of our family, friends, friends of friends and rellies now sleep on TLC latex pillows - and love them as much as we do (BTW, none of our testimonials come from the aformentioned group!). You get so that you have to take your pillow with you when going away on hols.

 

Why? Because they are O SO COMFORTABLE! And supportive. And soporific. And cool. And natural. And have all the health benefits we talk about on our site. And they make you sleep good!

 

Over the years we have established good relationships around the world with great factories that produce every type of pillow imaginable - but in our opinion nothing comes within a bull's roar of natural Talalay latex pillows.

 

So, 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!

 

Tim from TLC - BLOG - 11th February, 2014.

 

It’s a sad time here in Australia with so many iconic businesses in decline, closing doors and being forced to quit local manufacturing. The saddest cases are innocent victims to circumstances beyond their control.

 

The high Australian dollar is the single biggest factor in all this. A bi-product of our economy being managed so very well during the GFC and the mining boom driven by China, contrived to bring investors flocking to the AUD when all other currencies were softening. The cost of buying anything from Oz shot up 30 – 40+% very quickly and stayed there and stayed there – and stayed there. TILL NOW.

 

The tragedy in this is that the biggest players (the car industry) hung in there for so long and have been forced to give up only now that our dollar is finally dropping and being tipped to steadily plummet.  By so much that these industries would have been able to export themselves back to viability. And the recession likely to hit Vic and SA due to the 50,000 jobs lost will inevitably cause the Aussie dollar to drop ever further. 40% cheaper, exports of whatever we have left to sell will boom.

 

Of course there are other factors at play. Our high labour costs, foreign subsidies and dumping. And being in a shrinking industry doesn’t help the likes of SPC, who can fruit and vegetables in a market moving towards fresh.

 

But the other BIG factor IS within our control. OFFERING CONSUMERS GOODS THEY WANT TO BUY. It doesn’t matter whether it is the right car, bra, chocolate bar. Or, closer to home for TLC – the right pillow.

 

How about this for a good example of what NOT to do with your product.

 

Until recently Dunlopillo used to sell around 170,000 Talalay process natural latex pillows each year in Australia. They were the best and most popular brand by miles. Competitors like Dentons, Target and TLC saw an opportunity and nibbled at their heels with similar product, slightly cheaper. As they began losing share, Dunlopillo introduced a new range of more profitable visco memory foam pillows under their umbrella Therapillo brand. Product development and marketing focused on the new golden goose.

 

At the same time the overseas latex factory was squeezed on price so Dunlopillo’s pillow volume could be boosted by off-price promotions. Then squeezed some more. Then more. Till the supplier began cutting corners and quality was affected. Rather than sort the quality issue out and renegotiate a more reasonable price, Dunlopillo simply found an alternative supplier and cut off the original factory.