Running a startup has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done but it’s also come with many challenges. That’s why I absolutely love supporting other brands with a similar ethos to ours.
Naturalmat handcraft organic & natural mattresses for babies & children. They have been a trailblazer in the sustainable baby products market for the last 20 years. We sat down with their founder Mark and asked him five questions about his business and the vision he’s been creating.
1. What was the initial catalyst that caused you to start creating natural mattresses for children?
"Well, the catalyst is a boy called Luke - who is now 22! When he appeared on the horizon as a bump in my wife’s tummy, we started to look at what was available to buy in the market - and were shocked to find that all nursery mattresses were made out of synthetic foams and covered in plastic! We already had nascent experience of making mattresses, albeit for a different market sector, so decided to make the mattress that we wanted for our baby."
2. We know your background comes from the marine industry and particularly sailing yachts. How did this experience inform the design of your mattresses?
"Yes - marine is where we started, my father was a boat designer and I grew up in Devon so was involved in all things boating from an early age. My career did actually take me into the food industry, but I wanted to get back to my roots and saw that very expensive yachts were fitting very inexpensive mattresses which just did not seem like the best option. Boats suffer from the perennial problems of damp and condensation, and the synthetic mattresses that were being fitted absorbed heat and moisture so were exacerbating the problems as well as providing poor levels of support. Using entirely natural fibres to create a mattress was the obvious solution as they wick away moisture and heat from the body as well as giving far better comfort and support. So I started cutting and assembling layers of natural materials on my old table tennis table and Naturalmat was born.
Ironically there are a lot of similarities between babies and boats! Babies have difficulty in regulating their temperature, and they do not like to get too hot or too cold. A synthetic material will absorb the heat from the baby's body and then cause the baby’s temperature to increase, making the baby start to perspire. The moisture will then be absorbed by the synthetic, which will cool the surface, and cause the baby’s temperature to drop. Conversely, natural fibres will wick away moisture and heat from the baby’s body, which will help maintain an even temperature and keep the baby comfortable and - hopefully - ASLEEP!"
3. We know that most mattresses represent a huge source of pollution to the environment. What makes Naturmat different, and what do you think parents should be aware of when buying mattresses for their children?
"Yes, that’s true - recently, due to a proliferation of low quality products, 100 day sleep guarantees and changing preferences, people have been replacing their mattresses far more frequently than they used to. To compound this problem further, the majority of mattresses these days are made from all kinds of unnatural chemical foams and fibres, which when dumped will stay in landfill for hundreds, if not thousands, of years (you can read more about this in our impact report!).
You won’t find any of these nasty synthetic fibres at Naturalmat. We’ve been making mattresses from sustainable materials for over 22 years - using natural fibres such as locally-sourced organic wool and organic coconut fibre (coir) for superior breathability, temperature control and comfort compared to the synthetics you’ll find in other nursery mattresses.
We’re just about to launch an exciting partnership with The Lullaby Trust - the UK’s leading safer sleep charity - who have one golden rule for any parents looking for a new nursery mattress: it needs to be firm, flat and waterproof. Just like our Coco Mat combined with an Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector!"
4. Can you tell us about your next move for the business?
"Well, we’ve just launched our brand new website - which is a very exciting event for the year! We are also looking at two new stores for the business, one should be opening in The Cotswolds in September and we hope to open Manchester in Spring 2023."
5. Have you got any secret techniques you can share about putting a little one down for the night?
"Firstly, I am mercifully quite out of date on this activity, but one thing that did work for us was using a tightly shorn sheepskin in my daughter Hatty’s moses basket when she was a baby. She was born in September so was still very little over the winter months, and when she went back into her basket during the night her face would touch the cold cotton sheet and she would wake up again. We tried using a sheepskin and once her face touched that cosy wool, she did not wake up!"
You can learn more or pick up a Naturalmat mattress at