Good Onya, Mate! A “Longman’s” Road to America’s Bedding Industry

February 20, 2018
by Heather Huffman

Good Onya, Mate! A “Longman’s” Road to America’s Bedding Industry

“Good onya” might be a new term for many of us, but for our friends Down Under, it’s a well-known congratulatory saying, like “good for you” or “well done!” Expressions well deserved by Paul Longman, Founder and CEO of iSense Sleep, a mattress company revolutionizing individual sleep comfort. But more about that later.

For now, let’s start at the beginning. Like any revolutionary product, it didn’t happen overnight. This journey began nearly 10,000 miles away and more than three decades ago. Outside of sleeping on a mattress, Paul was a novice when he entered the industry at the age of 25. While he wound up spending most of his career in the mattress industry, he didn’t fall into bed with the sector right away. The ten years spent working trade jobs and completing a degree in industrial engineering would, however, be the catalyst for merging his passion for technology with his future industry.

Over my time in the bedding industry, my passion grew for helping people find the right level of sleep comfort. The desire grew even stronger as I realized that even if you made a great mattress, the retail salesperson and the consumer may never make that perfect connection because there are so many options on the floor.

Paul Longman

Paul’s journey in the industry started as the National Operations Manager for Pacific Dunlop Holdings, a manufacturer for major mattress brands like Sleepmaker, Dunlopillo, Serta and Simmon; Managing Director for Leggett & Platt®; and then as A.H. Beard’s CEO. Over his career, Paul saw many advancements in the mattress industry: adjustable bed frames, the introduction of air adjustable air surface mattresses, and the many improvements of foam and spring beds that still exist today.

Despite these improvements, the majority of mattress manufacturers hold true to their belief that comfort comes from material combinations and varying degrees of mattress construction. That never sat quite right with Paul, though he wasn’t sure where his curiosity about improving comfort would lead. In the back of his mind, there was something about people searching through hundreds of white fluffy boxes for that ideal sleep experience that he knew needed to change. But how that would come to be, only time would tell.

Paul’s stellar reputation and management savvy became recognized by many considered to be top players in the industry. His success also enabled him to take a brief sabbatical, during which time he even considered a different career path. But it was only a matter of time until one of Australia’s most revered companies and mattress brands came calling.

It was around 2005 when Garry Beard, Chairman of A.H. Beard, phoned Paul. This was a former customer with whom Paul had forged a solid relationship, and he had a proposition that would have significant impact on Paul’s future. As this 118-year-old company was one Paul knew well and had watched over the years as a supplier, it was an easy decision. Longman was now at the helm of A.H. Beard in what would be an 11-year run with the company.

During this tenure at A.H. Beard, Paul developed his passion for adjustable sleep surfaces. With feedback from over 60,000 potential mattress consumers under his belt, thanks to a Sleep Challenge his team created, the journey to finding better sleep was taking shape. It was at this time that he first combined adjustable comfort with sleep tracking, the first and only in the Australian market. The success of the adjustable technology and the impact on the A.H. Beard brand was profound, and it served as the catalyst for what was next on Paul’s plate: The pursuit of adjustable comfort in every type of mattress—spring, foam and air—and in the world’s largest mattress economy, America.

In 2016, I gave up an amazing lifestyle, home, and job with a wonderful company to pack up everything and move from Sydney to America with the ambition of harnessing technology to redesign the mattress sales and production process," continued Paul. "I was committed to providing a solution to customers that allowed them to choose the bed surface they wanted and adjust it to their changing preferences over time .

Paul Longman

Upon arriving, Paul set out to make his dream a reality, researching how to meet the sleep comfort needs of an individual, not just when the mattress was purchased, but every day and night after that purchase. Fast-forward two years and iSense Sleep was ready to wake up the industry with the introduction of the world’s first premium mattress line in a choice of spring, foam or air surfaces with built-in Comfort Control™ technology. 

This was not just an air chamber under spring and foam surfaces; rather it was the introduction of air-assisted VariCoil™ and Varifoam™ technology. 

It meant all the qualities that consumers love about innerspring and foam mattresses were preserved, but with one major difference: For the first time ever, spring and foam mattresses had the ability to change comfort levels from ultra plush to ultra firm at the touch of an app. While the air-adjustable sleep surface commands about 5 percent share of the mattress buying market, spring and foam mattresses made up the other 93 percent with about 2 percent made up of specialty mattresses. Now, with the introduction of iSense Sleep, every mattress surface is fully adjustable and the days of buying a mattress that just sits in bedroom for the life of the purchase are over. “Comfort Control™ technology in Spring, Foam and Air will forever impact the mattress buying experience,” believes Thomas J. Wells, a long-time veteran of the mattress industry and former Leggett & Platt executive who holds various mattress technology patents.

It took a man with vision, a background in engineering, manufacturing, and sales of mattresses, and a lot of hard work to make the dream of adjustable comfort on every sleep surface come true.

Whether you prefer the bounce of a spring mattress, the hug of a foam mattress, or the original air adjustable mattress, iSense Sleep brings home the flexibility to control your comfort level, whatever that may be, every night and for the life of your mattress. Now all mattress types can adjust to fit every person’s ever-changing needs.

For those of you wondering, Paul’s choice for sleep surfaces goes back to his roots in the industry, and he is an undeterred spring mattress lover.

At iSense Sleep, the world of Comfort Control™ is just beginning with an eye on continued innovation to create what Longman refers to as an interconnected sleep experience. “You buy a mattress when you are conscious, but you use it when you are unconscious,” Paul explained. “The natural evolution of our technology will include integrated sleep tracking so not only can you control your comfort, but you can make changes to impact overall sleep quality that can be monitored night after night.”

A mattress revolution is on the horizon, and it’s going to be with a whole new generation of consumers known as iSense Sleepers—those who control their comfort night after night with the touch of an app.