Only Organic has started a new Q&A series highlighting Organic Pioneers throughout the industry. In our efforts to bring more attention to organic textiles this week we are interviewing Barry A. Cik of Naturepedic.
Organic Pioneer: Barry A. Cik
Organic Brand: Naturepedic Organic Mattresses & Bedding
- Why did you choose to create a certified organic product?
Toxic and questionable chemicals are destroying the planet. When we had our first grandchild and I found out how toxic most baby mattresses are, we knew it was our responsibility to provide him – and others – with a non-toxic alternative and it snowballed from there. At Naturepedic, we have developed ways to create high-quality home products without any toxic inputs. Naturepedic leads the organic mattress industry with approximately ten adult designs, two kids designs, and five baby crib designs, and we have won numerous awards for our products. In addition, we make certified organic pillows, comforters, sheets, and pads for all our mattresses.
- How long has your brand been certified organic?
Since 2008, Naturepedic has been certified to the strict Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which requires the use of organic fiber and prohibits the use of toxic inputs. In fact, Naturepedic was one of the very first mattress companies in the world to become certified to GOTS.
In fact, we also are one of the first mattress companies to have been certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard, which requires the use of latex from organic rubber plantations and, as with GOTS, prohibits the use of toxic processing chemicals. Amish craftsmanship ensures our products are built to last.
- Is it difficult to source certified organic ingredients?
No. There are certification organizations that can assist in that task. All our organic cotton batting for the mattresses comes from the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, farming on the High Plains of Texas. That means the organic cotton’s journey is just 1400 miles from farm to finished product at our manufacturing facilities in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. In addition, we are in close contact with the providers of the organic latex and organic wool that we use.
- What myth would you like to bust about being an organic (fiber) pioneer or the organic industry as a whole?
There is a belief that organic textile products cannot compete with their synthetic counterparts in a free-market environment. But that is indeed a myth. The organic textile market, in general, has expanded every year and continues to do so. In fact, a 2020 Organic Trade Association survey found that in 2019, organic home textiles and apparel continue to lead the organic non-food sector with 12 percent growth in sales in 2019 alone.
Naturepedic’s business has expanded significantly each year since it was founded. And it’s not just Naturepedic – other organic textile brands are expanding dramatically as well, responding to demand from consumers who are creating an organic lifestyle based on organic food AND home textiles.
Another myth is that organic mattresses are hard to find. That was the case but is no longer – all Naturepedic products are available both online and in retail stores nationwide.
- What is the biggest challenge you face as an organic pioneer?
The organic mattress sector faces two primary challenges:
The first challenge is fraudulent organic claims and certifications. Consumers looking for a GOTS product should check that the company is listed at www.global-standard.org and their certification number is on their materials.
The second challenge is educating the public about the availability of organic mattresses and bedding given that these items typically are not sold in grocery stores where most people learn about organic products such as produce and milk.
A mattress has a very different price point than, say, a gallon of milk, so it is doubly impressive that our sales have increased exponentially each year. It’s good to know we have the consumers’ trust – we work hard for it every day.
- Where do you see organic food, fiber, farming, and products in the next 5 years?
The organic food and fiber market will continue to grow due to increased demand for toxic chemical-free products. The non-food organic sector has expanded more than 10% per year in the last several years, and we anticipate people turning even more to sustainable options post-COVID.
- What advice would you give to a younger generation of entrepreneurs looking to get into the organic industry?
Find a product that you are passionate about and see if you can make an organic version – and don’t be afraid of having competition. The market is growing and there is room for all of us! With the Internet, it has never been easier to get a product out there and create a start-up company.
Visit Naturepedic Online