Interview with Darren Marcangelo, Co-Founder of herdysleep

Darren Marcangelo

With years of experience in the mattress industry Darren Marcangelo has been a driving force behind the creation of miniature pocket springs for the bedding and furniture industries. As we begin our review process of the mattress he is responsible for, the herdysleep, we interviewed him on what makes it so special.

What inspired the creation of the herdysleep?

The original herdy brand was born in the Lake District in 2007, created by husband and wife design team Spencer and Diane Hannah, who were inspired by the local lovable Herdwick sheep. Selling unique gifts, home wares and accessories, designed to make you smile, herdy supported the rural community and upland fell farming projects through the herdy fund.

The owner of Harrison Spinks then became aware of the herdy brand whilst visiting the Lake District with his family. Having fallen in love with its signature Herdwick sheep and coincidentally meeting one of the founders – Spencer Hannah – in one of its stores, a collaboration was formed.

Already sharing the principle of social responsibility and a forward-thinking attitude to business, the herdy and Harrison Spinks brands joined forces to develop a unique luxury mattress that would give something back to Cumbria farmers.

Responsibility has been woven into the fabric of herdy from the beginning, and the herdysleep project delivers a shared economy initiative that will help to secure a future for Herdwick upland fell farming.

The herdysleep appears to be the only ‘bed in a box’ mattress that focuses entirely on pocket springs. Do you believe this technology is better than foam?

Our mattresses do contain foam; however, it’s kept to a minimum. The foam provides the foundation layer of a herdysleep mattress which is needed as it is the only material flexible enough to go through our packing process. We do however keep the foam far away from the person sleeping. Foam is an insulator so if it is close to the surface of the mattress, then the heat cannot be circulated, meaning your body cannot breathe and you overheat. A pocket sprung mattress, especially one layered with natural fillings, helps the air to circulate through the mattress.

The secret to a pocket sprung mattress is in its individual springs. Each one is encased in its own pocket of fabric so that they move independently of one another, allowing you to move around in bed, without disturbing your partner. The herdysleep pocket springs are micro-sized and are actually the smallest pocket springs available on the market. More springs means a greater number of contact points with the body, allowing the mattress to mould to your sleeping profile more effectively.

For those who claim to prefer foam, what would you say?

You wouldn’t choose a polyester shirt over a cotton one – the same principles apply to what you sleep on. Foam is a chemically made, synthetic product that does not allow the body to breathe, which often leads to overheating in the night. Pocket sprung mattresses not only provide the most superior levels of support and comfort, they also help to circulate air through the mattress, something that’s also helped by the mattress’ natural fillings. A king size herdysleep mattress contains over 6,000 pocket springs – the highest spring count in a bed in a box – offering unparalleled levels of comfort and support.

Is there much science involved in creating a mattress, or is it more about trial and error, finding the best comfort based on real world tests?

When embarking on this new herdysleep adventure, finding the right mattress manufacturer was key to the brand’s success. Working with trusted mattress maker Harrison Spinks was an ideal fit, with a history of crafting mattresses for over 100 years, they definitely know a thing or two about making mattresses!

We spent several months developing and testing different mattress constructions to create a product that would be suitable for the majority of the population. We have also chosen to offer a 100-night sleep trial, so if a customer is not 100% satisfied with their mattress or does not feel it is right for them, we will come and pick it up and refund the customer in full. We believe the best place to try out a mattress is in your own home.

Why do you manufacture in Britain? Would it not be cheaper to make the mattress elsewhere?

herdy has always championed a sustainable and rural community, working with local businesses where possible. herdysleep is a socially responsible brand and supports the local Lake District farmers so it only felt right that we also manufacture in the UK. It’s not about cutting corners or doing things cheaply, we wanted to make the best possible, highest quality bed in a box.

All of our herdysleep mattresses are also manufactured by one of the leading bed manufacturers who has over 100 years of experience. Based in Yorkshire, this company is proud to support British craftsmanship and still employs time honoured traditions and techniques.

What is the benefit of wool and Herdwick sheep?

Herdwick wool has traditionally been used to craft robust products such as carpets and rugs. However, prices for fleece was falling and farming Herdwick sheep had become increasingly unsustainable. herdysleep have committed to pay twice the current market rate for Herdwick wool – sustainably sourced and designed to support the local Lake District economy.

Herdwick wool makes for a perfect mattress filling as it is naturally anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic as well as being springy and supportive. Herdwick wool also helps to regulate body temperature, allowing you to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Finally, this material is also naturally absorbent. Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight without feeling heavy or damp, therefore using wool as a mattress filling means that the moisture is wicked away from the body during the night, keeping you comfortable.

For added comfort, herdysleep also blends the Herdwick wool with quality cotton and cashmere.

Is heat a problem when making a mattress from wool?

Quite the opposite actually. Using natural materials helps to regulate body temperature, meaning that you don’t overheat, unlike with foam mattresses. The breathable fibres won’t trap heat, allowing the air to circulate.

If wool is important inside a mattress, what natural materials are important for sheets and pillows?

Just as we believe in combining wool with natural cotton and cashmere fibres, we always recommend pillows, duvets, mattress protectors and sheets made of natural materials. Wool is such a versatile material and is a perfect choice for duvet, pillows and mattress protectors. Different types of wool are better suited than others, Herdwick for example, is a fantastic choice for a mattress as it is coarser and a more robust fibre, providing great support. For the final finishing touches, I would recommend either luxurious cotton sheets, or for a more relaxed look, here at herdysleep we love the look and feel of a linen bedding set.

We’ll be testing the herdysleep over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for the review. In the meantime, visit herdysleep’s website for more about the brand and mattress.

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