Thursday, 4 December 2008

Futons, Comedy and The New York Times

Not too sure if this would work here at The Futon Shop, but I admire their desire to increase and promote their business. This artice appeared in The New York Times on 3rd December 2008, by Kristina Shevory.

The full story can be found at the following link:

Small Stores Find Ways to Drum Up Traffic

The owner of a futon store outside San Francisco started running comedy shows.
Small businesses are always searching for ways to differentiate themselves. But with fewer people out buying, some of the businesses are doing whatever they think will draw in customers.
“This is a buyer’s strike,” said Eric G. Flamholtz, a professor emeritus of management at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. “People are holding back and not spending any money. So you have to give them a reason to come.”
Holding special events also can be far less expensive than regular advertising. And in a slowing economy, advertising and marketing budgets typically get trimmed. A recent National Small Business Association survey of its members found that 49 percent planned to start new advertising or marketing this year, down from 54 percent in 2007.

“They’re trying to market with little or no extra money,” said Molly Brogan, the association’s vice president of public affairs. “People are doing more on the Internet, any free thing they can.”
Nor are the special events just for young businesses. Even well-established businesses, like Mary’s Futons in San Rafael, Calif., have been feeling the pinch. Fewer people are buying new futons, and more futons are being brought in for repairs. Mary Hughes, the owner, said she thought a comedy show would be the perfect thing to do because “everyone loves comedy and I wanted to meet women.” A theatrical producer was less than convinced.

“ ‘Lady, are you crazy?’ ” Lisa Geduldig, the producer of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy in San Francisco remembers telling Ms. Hughes. “ ‘I don’t do little futon stores; I do professional venues.’ ”
But after Ms. Hughes cornered her and begged her to do one show, she finally agreed. The first, “An Evening of Lie-Down Comedy,” was held in March and did so well, they added a second. When that one sold out, they added another. That, too, sold out. Proceeds from the tickets go back to the comedians and Ms. Geduldig. If more than 100 people attend, Ms. Hughes gets a small percentage of the ticket sales.

“I get the publicity and that’s worth more than the money,” Ms. Hughes said, though in a later interview she said she was taking over management of the shows.
One recent Sunday night, a hundred people milled around the futon store, nibbling on cake and catching up on gossip. A window display had been turned into a stage, 30 futons were turned to face it and salespeople were doing sound checks. Raffle tickets for a water fountain and beanbag chair were being sold at the door and a line of people snaked away from a sales counter doing service as a concession stand.

Ms. Geduldig threaded through the crowd to the stage, clambered on top and welcomed everyone to the show. “This is a futon shop,” she said. “Feel free to fall asleep.”
Everyone laughed. The show had begun.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Futon Price Rises for Jan 2009

Please note that many of the sources of raw materials have risen over the past few months. This factor, combined with the lower value of the pound against the dollar will lead to price rises on many futon products in the new year.
Most types of futon frames are supplied from Malaysia, Vietnam and China where these goods are traded in US Dollars. I'm sure many people are aware that the pound has fallen by around 25%+ against the dollar. This situation will, without doubt, lead to price rises in January, so take advantage of this situation and buy your futon now!

Compact Sofabeds from The Futon Shop Ltd

The latest offerings from the Futon Shop Ltd can be found at our new website here we offer a selection of compact sofabeds, all featuring easy-action opening and closing and compact dimensions, perfect for spare rooms, home offices and flats. Just log-on to check out the full details, or call us on 01752 662030.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Global Price Rises in Raw Materials

Well, it looks like the 'good times' that we, the general public, have enjoyed are coming to an end! We've all had the benefit of inexpensive products being imported from abroad, particularly China and other parts of Asia, over the last few years, this is even relevant in the futon market.
But I'm sure you're all aware of the situation regarding the availability of raw materials now that increased demand is coming from China and India to create their new and improving infrastructures. This is causing continuous rises in the costs for the raw materials needed for constructing futon frames and even futon mattresses.
Although this will see prices rise in the market for futon products we are committed to maintaining the quality of our products; our philosophy continues to be that we will offer futons designed to offer a combination of comfort and value for many years to come. So be assured that the products you buy from The Futon Blog members will not have had 'thier cloth cut' to meet a price point!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Futons by Mail Order??

We are often getting asked about sending futons mail order; how well they travel and if they are easy to assemble. Thinking about the following points may help you out.......
  1. Quoted Assembly times - does the website you are looking at quote assemble times for their products? We reckon that an average hardwood framed product will take around 1 to 2 hours depending on its complexity, and an average pine framed futon can be assembled in 15 to 60 mins depending on it's state of 'flat-pack'.
  2. How does the supplier package its products? - check if the site you are buying from packs its futon mattresses in TWO strong polythene bags, if it's just one then there is a higher risk of damage. Also check for 'double-wall' card being used on the frame boxes.
  3. Check how the supplier delivers to you - most web sites send out products using parcel carriers such as NightFreight or City Link. Parcel carriers will not give a delivery time so please ensure that you arrange a date with your supplier when someone is present at home. It's also worth checking to see if your futon is being dispatched by the company you are buying it from (the website) or if they are dispatching via a factory. If it's travelling direct from the company you are buying it from they may have better tracking information regarding your delivery.
  4. Check your goods on arrival - It's difficult to open every box and bag and check in detail as the delivery company will not want to wait whilst you do this, but just give the boxes a quick look over and mark clearly on the delivery drivers paperwork if there is any obvious damage, then inform your supplier as soon as possible. It's also a good idea to check out your suppliers terms and conditions to ensure that they handle customer services in a responsible way.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Futons as an everyday bed?

One of the most common questions I get asked is; "Can I use a futon as a bed everyday?". Well, I guess the answer needs some explaining........
As is so often the case this depends on the type of futon that you are intending to purchase, in particular what combination of base and futon mattress you are looking at.
Firstly....the futon mattress. If you are intending to use your futon as a bed and a sofa then you need to get a combination of comfort for sitting / sleeping, flexibility for folding into a seat and rigidity to ensure the futon mattress holds itself up when in a seat position. With this in mind I would always look for a futon mattress with a good quality 'core', such as foam or rebound polyester. The core should then be surrounded by layers of woolfelt and cotton. Generally an 8-layer futon mattress, weighing upwards of 20kg would make a good purchase whilst providing a firm, but supportive, sleep. These types of futon mattresses are available from all the independant shops who are Futon Blog members, as well as other outlets on the web.
If you don't need to fold your futon mattress, as it will remain flat on a bed frame, then you could also look at traditional 8-layer cotton / felt futons and the new 'FutoLatex' which contains a mix of cotton and 'cotton-rich' felt around a core of Natural Latex. These type of futon mattresses provide a slightly softer and supportive sleep, making perfect futon mattresses for an everyday bed. Generally these type of futons are only available from specialist stores.
Secondly...consider the type of base you require. In my experience the best bases for a permenant bed, if you are intending to leave your futon in a 'bed' position, are good quality pine bases, such as the Auckland or Osumi. They are simple, robust and will stand the test of time very well, we frequently replace futon mattresses for people who have had their bases for upwards of 10 years! If you want to move your futon from a bed to a sofa then go for a 3-seater style base, they are easy to convert. One or two retailers even stock 3 seater bases that use a 'sprung' beech-slat system for the seating / sleeping platform, providing extra comfort for regular use.
Anyway I could go on post any questions you may have. Bye for now.....

Follow this link to Futon World for a great selection of good quality Futon Beds and everyday use Futon Mattresses:
Futon Beds for Everyday Use

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Pine 'A' Frame Futons

There are many different types of Pine futon frames on the market. Here at 'The Futon Blog' our message is.......check the quality!!
A pine futon frame should be strong and designed to last many years, most of our members would look for quality aspects in their frames such as the dimensions of the timber used. Slats should be around 7.5cm+ wide and 1.5cm+ thick and made from a good quality pine such as redwood pines. The underails (this is the part that supports the frame) should be of a similar dimension or look for thicker underails if the base is for everyday use as a bed.
The other factor to consider is how the futon base sits when open as a bed. Many 'A' frames are designed with small front 'feet' in order to provide a comfortable sitting angle when the frame is in a seat position, however when opened as a bed this means that one end of the frame will be slightly raised, not really a problem for visiting guests, but worth considering if it's your main bed. The serious futon user should check out bases featuring integral feet on all the underails (such as Futon World's Acer or Osumi). This ensures that when the base is open in a bed position it forms a slightly raised, level, sleeping area, perfect for everyday bed use.
If you need any further advice on selecting a frame post you questions or comments here, and we will offer advice.

Friday, 20 June 2008

New FutoLatex Mattress

New to Futon World is the FutoLatex mattress........
This a new mattress to us and we believe it will become a firm favourite. Well made with a good quality interior, this a mattress which many will aspire to. Our FutoLatex Mattress is beautifully manufactured using our cotton-rich fillings, cotton wadding and a central core of natural latex foam providing a comfortable, durable and supportive futon mattress for use on a futon base or 'slatted' bed base, providing a regular use futon mattress
Natural Latex is farmed from Rubber Trees (Havea Brasilliensis). The liquid latex is converted into foam latex by introducing air and heat creating a foam structure ventilated by airholes. Latex is naturally supportive and performs well in regaining its form and shape, it is also hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, dust mite resistant and breathable, keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer.

Does anyone else have experience of using Natural Latex Futon Mattresses...please share your experience with us...