Luxury bedmaker: Vispring
You might associate the River Tamar with all sorts of things— Cotehele, otters or the Endsleigh estate, for instance—but perhaps not gilded bed springs. The million or so springs made each year at Vispring’s factory on the outskirts of Ernesettle in Devon are steel but one customer asked for his to be gilded. others have made similarly unusual requests such as the American (and very large) basketball player who asked for a mattress that was 100in square.
Jim Gerety, the new managing director, who has been with the company for five years, points out that this is one of the advantages of any business that makes almost everything by hand; Vispring’s craftsmen can create virtually any shape, size and specification of bed a customer asks for. ‘It means that there are no shortcuts,’ he says. ‘The only thing we make with a machine are the springs. Everything else—the nesting of the springs, the side stitching, the teasing of the fillings and the tufting—is done by the team of 150 staff at the factory.
Vispring started life in London in 1901 and invented the first pocket spring, which is made by wrapping each one in a calico pocket, allowing them to move independently and be more accomodating. Since then, both the techniques and the materials have hardly changed. ‘We continue to use natural materials for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they offer greater comfort,’ explains Mr Gerety. unbleached calico is used for the pockets and, depending on the specification, the filling is a combination of British wool, cashmere, alpaca and bamboo. And the company’s name? ‘oh, that’s a very clever reference to the fact that our springs have six coils.’ Giles Kime (01752 366311; www.vispring.com)