From Alphabeds to Abaca ......
After 15 years of working in the mattress industry, Rhiannon Rowley's concern about the chemicals in the fabrics and materials used to create mattresses, led to the development of Abaca. Rhiannon learnt her trade with Alphabeds, a company based in West Wales who manufactured pine and beech beds as well as a range of mattresses. The manufacturing facility for Alphabeds was based at Dolbantau Mill, Llanfihangel-ar-Arth, while the Alphabeds shop was on Tottenham Court Road.
During Rhiannon's time at Alphabeds Ceri Rogers was employed to run the London shop, and they soon forged an excellent working partnership.
Ceri left the Alphabeds showroom in 2002, and when Rhiannon left Alphabeds in 2004 to create Abaca it was a natural decision to ask Ceri to become a fellow director.
Abaca was a response to the Alphabeds customers whom Rhiannon and Ceri had spoken to over the years. It was clear that there was a demand for a product made with organic materials which addressed both lifestyle and health issues. The company produces organic mattresses using the purest organic Welsh wool and organic fabrics. Unlike other mattresses which use synthetic fabrics, Abaca mattresses are made of natural materials without the need for chemicals. No pesticides are used in the production of the cotton materials used. Each organic mattress is carefully hand stitched and finished. A range of beautiful oak beds complements the mattress range.
Peace of Mind
Buying a new mattress ought to be a pleasurable experience! As MD of Abaca I want you to be a satisfied and contented customer, so I make you the following pledges.
When you order from us we will spend as much time as you need discussing your prospective purchase. We have twenty years experience of manufacturing mattresses that are hand built for individual customers so we know exactly how each of the different materials we use behaves. When we put our experience together with your needs, you end up with exactly what's best for you!
The person that takes your order will have responsibility for it all through the production and delivery process. You will be able to ask for that person by name.
If there is any extra information you need after the mattress has been delivered, the same person will deal with any questions you may have.
We have absolute confidence in our product and will give you great customer care. Some retailers offer 'free' thirty day, trials, but we offer you on- going customer care for the whole life of the mattress. Be smart, buy organic!
Abaca is one of the first companies in the UK to offer a genuine organic bedding range.
The organic bedding products used by Abaca are produced using materials created by traditional farming methods, avoiding the use of highly toxic fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. These production methods not only offer great benefits to the farmers and the environment, but increasingly enable you to choose products which will be safer for you and your family.
More and more people are choosing to avoid the risk of chemical contamination of their homes and bodies, and Abaca products now let you decide to make your bedrooms a much more natural environment. The average human spends about one third of their life in bed, so Abaca bedding products can significantly reduce your exposure to these potentially damaging substances.
People who know the value of handmade, quality pieces buy from Abaca
People who are sensitive to toxins in the environment choose
Abaca organic mattresses
Discerning hoteliers choose Abaca's chemical free mattresses to
meet their customers' demands for natural luxury
Parents who are looking for natural products for their children's
bedrooms buy Abaca
People who care about the environment and want to tread lightly
choose Abaca's organic mattresses because the whole cycle from
manufacture to disposal is environmentally friendly.
how to choose the mattress that's right for you
Choosing the right mattress is an important part of ensuring that you get a good night's sleep.
Abaca mattresses are handmade to the highest standard and are thoroughly checked before they leave our workshop. The best way of deciding which mattress you want to buy is to think carefully about what sort of bed you are sleeping on now, and what has prompted you to change.
A pocket spring mattress contains lots of small springs which are individually pocketed. Unlike a traditional wire coil spring (called a Bonnell unit) pocket springs are not attached to each other and therefore there is far less movement in the mattress. It feels denser and more supportive.
Abaca sells two types of pocket unit, called 'firm' and 'standard'.
A firm mattress is best if you and/or your partner are on the heavy side, likewise, choose a standard if you are fairly light.
Latex mattresses are metal free.
Our latex is an entirely natural product which comes from the rubber tree and
the 15cm deep pad within your mattress is soft yet resilient. Your body is cushioned gently by the mattress which allows the pressure points of shoulder, back and hip to 'give' while supporting the rest of your body. Sleeping on latex is a completely different experience to sleeping on any kind of sprung mattress. There is absolutely none of the movement that one experiences with springs, all in all it's a very comfortable experience indeed!
We have 20 years worth of experience in helping people choose the right mattress - don't hesitate to contact us for advice.
useful facts and frequent questions
If the answer you require is not found on this page
please use our enquiry form to ask your question.
Q How do they pass the fire retardant tests without chemicals?
A Wool is a natural fire retardant. The upper layers of the mattress are pure organic Welsh wool and have no flammable synthetic fibres or chemicals.
Q What's the benefit of organic cotton for me?
A Durability and quality that only organic cotton can provide. Non-Organic textiles are compromised and weakened by the chemicals used in growing, processing and dyeing them; all these create an inferior product. You also avoiding lying on, breathing in and absorbing the chemical residues left in the mattress.
Q With all the wool, isn't it hot?
A Not at all; wool is an excellent temperature regulator. Draws moisture and excess heat away from the body in the summer. A really snug insulator in the winter.
Q How should I look after my organic mattress?
as often as you can, at least once a year. Protect your mattress with a washable protector or blanket. Hoover occasionally and air frequently.
Q What is Natural latex?
It is the sap from the Hevea tree; totally free from foams and petro-chemicals. A natural alternative to memory foam; its structure allows it to disperse heat, making it cooler and more comfortable to sleep on in the summer.
Q Are metal springs organic?
All metal is derived in some way from an ore that is mined from the earth; it doesn't get much more natural than that! It's also the deepest component within the mattress and isn't coated in any additional chemicals.
Wool is a wonderful fibre, for centuries we have worn it, walked on it and of course slept on it. Abaca has taken this most traditional of fibres and used modern manufacturing methods to create a range of wool fillings that mean that you, our customers, get the very best of old and new.
At Abaca we take great pride in the fact that we only use Welsh organic wool. We buy more organic wool from the Wool Board than anyone else in the UK, and with every year that goes by new facts emerge that confirm thatwool really is a ‘super fibre’.
Recent research has shown that wool is the natural choice for sleeping on or under. It allows your body to breathe in a way which synthetic products just can’t hope to replicate. It does this by letting your body regulate its temperature so that you get to a comfortable sleeping temperature more quickly, and you stay there for longer.
So how many fleeces does it take to make a mattress? Well, a cot mattress uses approximately seven fleeces; while a king size mattress uses around sixteen. Because organic wool is the last to be graded from each year’s clip, it is only offered for sale by the Wool Board during the spring months, and we have to make a decision each year about how many tons we are likely to need. This decision is based on what types of wool are being offered for sale, and this year we bought a mixture of Fine Radnor, Blackface, and Welsh Mountain. The reason we buy a mix of wools is that each of them has slightly different properties in terms of softness, durability and crimp. A natural crimp provides a spring-like effect giving your mattress an inbuilt ability to resist compression.
Wool is a truly sustainable fibre. It grows on the sheep for a year, then is sheared during the late spring, early summer months. It can be re-cycled, but is also bio-degradable. Due to its high water and nitrogen content, wool is difficult to ignite and is naturally flame retardant. It meets many of the international flammability regulations without the need for additional flame resistant chemical treatments. Wool does not melt, drip or spread noxious fumes, which are the cause of many fatalities in house fires. This property allows us to make mattresses which pass BS 7177 (Fire retardant legislation) without adding any chemicals.
Wool is a fibre of the past and a fibre for the future. In the 17thcentury a law was passed that required everyoneto be buried in a wool shroud, to support the wool industry. Today, the Prince of Wales’ Campaign for Wool, which we heartily support, is driving forward the idea that we can find lots of new uses for this most versatile of fibres.
Astronauts wear wool for comfort in the confines of their spacecraft. Wool protects mountain climbers and polar scientists, the sailors who navigate single-handed the oceans of the world and men who strike oil in Alaska. It is a fibre fit for heroes ....and for more ordinary folk. As modern as moonflight, and as ancient as the hills.
Seven Sisters Sheep Centre.
As early as 500 B.C. , Mayans and Aztecs used latex for waterproofing purposes and also heated it to make toy balls, so why is this material such a great component in a mattress? Derived from the rubber tree, latex is the most naturally durable cushioning material available. It is made from a milky substance that drips from the rubber tree when the bark is slashed. The process does no harm to the tree and latex is an entirely sustainable product. During the production process which converts the latex from a liquid, the resin is whipped and baked. The finished product is naturally biodegradable.
The main ingredient in the manufacture of a natural latex pad is simply natural rubber, at 90 to 95%. Some other ingredients are necessary for the vulcanisation, foaming and curing process, but these are largely ‘cooked out’ leaving a final product which is 99% natural rubber. To ensure that the product is as clean as possible it is washed a minimum of three times before the manufacturing process is complete.
Natural latex may cost more, but is non-toxic. When buying a latex mattress it is wise to follow the principle of ‘buyer beware’ as there are so called ‘organic’ latex mattresses being sold which are actually made from styrene butadiene which is an entirely man made material. The foam in these mattresses is grey as opposed to the cream of natural latex. If you are in any doubt, ask for a sample!
Natural latex is anti-microbial, dust-mite resistant, and hypo-allergenic. It dynamically conforms to you, providing excellent support. By gently conforming to your every contour, latex provides superior back support and outstanding pressure relief. Relieving pressure reduces the tossing and turning that interrupts sleep.
Abaca latex mattresses are certified as organic by the Soil Association. So that our customers are absolutely clear about what this means, we asked the Soil Association to provide us with a statement which reads as follows:
’The Soil Associationís organic textile standards require that organic fibres be used where possible. These fibres must be grown and processed to organic standards.
However it’s recognised that on occasion there is functional justification for the use of non-organic components (fibre and non-fibre). These can be considered as ‘accessories’ or ‘additional materials’ making up part of the main product. These non organic components meet strict criteria in terms of materials and chemical residues and must not exceed more than 5% of the overall fibre content in a product labelled as Organic.
In the case of latex, although there is limited supply of this from rubber trees which have been grown according to organic standards, to the best of our knowledge there is no latex available which has been processed according to organic standards. Therefore any latex used in an organic product, would be classed as an ‘accessory’ or ‘additional material’ and must meet the requirements above for non organic components’
Philip Skentelbery, Certification Manager - Processors, Soil Association Certification Limited,
Abaca Showrooms Now Open!
Abaca in London
Visiting us has just become a whole lot easier! Our new showroom in London, Abaca@Broadleaf, is situated at 715 Fulham Road. It is easily accessible from the Parsons Green tube station, and the showroom will have our whole range of beds and mattresses. If you're arriving by car there is short stay parking just outside.
Opening times 10-6 Monday to Saturday
For general information phone 01269 598491
715 Fulham Road, London, SW6 5UL
| Tel +44(0)1269 598491
(Parsons Green Tube) Google Map
There will always be someone in the shop who can show you the mattresses and take an order, however if you want a more in-depth conversation, our sales director, Ceri Rogers, will be available on the dates in the list below. Please contact us on 01269 598491 if you would like to make an appointment with Ceri.
Ceri will be in Abaca@Broadleaf, Fulham, on
Saturday 7th Dec (11-5pm)
Saturday 14th Dec (11-5pm)
Monday 16th Dec (10-5pm)
If you would like a private appointment on a Sunday or a bank holiday please contact us on 01269598491 or email@example.com
Abaca in Wales
Until 2012 our site in Wales was dedicated to manufacturing, but we have now taken on an adjacent building to house a brand new showroom. If you don’t like the idea of lying down in public to try mattresses this is the place to come! Abaca@Tycroes will be on appointment only basis so that you will have lots of help and guidance from our dedicated staff when you arrive, but then be left in peace and quiet to try the mattresses at your leisure.
For general information and to make an appointment phone 01269 598491
Ty Croes Business Park, Ammanford, Wales SA18 3RD
| Tel +44(0)1269 598491
(1 mile form Junction 49, M4) Google Map
Abaca stockists and Sleep before you buy
Try before you buy
Fronlas, 7 Thomas Street, Llandeilo,
Carmarthenshire SA19 6LB
| +44(0)1558 824733
The Miller of Mansfield
High Street, Goring on Thames, Reading RG8 9AW
Tel | 01491 872 829 | Fax | 01491 873 100
Crockleys Farm Bed and Breakfast
Tortworth, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, GL12 8HE
Tel | 01454 260303
Brynich Farm Cottages
Brynich Farmhouse, Brecon, Powys LD3 7SH
| Tel/Fax 01874 623050
Old Country House
Old Country Farm, Mathlon
| 01886 880 867
Broad Haven, Haverfordwest, Dyfed SA62 3NE
01437 781 221
Abaca waste management
In line with our organic ethos, we make great efforts to ensure that we have a zero tolerance attitude towards waste.
There are three different types of waste that are regularly produced here, manufacturing waste, office waste and general and kitchen waste.
Our manufacturing waste comprises of brown paper, cardboard, wool, fabric, polythene and paper. All these waste materials are either returned to the supplier for re–use or re–processing, e.g wool and cardboard tubes, or recycled via commercial companies, e.g. polythene, brown paper, cardboard and fabric.
Despite our best efforts, our office still produces waste. This is mostly paper, and we use a commercial confidential paper recycling bin for sensitive documents.
General and kitchen waste is recycled using bins for collection of tins, plastic, magazines and newspapers.
Though we make around 350 mattresses a month, the total waste that leaves here in black plastic bags is just two small bags a week.
Since our products are wholly recyclable or biodegradable, we felt it was important to try and ensure that our packaging was also. The cardboard boxes which our mattresses are delivered in are made with 80% recycled material while the other 20% comes from sustainable sources. Both the plastic bag which protects the mattress and the cardboard box are fully recyclable.
We care about our customers. We care about the environment. We care about the community in which we work. We care about how we do business.
But it's not enough to be organic or ethical; people need to trust that you are genuinely 'walking your talk'. So it made perfect sense for us to become a Founder Member of SEE What You Are Buying Into. The SEE scheme really lets customers know who we are, what we do and why we do it. It enables everyone to see all the behind-the-scenes work: the backroom stuff that we put so much effort into but that they haven't had access to until now. While our main focus is making organic mattresses we are also campaigners. We think that every business should be open and honest and believe the SEE scheme will make a real difference in raising people’s expectations in regards business transparency. We want to be a part of building a world we are proud to pass on to future generations.