Interviews

Shepherd’s Dream

Located in the Railroad Arts District of Ashland, Oregon, the Shepherd’s Dream showroom offers a full line of natural wool bedding and natural mattresses including the all-wool bed, organic latex mattresses, mattress toppers, comforters, pillows, a variety of organic sheeting and natural solid wood bedroom furniture. 

Shepherd’s Dream began as the work of Eliana Jantz in 1984. Inspired by the simple and elegant Japanese cotton futon, Eliana began to promote alternatives to the typical North American bed. Soon after, she was leading workshops and providing ‘do-it-yourself’ instructions on how to create simple, healthy futon beds. This eventually led to the creation of Jantz Design — where Eliana began selling hand-made cotton futons and wool bedding in Northern California. She was one of the pioneers of organic cotton and eco-friendly wool bedding in the USA.

Currently, Shepherd’s Dream is owned by Eliana’s daughter Sarah and their products are sold all around the USA and Canada, with its main headquarters and manufacturing located in Montague & Mount Shasta, CA. We visited the Ashland showroom to meet with Sarah Sunshine.

Sarah, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today to tell us all about Shepherd’s Dream. It’s now been over 3 years in Ashland with the Shepherd’s Dream showroom. How is it going?

Excellent! We are so grateful to be a part of the Ashland community and to offer a line of eco-friendly bedroom essentials for folks looking for a natural sleep alternative. It has been wonderful to meet more and more Ashland locals as Shepherd’s Dream is being discovered.

We have been continuing to add new product to our showroom over the past few years with the addition of the Savvy Rest latex mattress and latex toppers, Oxygen Pillows, Urban Woods bed frames and more. We are also happy to begin showing the work of local artists during the First Friday Artwalk.

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Please tell us about all the great products you have to offer here at the showroom.

We are currently offering our original Shepherd’s Dream wool bed line which includes our 4″ Simplicity Wool Mattress and our 5″ Premium Wool Mattress, our Snuggle Mate and Travel Mate Wool Mattress toppers, three different weights of wool comforters, as well as 100% washable wool mattress protectors and a variety of wool pillows. Our wool bed is displayed on our locally-made solid fir bed frame with latex-padded slats and organic cotton covers. We are also offering a couple of organic latex mattresses and latex mattress toppers as well as the very unique layered felt bed from Heartfelt Collective. We sell a beautiful line of pure maple furniture and bed frames from Pacific Rim Woodworking out of Eugene, Oregon, and offer frames and bedroom furniture made of reclaimed wood by Urban Woods. We also offer a line of organic cotton sheets, blankets and towels made by Coyuchi. We have Icebreaker wool socks and can special order any Icebreaker wool clothing items requested by customers.

Often times when customers buy an organic or wool bed, they don’t have an opportunity to try it out. Can you talk a little bit about the opportunity we have in Ashland when buying from Shepherd’s Dream?

Yes, we are pleased to provide this opportunity to people who are looking for a new natural mattress to get to lay down on our selection of beds before ordering. For years, we have been doing about 95% of our business online, and shipping these mattresses and other bedding items to customers all over the country who don’t have the opportunity to try out the products before ordering. Luckily, we have had a great success rate with this, but it is certainly most ideal for people to try out their new bed before purchasing, since it is such a big investment and an essential part of life.

These mattresses are designed to last anywhere from 15 to 30 years, so it is a great idea to lay down on one, close your eyes and really feel it out before purchasing. We encourage customers to spend as much time as they feel needed at our showroom before ordering, and to come back several times before ordering if that is helpful in making the right decision.

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Sarah, since we last spoke you and your husband have had a new baby! What have been some of your favorite wool items to incorporate into your lives now that you are parents?

Yes, we have been blessed with a beautiful son and what a gift it has been!

We have a complete wool crib set up with the Pacific Rim maple crib, the wool-filled crib mattress, crib mattress protector, Coyuchi crib sheet and crib comforter with organic cotton cover. It is amazingly cozy. Our son sleeps in our wool bed with us mostly, but enjoys nap time in the wool baby crib… what a lucky guy!

We have also enjoyed adorning all of his swings, car seats, changing pads and play areas with wool. Our wool felts are perfect for this as they are washable, available in both white and gray, and can easily be cut to fit any size area. We also love Icebreaker’s wool leggings for underneath his other clothes during the cold months, and wool socks of course!  

Wool is definitely the best for little and big humans alike!

Can you tell us more about why natural bedding is best for children and babies?

Organic mattresses and bedding are ideal for children since they are so much more susceptible to illnesses. All of the mattresses and bedding that we offer are free from chemical additives including flame retardants. Many people don’t realize that all conventional mattresses are covered with harmful flame retardants and filled with petroleum-derived materials that are outgassing day and night. These chemicals lead to many health problems from allergies to cancers and everything in between. Wool is naturally flame resistant so our wool mattresses and bedding have passed all the required flame tests with flying colors without any chemicals added!

Besides this, wool also helps to calm the body and regulate temperature which helps babies and children to sleep more soundly through the night.

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Can you list some of the other health and sleep benefits of wool?

Wool is truly amazing. Some of the greatest benefits are:
-Relieves back pain, arthritis and pressure points
-Calms the body and lowers the heart rate for deeper sleep
-Naturally dust mite- and bed bug-resistant
-Breathable and a temperature regulator
-Biodegradable and healthy for our planet
-Free of all chemicals and flame retardants

Please share your company mission statement with us.

As cottage industry bed makers, we believe in a cooperative work environment that encourages the unique skills of each individual. With dedication to the highest quality craftsmanship, we create a pure, unique wool bed line while providing excellent customer service. As pioneers in the American natural mattress and bedding industry, we strive to demonstrate the use of proper materials, production techniques and lifestyle principles with commitment to sustainable industry practices. 

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Something that is very unique about Shepherd’s Dream is that all of your products are locally grown and locally made. Please tell us about this.

Yes, we are pleased to be producing all our products right here in the USA (Northern California to be exact). Though it is challenging to remain competitive with other natural bedding companies who are producing in Third World countries, we remain committed to keeping our production facilities local with our products being made by well treated, healthy people. Each product is truly made by hand with love.

Our raw materials also come primarily from the USA as well. Our beautiful Premium Eco Wool batting that fills all of our products comes from happy sheep who roam open, green pastures in Oregon, California, and Washington. Our other materials are also grown and produced in the USA, including our organic cotton fabric. We are doing our very best at keeping our business local and sustainable, which is a rare thing to find nowadays.

Will you tell us more about the care and attention that goes into creating all of the great Shepherd’s Dream products.

For me, one of the most important things about creating anything is the energy that goes into it, especially when it comes to where you sleep. Of course, most beds that are available in the country are made by machines and often in countries where work environments are less than inspiring or fair. On the contrary, all of our products are made by real people with love in comfortable work spaces. It is always my wish for each product that we produce to bring great comfort and sweet dreams to everyone who gets to experience them.

Part of ensuring this is to allow my employees enough time to produce items without feeling stressed or under pressure. What is most important to me is the quality of the product, not the quantity. I believe that the work environment that we create has a lot to do with how we feel when we work, so it is always my goal to keep my work environments clean, with plenty of natural light and living plants. We are also committed to keeping our work spaces free from perfumes and other strong scents since many of our customers have chemical sensitivities.

Obviously organic and natural beds can cost more simply due to the sheer amount of care and attention that has gone into creating them. What is the typical lifespan of your products and long-term benefits?

Our mattresses will last between 15 and 30 years depending upon how they are cared for. It is important to follow our care instructions to ensure this type of longevity, but these mattresses are designed to last a long time; our wool mattress is of heirloom quality.  

There is clearly a problem with the amount of synthetic and plastic products that are being produced today. There really isn’t room for all of the waste on our planet and the manufacturing of these synthetic materials are contributing to global warming. When purchasing products like these, you are supporting an industry that is sustainable and healthy for the planet and the people. And of course, your quality of sleep will be so great that your quality of life is due to be enhanced as well.

I hear Ashlanders have come to love your wool comforters.

Yes, the wool comforter is truly one of our most popular products. A great alternative to down, wool will keep you perfectly warm without becoming sweaty and clammy in your sleep. Our wool comforters are filled with our Premium Eco Wool batting and encased in a soft organic cotton fabric, and then tufted by hand to keep the wool in place. We offer a summer weight comforter, an all-seasons, and a winter-weight. The all-seasons is by far our most popular and tends to work great in most climates for most people. We have a wool comforter for everybody’s needs and can make custom sizes upon request as well.

Is it possible to sleep in a wool bed and with a wool comforter during the summer time?

Yes, people find it hard to believe, but wool will keep you cool and comfortable during the summertime and warm and cozy during the winter. Wool responds to your body’s unique temperature needs and keeps you comfortable no matter what season it is. This is one of those amazing qualities of wool that makes it so lovable!

Can you tell us about any specials offered for local customers?

Yes! We offer 15% off to our local customers just for being local! Come to our store to place your order and save. Also, you can place orders online and then pick up at our store to save on the shipping costs.

We also offer other specials periodically throughout the year that are available in store and online. Starting this November 25th, we will be offering 25% off on select mattresses and bedding through December 1st. Only a few items will be excluded, so this will be a great time to order! This is our way of giving thanks?.

Rumor has it you have opened up a store in Mount Shasta.

Yes, we are pleased to have a new location in the beautiful town of Mount Shasta. We have all our wool-filled bedding items displayed along with the wool bed, the Savvy Rest latex mattress and a variety of organic sheets, wood bed frames and bedroom furniture to see. Our showroom hours are somewhat limited at this time, but we are happy to set up appointments for any day and time. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm. Located on the corner of Ream and Siskiyou, our address is 101 Siskiyou Ave.

We are happy to have most of our wool bedding line and sheets available in stock so you can come by and start sleeping great right away!

You also host a very extensive website for online ordering.

Our website here, is a fully functional website with a shopping cart, so people from all over the country can order products day or night. You will find a tremendous amount of information on our website, including more details on the benefits of wool, our story, the Woolgatherer Carding Mill, and the materials we use.

Once you gain a customer you usually keep them for life. Will you share some recent testimonials with us?

Yes, the majority of our customers keep coming back for more products year and after year and telling their friends and family about us. We are so grateful! Here is a recent testimonial from a local customer:

We purchased a 3-inch bed topper, comforter, blanket and sheets from your Ashland store last Saturday. I was diagnosed with Lupus and RA in 2004 and had spent a lot of money buying various bedding, to help with fevers during the nights. I had not slept more than 3-6 hours for 11 years. The topper is amazing. It indeed helps with fluctuating body temperature and is so soft. The comforter allows me to sleep without tossing off the covers and then waking up to pull them back over me when I am so cold. No more ice packs and heating pads, and the best part is I have slept 7-8 hours straight since we purchased our items. I am finally dreaming again which means I am getting REM sleep. My husband will be purchasing pillows today at your store in Northern California. I am sharing this with friends and family. What an amazing product line. ~Rebekah & Geoff

Last but not least, do you have any last comments or thoughts to share with our readers?

Thank you for welcoming us so warmly into this sweet town. We feel truly honored to be here and we are overjoyed by the kind, loving customers we have had the honor of helping thus far. We hope that you will take the time to stop by our store and try out one or all of our beds. We do all that we can to create a calm and relaxing environment where you can kick off your shoes, lay back and close your eyes as you melt away into a comforting, organic bed. You deserve to sleep your natural best!


Learn More:
Shepherd’s Dream
Check out their website here
1-800-966-5540
Ashland Showroom:
629 A St. Ashland, Oregon 97520
541-708-5439
Store Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5:30pm

 

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Shields Bialasik

Hi, I am Shields. I am the creator or LocalsGuide. The mission or my company is to provide a positive media platform for my community which in turn makes it stronger and more resilient. I hope you will enjoy and feel inspired to start your own LocalsGuide in your town or community.

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