Graeme and Craig Turner, New Zealand’s legendary bed making brothers will shortly be inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame. Founded by the Young Enterprise Trust in 1994, the honour recognises and celebrates past and present business leaders who have significantly contributed to the economic and social development of New Zealand. By capturing the history and story of New Zealand’s business and community leaders, the Trust hopes to encourage young entrepreneurs to aspire and emulate them.
The Turner brothers are owners and directors of The Comfort Group, the company behind iconic bed brand Sleepyhead. The business was started in 1935 by Arthur Mudd, and was subsequently bought by Graeme and Craig’s grandfather Sidney Turner in 1946.
Graeme began working in the plant during school holidays when he was just eight years old before leaving school at 16 to work fulltime for the bed manufacturer. He says, “My whole life has been about the quest to create the perfect bed for everybody, no matter their shape or size. This continues to evolve as we adopt new processes, and introduce new designs, innovations and technology. For me it’s about the endless pursuit of enabling the perfect night’s sleep for our consumers.”
Craig Turner, who joined the company in the early 70s running the financial and management aspects of the business comments, “For us, it’s always been about making quality products onshore. Across our operations in Australia and New Zealand, we employ over 1,200 people, many of who have worked for the company for over 40 years. We respect our staff, offer career development and provide rewards for those who are as passionate about bed making as we are.”
Although the company is now being run on a day-to-day basis by the fourth generation of Turners, Graeme and Craig are both still very much involved in the innovation and growth of the Sleepyhead brand. They can often be found on the plant floor or sharing their expertise and knowledge with colleagues throughout the business.
Commenting on their induction into the NZ Business Hall of Fame, Craig says, “We are honoured and humbled to be recognised by the Young Enterprise Trust, and we’re delighted to be joining such illustrious former Laureates. This is not just about Graeme and I, it’s about the collaborative team who all play a huge part in making Sleepyhead New Zealand’s number one bed maker. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years and we’re still as passionate about manufacturing the best beds as our forefathers were. The future of the industry is exciting and we’re looking forward to the new challenges ahead.”
Graeme and Craig Turner will collect their awards on July 27 at the NZ Business Hall of Fame Gala Dinner at Auckland’s Cordis hotel alongside other 2018 recipients including Bill Buckley, the world’s leading supplier of precision electromagnets, Dame Trelise Cooper renowned fashion designer and business entrepreneur Alan Gibbs.