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Vystar partners with firm to enter bedding market

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Vystar President and CEO William Doyle
Photo by RPN photo by Mike McNulty Vystar President and CEO William Doyle explains the firm's operations during a meeting a few years ago at Vystar's headquarters in Duluth, Ga., located near Atlanta. Vy¬star's latest move will take it into the mattress, pillow and seating foam markets.

DULUTH, Ga.—Vystar Corp. and its patented Vytex Natural Rubber Latex are moving into the mattress, pillow and seating foam market.

Recently formed Nature's Home Solutions and Vystar have entered into an exclusive agreement under which NHS will have the U.S. distribution rights to Vytex NRL foam for the furnishings, home goods and other markets and non-exclusive rights to Vytex threads for the U.S. apparel industry.

NHS, a Boston-based distribution company, was launched by Steve Rotman, CEO and president of Rotman's Furniture, a large independent furniture retailer also located in Boston, and Tom Eisenberg, CEO of consulting firm Global Bedding Connections and a former vice president of foam mattress and pillow manufacturer Latex International, to bring to market products that use eco friendly materials and components.

NHS' first step into the home furnishing market will be bedding products, principally mattresses and pillows, along with seating foam, Rotman and Eisenberg said.

That's where Vytex comes into play.

Key supplier

Tom Eisenberg, CEO of Global Bedding Connections
Tom Eisenberg, CEO of consulting firm Global Bedding Connections and a former vice president of foam mattress and pillow manufacturer Latex International.

Vytex is an all-natural raw material whose patented manufacturing processes remove non-rubber particles and allergen-causing latex proteins to create a natural rubber latex that can be transformed into foam that Vystar said is whiter, lighter weight and free of off-gassing common among petrochemical rubber foam products.

Vytex foam for the bedding and seating markets will be produced at Islatex, a division of Grupo-AgroIndustrial Occidente—which makes Vytex NRL through subsidiary PICA, according to William Doyle, president and CEO of Duluth-headquartered Vy-star. The production companies are based in Guatemala.

Vystar has worked with PICA for almost three years, he said. “It ships directly to manufacturers, and we have also launched a plan to store Vytex cores in the U.S. in bonded warehouses.”

Vystar has done extensive market research using Vytex pillows, Doyle said. “My first focus was on my shareholders as I passed the pillows out to attendees of a shareholder meeting and made them available to others via shipment.

“I looked at my shareholders as being my biggest critics as they had a strong stake in making a great pillow. I also broadened it to anyone with whom I made a Vystar presentation.”

Response to his poll, he said, was overwhelmingly positive, “so we started to look at mattress toppers and mattresses and then became associated with the Rotmans.”

Current plans call for various versions of the mattresses to be in retail facilities by mid-February “with greater expansion to follow quickly, including online transactions for pillows, mattress toppers and mattresses themselves,” Doyle said.

Vystar's Vytex is the perfect material for the mattresses, pillows and seating foam, claimed Rotman, a successful and long-time veteran of the furniture sector.

“The furnishings industry has been seeking all-natural, biodegradable, breathable, comfortable mattress, pillow and seating foam for decades, and we're finally able to deliver it with Vytex NRL,” he said.

Big market

Foam products “are one of the major applications for natural rubber latex, representing an estimated 7 percent of global NRL consumption,” said Doyle, who has been involved with Vystar since 2004.

He came on board to launch sales and begin marketing Vytex, “but the product needed some tweaking and then scale up, which we did in 2008.”

Formed in 2000 by Travis Honeycutt, the developer of Vytex, the firm began accepting private investments in the fall of 2004, which Doyle said “is the true launch of Vystar Corp.”

He said the company is excited about the prospect that Vytex NRL-based foam will be part of the estimated $6.8 billion U.S. mattress and pillow market and eventually could be a significant part of the finished products sector.

Rotman and Eisenberg have spent decades in the furnishings and materials businesses, and each said they recognize there are a variety of uses for Vytex foam.

Eisenberg, who will oversee NHS' business operations and strategy, said that manufacturers in numerous industries already have expressed an interest in Vytex foam.

“We believe it offers almost unlimited opportunities for Nature's Home Solutions, and Vystar and could capture a significant share of the foam market,” he said.

Rotman said he formed NHS with an eye on the mattress and pillow industry. “As a retailer, we recognize our customers want natural, sustainable, allergy friendly furnishings for their homes that are healthy, environmentally responsible and safe.”

It's hard to find those products, he said. “So we created Nature's Home Solutions with the mission to seek out” materials such as Vytex and create better bedding and other products.

Rotman said Eisenberg is ideally suited to lead NHS because his position will draw upon posts he's held in sales, marketing, operations, developing international and domestic distribution channels and direct-to-retail strategies at Latex International.”

Vystar also is working with a number of manufacturers to produce the fully biodegradable material on such products as adhesives, balloons, surgical and examination gloves and medical devices, according to Doyle.

However, he said, Vytex would fit in numerous other applications, including footwear, apparel, athletic equipment, and flooring and carpeting.

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