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Shire Beds: Springing into new markets

Shire Beds, based in Dewsbury, are specialists in the manufacture of beds, mattresses, headboards and pillows. Established in 1997, the company grew quickly and now employs 76 people, manufacturing a number of ranges under their own branding, which are sold to internet and high-street retailers. The company has won several awards and industry recognition. 

Company research demonstrated that UK demand for environmentally-friendly products had increased dramatically, and they identified a gap in the market for sustainable mattresses. This, along with a company ambition to become a market-leader in sustainability, led them to develop an innovative new mattress design which uses organic materials to produce a 99.5% biodegradable mattresses, the ‘Eco Core’ range.

In order to manufacture the new design, the company needed to invest in new equipment. A PAPI (Product and Process Innovation) grant helped with the purchase of a new border tacking machine, which enabled the use of natural and organic cotton and wool backings and stitching. The new machinery helped Shire Beds to create the new range of biodegradable mattresses, the ‘Eco Core’ collection. The range uses cotton, wool, latex and coconut husk in its design. This was a huge achievement for Shire Beds, and also attracted attention to the need for more eco products in the sector.

The PAPI grant allowed Shire Beds to begin production of their new range and also create two new, full time jobs within the business. The company continues to innovate and develop their business and aim to become a truly international brand in the coming years.

PAPI Programme Manager, Vicky Wren, said “This is a great project: an exciting new range that’s good news for the business and the environment!”

PAPI encourages innovation with 40% capital grants of up to £20k to support the creation of new products and services. PAPI can support SME businesses located in the York, North Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region. The project is now open for applications and businesses can quickly check their eligibility and apply on the website at or by calling the PAPI team on 01904 32 8076.

The PAPI project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, and delivered by the University of York.