Graeme & Craig Turner
For service to Manufacturing
Brothers Graeme and Craig are the third generation of Turners to run Sleepyhead, a family business that started in a tin shed and has become one of NZ’s most trusted brands. Sleepyhead was born in 1935, when Arthur Mudd began a business making kapok (natural seed fibre) mattresses in a small factory shed in Auckland. He was joined by Graeme and Craig’s grandfather Sidney Turner, an electrician, who took a half share after Mudd was unable to pay his bills.
Sidney saw the potential of the business, and later bought the remaining 50 per cent. It wasn’t long before he was joined by sons Roy and Bert. Over time Bert’s sons joined the business and to this day continue to lead the company through relentless passion and drive.
Graeme Turner joined Sleepyhead full-time shortly after he left school. He had worked part time in the factory since he was 8, when his first job was packing bed legs. Craig joined the firm in 1973 after an engineering apprenticeship and in 1979 they bought out their Uncle Roy's share.
When asked how Sleepyhead, and now SleepMaker and Dunlop Foams, have consistently led the market in quality and value for over 80 years, while so many other manufacturers have come and gone, the brothers firmly agree that one of the reasons is the continuity of a stable family business. The Turner family’s hands-on ownership through the generations has seen consistency of management and an accumulation of knowledge and expertise that is unrivalled.
“When Dad came back from the war, he got together with my uncle, who had been in a training camp. Graeme and I represent the third generation, and, in turn, we have the fourth generation heavily involved in the business – it’s part of our DNA. Over time, our employees have brought their own kids to work at Sleepyhead; it’s all part of our philosophy of fostering a familial culture in the workplace”
Another constant has been their passion to produce the best beds – not just in New Zealand, but the world. Constant research and development has produced ‘world first’ innovations, such as Sensorzone, Sleepyhead’s proprietary premium technology, and endless world leading advances in manufacturing processes and machinery design. There have also been regular, substantial investments in the latest production technology. The Evocell Foam plant, the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, produces Dreamfoam, which is superior in feel, comfort and consistency while being much gentler on the environment than standard foam. The brothers are not only committed to manufacturing excellence. They also understand the fundamentals of building a highly trusted and well-known brand and continue to ensure investment in the company’s brands is foremost.
Significant investments in Australia have led Graeme and Craig to run a trans-Tasman empire that has more recently expanded beyond Australasia and in to China where the Sleepyhead business has reversed global trends and exports New Zealand and Australian made product.
When Craig joined the firm, it had just 50 staff. Now the group employs over 1200 people across Australasia, with many long serving and committed employees, some of whom have been with Sleepyhead for 40 years. The long serving dedication of so many is testament to the strong leadership of the brothers.
Today directors Graeme and Craig are regularly on the factory floor monitoring, perfecting and improving the way things are done. Their commitment to local production ensures full control over the quality of manufacture and the materials used – which must be of the highest grade to meet their stringent quality standards.
It is Graeme and Craig’s endless drive and unequalled high standards that have resulted in them being responsible for the sleep of the majority of Kiwis who sleep on a Sleepyhead bed – a legacy that Bert, Roy and Sidney would be proud of.