Local and organic -- it's a movement that began with food. Next, consumers were reconsidering the products they slathered on their skin. Now, shoppers are realizing they spend one-third of their lives in bed, and many are choosing to sleep chemical-free.
"Sleep is fleeting for most Americans," said Brandy Alvis, owner of Tucked In, a natural mattress store in Old Town Auburn. "So many people are living with sickness (and) disease as a result of poor sleep."
All mattresses must pass a flame-retardant test, Alvis said, which means they must withstand flame for 22 seconds.
In order to pass this test, conventionally made mattresses (even some children's bedding and pajamas) are soaked in chemicals. These chemicals, studies have shown, then leach into the skin, and are linked to health issues such as lower IQ, advanced puberty, cancer and memory loss.
Organic mattresses must pass the same test, but their organic wool and rubber make them naturally flame retardant.
Alvis is so passionate about the importance of a chemical-free, comfortable sleep, that the theme of her retail store is "bedroom sanctuary." Here, a connoisseur of slumber may find everything she needs for an all-natural -- and mostly local -- boudoir, from the laundry detergent for washing the natural bedding to the organic tea, local beeswax-based body lotions and the dreamy essential oils scenting the air.
Even the art on the walls is created by local artist, Dana Ross.
Plus, Alvis knows that purchasing a mattress is a big commitment, so she asks customers to make a private appointment, wear comfortable clothing, bring a book or an iPad and plan to take a nap. She serves them wine or tea and takes a walk while they ponder and perhaps nod off.
"You don't know until you know," she said of finding the perfect mattress match.
If a cat nap isn't enough time to decide, she suggests that customers try spending a full night on the mattress of their choice at Park Victorian Bed and Breakfast in Auburn. If they decide to purchase the mattress, Alvis deducts the cost of the sleepover.
Still, she knows that not everyone is able to afford an organic mattress. She recommends shoppers start with an organic pillow. She'll even fit them with the perfect pillow.
"At least rest your face against something natural," she said.
This idea seems to be as contagious as a yawn, as Alvis sold 240 pillows to Auburn customers last month. But the native Auburnite isn't stopping with her hometown.
Her dream? To own five Tucked In stores between the Bay Area and Tahoe.
"Local, organic products are better for the planet," she said.