One of Naples’ newer residents, Mary Pat Wallace, is the founder of The Luxury Bed Collection. With locations in Chicago, Dallas, and now Naples, Wallace is parlaying her background in design and manufacturing into running a business dedicated to craftsmanship and finding clients their perfect custom mattress.
Wallace was one of those kids who’d lock her door and rearrange her entire room. When she was in high school, she hopped on a train from her suburban hometown to work for a designer in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. After graduating from college with an economics degree, she went to design school and landed a job in an Italian showroom. “That’s where I learned a lot about manufacturing—kitchens, baths, lighting, upholstery, you name it,” she says.
Once she returned stateside, she impressed Holly Hunt, a respected Chicago-based designer. “I traveled with her and got to see the best of the best quality and finishes—companies with serious family legacies,” recalls Wallace.
Ready to branch out on her own after six years of Hunt’s tutelage, Wallace had a “rep group in Chicago for 10 years and sold that business because my kids were little.” That’s when a friend showed her a mammoth Hästens mattress catalogue. “It was thrown on our breakfast table during vacation. I was fascinated by the 389 pages about materials, the family, the heritage.”
Before she knew it, she was booking another trip—this time to Sweden to look at those mat- tresses for herself. “For me, a lack of sleep is worse than a bad hangover,” she explains. “When you don’t sleep well and you have to perform the next day, it’s a disaster.”
She turned her intrigue into a passion and opened the first Hästens store in North America in Chicago in January 2005. A second store followed in Winnetka, Illinois, in 2006. In 2009, in order to diversify and survive the financial crisis, she added more top-tier mattress manufacturers and complementary products and rebranded her stores as Chicago Luxury Beds. Now, after more than 15 years in the business, Wallace considers herself a sleep educator. She knows this past year was a challenge for many people, and some used it as a wake- up call to focus on their health and wellness, including getting a good night’s rest.