If there’s one person who has seen Cuddledown evolve and grow over the years, it’s Kate Jackson. Manager of the seamstress department, Kate has been with Cuddledown for 34 years, and has seen the company grow from a small family run business selling comforters out of a garage, to the national retailer of down comforters, pillows, luxury bedding and sleepwear we are today.
Check out our interview below!
Describe your current role at Cuddledown. What do you enjoy most about your position? What makes you the most proud?
My current role at Cuddledown is the result of having done in some capacity many of the basic functions in the early years that drives Cuddledown. I currently manage the Seamstress Department which constructs custom orders, product samples for Product Development and materializing ideas for new products. I give sewing lessons for manufacturing employees to stitch the closures for pillows and comforters.
I have helped on the production floor stitching closures and smoothing and bagging products. I manage the Employee Store which is the outlet for returns and a benefit for employees to be able to try many of the Cuddledown products. I enjoy the diversity.
How long have you been working with Cuddledown? What sort of changes have you seen over the years in regards to our manufacturing process?
It will be 34 years in September that I started working at Cuddledown. Cuddledown manufacturing of comforters and pillows began on a bag machine (an insulation disbursing bin with a scale to hang the bag of down) in the upstairs room of a garage in Yarmouth, Maine.
The product closures were stitched on a home sewing machine, taken outside to shake off any down, laid on the carpeted area on the floor for smoothing and packaging.
From there production moved to a warehouse just down the road where the same machine was used for filling, but there was a large table for smoothing and packaging.
The next move was to Portland, Maine, and a Goose Neck machine for filling comforters and pillows was added; then an ABM quilting machines to stitch the squares of the comforters.
The last few years has seen the installation of down fed silos that feed a 2 tube filling station for pillows and a 6 tube filling station for comforters. This had allowed the addition of more fabric choices for ticking’s and increased the capacity and efficiency of production of down products.
How have you seen Cuddledown as a company evolve and grow over the years?
Cuddledown has had some changes over the years, but the family unity of the employees supporting each other and working together kept the business moving forward and profiting. The company effort paid off and the mailing list grew, and the product line was new and enticing. People were glad to come to work because they knew that they were making a difference.
I know you were instrumental with the donation to Partners for World Health. Can you talk a bit about your involvement with that organization? What did that mean to you?
Cuddledown receives request for donations for various needs. We have donated items to families that have lost homes to fire, to shelters, and organizations that work with communities.
We have donated seersucker bedskirts to Partners for World Health (non-profit that donates medical supplies and other related goods to countries in need around the world) that have been turned into uniforms (dresses for the girls and shorts for the boys) for a school in Uganda.
Our latest donation of flannel sheets and blankets to PFWH will be made into baby blankets for the birthing kits they are putting together for distribution. It warms my heart to know that lives will be made better and Cuddledown is part of the chain that makes that happen.
Do you have any other special memories helping customers with a specific order?
We had a very active custom order business, and it was always fun to fulfill requests ranging from a matching canopy for a bed to go with new bedding, to a custom sheet to fit a heart shaped mattress, or a pet bed cover to coordinate with customer’s new bedding. We often get thank you notes for the quality of the work and sometimes pictures of how the product looked on their beds.
What can customers expect from a Cuddledown pillow/comforter that is different from other store bought brands?
The high quality of the ticking and down used to make our product.
Any recommendations for someone trying out a Cuddledown pillow/comforter for the first time?
Cuddledown offers a variety of pillows and sometimes it can be confusing when trying to make a selection. Look at the pillow you are using and ask yourself what you like and what you don’t like – is it too soft, too firm – and narrow down your search to those needs.
Do you have a particular favorite fill pillow/comforter and why?
I like the Batiste blanket weight comforter for Spring and Summer because it is so lightweight and airy. It is like sleeping under a cloud.
What keeps you motivated at Cuddledown after all these years?
It doesn’t matter what your job is, what matters is that you do that job to the best of your ability and that you come to work with a smile on your face. You never know who you will influence on any given day and you want that influence to be a positive one.