Reaching outside the bedding industry to bolster its in-house design team, independent mattress manufacturer Blue Bell Mattress has named veteran apparel and Textile Executive Jill Kotowitz to the new position of Director of product development. For the past 14 years, Kotowitz has helped develop denim lines for leading department stores Nordstrom, Macy’s and Belk, as well as specialty apparel retailers including Francesca’s and Rue 21.

In her new position, Kotowitz is responsible for the design and development of all Blue Bell brands, including its Natura World natural bedding line that features latex and natural fibres. She will also work closely with Blue Bell’s retail partners in creating products, officials said. During her 14-year tenure with Jade Marketing Group, a denim manufacturer that produces a number of private label and consumer brands, Kotowitz held a number of product development and sales posts, including her most recent position as Director of private-label and branded product development and sales. Prior to that, she spent three years as a product development associate at decorative fabrics producer Weathervane.

“Jill’s deep understanding of branding and design will immediately strengthen our product development capabilities as we grow our business,” said Derek Ritzel, President and CEO of Blue Bell Mattress. “For this new position, we thought it was important to look outside the bedding industry to get a fresh eye for design. Jill has a skill in design and interpreting it for this space. Her extensive experience with both consumer and private label brands made her the ideal candidate.” She reports to Rebecca Gray, Chief Sales Officer for Blue Bell.

“The competition in the mattress industry is intense – just like the denim business – but an effective product development program can be a win for the manufacturer, the retailer and the consumer,” Kotowitz said. “I’m excited about this opportunity with a growing independent manufacturer.” Blue Bell Mattress Co. is the largest US manufacturing partner of King Koil.