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From Vietnam to the White House: Perseverance and business savvy lead to success

David Nguyen, CEO and founder of U.S. Bedding Inc.

David Nyugen is a former Inner City 100 award winner. To apply for the 2020 list, which will be publish in FORTUNE, link here

In 1981, when David Nyugen was 19, he found himself leaving Vietnam on a boat headed to Hong Kong, trying to make his way to America. 36 years later, David found himself making the mattress that lies in the Queen’s Bedroom of the White House. A great deal took place between these two milestones in David’s life. After leaving Vietnam, he created U.S. Bedding, a multi-million dollar bedding company headquartered in Fall River, Massachusetts which manufactures products for retail giants like Costco, universities such as Harvard, and yes, the President of the United States.

After David was admitted into the U.S., he began to work in dry cleaning, doing double shifts to support himself and his pregnant wife. David got a taste of entrepreneurship when he opened a laundry and dry cleaning business in Boston, but had to return to Vietnam in 1989 in order to care for his ailing mother who had been diagnosed with cancer. Despite her illness, she was still sleeping on a wooden floor and David was unable to find a mattress for her, leading him to investigate what went into making a mattress. Seeing an opportunity, David opened his first mattress factory in Vietnam in 1992, but quickly learned that the Vietnamese people were unable to afford them. He put this dream on hold for nearly a decade, and in 2001 sold his dry cleaning business to his employees and bought a factory in Canton, Massachusetts with the help of funds from friends and family.

Employees at U.S. Bedding’s Fall River factory

With the incorporation of U.S. Bedding, David took immediate notice of a market gap in the mattress industry and began to target mom and pop stores without large warehouses. Leveraging what he learned from owning the dry cleaning business, he made distribution easy for these smaller stores, building up a customer base and finding U.S. Bedding’s niche to grow in, and grow they did. By 2006, he had to move to a larger location in Fall River, allowing him to serve the larger businesses that he now calls loyal customers. The factory benefits the local economy, providing manufacturing jobs with health insurance and working with the local unemployment office to hire individuals who have trouble finding work. U.S. Bedding even hires formerly incarcerated individuals, as David says that he’s willing to take in and give a chance to anyone who is willing to learn. The company is now looking forward to opening a second factory specifically for the production of institutional bedding that will employ 200 people, and David thinks the industry is only going to grow further; he believes that in ten years all shopping will be done online, including mattress sales. For as much as he gives back to the community, he also sees his inner-city location as beneficial to him: he finds the expanded labor pool convenient, and also the regulations and permitting systems in the city to be less of a hindrance than in other areas.

David says that he hit the “made in the USA trend” at the right time, and has been rewarded. U.S. Bedding had revenues of $7.8 million in 2016, and earned the #18 spot on ICIC’s Inner City 100 List in 2017. Combining the work ethic of his immigrant background with the business skills of entrepreneurs, his efforts have made U.S. Bedding an inner city company to keep an eye on as they continue to grow and evolve.


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