Seeing as how humans spend up to one-third of their entire lives sleeping, investing more time and thought into making your bed a comfy palace is a logical effort. The easiest place you can start is with sheets—though much of the selection currently available is typically pretty stale, littered with misleading Egyptian cotton thread counts or names of fashion designers now dabbling in homewares. These labels don't tell much about the quality of the sheets, but they do give good reason for companies to mark up the prices.
Boll & Branch is a new company that's breaking a lot of the rules in the bedding industry. Founded by a husband and wife duo, Scott and Missy Tannen, the Chatham, NJ-based company offers sheets made from GOTS-certified organic cotton grown in India. The cotton is hand-planted using GMO-free seeds, farmed without the use of pesticides and picked by hand. The Tannens pay Fair Trade-established prices for the cotton, which means farmers receive 15% to 20% higher pay.
The same goes for the mill factories that Boll & Branch works with: the conditions are also Fair Trade certified, the adult—never child—workers receive fair wages and even medical insurance for all members of their families, and they work eight-hour days. To further their dedication to ethical and above-standard working conditions, the company donates a portion of every sale to the non-profit Not For Sale, which aims to eradicate human trafficking—forced labor is a sad but common problem in the global textile industry.
By only selling sheets directly from their website, the middleman is cut out, meaning customers can purchase high-quality sheets for much less. In fact, the Tannens are completely transparent about their pricing margins of around 60% (they break it down cent by cent in this Wall Street Journal graphic), which can't be said for by some of the most prominent "ethical" companies out there.
On the topic of quality, the sheets are extremely soft; transforming the bed into a cocoon—you just might wake up in the morning finding yourself wrapped around the sheets, instead of your comforter.
Sheet sets (which include pillowcases) come in three different styles (hemmed, pleated or trimmed) and start at $200 for the twin size. Shop the collection from Boll & Branch online, and keep a lookout for duvet covers, bathroom towels and new colorways coming later this year. As another option, we also recommend checking out the Dublin, Ireland-based The Ethical Silk Company, which offers pillowcases and cot sheets ethically made from mulberry silk.
Images courtesy of Boll & Branch