The Future of Bedding is Female
Five woman-owned lifestyle brands have debuted luxury-for-less linen collections that cut out the middleman and sell directly to customers.
Published Dec 5, 2016 6:00 AM
A well-lived life begins in bed. From bedding and towels to sleep accessories like eye masks, candles, and robes, several new linen companies are making their mark on the industry and enhancing every aspect of your bedroom. The five women behind these brands saw a void in the home market, educated themselves on textile production, the supply chain of conventional sheets and sourcing to ensure quality and attainable pricing. Simply put, they wouldn’t accept the status quo and eschewed the traditional retail model in favor of reshaping the textile industry.
These five innovative brands, and the women behind them, have disrupted the bedding industry and created lifestyle brands that are transforming the way you catch those z’s.
Ariel Kaye, the founder of Venice Beach, California brand Parachute Home, was introduced to the luxuries of Italian bedding during a college trip to the Amalfi Coast and was immediately smitten with the sumptuous sheets. Fast forward to 2012, and Kaye was trying to replicate the sleep experience of her vacation but didn’t want to spend a fortune or settle for cheaper options covered with synthetics and chemicals. In other words, there was no middle market, and two years later, she solved that problem with Parachute. (The brand just opened its first store in Venice). “I found transparency to be missing from the linen category,” Kaye explains. “Thread count is mostly a marketing ploy. In fact, anything over 400 thread count is a result of manipulation of the fabric. What actually matters more than thread count is the caliber of the fabric.” Parachute uses the finest, Oeko-Tex certified (free of synthetics and harmful chemicals) Egyptian cotton (spun in Tuscany) and linens (crafted in Portugal) made without any harmful dyes or bleaches. “Wellness isn’t a trend to us,” the former advertising exec explains. “We spend one third of our life in bed so our sleep experience matters.”
From $40; parachutehome.com
Vicki Fulop, the founder of Brooklyn-based Brooklinen, started a linen company because she and her husband Rich were looking for something super simple: a place to buy beautiful and ridiculously comfortable sheets that didn’t cost a fortune. While shopping for new bedding as a young couple, they found that high-end, designer bedding was gorgeous but overpriced, while the options at big box stores were overwhelming and unreliable in terms of quality. “We began researching the bedding industry out of curiosity and found that it was very opaque and antiquated,” Fulop explains. “Retailers were selling high-end bedding at up to ten times markup, inflating thread counts, and operating on bloated supply chains that added to cost but not quality.” Neither Rich nor Vicki had a background in textiles or manufacturing, but they soon realized just how savvy one can become after spending one year educating themselves on the industry, visiting factories and sampling fabrics. The brand started out with just one product line, the Classic percale weave sheets, and has since added Luxe (our sateen weave), down and down-alternative comforters and pillows, throws and candles. Brooklinen offers mix and match functionality where you can purchase pre-set bundles of sheets or a la carte combinations in whatever colorways you want.
From $35; brooklinen.com
Mary Ella Gabler’s Peacock Alley linen brand got its start in 1973 when Neiman Marcus placed an order for the former stockbrocker’s decorative boudoir pillows with floral accents (the company is named after the famed Waldorf Astoria restaurant where she took business meetings).
Since launching with boudoir pillows, the label has rapidly expanded to include complete bedding and bath collections with retail locations in Dallas (its headquarters), Atlanta, Nashville and soon, Austin. The family-run brand is well known for its textural matelassés coverlets, buttery sateen sheets and luxurious towels. The linens have even found their way on the well-heeled beds at many high end resorts including Auberge du Soleil in the NapaValley and the One & Only Palmilla in Cabo San Lucas. “Women understand that the bedroom should be a retreat to unplug from our hectic everyday lives—a real sanctuary,” says Gabler. Even on vacation.
From $45; peacockalley.com
Boll & Branch
Missy Tannen is the founder of the 100-percent organic cotton New Jersey-based linen brand. The idea came to her while shopping with her husband, Scott. After spending an entire day going from store to store, the couple felt completely confused. “What is thread count? What is Egyptian cotton? And what is the difference between a $200 set of sheets and an $800 one?” Tannen wondered. “We just felt that we couldn’t be the only consumers that were completely confused by what seems like such a simple product.” So they started to research sustainable, fair-trade cotton sources in order to create a bedding collection with an heirloom look. Through forging a relationship with Chetna Organic, a nonprofit organization that works with cotton farmers in central and southern India and is certified by Fair Trade USA, Boll & Branch has been able to ethically source from smallholder organic cotton farmers in India. “Unlike most bedding brands, we know exactly where every ounce of cotton we use is from, down to the parcel of land the cotton was grown on,” says Tannen.
From $30; bollandbranch.com
Hill House Home
London-bred entrepreneur and New York City resident Nell Diamond created Hill House Home because she couldn’t find beautifully designed, practical, high quality bedding at a reasonable price point. (Notice the trend!) After college, when Diamond set out to purchase her first set of linens, she found the process overwhelming and frustrating. “I was faced with a lot of salespeople trying to upsell me on poorly-designed bedding that simply didn’t fit into my budget,” she says. So she decided to launch an e-commerce outfit “which allows us to keep our prices low and avoid crazy wholesale bedding markups while still using the highest quality raw materials.” The fabric HHH uses in its bedding collection is made from U.S.-grown Supima cotton, which is woven at one of the world’s best fabric mills, located just outside of Milan. Then, it’s cut and sewn at a family-owned and operated factory in France. “In a few years, I’d love our customers who have bought the bedding to be so happy with their sheets that they come back to us for all their home goods—everything from towels to pajamas to great blankets,” she says. “But most of all, she says: “There’s nothing that makes me happier that a beautifully made bed.”
From $85; hillhousehome.com