This Company Will Make You Rethink The Sheets You Sleep On Every Night

"No one could tell us the difference between a $500 set and a $50 set."

At the end of a day that feels like the worst, there are few things better than crawling into your sheets and sleeping the night away. Your sheets are there for you when you need a comfortable place to watch Netflix and keep you warm when no one else will. So, when it comes time to purchase new ones, you should care a lot about the ones you choose. They're an investment, after all. 

Many people think the mark of a great sheet set lies solely in a solid thread count. The bigger the thread count, the bigger the price tag, but the better the sheet. That's all we need to know, right?

Husband and wife Scott and Missy Tannen decided to ask a few more questions when they went shopping for new sheets a few years ago.  

"After spending an entire day going from store to store, we realized that no one could tell us where the sheets came from, how they were made, or the difference between a $500 set and a $50 set," The Tannens told A Plus in an email. "After doing some research on the textile industry, and more specifically the cotton trade, we came to find out that it was wrought with dishonesty and manipulation and had been since its origin." 

Courtesy of Boll & Branch
Courtesy of Boll & Branch

The textile industry has been criticized for unsafe labor conditions and greatly damaging the environment. In India, the largest cotton producer in the world, cotton farmers face another terrible issue: crippling debt. This has been linked to a rise in suicides in India with reports that show two or three farmers commit suicide every day. It might not be so easy to get a good night's sleep tonight after learning that information. 

"Historically, traditional cotton farmers have relied on genetically modified seeds that require a huge amount of toxic chemicals, and fertilizers to make their crops grow quickly and abundantly," the Tannens said. "They often fall into immense debt from having to continually purchase the expensive subsidies involved in conventional cotton farming, leaving them in a very difficult spot and few options. Additionally, working in direct contact with these chemicals marks a great health and safety risk for not only the farmers, but for their entire families and for the environment. Soil depletion, water contamination, and disrupted ecosystems are regular byproducts of conventional cotton farming." 

The Tannens quickly realized they could do better.

Courtesy of Boll & Branch
Courtesy of Boll & Branch

So, they started Boll & Branch, an organic bedding and luxury linen company devoted to creating "better products with better ethics." The company uses organic cotton farming which allows farmers to implement methods that are sustainable, have low impact on the environment, and are free from unsafe chemical additives. That makes for both a safer workplace and healthier environment. 

"We decided to start Boll & Branch and tackle the problem at its root, starting with the cotton seed itself and empowering those that farm one of the world's most sought after crops, all the way through the supply chain to the moment our product reaches the customer's home," the Tannens said. "Unlike most bedding brands, we know exactly where each ounce of cotton used to make our products comes from, down to the farmer and the exact parcel of land it was grown on."

Boll & Branch is Fair Trade certified for manufacturing safety conditions, cotton pricing, and fair labor rates. Their organic cotton farmers earn a fair wage in safe conditions and their community benefits as well. "A portion of the money earned by the farming cooperatives is put towards bettering the community, through building schools, purchasing clean water supplies and teaching members of the community various trades," the Tannens explained. 

In addition to the Fair Trade certification, all of the company's products are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, the gold standard for safe textile products manufactured using organic raw materials. Consumers can rest easy knowing these sheets are made with organically produced materials free of chemicals by people who truly care about quality and safety. 

Courtesy of Boll & Branch
Courtesy of Boll & Branch

The Tannens don't just want how their cotton is produced, but also learn about the people helping them do it. They make an effort to develop personal relationships with their farmers. "We consider them true partners in the business, valuing their skill and their personal success," they said. "We have chosen to work with a unique group of cotton growers in areas of need in India and our business helps bring economic opportunity to people who truly need it." 

Courtesy of Boll & Branch
Courtesy of Boll & Branch

The Tannens aren't the only ones who can do better. We can, too.

Boll & Branches sheets cost between $200-$275. You can buy sheets at other home goods stores for a fraction of the price, but the real cost could be a farmer's life. Spreading awareness about issues in the cotton industry can help, too. 

As a consumer, making an impact doesn't stop on your bed. You can make a difference by shopping for ethically made goods when it comes to all of your textile needs. Don't settle for fast-fashion. Instead, purchase products from sustainable fashion brands and companies with certifications from third parties such as Fair Trade. 

"More than anything that if you want to disrupt a category that has been unchallenged for generations, you have to be brave," the Tannens said. 

To learn more about Boll & Branch, check out the video below: