Why Sustainability In Bedding is Getting More Popular

“Sustainable”, “sustainability”…Recently, these words have been more and more in our common vernacular, our media, and overall collective consciousness. 

The advent of a global pandemic that none of us could have ever imagined a mere 18 months ago has helped us as a whole be more receptive to these words.  More receptive to consequences that science warns us about but we can’t see at the moment.  We have had to retreat into our bubbles, work from home, switch from face to face and communal encounters to video chats. Brick and mortar shopping excursions, as a social and immediate gratification experience, have been replaced by online browsing and purchasing. 

Many consumers are experiencing an awakening to the methods of producing products.  Perhaps this is being influenced by the current global crisis and the profusion of media coverage on the struggles of the environment, economy, and society on local and global levels.

With that in mind, as we sit, marooned on our little islands, working from home, ordering in food and entertainment, we are re-evaluating our “everything”, including our surroundings. 

At a time when many areas of retail have suffered shrinking sales, home goods and home improvement sales are ticking up, attesting to a consumer trend spurred on by our “new normal.”  And, as many refresh their personal spaces to fit the needs and desires of  our new now, they are also reevaluating their purchasing criteria to include sustainability.

 

What is Sustainability? And what has it to do with bedding?

According to Merriam Websters’ Dictionary, the definition of

“Sustainability” (adj.) is:

1: capable of being sustained

2a: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged sustainable techniques i.e. sustainable agriculture.

b: of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods sustainable society.

 Source:  photo courtesy of Terra Thread Home

The COVID-induced WFH shift has reoriented many people's spending towards home bedding, with many working from home and living on their beds.  Therefore, more attention is being paid to our bedding.  The bedding industry itself grew by over 30%  year over year, the “bed linen” sector was the largest share of that growth. at 31.6%. 

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/home-bedding-market

The shift towards sustainable options is a large part of that growth.  Within that, organic cotton bed sheets and bedding has become more and more popular as people have become increasingly educated as to the pluses of organic cotton bedding-both from a sustainability aspect and personal health aspect since these items are inherently hypoallergenic, for example.

It’s kind of ironic in the sense that organic, sustainable bedding is now a “thing” since bedding started as organic and sustainable.

It is believed that bedding, bed sheets, aka bedclothes, evolved from the ancient Egyptians. By around 3400 BC, the Egyptians were sleeping on a raised surface; having bed sheets was a sign of prosperity as well as a symbol of purity and light.  They also used their bed sheets as a way to stay cool, dampening the sheets at night to help them cool off after a sweltering Egyptian day.  They used the same sheets to wrap their mummies. The material     and construction have continued to evolve ever since.   Source:      
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Egyptian_hieroglyphs

 Source:  photo courtesy of Terra Thread Home

 Bed sheets were available flat only until around 1959 when an African American woman named Bertha Berman had enough of the battle to keep flat sheets fitted on a bed.  She came up with a sheet design concept that had pocket type corners sewn into it, with the idea that they would help keep the sheets from popping off the bed.  This was the seed of the final product we see today-fitted sheets with pockets.  Still, these didn’t quite fill the need. We can thank Gisele Jubinville for coming up with the idea to deepen the pockets and insert elastic into the corners so that they grab the mattress securely.  She sold the patent for $1 million in 1993.

 

Sustainability went from an idea, to a trend, to being here to stay

The idea of sustainable development was the base of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The gathering was the 1st international effort to formulate plans and strategies for moving towards more sustainable development patterns and recognition that sustainable development was of major importance and a challenge that needed to be met.

The US sustainability market is anticipated to hit $150 billion in sales in 2021 as environmental and social concerns are becoming more top of mind for the consumer.  Used to be you find labels like “sustainably-grown” and “organic” in places like Whole Foods, health food /all-natural stores or occupying a small segment of an aisle your grocery store, but this verbiage is increasingly been seen in the home goods and fashion segments too.  With the nature of the concept of “fashion” being one that is capricious and fickle, one wouldn’t necessarily pair it with the word “sustainable” but as our eyes are becoming more and more open to the impacts our purchases make on the planet and its people, you will find the pairing more and more often.

Having merchandise that aesthetically pleasing is not enough anymore.  Most consumers are now rather expecting full transparency to the supply and manufacturing chain from the origin of the fiber, materials to the processing methods, and factory workers up to the final packaging.  It seems a no brainer-why spend our hard-earned money on brands that we don’t agree with their social, ecological, and moral values?  Why support what doesn’t line up with us?  Why support a disposable mindset?  The use and throw out mentality has consequences. Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency, about 26 billion pounds of textiles end up in landfills each year.

 Source: Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels

Think of that.  

A definition of “Fashion” may still be “the prevailing type during a particular time”  but we are seeing consumers embracing another of its’ definitions, “mode of action or operation” and taking action to change their shopping habits.  Value and convenience are still important drivers of our acquisitions, but studies show that consideration of sustainability has become a bigger influence.  Consumers are turning away from brands and services that don’t line up with their values.  Social and environmental sensitivity are on our list.  It is good to see momentum grow in this thinking since our resources are finite.  The Rodale Institute warns that at this stage we only have about 60 years of topsoil left if we keep on keeping’ on and promotes  “regenerative organic” methods-an even higher bar to sustainable methods and a holistic approach to farming that encourages continuous innovation and improvement of environmental, social, and economic measures.

Brands have taken notice of all this and made statements with their products and messaging.  In apparel and accessories, Patagonia has and will always be a leader in this area, having just won the UN’s Champions of the Earth award for its policies that place sustainability at the center of its business practices. 

Sustainability in home products has been on the scene most likely as long as it has been in apparel, however it is now coming into a brighter light due to the WFH phenomenon and a more aware consumer.  As we are realizing the importance of sustainability, sustainable home products are gaining in popularity and notoriety. Some brands have occupied this space for quite a while.  Established in 1991, Coyuchi is a purveyor of sustainably made organic bedding and home products; Boll and Branch, has been addressing the same market since 2013.  These are but a few examples. Sustainable home and bedding brands are mainstream with Pottery Barn and Target as great examples of a well-known brands that shifted their assortments to address this market and the consumers’ needs. 

 Source:  photo courtesy of Terra Thread Home

At Terra Thread Home, we are proud to be a peer to organizations like these that value our environment, product quality and how we can positively affect the lives of those who produce it.  We have pledged  our commitment to a sustainable and transparent supply chain, from the growing of the cotton, the farm it is grown on, the farmers that handle and process it to the final production and packaging.  We place a high value on the planet and the people on it.  We believe in creating good returns goodness.  Additionally, for every product sold we contribute free meals in the U.S. to the ones in need through the Feeding America program. This contribution is matched by the Tony Robbins One Billion Meals Challenge, doubling the impact.

At a time when so much seems uncertain and out of our control, it’s hard to see what we can affect.  But we do have choices-we can choose what to buy or not to buy.  By choosing to buy sustainably made products, we can help make to the shift towards equilibrium, stability and a better tomorrow.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedding

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sustainability

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fashion?utm_campaign=sd&utm_medium=serp&utm_source=jsonld

https://rodaleinstitute.org/why-organic/organic-basics/regenerative-organic-agriculture/

http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/pages/history_sd.html

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.businessinsider.com/sustainability-as-a-value-is-changing-how-consumers-shop%3famp

https://www.ehow.com/about_4689834_fitted-sheets.html

https://nielseniq.com/global/en/insights/

https://www.businessinsider.com/patagonia-un-champions-of-the-earth-award-2019

https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/textiles-material-specific-datachampions-of-the-earth-award-2019

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/home-bedding-market

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Egyptian_hieroglyphs