There’s nothing more comforting than feeling good and doing good. Boll & Branch, an online luxury linens business started a year ago by husband and wife Scott and Missy Tannen of Chatham, is not only offering superior sheets at accessible prices, it is also changing the way high-end textiles are made and sold.
What started as an unsuccessful trip for Missy to the Mall at Short Hills to pick out sheets for their newly decorated bedroom quickly turned into a business venture.
As Scott, who has a background in digital marketing, began to explore what it would take to manufacture high-quality organic bedding, he learned about the poor economic conditions of cotton farmers and factory workers around the world. Scott, 36 years old at the time, was stunned to learn that the life expectancy of a cotton farmer in India is 35. “It stopped me in my tracks,” he says.
The Tannens pay fair-trade prices for their organic cotton, so their farmers earn wages 30 percent above average. Boll & Branch’s factory employs only adults, work shifts don’t exceed eight hours, and workers receive health care and other benefits. “We’re the first and only fair-trade bedding company,” says Missy.
Selling direct to customers cuts out the middleman, eliminating marketing and licensing fees. “The typical department store mark-up on sheets is 600 percent, which is nuts!” says Scott. “We offer far superior sheets at a price that people are used to.” Boll & Branch sheets range from $200 to $260 per set and are equal in quality to luxury bedding in the $800 to $900 range.
The initial offering of white and ivory sheet sets, along with three colors of cable-knit throw blankets—which almost sold out within six weeks of the company’s launch—has expanded to duvet covers, hand-embroidered pillow shams, and more color offerings for blankets and sheets. “Now you don’t have to choose between eco-friendly and beautiful,” says Scott.
Customers—including the likes of Alyssa Milano, Laura Bush and the Clintons—call from across the country. “The response has overwhelmed us,” says Scott. “Start-ups don’t always need to come from Silicon Valley or Manhattan. We’ve got one of the fastest-growing sheet businesses in the country on the second floor of a building in Chatham, and we love it that way.”Click here to leave a comment