Today we are chatting with the CEO of one of the fastest-growing bedding brands IN THE WORLD! Colin McIntosh started his company Sheets & Giggles in 2017, and since then the company has exceeded expectations in every way. What impressed us most when we talked with Colin was his commitment beyond business to the world as a whole. Not only are their sheets more sustainable in their product line, but they also give back to their community in other ways as well. If you like businesses who have the bigger picture in mind (like we do) you’ll love today’s episode with Colin McIntosh, Founder and CEO of Sheets & Giggles.
Sustainability in Home Products with Colin McIntosh, Founder and CEO of Sheets & Giggles
Sheets & Giggles is a Denver-based company that makes softer-than-cotton, sustainable Eucalyptus sheets, and they're one of the fastest-growing bedding brands in the world. Colin McIntosh, founder and CEO, is no stranger to entrepreneurship, growing up in a family of entrepreneurs and pursuing a number of startup opportunities early in his career.
So what’s so great about Eucalyptus bedsheets (as opposed to materials such as cotton, polyester, or bamboo)? Eucalyptus is more breathable and MUCH more sustainable than any of these other materials. In fact, Sheets & Giggles uses about 1,000 gallons LESS water to make a sheet set when compared to traditional cotton sheets. They also require no pesticides or insecticides. Collin has taken it a step further than sustainability by starting sheet donation and tree planting programs that are worked into his business model. It’s truly a company that cares about making a difference both worldwide and locally.
What does sustainability mean?
Sustainability is something we’ve talked about on the podcast before, a lot of times in the area of fashion. We asked Colin what sustainability means in the area of home products and bedding. To Colin, sustainability means attempting to have a “net-positive green footprint.” There are a lot of different ways to accomplish this and look at this, which he discusses later.
Sheets & Giggles has a number of ways that they directly work to be sustainable. Firstly, for every tree they harvest on their farms, they pant 2 more trees. One of the many perks to using Eucalyptus as a fiber is that the trees can be branched instead of compmeltely harvested, so there is less waste and more material to be reused. In addition to the trees, while it takes approximately 4,000 liters of water to make a cotton bedsheet set, Colin and his team have gotten their water use to under 200 liters per sheet set, an over 95% decrease in water usage. THAT’S HUGE. The Sheets & Giggles Eucalyptus sheets also take 30% less energy AND biodegrade faster than cotton sheets. All of these are attributing to their net-positive green footprint.
In summary, here are some of the ways Sheets & Giggles Eucalyptus sheets are more sustainable:
+95% less water usage than cotton sheets
30% less energy usage
Biodegrades faster once in a landfill
Little to no pesticides and insecticides
Planting trees for orders coming in
Giving sheets to local homeless shelters and rescue missions (we haven’t even talked about this aspect of sustainability, but this is human sustainability and so important)
This company is doing important things, and we hope that other companies in the home products industry take note.
What’s the problem with polyester bedsheets?
The #1 selling bedsheet in the world is a $25 set of polyester sheets on Amazon. You might have heard that polyester isn’t a great product, but did you know that “microfber” sheets are the EXACT same thing?!? We didn’t! Polyester ‘microfiber’ bed sheets are a petroleum-based synthetic, and they are terrible for the environment. Polyester is the #1 source of microplastics in the ocean. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Each year, more than a half-million metric tons of microfibers—the equivalent of 50 billion plastic water bottles—enter the ocean from the washing of synthetic textiles” (Full Article Here). This is a big problem that big companies are only now beginning to address, but these issues are the things at the forefront of Colin’s mind.
Why are sustainable products more expensive?
When it comes to sheets specifically, Eucalyptus sheets are 3-4x more expensive to manufacture than cotton sheets and 10x more expensive than polyester sheets to manufacture. Creating sustainable products simply costs more, but Colin and Sheets & Giggles are committed to producing the most sustainable fabric possible regardless of the cost. They always keep cost in mind though and, we believe, offer a very competitive price for the quality of product they deliver.
We got a set of sheets from Sheets & Giggles, and here is what we got:
We’ll be reviewing the sheets on the blog soon, so be sure to check that out! (will update once we do the review).
What are ways that people can start to implement sustainable products into their homes?
According to Collin, the # 1 thing that we can do is stay away from plastics and petroleum-based products. That takes a little research to know what things fall into that category, but if sustainability and environmental protection are important to you then the research is necessary.
Pro Tip: pick a part of sustainability that matters to you (water conservation, microplastics in the ocean, energy, etc) and do what YOU can do to help those causes. It will take millions of people doing little things well to make a big impact.
More sustainability - sheet donation
I think one of the coolest things that Sheets & Giggles does as a part of their business plan has nothing to do at all with creating sheets. The company has made it a priority to donate sheets to local homeless shelters and rescue missions in the local Denver area. Not only does S&G donate sheets throughout the year, but whenever a customer orders a sheet set from Sheets & Giggles, they provide a bag for you to send your used sheets to a local homeless shelter. If you do this, you’ll get 10% off your next Sheets and Giggles order! This isn’t something the company really advertises much - I only found it when I was digging through the website for research on the episode! They aren’t doing it for the press or accolades - they are doing it because they truly believe in doing the right thing and helping others. We think that’s pretty cool.
Stay in touch with Colin.
Just google Colin Sheets & Giggles. He’s the only one.
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