The Secrets of High Street Bedding
It shouldn’t be difficult to buy a set of high quality, value for money sheets. It’s just bedding after all, and what you see is what you get, right?
But look closely, and you'll find that high street retailers have for years relied on a number of closely guarded secrets, gimmicks, and questionable tactics to sell you those sheets you've never really loved.
Let's explore some of the secrets of high street bedding…
Marketing Gimmicks - Approach with Caution
When we ask our customers what they typically looked for when shopping for bedding before discovering Bedfolk, they’ll usually reply with the same two criteria: high thread counts, and Egyptian cotton.
Thread Count: Quality Beats Quantity
Let’s face it, when you’re in a department store shopping for bedding, it all looks the same, and without sleeping in them, it’s very difficult to differentiate between the quality of different sheet sets. Retailers quickly cottoned on (excuse the pun) and looked for ways to expand their product ranges – as well as their margins.
Thread counts were one of the few things they could easily change between different sets, and so this metric quickly became the industry standard marker of quality, with higher thread counts supposedly meaning better quality. Browse some of the best-known retailers in the UK, and you’ll see bedding with thread counts ranging from 180 to 1600 – with prices varying accordingly.
The truth is, bedding is only as good as the quality of cotton used to make it, and beyond a certain level (typically 2-300) more threads doesn’t always mean better quality. A 300TC bedding set made from high quality cotton trumps an 800TC set made from sub-par cotton every time. Above 5-600 TC and you’ll probably be buying sets where cotton threads have been wrapped around each other (in the industry we call this double- or triple- ply) with the sole intention of boosting thread count, and price, with no real impact on quality.
Egyptian Cotton: It’s Not All The Same
Back in the day, Egypt was the leading producer of high quality long-staple cotton, thanks to its preferential climatic conditions and the abundance of fertile land along the banks of the river Nile. Egyptian Cotton rightly became known as the good stuff.
Over time, as retailers realised that consumers were looking for this label, they demanded higher and higher quantities of Egyptian Cotton. As is often the case, rising demand led to a lowering of standards, as the definition of Egyptian cotton was expanded to not only include high quality cotton grown on the banks of the Nile, but also sub-par short staple cotton grown elsewhere in Egypt, and even cotton grown outside of Egypt from the Egyptian cotton plant – Gossypium Barbadense.
There’s a Reason Those Sheets Are Always In The Sale
Those sheets that are 40% off in the sale? It’s our belief that they’re overpriced for the rest of the year, kind of like those 330-day-a-year offers that you see in your local supermarket.
Unless it’s a discontinued line with limited stock, there’s really no reason bedding should be discounted. It’s the same product, costing the same amount to make, year-round. Yet every time the sales come around, high street retailers, without fail, will offer their core bedding ranges with a healthy discount attached.
The only way to make these flash sales and ad hoc promotions work, is to overinflate the regular retail prices.
At Bedfolk, we prefer to keep our margins slim, and our prices fair, all year round. This means we never do sales, but we like it that way, as our customers can become bed-folk at a time that works for them, knowing our prices won’t be changing today, tomorrow or next month.
Do You Know Who Made Your Bedding?
Like any product a bedding set is only as good as its makers. Making high quality sheets is a true craft, and the human and mechanical infrastructure required is far greater than you might imagine. Leading textile mills invest tens of millions of pounds a year in their machinery to make sure that their cotton is spun, woven, and finished with the highest levels of precision and care.
We spent 12 months researching and meeting mills before launching Bedfolk – and discovered that the world’s leading bedding makers can be found in the textile meccas of Italy and Portugal – where all Bedfolk bedding is made.
Look closely at the labels of high street retailers and you’ll find that many will make their premium ranges – which typically cost 2-3 times the cost of Bedfolk sheets – in these same leading mills in Europe, whilst outsourcing their more budget friendly basic ranges to producers in the Far East.
Shop For Bedding With Confidence
Instead of looking for high threads count and Egyptian cotton, you should look for bedding made from high quality cotton that is tested to the most rigorous of quality standards. Also check your bedding is made from single ply yarns, with Oeko-Tex Certification to ensure that no harmful chemicals are used in the growing or manufacturing process. That’s how to shop for bedding like a pro.
At Bedfolk we believe in pricing our comfortable cotton bedding fairly all year round. We’re not cheap, and we don’t intend to be, because good sheets don’t come cheap. But we’ll never over inflate our prices to allow for flash sales or ad hoc discounts, so you can be confident in buying Bedfolk bedding whenever you need it, and not when we decide that we want to sell it to you.
Ready to find your perfect bed sheets?