We roll up to Essentia Calgary on a clear early spring day. The store is fresh and minimal, and in addition to the lack of excess packaging, signs, and junkage—one of the first things I notice is the lack of smell. I breathe in deeply, and smell only air moist with melting snow—and a faint whiff of cotton. It’s a moment I’ve been waiting for for a while. I’ve been curious about Essentia since I read a story in yesterday’s post—they make all natural latex mattresses. There are other natural latex memory foam mattresses out there (I have one from IKEA)—but what’s unique about Essentia is that no harmful chemicals are used anywhere in the process. Neither are they treated with aggressive and carcinogenic flame retardants after they are made.last year—as Tazim mentioned in
In fact, the story gets better. The mattresses are made in Canada, out of a factory in Laval Quebec—which means that purchasers can be sure that in addition to being environmentally kind, their products are kind to people as well.
Speaking of kindness and people, the moment we step into the store, we are greeted warmly by Diane, and her daughter—fresh transplants from Vancouver who’ve come to launch the Calgary location. “Have you felt these sheets?” they ask.
I had to admit I hadn’t—an oversight soon corrected. The sheets are a warm flax colour, and feel smooth under my fingers. They’re thick and sturdy, made in India out of organic cotton, and running my hands across them brings back sense memories of the time Tazim and I spent living there in 2004. Indian cotton is some of the best in the world, and their textile industry is among the oldest. In fact, it’s such a great part of their national identity that their flag sports a spinning wheel. While we were there, Tazim and I visited more fabric textile co-operatives than I can enumerate.
The sheets at Essentia remind me of khadi, the hand woven cloth that’s treasured as a tie to history and tradition. The sheets are 300 thread count—a figure that doesn’t seem astronomical—but that’s perfect for the fibre used. We decided we had to take some home, and after sleeping on it for a couple of nights, I have this to report: they’re thick, but soft. Like flannel without the fuzz, they’re warm under the duvet, but breathe well and are light and cool without it. At the moment, we’re still wearing them in, and the cloth is almost blanket-like in the way that it folds and pleats when we snuggle under the sheets. But we know too, that as we wash and use them, we’ll unlock increasing levels of softness, until it’s like sleeping wrapped in clouds.
At just over $200 a set, they are comparable in price to offerings from Frette and other luxury brands, but here, rather than paying for a prestigious label, you pay for what the sheets come without: high environmental impact, heavy dyes, and allergens.
If you decide to pick some up, or a similar natrual cotton product, here are three tips for taking care of your new sheets:
1) Choose a natural detergent, and use only a little at a time. Articles like sheets need less than your daily-outside clothes, and because of their size, rinse less well than loose articles.
2) To prolong the life of your sheets, hang them to dry, if you have the space. More importantly, if you’re concerned about irritants, do not use any form of fabric softener.
3) If your sheets are natural or off white in colour, let the sun bleach them for you, by laying them, or hanging them outside on sunny days. An added bonus: you’ll go to sleep that night dreaming of grassy fields and deep forests as you smell that real fresh outside smell.
I was not financially compensated for this post, however, I did receive sheets to review