Eli & Elm sent me their king-size organic cotton Side Sleeper pillow. The large cushion was rolled up and stuffed inside its long, white shipping box.
I pulled it out and cut away the bag and tape to reveal a gold and ivory pillow shaped like half of a fingertip bandage.
The quilted pillow fabric is extremely soft, and the filling is especially plush and squishy. The front and back of the pillow have “Organic” written stylistically across the pleats, and are joined by a gold suede band.
The seams are hidden and seem durable enough to withstand even the roughest of sleepers. I really appreciate the placement of the zipper, as many zippers that go from corner to corner often get jammed with the interior fabric. When I unzipped the portal to coziness, I was met with tiny noodles of cotton stuffing, which Eli & Elm explains can be removed to adjust height, support, and cushiness for a fully customizable experience.
Side Sleeper Construction
Eli & Elm’s pillow design is not only customizable for all sleepers, but it’s specially designed to benefit side-sleepers. The unique shape gives the head and neck the support they need, which is often not provided by flat pillows. I have two flat pillows that have lost every ounce of support and comfort that they once had, so this has been a long time coming. I couldn’t find any information on how I was supposed wash it, and I’ve had issues in the past with damp pillows, so I gave it an extra hour for good measure totaling 120 minutes on low heat. Once out of the dryer, I could start enjoying the pillow without having to smell the factory in which it was made.
The pillow fabric is comprised of 37% organic cotton, 2% spandex, and 61% polyester; and the fill is made of 75% latex and 25% polyester fiber. Eli & Elm claim that their cotton fabric is breathable, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and temperature modulating, so I was intrigued to try it alongside Eli & Elm’s Cooling Whitney Collection. Unlike the Whitney Collection, the Side Sleeper does not utilize Phase Changing Materials in its construction, so experiencing the cooling effects side-by-side would give me an ideal comparison test. In the end, it really did do what they said it would.
My Side Sleeper Findings
The pillow is heavy and kind of unwieldy—if you hold it with one hand, you feel like it will stretch into oblivion, but if you hold it with two hands, it still figures out a way to spill over your arms. When moving the pillow, it feels as though it’s caught somewhere between liquid and solid despite very clearly just being a fabric pillow stuffed with little squishy noodles. When placed on an immovable surface—like a bed—the pillow takes on a whole different personality. The noodles compress under the weight of your head allowing the half-fingertip-bandage shape to conform to your neck. The Side Sleeper feels like a luxury neck pillow made of pizza dough, and I love it. It can be hard to find a pillow that meets all of your greatest expectations, but Eli & Elm got it right this time. No matter which way I slept or rolled, the pillow was always there, giving me the best cushion experience for all sides of my head. It was both supportive and forgiving, which makes it a perfect pillow for literally anyone.
When used simultaneously with Eli & Elm’s Whitney Collection, I found myself in one of the most breathable and temperature consistent sleeping environments ever. Sure, getting into the bed was a bit chilly (my house thermostat is pretty consistently set between 55F and 62F morning and night), but once inside, all the high tech cooling fabric started doing its thing and the sheets and pillow quickly adjusted to my body temperature. After a few days of usage, I was curious what the other side of the pillow felt like since the undersides of pillows are always colder—this one was very cold. In a sleepy daze, I strangely couldn’t tell if the pillow was cold because it was damp or just cold—turns out by perching the Side Sleeper on top of my other pillows (covered with the Whitney pillowcases), I created a kind of black hole for heat in between the two cooling fabrics.
My Side Sleeper Recommendation
Eli & Elm’s Side Sleeper is a magnificent pillow for sleeping, to which I have found no comparison. That said, pillows are generally very versatile and practical, but I don’t think the Side Sleeper shares those traits. Due to its shape, it wouldn’t make for a back or head cushion while playing cards or writing your next novel, and its weight and Jell-O-esque feel make me think traveling with it would be a hassle—its true element is on a bed. The only thing that I’m unsure about at this moment is the stiffness of the pillow. This of course is just a personal problem, because Eli & Elm recommends removing or adding noodles as you go to get the perfect firmness, which I haven’t gotten around to doing. So for all of you prospective buyers and readers out there, if you’re looking for a pillow that is more squishy than firm, make sure you extract some noodles first before deciding it’s not for you! In the off chance the Side Sleeper is just not for you, Eli & Elm has a 45-day risk free trial period so you never have to invest in something you don’t actually like. For me? This is a real keeper and paces miles ahead of the comparable $100 solid bamboo pillow I got online.
Primary Goods sent me a 5-piece set of 100% percale sheets in their special February color, “Lilac Snow.” As of this writing, you can get a queen size set for $179. The sheets come with a 100 night trial which means you get to try them in your bed for 100 nights and if you aren’t happy with them, you can return them for a refund. Just bear in mind that you will pay a $19.99 return processing fee for any product that is washed or used. You also need to pay for return shipping.
The sheets came in a pretty nondescript brown shipping box, and when I opened it I was not met with sleek designs or extravagant packaging—I was a bit surprised considering how many other sets come in over the top wrappings.
Honestly, it was actually kind of refreshing not to have to choose between keeping the packaging to admire like a piece of modern art, and tossing it out. Primary Goods kept it simple with a shipping box and five fabric baggies also known as self packaging, each containing one piece of the percale puzzle. I disassembled the set and started looking over my new purple sleep treasure.
Primary Goods Construction
One thing I did not account for was how close “Lilac Snow” is to pink. Contrasted on a bright white backdrop, “Lilac Snow” has the slightest discernible hint of purple on their website. In real life, under non-studio lighting, it is actually undeniably ballet slipper pink. I know this for a fact because I spent a few hours freaking out over my perception of colors before asking my roommates and sister what color they see. We all had a flashback to the dress that broke the internet in February 2015—the dress is clearly white and gold in that photo, but I digress.
The consensus was unanimous: these sheets are not any perceptible shade of purple or violet. Since lilac is a pretty ambiguous color—lilac flowers can range from light red to dark purple and everything in between—I give it a pass with the disclaimer that unless you live in a photography studio or a glass house in sunny southern California, the sheets will be pink. Don’t get me wrong, pink is a great color, but purple is my favorite. On a side note, the sheets are surprisingly shiny (despite Primary Goods calling them “matte”), which made photographing the true colors very challenging, so please keep that in mind as you scroll through the photos.
I unfolded the sheets and analyzed them closely. Initially the sheets felt a bit rougher than any old set of cotton sheets but Percale is a different weave than sateen and they will be more breathable, also given the weave, percale sheets have a sort of crisper crinkly feel that some people crave.
My Primary Goods Findings
I followed the laundry directions and washed the sheets in warm water followed by a low heat tumble dry and there was no shrinkage, but they didn’t dry. I had to run the sheets through the dryer a second time to eradicate the dampness. During both sessions they were the only objects in the dryer, but for some reason they needed two hours to dry on low heat, which was frustrating. Pro tip, this happens with comforters and all sorts of bedding. It’s often best to dry the fitted and flat sheet separately so they don’t become entagnled which prolongs the dryng process.
The corners of the fitted sheet may look like a pink Victorian era dress, but they sure do grip mattress corners well, even if it does seem a bit like overkill. If your sheets are prone to coming loose at night, these will ensure they stay in place.
I spread the flat sheet out on my bed, set up the duvet, and began testing their signature snapping feature.
If you go with their signature snapping system to attach the flat sheet to the duvet just keep in mind that this is meant to work as a system. If you use the flat sheet on its own, it will cover the top of the bed but it is not big enough to make the hospital corners.
The goal of the snap system is to keep you from losing your top sheet an night. The primary purpose of the top sheet is to keep your duvet clean so you don’t have to launder it as often. If you’re disciplined enough to launder the fitted top sheet this is a good system.
My Primary Goods Recommendation
Honestly, my first night sleeping took some getting used to. You need to get used to the feel of the top sheet being in sync with the duvet. After a few washed these sheet should soften up well and what you get for the money is a good value.