Eli & Elm Profile
Eli & Elm entered the bedding world in January 2019 with a goal to create high quality bedding for the average sleep enthusiast. Based in New Haven, CT, their name is an homage to Eli Whitney—the inventor of the cotton gin; and Elm City—the home of Whitney before its name was changed to New Haven. Three Connecticut men were inspired by Eli Whitney’s innovation with the plant, so they took to improving the world of cotton bedding, with aspiring dreams to make the bed a better place for sleep. There hasn’t been much innovation in the textile industry, so Eli & Elm made it their mission to create luxurious and durable sheets for affordable prices. Their work with researchers and engineers has paved the way for eco-friendly advancements in the field while also focusing their resources on making fair trade products that are ethically sound.
I received the Eli & Elm Whitney and Wharf collection together in a box that weighed a (figurative) ton. The construction of the product’s box is the same as the Whitney Collection, and similar to Layla’s, but instead it’s white with black edging and “BAMBOO.” printed across the top—split across two lines. As I mentioned in the Whitney Collection review, I’m a big fan of Eli & Elm’s minimalist, sans serif design language, almost as much as I like Layla’s.
The sheets didn’t feel very impressive prior to being washed, but after a cold wash and a low heat tumble dry, they exhibited that signature feel and heft of bamboo sheets.
The pockets shrunk a little, but not enough to cause a problem. For all I’m concerned, the construction looks impressive, clean, and durable, giving the Wharf Collection an early lead.
Wharf Collection Construction
Wharf Collection Construction
Eli & Elm’s bamboo sheet set is great on so many levels, but the pattern is… not what I expected. Every time I walk into my bedroom in my flannel pants and waffle-weave shirt, I can’t help but feel a bit… out of place. The gray and white pin-striped sheets transport me to a bachelor pad in a Manhattan high rise; the kind where titanium and brushed steel objects outnumber those made of any other material. These look like the sheets you would find on the bed of a yuppie with a suit collection.
There are all kinds of people out there with different bedding preferences, but I don’t know why Eli & Elm chose this as one of three options for their bamboo Wharf Collection. On one had you’ve got the Whitney collection which comes in just white, so it can go with anything. On the other hand, the Wharf Collection features three patterns: white, gray and white pinstripes, and “Window Payne” (big white and blue gingham).
The gray is sure to clash with just about everything that isn’t on a grayscale gradient and looks extremely out of place with wood—it’s more suited for metal tones. The Window Payne design is a great alternative to white, especially if you’re going for a New England theme (aka nautical everything). To me it seems like a very random collection of patterns; while most companies keep it simple and safe with solid colors (with the occasional collection of similar inoffensive patterns), Eli & Elm chose two very different patterns, for two very different kinds of people… and white.
Wharf Collection Findings
I used Layla’s weighted blanket alongside the Wharf Collection and the combination was fantastic. While the bamboo fabric offered a cool, silky-smooth sleeping experience, the weighted blanket was just warm and dense enough that the sheets provided a comfortable and soft pressure that made drifting off to sleep easy. So what makes the Eli & Elm sheets stand out from other bamboo sheets, like those at Layla? Apart from the designs and colors, not much. The Layla bamboo sheets are my favorite sheets so far, which meant that these had a high standard to live up—they did, but they didn’t go much further.
My excitement behind the Layla set may have been partially driven by first impressions with bamboo sheets, but I won’t know for sure until I try another set. When it comes down to it, Eli & Elm’s set costs $120-$150, which makes them some of the best, and least expensive sheets I’ve tried so far. What I really love about these Eli & Elm sheets is that they make accessible the luxurious feel, unbelievably soft texture, and fantastic sleep benefits of a set of sheets $50 more expensive! With that in mind however, the Layla set offers a 120-night trial period, while Eli & Elm only offers 45, and to some that may be a deal-breaker (depending on how picky you are).
Wharf Collection Recommendation
Overall, I think the Wharf Collection is a great set of sheets that comes at a great price, from a great company, but I think it’s a toss up between the two bamboo options—there just isn’t a lot that sets them apart. Eli & Elm’s set may be cheaper, but it’s not by a lot; and Layla offers only solid colors—no patterns. I think they’re both fantastic choices and I don’t think you will regret buying one over the other. When it comes down to the question of “bamboo or not,” I still have concerns regarding material sourcing—you can read all about the environmental impact of viscose bamboo fabrication, here. On Eli & Elm’s website, they say that being “100% Viscose, [their] eco-friendly bamboo sheets are made without any harmful pesticides and woven into a silky-soft finish,” but that’s not the issue with viscose bamboo materials. In general, bamboo grows so quickly and vigorously that it’s not often seen as a pest target, thus not requiring pesticides; but I digress.
I received a set of white sheets from Layla, but I thought that I had received a bedside table from a furniture retailer. When my roommates asked me what I could’ve possibly gotten that was so large, we all found ourselves a bit bewildered when the answer was “sheets.”
I opened the box and found… mostly nothing except for some industrial plastic wrap. At the very very bottom of the box, in a distant corner, was a dense box tightly sealed in more plastic. After retrieving the box from the abyss.
I’ve gotten some overzealous packaging from Amazon, but never have I ever received something in a box 12 times the size of the actual object. I think they wanted the box in pristine condition which may explain the bix box. I don’t think this will be the case goine forward.
This is a very new product so as of this writing there isn’t too much information about the product on the website but that will change.
The product box was breathtaking. This was not just any cardboard box, they somehow managed to make this box look like the Mercedes-Benz of boxes. The corners and seams were sturdy and perfect. The clamshell mechanism fit like a dream, and slid over the edge perfectly. All parts of the cardboard box were covered in fancy, smooth, matte gray paper. The box looked like it was made of two pieces, but the hinge was made so well that it opened to only 90°. The graphic design was impeccable—the fonts and colors were perfect, and the inner flap donned a two-tone gray gingham pattern that complemented the whole package so well. The inner flap read “YOUR NEW SHEETS HAVE ARRIVED,” which made the aesthetic experience all the more real. These were my sheets and I was ready to love them.
After opening the clamshell I found yet more plastic wrap, but the dense pile of folded sheets looked so perfect I didn’t want to disturb the chic package. After revelling in its glory, I broke down and opened the inner package.
Layla Bamboo Construction
The sheets were shiny, but not as reflective as the Heavenluxe set. Most of the seams were neat and hidden well, but some of the seams were boldly emblazoned in the very same dark gray that was used on the box.
The sheets were soft and smooth, living up to all the good things I’ve heard about bamboo sheets. I ran the sheets through a cold wash and a tumble dry on low and they came out even softer. There was some minor shrinkage, but nothing too concerning—the pocket depth started at 14.5in (15.25in with the elastic band) and ended at 13in (14.5in with the elastic band).
When I brought the sheets up to my room to make my bed, I noticed they felt abnormally hefty. When I shook them out against my mattress, they made a thunderous noise unlike any sound I’ve heard a fabric make—it sounded like muffled clapping. The fitted sheet fit snugly without any ripples, and the flat sheet sat on top smoothly. By this point it was 3am and I was still awake for some reason, so after making my bed I really needed a perfect set of sheets to help me doze off as fast as possible.
My Layla Bamboo Findings
When those sheets touched my skin, they didn’t even feel like they were made of fabric—they felt so delicate and liquid like in a strange indescribable way. The sheets definitely felt heavier and more durable than the Heavenluxe sheets, but somehow they had a kind of ethereality about them that surpasses every experience I’ve ever had with any fabric. Sometimes all I think about at night is how amazing it will feel to pass out sandwiched between those gentle bamboo sheets. I want to say that I’m in love, but like every product, there are some hangups.
I was really shocked by the shipping waste and I really hope that is not how Layla intends to distribute their products, but I didn’t want that to cloud my judgement of the sheets themselves. I love these sheets, but I find myself wondering if I love Layla’s sheets, or I love bamboo sheets. There are a few more bamboo sheet sets in the pipeline, so I want to make it very clear that this is my first set of sheets made of this fabric and I have no referent.
My Layla Bamboo Recommendation
Since there isn’t much information on Layla’s website, I don’t know how their fabric composition or production differs from any other kind of bamboo sheet, so I don’t feel like I can adequately make a judgement on the company itself. Bamboo is a very promising agricultural alternative to cotton, but like hemp, the miracle textile crop of your dreams isn’t always sustainable. Ultimately whether you buy these sheets or not comes down to how important your carbon footprint is to you. Off the bat, while bamboo and hemp grow quickly and function more efficiently as textile crops, farms are often established on land that was deforested specifically for the cultivation of these crops, which is ironic and dangerous.