Alterra Pure Profile
Alterra Pure was built on pillars of social and environmental sustainability, and maintaining a transparent and ethical business is their main goal. In order to live by their values, they pride themselves on giving back to the environment and those who produce their products. This means purchasing fair trade cotton from farms that use only rainwater to water their crops—they also recycle all water used in both fabric production and fabric finishing. To uphold their strong social standards, they hold no secrets—transparency is one of the most important principles a sustainable company must practice. Every step of Alterra Pure’s supply chain is Certified Organic and/or LEED Certified—from seed to gin to wheel to loom, nothing is overlooked. All water and materials are reused if possible, and as I mentioned before, even their packaging is made of biodegradable, scrap cotton and recycled paper. They are proud of the work they do and the products they create, so every ingredient and process is meticulously graded and tweaked to make the best fabrics. Their small lot and artisanal production scale is ideal for maintaining these tenets of sustainability and ethicality while staying afloat financially.
Alterra Pure sent me their Traditional Organic Bundle to review. The shipping box held two off-white boxes that were constructed from re-constituted/up-cycled scrap cotton and recycled paper. The boxes are not smooth, nor are they shiny or sleek—they have a more Earthy feel to them.
“ALTERRA PURE” is scrawled across the linty paper exteriors, with a seam dividing the two words. The seam (and the two box halves) is held together by a single piece of terra cotta-colored tape.
After gently peeling off the tape—attempting to keep the boxes’ finishes intact—I found the sheets and duvet neatly folded, and tucked away in each box.
I love the boxes—they’re gorgeous; the textures, colors, and fonts are beautifully executed; and the structure and overall design are not only effective in function, but also in reusability and general purpose storage. I plan to keep them around for a bit because I’ve got some magazines that could use a nice, new, organized home.
Alterra Pure Construction
I removed and unfolded the sheets to get a better look at the collection. They sent me a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, two pillow cases, and a duvet cover—all pieces are made of organic cotton percale fabric. Initially, the sheets had a kind of parachute fabric feel to them, which I assumed would just wash out in the first laundry cycle, but I was wrong. After following the prescribed wash and dry instructions, I was left with sheets that feel nearly the same as when they went in.
There was quite a bit of shrinkage, but I think Alterra Pure accounted for that when they made the sheets because despite the pockets shrinking almost 2 inches, the fitted sheet grips my mattress perfectly.
In addition to the texture and shrinkage, I noticed that they stayed quite wrinkly, despite finally trying the damp washcloth method (which worked minimally). All of the set pieces don two very classy pinstripes close to the edges—one red and one blue—which serve as functional stitchings.
The coconut buttons on the duvet are a good size relative to their respective holes, which I really appreciate because tough buttons can really beat up a set of fingertips.
My Alterra Pure Findings
As I mentioned before, the sheets maintained their parachute-esque feel even after washing. I was a little skeptical going into this review, because the only other percale set I’ve reviewed so far is the Primary Goods set, which placed quite low on my list. Surprisingly, Alterra Pure’s collection does not remind me of the Primary Goods’ percale set at all, which honestly is a giant bonus in my book. The sheets have a kind of slick feel to them making movement easy and slightly slippery. The percale fabric is very breathable and comfortable no matter the temperature—I actually find it more temperature regulative than some of the other cotton sheet sets I’ve tried.
My Alterra Pure Recommendation
I really love these sheets. I ended up liking the slippery texture, and the temperature regulation is aces. Everything from the red and blue stitching to the box design has me smitten, which is rare for cotton sheets—cotton sheets are pretty hit and miss for me. I love everything Alterra Pure stands for, and I commend them for taking such a firm stance on their values in every aspect of their production line. Their prices are on par with other organic cotton sets—$160 for queen size sheets, $160 for a queen size duvet cover, and $285 as a bundle. Primary Goods sells a queen size percale cotton bundle for $269 normally, but occasionally marks it down for $179. While Primary Goods percale set is considerably less expensive during markdown times, the quality of materials, comfort, and values woven into each inch of Alterra Pure’s bedding make the price worth every penny.
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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.