Updated: Apr 24, 2021
West Coast Mercantile founders, Mitch and Ani, bicker. Constantly. It's kinda our thing. We've been together for over 30 years, though, so it ain't changing. At this point, our bickering is the cayenne pepper that adds a bit more character to life. You know, keeps us honest and on our toes. So when we were starting our company, the fact that we quickly agreed that our products would be socially responsible and have a minimal impact to the environment... well, it was truly momentous.
The foundational principle for our business was pretty simple, really; don’t make the world worse. Our first objective, then, was that the fabric used in our inaugural product must be something that won’t last for infinity in a landfill, or worse, in our valuable water resources. This important objective would mean that certain materials would be ruled out and guide our choices on everything we do, from raw materials to packaging and shipping, to how we operate on a daily basis.
A political choice, this was not. Our multi-cultural family spans nearly all major ethnicities, political views and religions. We've got it all. Preppers, artists, tree huggers, veterans... there are no shortage of different points of views in this family tent. But the one thing we collectively cringe about is the science strongly indicating we are creating one hell of a shit-storm for the next several generations. This one is up to us to fix, and it breaks our heart imagining our daughter wearing a respirator just to go outside in an apocalyptic, dystopian future when she reaches adulthood when we are long gone. Overly dramatic? Perhaps. At least, we hope it is. As parents, however, these are the protective instincts that spur us into action.
First step? Avoid synthetic materials.
Microfiber sheets are popular, inexpensive, and feel smooth and silky. But microfiber is a petroleum-based product. It’s plastic. As a company, being responsible for creating a plastic product that is destructive to our most precious resource, water, and never degrades is not the kind of legacy we want to leave behind. Imagine, a thousand years from now - if mankind has somehow managed to figure out how to get along and not destroy itself - someone will be landscaping their backyard and dig up a pieces of microfiber sheets. That archeologic discovery will probably look and feel remarkably the same as the day it came off the production line, and that person will shake their head in disbelief of our choices. #StopTheMicrofiber.
Fabric is only part of the story
Don’t get us wrong. We aren’t a bunch of hard-core enviro-nuts, by a long shot. We haven't yet mastered the requisite level of discipline to be environmentally perfect. But we didn’t want to enter into a Faustian bargain, either. For us, there was only one choice; certified organic cotton. But of course, we didn’t stop there. Our manufacturing partner is Fair Trade certified and nearly all of the power they consume in the manufacturing process is from renewable solar energy. So yeah, guilt free.
What about the packaging?
We love great packing. Apple is the KING of great looking packaging. It’s always uber modern and clean, a work of art, really, and so appealing you can’t bear to throw it away. We almost always take their packaging and put it on a desk or in a drawer because, well, it feels wasteful to toss art in the garbage, right? Eventually, it makes it way to a storage container. Inevitably, the trashcan inherits the scuffed-up, semi-crushed box, because much of it isn’t even recyclable.
Does our natural inclination of trying to find some use of packaging from our favorite companies make sense? Not in the slightest. Sure, amazing packaging
evokes an emotional reaction and we form an opinion of the product quality based on the perception of the packaging. The packaging's primary purpose, however, is to temporarily protect the item purchased during the supply chain that delivered it to the customer. The cost of fancy packaging, in both monetary and environmental terms, is not insignificant. If we are being honest with ourselves, it's going to end up in a landfill at some point.
We have decided to opt out of this madness. West Coast Mercantile’s packaging is earth friendly, recyclable, and simple packaging to reduce unnecessary expense and waste. Even the ink on the shipping box is vegetable based.
And of course, we had to add one more thing…
We also include an organic storage bag that you can use to store your newly favorite sheets, so you know exactly which set to pull out of your closet shelf. For those really awesome customers that bestow upon us multiple orders, you can mark the bags for the different sizes you are using in your roost, so you know exactly which set you are taking out of your closet for your mattress.
Thank you, and in the words and spirit of the character Maui on one of our favorite animated films, "You’re welcome."