Brooklinen review: Could bed sheets be life-changing?
When a bed sheet brand all the way from Brooklyn emails you to sample their products, you know they mean business. Firstly, how and why would a Singapore-based person contribute a small cut of their salary into a small business in Brooklyn? Well, not just because some of us still sadly subscribe to the notion that 'West is best' (note that new Singapore brands such as Yuu and SOJAO have started selling sheets too), but because, well, they're just so damn Instagrammable. But we're not going to buy sheets just for that Insta-promise (they're now on 74,000 followers and counting). What Brooklinen's done right is knowing their market: The millennial who's just moved into their new pad, paid a bomb for rent (or in our case, a BTO) and wants to live the high SES life with a low SES budget. Yes folks, it's possible to have hotel quality sheets without spending a bomb.
A brand that started on Kickstarter (they simply asked for US$50,000) by husband-and-wife team Rich, a business school graduate from New York University and Vicki Fulop, a public relations professional, it grew from selling classic sheets to fine-tuning details and adding new styles and materials over the years. Luxe sheets were introduced in 2015, before adding linen, then twill in 2017. This year saw them breaking into towel territory. "Got my towels yesterday. They are astonishing. They are made from hair spun from Odin's beard," said a reviewer. If that wasn't promising, then the brand wouldn't know how else to convince you.
But first, let's just get this out of the way. Dump those IKEA sheets. Seriously, IKEA's collaborations with street style designers and artists might be too cool for school, but their bedsheets aren't. Firstly, you don't really know where they came from. Something which boutique bedding brands like Brooklinen provide — a brand story — is important in establishing a connection between yourself and that thing you lie (and God knows do what else) on night after night. Brooklinen's cotton comes from the mills of Turkey's Aegean region, where its cotton is famed for its softness and absorbency. A family-owned factory in Denizli produces its towels (a bathing staple that was apparently invented in Turkey), while Portugal is where they source for their stonewashed linen and twill collections, the latter so soft, it feels like you're sleeping on your boyfriend's flannel shirt.
Living your best life
Let's talk about their branding and marketing materials for a second. Each delivery comes with a handy printed guide that inspires you to live your best life, with inclusive (all colours, all sexual orientations) casting that makes you feel part of a greater community... yes, a special place in heaven is reserved for people who care about bedsheets. The information sheet also shares stories on the founders' background, tips from the Brooklinen team on how to make the most out of your sheets, as well as illustrated yoga poses you can try for a better sleep. We're surprised a recipe for a morning after smoothie bowl wasn't included as well.
With a calling card to offer stylish home essentials without the luxury markup, Brooklinen cuts the middle man, physical rental fees and departmental store charges so that unnecessary costs can be cut. Their most premium range, a Luxe sheet bundle, consists of a 480-thread count flat sheet, duvet cover, fitted sheet and two pillowcases. It costs US$149, which is a steal when you compare it to the likes of Frette, where a Damascus Border sheet (one of their most popular items) can retail up to US$700. On sale. Of course, we're talking about the crème de la crème of sheets here — Frette outfits the likes of The Peninsula, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons.
But if you're not ready to shell out the big bucks for a luxury hotel experience, Brooklinen can provide you with, say, the boutique hotel bedding experience, which isn't too shabby. They use only long-staple cotton as it produces the longest, strongest and finest cotton fibres in the world. Longer cotton fibres can be spun into stronger, finer yarns, and produce extremely smooth and supple weaves. By using single-ply yarn spun from long-staple cotton, the sheets end up being light, soft and long-lasting, unlike multi-ply yarns that consist of a group of weaker fibers twisted together to create a false strength.
I chose to try the Luxe sheets, which uses the sateen weave. With more thread surface exposed by the three-over, one-under weave that gives sateen its signature silky-soft feel and luminous sheen, it's more tightly woven and heavier than the percale. More air goes through the percale weave, whose thread pattern is just one over and one under. Luxe is the heavy, softer sister to the airy, crisp Classic collection that's great if you sleep with a fan in Singapore's humid conditions.
As soon as I Instagrammed the arrival of the Brooklinen sheets, my DMs were on fire. In-the-know industry mates were stoked to hear my feedback, to which I'll refer them to this review, of course, but it helped to know that Brooklinen has sparked some curiosity in Singapore, too. At first touch, I immediately felt how buttery soft the Luxe sheets were, and also how noticeably heavier they were compared to normal sheets. Brooklinen suggests you wash your sheets first, which I did, but struggled a little with its weight. The duvet cover is secured with buttons instead of the usual zip, which I thought was a nice touch. Meanwhile, the fitted sheet also comes with tags that tell you where the long side is — a handy little helper that made me wonder why other brands hadn't done the same. Then comes the top sheet, an essential in every good hotel bed. "What the hell do you do with a top sheet?", I Googled. After reading two GQ articles that rivaled each other on its necessity, I learned that it protects your duvet or blanket like how a fitted sheet protects your mattress.
I slept like a baby on my first night, but also woke up with a considerable amount of sweat around my neck (yes, I'm all about the details here). Brooklinen did mention that the Classic range is more suited to hot and humid climates, so the Luxe fabric's lack of breathability might not have been the best option here. After the second night, I noticed a tear in the seams of one of the pillowcases. "That's fast," I thought, unimpressed, and proceeded to arrange for a replacement.
As soon as I entered the Brooklinen site, a support agent popped up on a chatbox asking what she could help me with. Even better, it has a read receipt, just like Facebook messenger and Skype — but don't worry, you won't be blue-ticked by someone here. You're also speaking with an actual person who shows what he or she looks like. After keying in my details and issue with the pillowcase, a delivery was arranged promptly. The entire process was pretty personable, injected with smiling emojis. The support agent even wished me a nice evening, seeing that I was in Singapore and it was 6.25pm. The replacement pillowcases arrived without any issues.
After being bought in by Brooklinen's on point branding and their promise of living my best life (albeit asleep), I have to say that their sheets are worth a buy. Sure, it's more than what I'd normally fork out for a set of sheets, but it's neither an exorbitant nor overpriced amount. You know what you're paying for, and you know what you're getting into. Are these bed sheets life-changing? Nope. I still had the same issues and complexes, with my attraction to dangerous men still intact. But these sheets did lead me to a better sleep for a better day ahead, one that has led me to make smarter decisions in life when it came to self-care (did you really think I'd do an entire story on bedsheets without dropping that buzzword?).
I'd recommend the Luxe sheets if you always sleep with an air-condition on. If not, the cheaper Classic sheets will do. Trust me, sweet dreams are made of these.