Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Between the Sheets
New York, NY
Nominated by Lower East Side People's Credit Union

They say never mix business and pleasure, but for Between the Sheets it has proved to be a winning combination. Launched in January 2010 by designer Layla L’obatti and environmental lawyer Josh Verleun our then-boyfriend-and-girlfriend (now husband-and-wife) partnership has seen our business steadily grow and expand alongside our fledgling romance, growing BTS into a purveyor of luxury sleep, lounge, and intimate apparel all made in New York City’s historic Garment Center.

In making the thousands of decisions that all came together to launch Between the Sheets we didn’t set out explicitly with the goal of creating an “eco-friendly” brand or to market ourselves as green.  But from the outset we both had a passion for creating a business that would make beautiful and high quality loungewear and lingerie the right way, in the US where workers are protected by minimum wage laws, and harsh sweatshop working conditions are illegal, and to make choices that do our part to protect the environment.  Along the way Layla chose many fabrics with inherently eco-friendly properties and decided to work with suppliers who are based in the US as much as possible. 

Between the Sheets’ launch and growth were also supported by an economic-stimulus-backed Small Business Administration (SBA) loan from a credit union devoted to community development in New York City. Our loan, which helped launch our first season, was quickly reinvested in our local community, paying local suppliers of lace, silk, and other findings, and the people who cut, sew, press, and pack our goods.

Today Between the Sheets ships to customers across the globe from our website www.btslingerie.com and is sold in boutiques across the US and in Canada. Our eco-friendly lingerie and lounge collections have been recognized by The Daily Green, Ecouterre, Martha Stewart Whole Living, Glamour Magazine, The Green Bride Guide, and others.

Between the Sheets is guided by the philosophy that our business should strive to support the three pillars of sustainability: economysociety, and environment. Sustainability is a daily commitment to look at each decision that our business makes and to evaluate the economic, societal, and environmental costs and benefits.

Sustainability is an ever-evolving journey, not a destination.  It demands that our business make informed decisions and be honest and transparent with our customers, so that they can make educated choices about the products they are purchasing. It’s important to us to share the conversations that typically remain behind the scenes, giving a greater insight into how our brand is made.

The Sustainability Statement hosted on our website sets forth in detail the sustainable practices and choices that our business makes daily in being a part of the global apparel supply chain from sourcing materials to manufacturing. Our sustainable choices include our lingerie made from sustainably cultivated beech trees woven and dyed in a vertically integrated mill powered by renewable hydro-power, and our custom laces and signature lace trims made in the US and sourced from one of the only remaining local lace manufacturers.

We are honored to have been nominated for the People and Planet Green Business Award, and if chosen as a winner, will invest the money to continue to grow product assortment of made-in-New-York lingerie and loungewear.

BELOW: Josh and Layla at their supplier factory in New York City.
Josh
Layla