Boll & Branch, which specializes in selling organic cotton, fair-trade bedsheets, towels, and mattresses, pivoted in one week to getting mattresses into overflow centers in the New York City area to treat COVID-19 patients during the peak of the pandemic in the city.
Scott Tannen, CEO and cofounder of Boll & Branch, knows how to build supply chains, having developed a brand around working directly with manufacturers in India to produce a more ethical line of products.
But when residents like himself received Governor Cuomo’s email in mid-March alerting locals that New York City would be building a 1,000 bed pop-up hospital in the Javits Center, he started thinking about his company could help.
“We evaluated PPE options but recognized we didn’t have the infrastructure or proper supplies to be able to support the front lines. We recognized that larger establishments with access to proper machinery and substantial output could likely better service that need,” he says. So instead of donating masks, he turned to mattresses, something the company has recently added on as an offering.
“We looked to our U.S. supply chain and found that our mattress and pillow suppliers met the tangible needs of the state and could produce within a short time frame. With this approach we were also able to keep our partner’s facilities running and staff employed while giving back,” Tannen says.
The mattresses produced by Boll & Branch’s mattress manufacturing partner are composed of different hospital-grade materials and come in a Twin XL to meet the necessary criteria. So far, Boll & Branch have donated 1,000 mattresses there along with 5,000 pillows.
As the need has expanded and shifted from the Javits Center in the last few weeks, Boll & Branch will now be donating an additional additional 500 mattresses to the state of Pennsylvania to be used in homeless shelters for veterans.
The homeless shelter situation across the state is bulging at the seams right now, Tannen says, because of the pandemic and they are trying to add new capacity to keep folks off of the streets while maintaining proper distances between them.
The hospital grade mattresses they are donating will also allow them to disinfect much more precisely and therefore keep a healthier environment for their residents.
As the pandemic unfolds across the U.S., Tannen and his team have been in touch with a dozen or so states with high numbers of COVID cases.
Fortunately, he notes, the need for outfitting field hospitals has lessened as the curve has flattened. Thus, they’ve decided that donating additional mattresses to help homeless veterans would be a better option. They will continue donating, and have committed 10 percent of their sales to the cause.
In fact, the company is part of a broader initiative, Brands X Better, a coalition of brands who have united in an effort to give back to those affected by COVID-19, while supporting conscious consumerism, and “doing our part to keep the economy functioning,” Tannen says.
He notes that the company’s mission statement is “Crafted for the Common Good.” “With this effort we were so proud to be able to bring it to life; prioritizing the common good is more important now than ever,” Tannen says.