What is Pearl Velvet?
10 years ago today we got a call from Wang Li, one of our great merchandisers in China. She was noticeably excited and taking fast about a new material she wanted to show us. We’d told her we were looking to develop a baby blanket for our customers that was easy in maintenance but more durable than the fleece or velour materials that dominated the market back then. Wang Li believed she had found what we were looking for, so a colleague and I went down to visit her and see for ourselves.
We looked at a lot of different weights and thicknesses of this new material, or new weaving technique to be exact, and did certainly love the soft and cuddly hand feeling it had. But what really convinced us was the fact that pilling just does not occur on this material. Plus, it seemed to just get softer and lusher with each wash. So compared to the existing fabrics at the time, it had an incredibly long life cycle. Buying one blanket to use for three children rather than three blankets for one child is the most sustainable idea we know. So this was a product we really needed.
Having convinced ourselves that we could put our own signature prints on the fabrics, we placed an order for three styles and went back home. Even though this was 10 years ago, I still see some of these first blankets in use today. Do you own one of these vintage beauties? Send a picture, I’d love to see them. Over the years we’ve made improvements such as making it double layered and adding a cotton binding. But the fabric itself remains the same. We update with new styles each season and maintain a few base colours in our assortment over time. It’s one of those products that I can almost guarantee will be part of our range forever. I love it that much. So, what about the name? Well, since it was a brand-new invention when we picked it up, we had to figure something out. We chose velvet as that is in fact the weave technique used, and “Pearl” refers to the tiny knot that is made on the base of the fibre loops forming the velvet. This little knot holds the secret to its many great qualities. It keeps the fabric from tearing and also curls the fibres a bit which is what gives the fluffy hand feeling. We have this little “pearl” to thank for a truly great product. But most of all I guess we have Wang Li to thank. So, from me, the entire Elodie team, and from countless babies and toddlers I know – Thank you Wang Li for picking up the phone that day and convincing us you’d found a pearl.
/ Linda, Co-Founder and Creative Director