About Us

Hi there! Thank you for visiting our website…Or ‘hosgeldiniz’ in Turkish…

Let me first introduce myself. I am Ilgen. I was born and bred in Turkey and moved to the UK with my family in 2005 because of an imminent job assignment from my other half. He is my business partner, strategic planner, quality controller, consultant and beyond! He is the unseen but ever-present face of Cotton & Olive.

My journey with the Turkish peshtemal hammam towels started a couple of years after we moved to the UK. It all began with an idea that quickly became a reality as I was always fond of traditional lightweight hammam towels. When I first started to give them a go as a mock-business, it was more like a hobby rather than a fully-time business. In a few short years it turned into a serious business with great potential for growth but never losing its fun spirit.

The peshtemal towels have evolved from the traditional Turkish hammam tradition. They have always been used as a modesty cover since the Ottoman times to wrap around the nude body while bathing with the others in public Turkish baths. These towels have, of course, improved tremendously in quality and have gained a more fashionable aspect over time without losing their lovable authenticity. Their practicality made them find their way out of the hammam boundaries. With the recent spike in demand for these peshtemal hammam towels, they moved not only beyond the boundaries of hammam culture but also beyond Turkey. They became fashionable, multi-functional, urban towels with the naive undertones of the Ottoman-Turkish cultural traits. I am particularly proud to be a part of these authentic towels transformation from local to international recognition.

These fantastically purposeful towels are perfect for everyday use. Their compactness, high absorbency, lightweight and quick-dry features cope extremely well with the demands of the fast-moving modern world whilst being extremely charming with their lovely colour schemes and softness. They are utilitarian towels, as I call them, based on simplicity and efficiency to do the job at hand wherever you are, either on-the-go or at home. They are also great as a sofa throw, a fancy tablecloth, a sarong, a sand-free beach/picnic blanket or simply as a compact towel for your gym bag or backpack. Just let your imagination take over…

Having raised a family and safely test driven my venture for a couple of years, I decided to share the benefits of these inspiring peshtemal hammam towels with others and do my part to make them known beyond their home. In October 2012 we officially launched our website, selling our towels to UK consumers online. It doesn’t feel like selling but rather sharing my passion for them with like-minded people with like-minded lifestyles to cope better with their busy, upbeat lives while embracing a cultural heritage which I genuinely value.

So here we are, proudly presenting our beautiful peshtemal towels and robes, naturally complemented by hand-crafted olive oil soaps from Antakya, my hometown in Southern Turkey, right on the Syrian border. This antique city has a long history of traditional soap-making. Made with all natural cleansing ingredients, they are particularly beneficial for skin. And our journey just carries on by adding new product variations like peshtemal cotton sofa throws and peshtemal bedspreads.

Utility chic with tons of fabulous fun & functionality is our mantra.

Thank you for sharing and spreading our passion.

Ilgen Paydas
Marketing Manager