Hi there! Thank you for popping into our page…Or ‘hosgeldiniz’ in Turkish…
Let me first introduce myself. I am Ilgen. Probably the first person you will encounter within any interaction with Cotton & Olive. I was born and bred in Turkey and moved to the UK with the family in 2005 because of an imminent job assignment of my other half within BP. 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 later we moved to the UK. It all began with an idea quickly becoming a reality as I was always fond of these 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-engaging business. In a few years’ time, it turned out to be a serious business with great potential for growth but never ever lost its fun spirit, in the least.
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 very trendy, multifunctional, urban towels with the naive undertones of the Ottoman-Turkish cultural traits. And I am particularly very proud of being part of these authentic towels’ transformation from their locality to the world-league.
These fantastically purposeful towels are perfect for everyday use. Given to their compactness, high absorbency, lightweight and quick-dry features, these peshtemal Hammam towels cope extremely well with the demands of the fast-moving modern world whilst being extremely charming with their lovely colour schemes, softness and original tassels. 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 first class towels to dry in the first place. Yet nothing stops you to utilize them as a sofa throw, or a fancy tablecloth or even a curtain may be 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 you over…
Having raised the family and safely test-drove my venture with the peshtemals 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 have officially launched our webpage selling these Peshtemal Hammam 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 the hand-crafted, olive oil soaps from Antakya, my hometown, down in the Southern Turkey right on the Syrian border. This antique city has a very long history of traditional soap-making for centuries. The soaps may not look visually attractive, I admit, but they are beautiful in essence with all natural cleansing ingredients, 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, spreading our passion.