Believe it or not today is national 'Bubble Bath Day'. Take from that what you will, but it got me thinking...why do baths make us feel so darn good?
For me it's part of my night-time ritual, it's relaxing, it takes me away from screens and the demands of family life and gets me set for sleep. On the rare occasions that I have free time in the morning a warm bath is also a wonderfully indulgent treat.
But baths aren't just cosmetic - there are a wealth of health benefits to regularly dipping your toes in the tub.
It's scary, launching your own business. Releasing your dream out to the world can leave you feeling uncertain, vulnerable and can shake the most confident of convictions.
And it's challenging going it alone. Whilst it's exciting doing the ground work, ultimately it's all your call, your responsibility. You wear all the hats and have no-one to bounce your ideas off, to question your approach and, probably - most importantly to validate your idea.
I always knew that I wanted to run a congruent business and Lüks' commitment to ethical and sustainable products is growing, as I grow, and become increasingly aware of the importance of how we produce and what we, as a nation of consumers buy.
I am by no stretch of the imagination and expert, I'm really at the beginning of my journey and it is encouraging to see highly visible companies such as H&M building on their sustainability strategy in the face of increasing interest from their consumers, and 55 companies signing a sustainable fashion and textile covenant with the Dutch government pledging to tackle poor working conditions, child labour and safety in manufacturing countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey.
And it's not only the big guys that are taking action, in fact many beautifully creative and committed independents are leading the charge, companies like People Tree - stalwarts in this arena, Cuyana with their 'fewer, better', 'lean closet' philosophy and Tara Button at BuyMeOnce who is championing the 'lifetime product' movement (and who we have just partnered with) are truly an inspiration.
Actually when I think on this, I come to a realisation...that all the amazing companies and individuals already out there making a stand, leading the way and meeting a need are all the mentors, and, perhaps all the validation that I need...
Well...almost - much as we've tried our towels can't yet open a bottle!
At Lüks we firmly believe that ‘less is more’ and our ‘multi-talented’ towels deliver this in buckets, which is why we are so in love with them and committed to making them just a little bit more famous.
Whilst Peshtemals or foutas, as they are traditionally known were originally used in hamam’s and were a well kept secret for many years, today their uses have spread far beyond drying! Although that’s not to say they aren’t perfect for doing just that, as being handwoven from cotton does make them both incredibly soft and highly absorbent.
Due to their weave they are incredibly lightweight and compact, and as such can be used for all manor of purposes making them the ideal travel, day trip and gym companion as well as being perfect for use throughout the home.
The Swiss army knife of the linen world they also take up less storage space than your average towel and also require less laundering, making them a little kinder on the environment.
All of our towels are ethically sourced and hand woven by master weavers, which also makes a feel a little warmer and fuzzier inside, and with the right love and care they can last a lifetime!
Uses: Beach towel, bath towel, scarf, baby blanket, table linen, knotty bag, bed or sofa throw, dresses, sarongs wraps and shawls
The handwoven Turkish towel (‘peshtemal’ or ‘fouta’) is a unique product that is finally having it’s moment. From A list celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow to Oprah Winfrey to interior stylists and online line fashion stores - many are extolling the unique benefits of these centuries old products.
And as we become increasingly environmentally and ethically aware of how and where our goods are produced, it is only a matter of time before the peshtemal becomes a valuable, if not essential everyday item for savvy and eco-friendly consumers.
In an age of high consumption and disposable, throw away living the peshtemal offers a much needed antidote.
Some of the best quality towels are produced in the Denizli region of Turkey, where master ateliers weave on shuttle looms, with locally grown, spun and dyed natural cotton.
Highly absorbent and quick drying they are perfect for the bathroom and being lightweight they don’t take up much room in bags or suitcases so make the ideal travel, festival, gym towel or as a baby blanket.
Being woven from cotton they are gentle on the skin, and also a little kinder to the environment as they take up less space in the washing machine and do not need to be laundered as often as traditional towels.
Peshtemals also come in a stunning range of colour and patterns so can also be worn as fashion accessories. They are great for layering as seasonal scarves and wraps, and when those warmer summer days and holidays come they make great sarongs and dresses.
Less, in this case, is definitely more!
And it’s not just the versatility of these towels that is compelling but their history and culture too.
The history of the peshtemal starts in the 14th century, when the first hamams, or public baths were built. To this day hamams include hot steam rooms and cold water for bathing and provide both relaxation and socialisation, whilst ridding the body of toxins providing a number of health benefits.
The ‘flat woven’ peshtemal, became prevalent in the 17th century and was used in the hamams as it could be wrapped around the body to protect one’s modesty whilst at the baths as well as being perfect to dry the body after bathing. Handwoven on shuttle looms the peshtemal was originally long and narrow but now commonly measures around 90 x 170cm.
They were also used during ceremonial baths for brides the day before their weddings where different towels were used for the brides head, shoulders and body.
As the Ottoman Empire grew, so did the use of the towel. Weavers were asked to embroider more elaborate designs, aided by their knowledge of carpet-weaving. By the 18th century, towels began to feature loops sticking up from the pile of the material. These looped towels became known as havly; over time, this word has changed to havlu, the Turkish word for towel.
Like many hand crafts the looming industry was hard hit by mechanisation and the introduction of machine manufacturing, at one point looked sure to destroy this artisan industry. (Machines could produce thousands of towels in the same time that took an artisan to produce just one by hand).
That coupled with modernisation and mobility also meant that younger generations were increasingly keen to leave their villages to head for the opportunities that city living afforded them, leaving no-one left to pass their centuries old traditions down to.
But…that mobility has, in part led to the revival of this art form, as more people travel for work and pleasure the handwoven peshtemal has since somewhat of a resurgence, which has, in turn provided an increased demand for these original, high quality handwoven products.
The traditional shuttle looms are back in business, producing towels of a quality that the machines simply can’t compete with. Their high speeds stressing the cotton fibres resulting in a rough, poor quality feel. In comparison the gentle click-clack of the shuttle loom respecting the cotton and create a luxuriously soft towel, that with the proper love and care can last a lifetime.
We've been thinking about this for a while. How can we, as a new, small business provide support for those who need it?
Well we are all now acutely aware of the humanitarian crisis that is the war in Syria.
One that has forced tens of thousands of men, women and children to flee their homes and risk their lives in perilous boat journeys to Europe.
One that has found them camping in awful conditions just 30 miles from our shores and living, predominantly on the goodwill of charities and voluntary organisations,
With no immediate resolution in sight how can we try to make day to day life a little better?
In partnership with Care 4 Calais we are launching a 'get one, gift one' initiative.
It's simple - for any product you buy from us we will reinvest the profits to provide a towel for a refugee. Care 4 Calais will then collect, transport and distribute them.
Being multi-faceted our towels can not only be used as lightweight, absorbent, quick drying towels, but also as scarves, baby blankets, wraps and throws to provide an extra layer of comfort and warmth. Being cotton woven they are also compact and can easily fit into a rucksack, which, sadly is all some of the refugees have left to their names.
It's not a solution to the problem, far from it and we need to lean on our governments to do the right thing here, but we think it will help in the short term, to give these people something useful, to let them know that they're not alone and that we support them.
You can find out more info here
I ask that you share this post and the link so we can get as many towels as we can over to Calais.
Love and Light.