Initially, I had to trust what I was told, I was working from home in Brighton and dealing remotely with traders in Turkey. Both the distance and the language barrier were a challenge for all of us. I'll admit in the beginning I was just giddy with excitement - I loved the idea of it all, and was like a bull at a gate to get going. In this whirlwind and hamstrung by geographical distance I took what I was given. Boxes arrived full of colour and texture - it was shopping by proxy and I loved it.
As luck, or some kind of cosmic alignment would have it we had made friends with a local agent in Kalkan who gave me the details of an atelier who sold towels and blankets from the Grand Bazaar - as random as that seems, I had nothing to lose so I got in touch and, through a combination of gesticulated phone calls, text and Facebook messages placed my first proper samples order.
It's one thing being on holiday, visualising your new venture from a thousand miles away, safe in the sunshiny bubble of a daydream. Holidays give you a clarity and objectivity that being at home simply doesn't. I could see exactly how everything was going to look and evolve, where my products were going to be stocked, the editorial coverage...the success. The reality, however is vastly different.
And here is where it happened - my sun-bed ephiphany, in between chasing the kids to the pontoon and (finally) getting around to reading Shantaram I noticed most of the locals and several tourists with what looked to be very thin towels in a myriad of gorgeous colours and patterns. Whilst they were obviously beach towels they were also using them as scarves, wraps and sarongs as they wended their way up to the restaurant for lunch and folding them neatly, sometimes two or three at a time into their rucksacks and beach bags as they packed up for the evening.