Retailer sets up wholesale business for towel distribution
Ottoman Hamam is helping to ensure the survival of traditionally hand loomed Turkish towels after signing on to distribute the product.
Almost lost due to competition with mass production, the towels were discovered by retailers Les Lauder and Mark Howard who originally bought the product to sell in their stores.
“We deal in a lot of textiles from throughout the world and constantly see the workmanship of a craft that has been lost,” says Lauder on the company’s website. “We didn’t want that to happen to the authentic hand loomed Ottoman towel, so set up Ottoman Hamam to introduce Australia to the hand loomed towels and support the weaving families to continue their craft.”
They received so many national and international enquiries for the towels they decided to set up a wholesale business.
“We started quite small,” explains Matthew Lucas, general manager. “We started with the stall at the trade fair and we met the right sort of retail clients so we were very happy with that result… and business has been steady online so we can sell wholesale through our website. Customers can apply for a wholesale password and that has been quite consistent which I was quite surprised by actually. Yeah it has been going well and our own retail store is doing well with the product [too].”
The best-selling product at the Melbourne Gift Fair was the boucle towel but the original style hamam towel, pestamel, is popular with online wholesale clients.
“Maybe the people online know what they’re looking for and they already have a customer base for pestamel (pictured above) which takes a bit of getting used to. You’ve got to explain that to a customer and make them understand that you can use it as a towel and it’s great for the beach and it dries faster but more absorbent.”
Ottoman Hamam is considering expanding its product offering beyond towels by adding other products handmade by artisans such as bath brushes.