I was recently introduced to two local business women, Carol and Susan, and felt inspired to share their story. Carol and Susan are the duo behind Marmara Imports. I was incredibly impressed by their products and I know you will be too.
Named after the Sea of Marmara near Istanbul, Turkey, the company sells Turkish towels, linens and blankets. When I asked how the business got started, Susan replied, "It was really serendipitious. Carol and I worked together at Harvard and we often traveled together. When we retired, Turkey had long been on both of our lists, so we made a trip there. We both fell in love with the towels! They were the towels in our hotel and we just flipped over them. We decided to bring some home with us for ourselves, our friends and our family. Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean during that 10 hour flight, we said, 'Hey, we should try and sell these!'"
As a person who regularly dreams about having her own business, I couldn't resist picking Susan's brain further to learn how this idea germinated and became a full-time business endeavor. She explained, "A couples month later we went back to Turkey. Neither of us knew anyting about retail. We just knew we loved the towels and this type of product was long overdue for the U.S. in terms of eco-friendliness. Now that we're into it, we find that the yougner generation really gets it and wants that enviormentally friendly commitment from the products they buy."
Carol continued, "We went and visited with the weavers. We wanted to make sure that we were selling authentic, hand-loomed towels. Originally we started with five different vendors, but we had some issues (wrong colors, wrong order counts) - it was difficult. Eventually we narrowed it down to one vendor and she's been a great business parnter for us."
Susan then added, "We really love the Turks. They are such a genuine and welcoming people. We wanted to bring some of that spirit back to the U.S."
Marmara Imports has two headquarters - one in Newton, MA and one in Truro, MA. It's possible you have seen Carol and Susan on the Greenway, at the SoWa Open Market or at the Wellfleet Artisan Market on Cape Cod.
After learning about Marmara Imports, I had to try the products for myself. The first to arrive was the South Beach Towel. It came just a few days before I was headed to Narragansett, Rhode Island for a bachelorette party. I tossed it in my bag, knowing it would come in handy at the house and at the beach.
The South Beach Towel comes in many colors, this one is called marine blue. I am always looking for blue things when it comes to clothes and accessories (to match my blue eyes) and what I love about this is that I can use it as a towel (shower, beach, pool) or as a wrap if I get chilly. It's super light weight and wonderfully soft.
What's nice about the South Beach Towel as opposed to a regular terry cloth towel is that they dry very quickly. Each day we were in Rhode Island when we came back from the beach, I just tossed the towel over the porch railing and let is dry in the sun. Easy peasy!
If you think you would miss the terry cloth feel of a traditional towel, Maramara Imports also makes a version of the Turkish towel with terry cloth on one side.
Now I know what you must be thinking, "Molly, beach season is over." Well, that's true. But lucky for you, Marmara Imports also makes blankets. As we transition into fall and cool breezes at night, this is the perfect time to treat yourself to a new go-to throw.
The blanket I picked out is the Farmer's Stitch Blanket in emerald. As soon as I opened the package I swooned over the rich, jewel tone color.
The Farmer's Stitch Blankets offer the softness of cashmere with the versatility of 100% raw, unbleached Turkish cotton. I am telling you, being wrapped in this blanket feels like wearing your favorite, coziest sweater.
Since the very first night I unboxed the blanket, I've had it on my side of the couch (the other side is Scout's, obviously). It never stays folded for long, because I always want to be under it.
When people come over I like draping it over the whole couch. It adds a nice pop of color that goes perfectly with my royal purple walls.
Another fun feature of the blanket is that it's reversible. In the summer months I'll flip it to the lighter side.
I'm not the only one obsessed with the blanket; it has received the Scout seal of approval!
If you'd like to have a Marmara Imports item in your own home, there has never been a better time to buy. Carol and Susan are exhibiting at two boats shows this fall and in honor of those events they are offering 15% off all purchases between now and October 15, 2016. Simply enter the code FALL SAIL at checkout.
*This post was created in collaboration with Marmara Imports. As always, all opinions are 100 percent my own.