Sylvia and Tim Hill appreciate a good towel - the perfect weight, size and texture, combined with sustainable materials and a simple design. Living on the Gold Coast and spending weekends at the beach with their newborn, they discovered a gap in the market for high quality towels that were versatile and stylish, so the couple combined forces to create turkish towel brand, MAYDE. We chat with one half of the duo, Sylvia Hill, about the greatest challenges of running a small business, how she stays inspired and our recent Kind Curations x MAYDE collaboration.
You were one of the first brands to introduce Turkish Towels to Australia. How did you discover them and why do you love them so much?
My husband Tim and I knew we were going to start a towel business - it was on the cards for a long time. However it was really by accident that we stumbled upon Turkish towels, one random afternoon - but I was sold straight away! Once I realised how perfect the design was in terms of its weight, size and sustainability, I couldn’t get past them. Living on the Gold Coast, being parents to a newborn and hitting the beach often, it just made total sense that more lightweight towels were needed in the market. The simplicity and versatility was a no brainer and we’ve loved them ever since.
What's your creative process like? How do you remain inspired?
I devour home and design magazines like it’s nobody's business, but you’ll also find me going down the foxholes of Pinterest and Instagram often for inspiration. Travel is a big one as well, though we’ve had to improvise on that in the last 12 months...I’m naturally more drawn to neutral palettes, but love a pop of colour, so our ranges generally feature a good dose of both, and the colour ways featured have no doubt been inspired by a myriad of things - a colour of fabric on a couch, the blue in the sky on a particularly sunny day, the sage green of the brushy grass in the sand dunes…mental notes are always taken!
How do you juggle running a small business and having a life? What are the greatest challenges?
Well, juggle is definitely the right word - and each year since we started the brand has seen a change for us and in how we run our business, but I guess the main thing we’ve learned is adapt, adapt, adapt. We have two boys, with both now attending primary school, so we luckily now have good solid chunks of the day that we dedicate to work - after that, it’s really more about the kids and family time and we try to switch off when we can, keep things seperate. Of course, sometimes it’s really busy and the work days can meld into home life, but we balance it out eventually. The challenges are always there, they just change day to day!
Tell us a little about the design of the two towels in the Kind Curations collaboration?
Oh we do love these towels! The Noosa towel is an OG - we started our brand with this towel, so it’s been around for years and rightly so - lightweight, classic and simple horizontal stripes on a natural base, it’s always a winner! On the opposite side, we have the brand new Valla towel, which is a beautiful blend of cotton on one side and linen on the other. It has a bit more heft, and really suits anyone with a taste for a more neutral and homely palate…we decided to go with a chocolate brown as the main colour, which can be both feminine and masculine. They’re both a great size (tall people rejoice), and you’ll be able to use them as you wish! Towel, yes. Table cloth, yes. Throw, yes. Baby wrap, yes. Again, it’s all about the simplicity and versatility.
What are you noticing at the moment in your industry in terms of trends and where it's heading?
We’re definitely noticing a movement of thicker jacquard towels coming to the forefront - whilst we will always love a lightweight towel, there’s definitely a place in our hearts for a thick and plush towel too. We’ve had many clients approach us looking for more vintage style scalloped patterns and intricate line work, and in fact we will also be bringing out our own plush jacquard terry towel this year too, a passion project that we’ve been working on for over a year.
What's your most memorable moment from your Turkey travels?
Oh there are many - I guess for me, apart from seeing our suppliers and building on the wonderful relationships we have established with them, it’s just being in the centre of Istanbul and feeling safe, happy and curious - it’s a very walkable city and I can’t tell you how many times i’ve bounded from one part to another and back again. Miles of shops, restaurants, river, ancient architecture, religion & culture... it’s all inspiring and you can walk from sunrise to sundown without stopping. A truly vibrant place to visit and once Covid is gone, I can’t wait to go back.