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Harem Bath (Duygu - Begüm Öztürk)

first of all, i'd like to congratulate you guys for carrying a tradition to overseas! how exactly did this journey begin? 
Thank you, it is a strange story. Harem Bath is founded by two sisters, coming from the same family but very different from each other, just like Istanbul, where we are from, a beautiful chaos. 
We both love London and we wanted to be a part of the culture here, adding something which doesn’t exist from our own heritage and history… 
That’s when the hammam towel idea came in. Hammam towels had been done before but not like the way we do it… And that separates us from the others. We try to adapt and modernize the traditional element into the Artisan Modern European scene. We try to reach the everyday life of our customer. 
We are against the idea of mass factory manufacturing, so all the towels and bathrobes you find at Harem Bath is produced in a local family atelier, in the Anatolian grounds. 

how do you guys feel for having the material to narrate our Hammam culture to foreigners?  
The original idea of hammam in the history, was the Spas of today. It was not only to take a bath, but it was a ritual to relax, to cleanse the mind and soul. That's why the essential element of the hammam; a hammam towel, is not a strange element to our modern world. 
What we want to do is to show people that a hammam towel is more practical to use not only at steam rooms, but also at home after shower, at the gym, when traveling, and fashionably on the beach... Simply anywhere in our everyday life.
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Harem Bath (Duygu - Begüm Öztürk)

what is it that your customers find appealing in your products?  
Our main purpose is to be pure organic. We design and produce only 100% organic cotton towels that have the same function of a normal towel. People at first find it strange to believe in the fact that a super thin fabric like this cannot absorb water, but it does. Its magical. This was our biggest challenge to show people how practical it is. The best thing about Harem Bath towels are that they are super thin and they dry very quickly, not to mention they are easy to store too. Especially travellers find it very practical. 
One of our recent customers mentioned she actually used the towel to dry during her beach holiday and then used it on the plane as a shawl too which we thought was funny and innovative. 

what is happening in a busy day in the Harem Bath Studio?
We only realize it was a busy day when we leave the studio late in the evening. Not only are we e-commerce, but we also supply to London Spas, hotels and work bespoke with a variety of London boutiques. We love having meetings at the Studio over some Turkish Coffee.
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Harem Bath (Duygu - Begüm Öztürk)

who are the girls behind Harem Bath?
We are two sisters, as I mentioned. I'm Duygu, I have been living in London for 13 years. I came to London to study Theatre and Costumes in UAL, London College of Fashion and then Central Saint Martins for my masters. I worked as a freelance costume designer and maker for years, then started writing experimental theatre. I then wanted to start my own business and grow something from nothing. My luck was when my sister came in and decided to join me. 
Begüm studied foundation at LSE, then Business and Management at Queen Mary, then finished her masters in Consumer Insights at Goldsmiths. So it is the art and business combination and its sister power definitely. 

who & what are your inspirations?
Our inspiration is definitely the cities we are attached to. Istanbul mainly because its such an amazing mixture of east and west. The oriental elements in Istanbul are amazing to discover on every turn. And London, another great mixture of culture. Every street you walk, every step you take, the people you meet are inspirations on their own.

what would be the ultimate dream for your brand?  
Our ultimate dream would be to grow happy Harem Bath customers as we call ‘Haremers’. We are very customer satisfaction oriented, we move around customer’s reviews and needs. For instance, when we were doing marketing research, tried out the London markets and observed their reactions. Most of the first buyers thought the actual hammam towel texture was so nice that they would like to use it as sofa throws and bed covers. So we designed and made throws. This summer we are very excited to launch our new beach line! Seeing the success for our new beach line would be the most exciting news.  
We thought how can we develop our product range and designed a new fashion line using our very own dry-easy hammam towels, so that people can wear comfortably at the beach just after a swim or head for a happy hour. The beach line is made in London. So it is a great mixture of east and west, again, what we aim to do. 
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Harem Bath (Duygu - Begüm Öztürk)

what are your future plans?
We will be doing our first pop-up at Ham Yard Square, by the Ham Yard Hotel between 1-16 April. Our first aim is to do more Harem Bath pop-up shops in London.
We love meeting new people and sharing with them what we do. We are also developing our new accessories collection, beach bags and pillows for summer houses and yachts. And for next year we are planning to develop a new swim suit collection, but shh! Don’t tell anyone yet. 

where should people find your products?  
Our website is the easiest option to reach us (harembath.com). We also are very active on the social media, Instagram and Facebook. We do events and pop-ups frequently and we announce the news on our Instagram Page.
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Harem Bath (Duygu - Begüm Öztürk)

Burcu Kuru

Londoners! Don't forget to drop in to say hi to Harem Bath for their first pop-up shop in Ham Yard Square until 6th April 2017!
For more info: harembath.com
Instagram: @harembath
Facebook: harembath

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