We’ve all seen the Turkish towels that seem to be on the shelves of nearly every major retailer. And if I’m being honest, until recently I didn’t see what the fuss was about… sure, they look pretty, but how can you call something a towel when it’s paper thin and hardly absorbent? Well, since getting my hands on a pestamel from Loomed, I’ve learned that there’s such a thing as a real deal Turkish towel, and I’ve practically been a walking testimonial for the brand ever since. Quick story! On a recent vacation to Mexico, someone kicked a daiquiri all over my lovely pestamel on the beach (ugh!). Impulsively, I raced to the water to rinse it off, rang it out, and draped the towel over a palm tree to dry. Within 15 minutes, the thing was as good as new, if not even softer than before. Truly amazing quality.
When I discovered that the co-founders of Loomed were a real life married couple, I knew they’d be perfect for a blog feature. After living in Turkey for a year, Molly and Paul traded in their corporate jobs to follow their shared passion of bringing gorgeous handmade textiles to customers around the world, and along with their shop dog, the New Orleans couple are the epitome of both love and teamwork. Keep reading to find out how they make it happen…
*photography by Buff Strickland
How did you two meet?
Paul and I met at Johnny Whites in the French Quarter during a Saints game. We had some friends in common and everyone was watching the game at the same spot downtown. I took his seat at the bar, and the rest is history!
Fast forward to 2012, when the couple launched Loomed after returning from a year in Istanbul…
We discovered hand-woven, organic fiber textiles from five family-run workshops in southeastern Turkey, and fell in love with the beauty and story of the pieces we found. At Loomed, we connect these amazing handmade goods with discerning customers around the world, and hopefully keep this art form alive for future generations.
Our pieces are beautiful, functional, and durable. We believe in buying fewer, better things and investing in objects that will last and bring joy. We value craftsmanship, and the artisans who are preserving traditional crafts.
Tell us about the Loomed shop:
We are located in New Orleans’ historic Garden District Neighborhood inside a shopping center called The Rink. The building, with lofty vaulted ceilings and exposed wooden beams, was built for the 1884 Worlds Fair as a roller skating rink, which makes me chuckle every time I imagine folks in full Victorian dress rolling around on skates.
For the store itself, we were lucky to work with a brilliant creative consultant, Marcie from Bloodhound, to create a bright, airy interior that lets our textiles shine. We incorporated a lot of white and grey into the space to create a really clean design foundation that we can layer new pieces and products on top of.
Tell us about your amazing Turkish towels:
A hand-woven Turkish towel is a special piece of craftsmanship. The ubiquitous plush towels of today are associated with Turkey because Turkish weavers invented them, but a true hand-woven plush towel is very different from the machine made ones found at major retailers. Today, only one workshop weaving plush towels on traditional handlooms remains in Turkey and we are excited to bring their incredible work to you. Ours are made with organic cotton so they absorb like crazy but dry quickly and pack up light.
What do you love about working with each other?
Although we might disagree on how to get there, our end goal is the same and our successes and failures will always be shared; knowing that makes it easier to take risks.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Turning off business mode when we’re away from the shop. When your business partner is your life partner, you need to draw some lines in the sand about downtime.
Left unchecked, we would never have any distance from Loomed and that would make it tough to look at the business with a clear eye. I can’t remember where I heard this quote, but I believe something along the lines of “you can’t work on the business when you’re working in the business.” Distance and downtime are key!
Best of all, Paul and I have a great creative balance. He views colors and patterns with mathematical precision, and he’s great at discerning and building patterns in our textiles.
I like to take a more big picture approach to our textiles: What are the larger color stories we are trying to build? What is the vibe we are trying to capture?
What is a typical day like for you?
Oh gosh, it varies so much! I usually wake up around 6:30 and either take Alice, our shop dog, for a walk in the park or I try to catch a yoga class.
Then, I either head to the shop for 10 or head out to meetings with people in town. Sometimes my day is filled with the nuts and bolts of running the shop: helping customers, filling online orders, restocking shelves, etc.
If I need to work on larger projects, I have to make a conscious effort to disconnect from the sales floor, so I’ll head to a coffee shop or home. We have been able to hire additional sales people, which lets us focus on larger projects and issues.
Pictured here, the Loomed’s specialty soaps:
My mom, Dorit, makes our soaps with fresh goat milk and other natural ingredients. She has a fine art background, and loves to play with the color and texture of the soaps.
She uses only micas and oxides (finely ground rocks) to color the soaps, and each batch is unique. They smell and look gorgeous, but using the bar is what will get you hooked.
Molly, what’s your favorite thing about Paul?
Everything! Okay, okay. Not long ago we were talking about a hypothetical future problem, and I lamented having to deal with down the road by saying “and this will all come down on me.” He corrected me and said, “no, it will come to us.” I just about melted. Knowing that Paul will be there for me no matter what changed my whole view of the world, really. Of all the many, many ways that Paul makes life more joyful and fun, his steadfastness stands out as something truly special to me.
Working with Paul, I know someone will always have my back to cheer success and learn from failure, which is a mighty comforting certainty.
And Paul, what do you love about Molly?
I love how adventurous and bold Molly is; if it weren’t for her, I would probably be at the same old corporate job, never having lived abroad, never having started a business, never having done the things I used to only dream about.
Tell us about the real star of the show, Alice.
Alice! She’s the heart and soul of Loomed. I adopted her from the SPCA seven years ago, and she weighed half of what she weighs now! When in Turkey, I had a clear vision for the store and Alice was always by my side. Sometimes I look at her in her palace and think: “It’s come true! We made it!”
What was the best piece of advice give to you on business?
Don’t worry so much about what other people think.
And on marriage?
Be the spouse you’d like to have.