It all started with a simple gift in the Holiday season.
When I moved to the United States 5 years ago, I quickly learned that the holiday season is a big deal here. I was overwhelmed with the thought of finding a unique gift for each friend, family members, kids, neighbors, colleagues… basically for all the important people in my life. I didn't want to slack on my gifts. I wanted to make sure the money and time I spent was worth it while staying on a budget. Then I found the perfect Idea: Turkish towels.
I immediately started ordering online, and quickly recognized an abundance of similar style, same design, low-quality, fast-fashion Turkish towels. I’ve noticed fabric discoloration, rips and tears after just a few months.
I was struck. Why was it so difficult to access towels that are actually absorbent, that is gentle and soft to my skin and in styles and qualities that I actually liked?
You see, I was born and raised in Turkey, a country with a rich history of textiles. One of my favorite things about my homeland is the beautiful, colorful and high quality Turkish towels I grew up using. I’ve always loved their softness, durability, and versatility. However, I noticed that the quality of the towels and hand weaving style was better in Turkey than what I was finding in the United States. Moreover, I found that the textile styles in the United States were much more limited than in Turkey. For example, in Turkey I found over 20 different kinds of Turkish towels, while in the United States I could only find 3.
On my next trip to Turkey, I made a mission myself to find the best makers of towels so I can gift something I actually would use. I visited the Weavers Enclave in Aegean region and met with the makers. The stories I’ve listened from the makers were heartbreaking. I was shocked to hear how the fast fashion culture was leaving hundreds of years of hand-weaving tradition to its death.
The artisans of the village are the true masters of their craft. They have passed on their knowledge to the younger generation and their skills have been refined and perfected over generations. But they were struggling to compete with the fast fashion manufacturers that kept popping up in the village. Their production can’t compete since it was limited.
The workbenches they use are not a large factory machine that can produce industrial quantities of goods. It is a simple machine using a simple process. They can only produce seven to eight peshtemals a day using the hand weaving technique and a little more if they working with a work bench, one item every fifteen to twenty minutes. Which is still a small amount.
The fast-fashion machinery process was way faster and more efficient but the qualities were nowhere near what the villagers could produce. but most of all, it destroy the village both culturally, environmentally and economically.
The quality towels that are produced by the machinery or handwoven are shipped to the expensive, luxury brands. However, the towels that are defective during the manufacturing process are sold domestically or in online marketplaces.
The lower quality brands would use a less dense type of cotton or combination of cotton (cotton-polyester) to cut some cost which will result in more towels being produced with the same amount of cotton. However, these towels will be of lower quality since they are less absorbent, thinner and more likely to fall apart.
I understood their plight, and I knew I had found something special. I decided to collaborate with the villagers, to create ethically handmade textiles from raw materials to fair labor practices while helping them preserve & introduce their craft. The result is a beautiful, high-quality, handcrafted product that is made with love and care.
I started by gifting hand towels and beach towels to friends and family. I was curious to see how they would react to the towels. I was not disappointed! People were hooked on the towels from the very first use. They loved the quality and the unique design. They were sending pictures in unique ways they find using them as such as shawls, tablecloths, sofa covers and more. The demand for my towels quickly grew, and I decided to quit my 9-5 to launch my own business, Cozy Koza.
Today, Cozy Koza is a thriving business, and I am so honored to be able to share my beloved Turkish towels with beautiful people of the United States. I am so proud to offer such a unique and amazing product that brings people joy.
We hope that you will take a moment to browse our collection and see for yourself what makes us special.
Thank you for considering Cozy Koza as your go-to source for ethically-made Turkish towels and supporting me on this journey!