Intrigued, I replied that yes, I would, but it would be an honest review. Fine, Al (the company's owner) said. He was prepared for me to publish my findings, whatever they might be.
Now, let's be honest; there are few things (to me) less interesting than a tea towel. But, there are few things more essential. We all use them.Personally, I prefer the old, soft, holey ones (and believe me, I have a huge collection of these), but all tea towels start off new and relatively stiff.
Firstly, I liked the fact that this is a small company, specialising in a single product. Al was approachable, replying immediately to my emails, and happy to share personal details about himself and his company. My parcel arrived nicely packaged, and the tea towels are attractive (below is one that I chose). There is a very wide selection of designs, from old masters to humorous to birds and animals.They also have a useful loop for hanging (most tea towels do not). I like this, as I never sew if I can help it, and wouldn't dream of sewing a hanger into a tea towel. They are priced between £5-10, which seems average for a qulity tea towel, and importantly (to me), P&P are free. His comprehensive website can be found here.
I emailed Al to ask him about his company, and why tea towels, rather than anything else, and I'll leave the last word(s) to him:
I am Al (male), self-employed, and I run the business from a spare bedroom on the edge of the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. I have been selling tea towels now for 7 years, and I have a great fondness for their artwork and feel. I personally hand check each tea towel before packing to ensure it is to a pleasing standard that I would be happy to receive. I enjoy sourcing new designs and also enjoy carefully packing orders for customers.
I think that says it all!
Why tea towels? WhenI was an early teenager, I bought my first tea towel on a day trip to Ayr in Scotland. I was fascinated by the colours and souvenir design, and that started me off. It's nice to go to different places and be able to buy a tea towel memento, and when you use the tea towel in later years or take it out of storage, it reminds you of your day out.
I was looking for something to sell to start the business, and I thought what could be better than designer tea towels. Tea towels that I am into and have a passion for. Usually in bricks and mortar shops, the range of designs are limited, so I thought I would create a website that showcases lots of tea towels from various designers. A growing collection of tea towels that you would not see together in the shops.
Quite a few of my UK customers have purchased to bring on holiday to family and friends (the counties and regions designs being popular for this purpose), and some customers like to purchase and have the tea towel sent directly to the gift recipient with a message enclosed. I write the message onto a gift card, free of charge!
I think that says it all!