Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Anyone for a tea towel?

I was approached recently by a small company asking me whether I would be interested in reviewing their tea towels. I was offered a choice of any two - free of charge - to try out.

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.

My findings:
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.

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!














  

25 comments:

  1. I'm interested to read your review.

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  2. I have lots of tea towels. There's only one which I'm sure where it came from, the others just seem to have accumulated.

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  3. I have 'good' tea towels that come out when we have people over, half decent tea towels that get used a lot, and some really old ones that get used now and again that I can't get rid of because I'm sentimental.
    What a nice response from Al.

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    1. Yes. He was very approachable. I like the direct gift idea, too.

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  4. I have a few really attractive tea towels but I wouldn't dream of drying the dishes with them. Silly I know. A bit like leaving a lovely piece of clothing hanging in the wardrobe! Good luck to All and his business.

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    1. Oh, get them out and use them, L. You know you want to.

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  5. Who would have thought that someone would go to so much trouble for a simple t-towel. Al is obviously dedicated to his pursuit of the perfect t-towel. Well done to him.

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  6. How unusual to review tea towels, I doubt I'll here of anything to top that...
    I have a variety of tea towels. Some scrappy cheap ones that do the job, and some really lovely linen ones from various places.
    I'll nip over to the website for a look...personally I'm into aprons. I'll be chuffed if I find a few over there.
    Have a good week.

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    1. I don't usually review tea towels, Maria, but Al did ask very nicely!

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  7. I get mine from ASDA I get several for this price. They are beautiful but far too smart for me, I am still using one that won't come clean as I tend to use them for everything; cleaning windows to wiping my greasy fingers on. It's not always food grease either.

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    1. Adrian, they sound even worse than mine.

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  8. From my aunts in Yorkshire, I have three tea towels with Yorkshire themes printed on. Those are my favourites, and I use them frequently.
    There are a few others in my kitchen cabinet, but there aren't any expensive or "designer" ones - although of course each and every one has had to be designed by someone at some stage.

    Interesting how a souvenir Al bought as a teenager has lead to him setting up an entire business around one product!

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    1. Meike, I admire anyone who can start a small business like this.

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  9. I love tea-towels and keep them all folded in a shallow basket, where they look quite pretty. Each one seems to mean something, especially the ones I have bought from the men just out of prison who sell things door to door and also the one you sent me, Frances, when I won your limerick competition a few years ago. It is much-loved and therefore one of the worn, holey brigade that seem to work the best. xxx

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    1. I think I remember that tea towel, Joanna. I'm glad it's been used!

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  10. How interesting that it came from such a simple but memorable

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    1. How nice to hear from you, Paula, but I didn't really understand your comment!

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  11. What a lovely tea towel, Frances. How enterprising of Al as they can be such good souvenirs, even if people are reluctant to use them for drying dishes!

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    1. The trouble is, it's a bit too nice to use, Rosemary. I'm not sure what to do with it!

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  12. I've never seen a tea-towel reviewed before, I think. :)

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    1. Neither have I, DT. It was rather fun.

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  13. I assume these are good quality linen tea towels. Unfortunately on the whole I prefer soft bobbly cotton ones. I use them mainly when I'm cooking and messing around in the kitchen because almost everything that needs washing goes in the dishwasher.

    I'm fascinated as to how he discovered and chose you for such a review.

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