Editor Alice Lines finds out how they’ve elevated an essential — towels — to take your self-care to the next level.
Bailey Meredith and Anna Fahey met nearly two decades ago, in high school. In the years since, their conversations have often veered towards combining their strengths to begin a business — and now they’ve made it happen with their new brand, Baina. Referencing architecture, fine art, sculpture and colour theory, their abiding range of bath, hand and pool towels is crafted from organic cotton and expressed in beautiful hues, each named after a body of water.
So, gals, how did Baina begin? Bailey: Anna and I have similar values and have worked together in the past at Kate Sylvester in Auckland and Jardan in Melbourne. Over the years, we’ve had many discussions about what our own business might look like, but it took moving to a different country and a career change for the stars to align. We set the foundations and philosophy early on, then from there it was a matter of finding the right product that reflected us, was inclusive and had a real purpose. We were committed to only producing what we felt was necessary, especially in today’s oversaturated market.
What’s in the name? Anna: Baina is a word we created. It’s derived from ‘bain’, which is French for ‘bath’, and is also a combination of ‘Bailey’ and ‘Anna’. This brand is us in unison.
What is it about bathing that enticed you? B: We believe in the importance of taking time for ourselves in order to recover from our busy lives, and have always loved baths. There’s nothing better than having the chance to dip into a quiet moment of solitude and simply tune out. We wanted to honour this sacred time that we use to welcome the day or slow things down in preparation for bed.
What did you consider in your design process? B: Colour theory played a major part in our process and was the foundation for the collection. It drove us in many directions and pushed us to explore lots of different mediums for inspiration.
It was also important to us to release a range that was as refined as possible. We spent months discussing what we wanted this collection to be and I cherish that time we gave ourselves to have creative freedom without the pressure of launch dates and deadlines, as it meant the brand evolved organically to a point where we felt completely confident in what we’d created.
Who helped you bring your ethically produced range to life? A: The factory in Portugal that manufactures our towels is amazing. We wanted to work with a company that was Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified and capable of producing a high-quality product, and it took a long time to finally find the right one, but the journey was absolutely worth it. Bailey met with them at a trade fair in Germany after months of email communication, and from there, our future was certain.
Locally, we’re lucky to be surrounded by a group of creative and talented women who support and collaborate with us. Natasha Mead of 1/1 Studio was the perfect person to create our branding. We both admire and respect what she’s created with her own business and she understood our vision and knew exactly how to communicate it. Julia Lomas and Simone Kerr of Lomas Kerr manage our PR and guided our launch, and photographer and filmmaker Greta van der Star, Bailey’s dear friend and General Sleep business partner, shot the imagery for our lookbook and website.
As well as your lovely towels, what products do you incorporate into your own self-care rituals? A: In the lead-up to my recent wedding, I tried all sorts of new products to nourish my skin. Two that I’ve added to my ongoing routine are Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel wipes and Go-To Transformazing sheet masks. They give me an instant glow.
B: I try to keep things as simple as possible. Sometimes I’ll add magnesium salts to a bath if I’m not sleeping well, and when it comes to skincare I use Maryse and my new favourite, Season, which is made locally to order.
How does being near water rejuvenate you? A: Having recently moved to Melbourne, I’ve discovered how much not seeing the water every day affects me. I live in Richmond, close to the CBD, so I find I have to actively seek out the ocean or immerse myself in nature. The shift I feel when I do is palpable — it’s quite amazing.