To celebrate our launch with BAINA our Directors Jacki Bresic and Martin Andrews take us behind the scenes with the designers, owners Bailey Meredith and Anna Fahey.
Read on to hear from the wonderfully creative, incredibly hardworking designers behind their brand.
|Q: What a fabulous brand you have created in BAINA, can you please tell us the story of how it started and how you started together with it?
Anna: Bailey and I are first and foremost friends. We became friends in high school many moons ago, so as a result we know each other very well.
In our twenties we both worked together at Kate Sylvester and spent our down time talking about brands and fashion. We shared a similar aesthetic and even back then we’d dream of working on our own brand one day.
Fast forward to our thirties, we found ourselves in Melbourne. Bailey was heading up sales at Jardan, a beautiful design led furniture manufacturer, and fortuitously they were looking for someone to work in their showroom, taking care of their interior design database. So we found ourselves working together again, reigniting the dream. Being a little older, we had a new perspective, felt we’d honed our skills and could finally see a way to action this venture. We enamoured the design industry in Australia, and decided to focus on homewares.We both liked the season-less element of the category, and felt there was nothing in the towelling space that we could connect with aesthetically, so BAINA was born.
Q: Incredible. And what year was that?
Bailey: We really started talking about our brand in 2018.
In some respects, we landed on ‘designing towels’ in a very back to front way.
We had immersed ourselves in the industry, and we knew where we wanted to play, but in terms of what that product would be, this took a lot of refinement. The concept was built upon what type of business we wanted to be, how we wanted to produce product and what type of culture we wanted.
|Q: That is - amazing. This is why the next question I am going to ask you is so true. Having worked in fashion for so many years we learn who we don’t want to be. So it’s so refreshing to hear you start from a culture perspective first.
Bailey: We have both worked for some incredible companies, and while on that journey we learnt what motivates us and what values are most important. If we were going to start a business we agreed that it was our responsibility to make our company an amazing place to work.
Q: Would you be happy to share some of those founding values with us ?
Anna: Before we had even landed on towels as our product of choice, we both knew we wanted to stand by something that was environmentally responsible. If we were going to add anything to this planet we wanted it to be thoughtful. So that was an important pillar for us. We wanted the brand experience to be superior and immersive, as it is in fashion, and for the product quality to be something we were proud of.
Bailey: At the end of the day, between Anna and I, it’s all about being honest and open. While the brand is aspirational, across all communication (internal and external), we still want to remain inclusive.
Q: There is so much in that open and honest communication. That’s something that Marty and I work on everyday for ourselves and the team. Especially running a business from two different countries.
You are now a world-wide success. How did you navigate going from New Zealand to the global market? What is the secret to your success?
Anna: We took the approach of being very particular on who our stockist would be. For as long as possible we want to maintain that ‘new’ or discovery phase. Placing BAINA only in selected stockists stores that are thoughtfully curated, sat next to like-minded brands. We have capped the number of doorways in Australia, and have decided to instead seek out new markets – globally. We approach it quite literally and simply as ‘who are our dream stockists?’ and then find a way to connect with them. Often this is done using Instagram, as our profile summarises the essence of BAINA instantly.
Q: There must be challenging moments knocking back some opportunities. But amazing that you have this vision that you hold true to.
Anna: Our mode will always be to nurture the partnerships we have, the goal is longevity always.
Q: What's been one of the most exciting key wins of your journey so far?
Bailey: Despite sitting on this concept for longer, we launched our business in October of 2019. In less than six months of operating the world had literally tipped upside down with the pandemic. We are proud of how far we have come, and are very grateful that the journey is only just begun.
Besides that, it’s those amazing smaller moments in our days. Like stores you have coveted for years responding to us.
Anna: And then for them to say they have heard of us, this always surprises me.
Bailey: Or seeing a photo of a customer using our towels. Our personal wins are really different but we absolutely feed off each other's excitement.
Anna: I love watching Bailey get those personal satisfactions. When you work so hard and see those smallest connections, achievements mean so much. It’s so rewarding.
|Q: So you touch on working so hard. When you are starting a new business, it’s really every ounce. So in your partnership and company how do you find balance.
|Q: Haha! You are right - balance is a bit fictitious but how do you not work every hour of the day?
Anna: No, I get it. I do think that watching Bailey find balance working in her own company has been amazing to see. There is a certain flexibility. Whilst she is working just as much, she can go to that midday pilates class without feeling guilty about your boss wondering where you are.
Bailey: It's a mental shift when you own your own business. You don’t work any less. In fact you probably work twice as hard. But it’s that ability to control when you need a break, when you need to move from being really methodical with numbers, to say, go into a more creative headspace because you want to do some design.
|Q: About the collection, if you had to pick one piece, what's your favourite and must have?
Bailey: Ever evolving. But currently I am coveting the tabac colour-way. The design and the process to develop that towel reminds me of a very happy time - travelling through Sydney, Paris and Portugal.
Anna: For me, I love the Wiggle Ivory range. It’s clean, it’s minimal, it’s calming but still has some personality. I’ve got dark timber floors in my bathroom and I just feel that it’s very complimentary, I use my Beppu Bath Mat in tabac/noir to tie it all back.
Q: Why is ensuring the collection remains GOTs certified so important to you? It’s a part of your core values, right. If you are going to leave anything on this planet it has to be thoughtful.
Anna: GOTs is a certification that’s globally recognised and it provides both accountability and traceability. From the farmer who grows the cotton all that way through that supply chain to the final product.
For us at the end of the day, it’s knowledge that our product is certified organic and audited across all stages of the process.
Bailey: We actually went and visited our manufacturer in early 2020 to get a greater understanding of what this means for them across wages, waste, and innovation of process.
|Q: We are so excited to partner with you for your aesthetic, brand story and your ownership of towelling as a category. Every asset you produce is beautiful. Would love to hear what it is about FABRIC that makes us a great partner for you?
Bailey: It’s funny you ask because I’ve been a huge fan of Fabric. Since 17! I would travel from Hamilton to Auckland to visit your store and loved everything about it. For me Fabric was always the most progressive, multibrand store. What I love about Fabric is that you always remain true to your aesthetic.
The fact that you have been open for 20 years is testament to remaining true to who you are.
Q: What do you want everyone to know about your brand?
|Anna: It’s a really simple answer - at the essence of it all, we want people to know that we are original and authentic.
|Q: We have a lot of business philosophies at FABRIC: slow is smooth, sharpen the sword, to stay focused on our success and not others. Do you have business mantras and if so what are they?
Anna: We firmly believe in staying in our lane as we don’t want to be someone we are not and always ensure we stay true to our foundations. Staying authentic.
|Bailey: We trust our intuition. There is a lot of honesty and respect between us, we can ask each other and ourselves does this feel right? Even if we are knocking back an opportunity it has to feel right.
Q: What can we expect to see next from BAINA?
|Anna: we can’t give it all away but... we have new designs in the pipeline, some exciting collaborations. We are exploring darker tones and richness. We have honed our eye and our brand DNA is now more mature than ever. We're taking a true fashion approach to some of the new towels which we can’t wait to share.
Image Sources: BAINA Instagram (@shop_baina)