We first met Tasha when we partnered up with her one-woman company, PLAJ Towels, in March of 2016. We instantly fell in love with the soft, textured towels and blankets that her company produces, and after another successful partnership with her in the beginning of this year, we decided to feature her on the blog so you can get to know the woman behind PLAJ.
Tell us a bit about yourself! Where are you from and what do you do?
My name is (Na)Tasha and I'm originally from Canada’s capital, Ottawa, but have been living on the west coast, just outside of Vancouver, for the past 12 years! Snowboarding and the mountains brought me here back in the day and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I live with 3 boys and our cat – my sons Kael (almost 9 years) and Kaeden (almost 7 years) and a wonderful hubby. I am a full-time mom (hockey mom, lacrosse mom), snowboarder (when I find the time), and I run PLAJ Towel Co.
Describe PLAJ Towels in 3 words.
Hand-loomed, Luxurious, Traditional.
What inspired you to create a brand of premium Turkish towels?
I have always been of the entrepreneurial spirit (I used to sew and sell baby items on Etsy when my kids were little, I had my own line of Baltic amber teething jewelry for littles, and both my mom and dad own businesses, too). I was just brainstorming one day and came across this awesome idea that I had not seen around here. My mom owns an organic fabric store (Simplifi Fabric) so textiles have always been of interest to me -- it was basically love at first sight. This is how PLAJ was born. Brainstorming led to the name PLAJ, which means “beach” in Turkish (no,I’m not Turkish!) and out came the branding and packaging to go with the name…I did it all!
What is a Turkish towel and what makes it different from others?
A Turkish Towel (AKA peshtamal) is a traditional Turkish towel used to cover oneself in the Turkish bath (hammams). Turkish people have been using this type of towel for over 600 years. These towels are hand-loomed in Turkey using traditional methods by local village artisans and are made with the finest natural fibers and premium Turkish cotton. Only 8-10 towels and 4-5 blankets can be made on one loom per day. Making these towels is a talent and a craft that is passed down from father to son and from family to family.
They are lightweight, thin, highly absorbent, fast-drying, durable, eco-friendly and versatile! Today, people all over the world are using these amazing towels for various uses at home (bath, kitchen, table or sofa cover), at the gym (pool, spa, sauna, massage, pilates/yoga), at the beach (blanket, towel, cover-up, scarf/shawl, baby wrap), and even camping.
To what or to whom do you attribute your success?
My family – they are so supportive of what I do, even if they think I’m crazy at first!
Any advice to someone who is looking to start their own business?
Do your research! Especially if you are planning to sell online – the online world is VERY saturated these days, so you want to make sure your idea is not only unique but desired. Also, social media is extremely important, and is honestly a full-time job. As a one-person show it’s hard to find time for every aspect in one day -- I apologize if my social media skills are slacking some days!
How do you find time to balance work and family?
To be honest, I’m not even sure how it works out -- I’m often on my phone answering emails and posting on social media while sitting in a hockey arena or waiting for the kids to get into school or I just work when I’m up really late!
We saw on your Instagram that you have the most adorable children’s clothing. What inspired you to branch into kids’ clothing?
I have a few children’s items – I think this is because I have kids, most of my friends have kids and I used to sell baby/kid items! And did you see how cute the toddler ponchos and tunic tops are?
What’s the best piece of advice you have received?
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Be persistent and don’t give up on your dreams and ideas, even when times are tough!
Any future plans for PLAJ you would like to share?
We are always looking to expand both our presence and our collections! We’re always adding new styles and the latest colorways, and we’re also into working with other brands, so we would love to get into some limited-edition collaborations. We’ve just started working with a couple different sales reps here in Canada and will be looking to expand this avenue in the USA later in 2017/2018 (and perhaps abroad as well!).
Before we go, we just have one last question for you: what is your favorite Z SUPPLY piece?
I would have to say The Pocket Tee! The classic burnout is a great look.
Photos via PLAJ Towel Co.'s Instagram