The most common question I hear is “how did Talii Towels get started?” Like most great ideas TaliiTowels came in the form of a solution to a problem. During the summer of 2012 my cousin from Belgium and I spent time together at the Beach. She travelled with a unique towel that I loved for its fantastic qualities: it was compact, quick to dry, and super absorbent. As a seasoned traveller, and a single mom 'compact' was essential quality of my favourite products. I looked to purchase a few of these towels for myself but there were no attractive colours or sizes available. I set out to find a manufacturer in Canada, but the cost was prohibitive. There was no way I would pay $80.00 for a towel. I extended my search worldwide. After a year of research and development work with manufacturers, I placed my first order in May of 2014. Although I only wanted 4 for myself, there was a 1000 piece minimum order. I ordered 50 pieces of a small and extra large size in my 10 chosen colours. My manufacturer insisted on 1000 of the same color but I convinced him to produce the 1000 piece order in 10 colours. I hosted a launch party in my home, which cleared out most of my stock! By week 5, I had sold 700 of the 1000 towels. This confirmed my feeling that I had something very special. My first official event was at the Bindertwine in Kleinburg in September 2014. I soon found that local residents were searching for my towels. That was a proud and exciting time for me as I knew moms were sharing their towels, and their stories about how great they were at saving space, drying fast, and not smelling.
I tried juggling my full-time job and Taliitowels however my heart was now in my own business. I had a great deal of work to do on my website ( thank you Voldock ), with accountants, banks, and graphic designers. I could not see to the end of the list. In February of 2015 I took Talii on full time.
During this time I discovered show business and by 2017 we would be attending 139 trade shows and fairs per year to gain exposure and build brand.
I used the three F’s: my friends, my family and Facebook to help me name my company, after which I launched a Facebook page. Taliitowels is named after my daughter Talia, my manufacturer Tay and myself, Lisa. With every shipment I improved my product. We never stop tweaking colours, adding things to the laundry tag, or experimenting with new sizes. Taliitowels are now antibacterial and will never smell so long as you follow our laundry instructions. All results of the endless process of constant, incremental improvements based on customer feedback and testing. ‘New and Improved' as they say. Did you know if you are ever on the beach or a boat and someone asks where you got your Talii, you can show them the laundry tag? Our contact information is on every one. You can email us from the beach, boat or picnic. I’d love to see your pictures, don’t hesitate to forward them to us. I love to hear your stories of where you have taken your Taliitowels and the purpose they served.
I auditioned for Dragons Den in February and left for Mexico shortly after. While in Mexico I spent a day at a tourist attraction laundry facility that washes 500 towels a day. We found that we could wash 75 Taliitowels versus 15 in a load of regular towels. This translated into an electrical savings of $100,000 USD per year for them. I am presently searching for a manufacturer in Mexico.
I returned to Canada, and after not hearing back from Dragon’s Den. I decided to show up for one more pitch. They recognized me and my product right away and they laughed at my tenacity. A week later I got the call. I wrote my script and went down to pitch on April 14. Sadly, I lost my Mom on April 19th to pancreatic cancer. Powering through my grief I immersed myself into my business. All that mattered to me were my two babies: my daughter, and my company. We have grown exponentially since then. We are proudly an all female staff of 7 university / college students and Moms.
I’ll close by saying that Talia and I love our product. We love what we are doing. We’re entrepreneurs living the dream. Thank you for taking the time to stop, hear our story and supporting a small but mighty Canadian run business.