in conversation with


We spoke with Bailey Meredith and Anna Fahey, founders of Baina, a line of towels that makes luxury a priority at home. They cover the inspiration behind Baina, the balance between work and friendship, and the importance of slowing down.

Photos provided by Baina, artwork by STRÅLANDE

The Basics

{Anna} We’re both New Zealanders. I’m from a little coastal beach town called Mount Maunganui. I went to boarding school in Bailey’s hometown called Hamilton, and that’s where we met.

{Bailey} I spent most of my adolescence in Hamilton, too. I always loved fashion; from a very young age. When it came to the crunch time of trying to decide my fate, I thought that I had to pursue fashion. I always knew that I wanted to have my own business. I grew up in a family of people who owned their own businesses, and I was always inspired and fascinated by that control. It was always in my career path to have my own company.

{A} I am quite different from Bailey in that sense. I never knew what I wanted to do, and I never thought that I would ever enjoy working. I always thought that it was a necessity; it was just something that had to be done. However, I’ve always had the outlook that every job presents an opportunity that can develop personal growth, and the satisfaction that comes with it.

The Creation & Priorities Of Baina

{B} It was early to mid-2018 that we started having these conversations, and it took 18 months from initial conversations to when our first availability of stock went live in November of last year. We’d had a lot of conversations and did loads of research into so many aspects of the business, from specifics of towel design and production through to branding. You get to this point and say okay, we’re pushing go. This is happening and we’re committed.

{A} For me, the environment is really important, so my direction has always been a good work culture and people I enjoy working with. Bailey and I, because we've had such a long friendship, have always shared mutual feelings around culture in the business place, and we share a lot of values in how we want our work-life balance to be. The seed was planted very early on that we have a shared vision and then what came out of it was a very organic evolution.

{B} We were both at that point in our lives and our careers where we wanted to take control and direct that narrative on our own. We approached it in an interesting way. We came up with ethos and principles, and the product came secondary to everything else. We didn’t say that we want to create a towel; we wanted to create a business that is sustainable, and then we just funneled down.

{A} Let's do something that serves that part of what we want to do, be sustainable, be organic, have a beautiful brand, and still have that individuality element that can be expressed with fashion; that was a big thing to us.

{B} We had to have an emotional connection. We wanted to work with a project that instilled love and desire, and that's where the whole bathing element came into it. For many discussions between Anna and me, bathing was the topic that came up a number of times. We considered it a real place of calm; it’s a place where we go to decompress and relax. Drawing a bath is very important to us and very special in terms of our self-care routine. It really beautifully evolved into toweling as the obvious answer. We started getting very excited about doing something unique in that space, as there wasn’t a lot of toweling that we found appealing.

Balancing Business & Friendship

{B} I think what’s really lucky is the shared understanding that work is work and our friendship is separate. While they obviously mix, when it comes to business decisions, friendship has to be put to the side. And if somebody offends somebody, it's business at the end of the day, and that doesn’t infiltrate or affect our friendship.

{A} I also feel like we are quite brutally honest with one another. By coming clean and being honest about whatever the conversation is, it doesn't leave any room for assumption, and then it doesn't grow negatively.

{B} For the last six months now, we’ve lived in different countries, and from a logistical perspective, we’ve had to be very creative in terms of how we communicate. From the get-go, we've used different communication tools, everything from WhatsApp to voice messages, because there's a time difference between the two of us. You have to open your mind and not have any expectations about how you're going to operate day-to-day and lean into whatever it is you have access to for the right conversations to take place.

{A} With Google Hangouts or whatever we’re using, we can be sitting at our computers and have our video running for hours. It's like we’re in the same office. However, we can’t wait till we are next in each other's company as our best creativity comes out when we’re together.

{B} And there's no time frame. We don't work 9-5; that doesn’t work for either of us. That has actually been one of the most freeing aspects of going out on our own. Sometimes, I love to get everything done in the morning and have the afternoon to just chill, and sometimes I really love to work in the evening, after dinner for a few hours, and to be able to dictate my schedule.  

Creating & Designing Towels

{A} There was nothing else available in the toweling market that we gravitated towards. Prior to the launch of Baina, we felt a towel was a non-desirable purchase, it was considered more an essential purchase. You’d purchase out of necessity, and even then you’d be departarting with a substantial amount of money for a good towel. We started thinking about how we could use beautiful patterns, colors, and textures to create something extraordinary.

Aesthetically, we have a very similar creative direction, but different as well.  Design wise, towels are being developed completely collaboratively. It just felt like we could really be honest with each other, given our relationship being so strong, we really felt we were able to develop something without treading on toes. It felt natural to work on something together.

{B} It's interesting because there definitely is that split in other areas of our business. It occurs between Anna and me, but when it comes to design, we’re in unison.

{A} It’s quite fun, I love that element of us working together because that's when everything else falls by the wayside. We have this long list of things that we have to talk about, from production, logistics, accounting, all these things, but when we go into the zone of design, everything else falls away, and the energy level just goes up. We get so excited, and we get on all sorts of tangents, but what comes out the other side, we in unison can see it's going in the right direction.  


{B} Rather than an artist or an album, it's like a song. It might be one Rothko painting that was on the mood board or an old late 90s Celine collection or Jill Sander print. It's not "we're inspired by Jill Sander or Burnside by Rothko." It's this collage of stuff that shapes us as a brand and who we relate to or what we relate to. And at the same time, I think it's also about timing. I've always done that even working in fashion. It's what your external surroundings are and how you're being influenced subconsciously. What's on our mood board today I can almost guarantee wouldn't have been on our mood board a year ago because it's ever-evolving based on those external influences.

{A} The other thing as well is not everything translates well to terry towelling. We want to design something that is permanent, people aren't expected to run out next season and buy the new Baina at all. We want people to buy, love and cherish their towels and for them to remain within their cupboards for years as towels do.

Favorite Baina Towel

{A} Traditionally, I've been into the Cove (bath towel) and Clovelly (hand towel), which are the ribbed curves. That was my brainchild, and I just love both, but in actuality, I have been using the Roman pool towel. It is so large and luxurious. These winter mornings, getting out of the shower and wrapping myself completely in the Roman brings me so much joy. Paired with the Hayes and the Tama, I love that color combination of the lake, paloma red and chalk.

{B} I fluctuate. A different week, a different towel. I can't sit still with one. In the beginning, Bethell and Josephine were my favorite. I loved how far from traditional toweling they were. They were just so fresh, fun and playful. I will always have a soft spot for the Josephine hand towel because she stands out, but it’s also this beautiful tone of green which is very calming. Currently, hanging in our bathroom is Hayes. He has a really nice masculinity which filters through my entire aesthetic.

Meaningfulness & Slowing Down

{A} For me, Baina is always present, obviously, whenever I'm showering or bathing. They definitely help in pulling yourself away from a warm bath, and there's something very satisfying about wrapping up in it. The other thing that we're adding to the collection, which I think really adds to a beautiful bathroom, is our new bath mat and face cloths. All of those little details add to the bathing experience.

{B} Since the inception of Baina, I've acknowledged that when I bathe or shower, that period in between where you're actually alone with yourself and drying your body, you're connecting with your body, it's brushed over. It's this quick moment, it's an in-between step that you have to go through. Now, because I have Baina, and the towels are so beautiful to use, I actually take my time in that process. You want to be kind to yourself and take your time to transition, to prepare for the start or end of your day. That moment is a really great time to do that, rather than blowing it off and not giving it the attention it deserves. Creating Baina has allowed me to place importance on taking my time.