Meet Bailey Meredith and Anna Fahey of BAINA
, the latest addition to our curated selection of ethically-produced home goods. Offering a line of ethically crafted GOTS-certified organic cotton towels, BAINA was created to celebrate the daily bathing rituals that soften into the moments that begin and end our days. With designs anchored in print and colour that nod to fine art, sculpture, architecture and colour theory, BAINA experiments with texture to create shape, elevating an everyday object to upend the neutrality of the bathroom. As big admirers of BAINA's mission and pieces, we were so excited to invite Bailey and Anna to chat about BAINA's beginnings, how they manage to balance business and friendship, what are some of the greatest lessons they've learned since launching BAINA, and what they're working on now and looking forward to in the near future.
Can you tell us about BAINA’s beginnings and how the brand has evolved?
After a career in fashion, we both found ourselves working in the furniture and interior design industry in Melbourne where we quickly became enamoured with the principles of working with products that are inclusive and functional. We were fortunate to be a part of a brand that considered sustainability and environmental responsibility at the forefront of their business, sparking the movement toward what would ultimately become BAINA.
Where is home for you?
Bailey: I live in Auckland, New Zealand. Our home is situated in the Titirangi bush, about 20 minutes from the rugged west coast beaches.
Anna: I have newly returned to New Zealand after calling Melbourne home for some time. I miss the lively hum and culture that Melbourne offers, but have thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with New Zealand. I hail from a small coastal town called Mount Maunganui, which I regularly visit. But for now we are based in Sandringham, Auckland.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is understanding how our decisions and actions today will impact future generations. Being sustainable is regularly reflecting and reviewing our processes and minimizing our impact on the environment the best we can.
Why organic cotton?
Organic cotton is soft, durable, natural and biodegradable. A fibre that becomes stronger when wet, which makes it ideal for towelling. Compared to other common towelling fibres, cotton is preferred due to its superior absorbency, hand-feel and environmental impact.
The Global Organic Textile Standard regulates the entire supply chain of organic cotton, from harvest to production, while also guaranteeing socially responsible manufacturing. Unlike conventional cotton which is linked to soil degradation and pollution, organic cotton is produced without chemical fertilisers, pesticides, synthetic dyes and genetic modification. For these reasons it’s also better for the wellbeing of farmers; they are not exposed to chemicals that can cause health problems, while also being able to charge a premium for their crops leading to fairer wages and a better quality of life.
We believe what we use on our skin should always be a consideration. Organic cotton is less likely to irritate those with sensitive skin.
How have and do your personal values shape your work with BAINA?
BAINA was born out of a mutual desire to create a brand and culture that is reflective of our personal values and beliefs. We wanted to represent not only a brand and movement we could be proud of, we also wanted our day to day to allow a certain flexibility for both us and our staff.
From a product perspective, we didn’t want to create something just for the sake of it. We wanted to design something functional and routinely used, but elevated. Something practical – I’d say that we both this way inclined.
What have been some of the greatest lessons you have learned since launching BAINA?
A big lesson has been vulnerability and flexibility. Particularly when our first year of business was during an international pandemic. It was in this moment of uncertainty we were relieved to be in control of the narrative and direction of our brand. Something not available to you when working for someone else.
How do you manage to balance business and friendship?
We find the balance between friendship and business quite natural and easy. We both have a deep respect for each other and our individual contributions to the business. We are conscious how important the lines of communication are, and ensure we are always open and clear with one another. Honesty and transparency, and dealing with difficult discussions head on are all imperative in ensuring our relationship remains strong.
What does your classic and ideal weekend look like?
B: We are moving into winter here in New Zealand so my typical weekend involves taking our dog to the beach on a Saturday morning, picking up a loaf of fresh sourdough and having a nice lazy breakfast at home. Catching up with friends, a pilates class, a good book and a slow cooked dinner with a bottle of red shared between me and my husband.
A: For me its getting out of the city, rain, hail or shine. I find my reset button in the wide open space – fresh air and long walks with my husband, son and dog is classic weekend for us.
What are you working on right now and what are you looking forward to in the near future?
We are working on a couple of special collaborations that will drop over the next 12 month and a new range for 2022. We are currently in the throes of designing new pieces, both enjoying the exploration of towel design. The connection with this aspect of the business is treasured, as often our time is spent swept up in the day to day operations.
How do you decompress?
Bathing of course. This is why we created BAINA; a shared love of tuning out while soaking in a hot tub. Accompanied by a good book or podcast, burning incense or a candle.
What does a typical day in the life look like for you?
B: I get up every morning and start my day with a walk or a pilates class. I stop by my favourite coffee shop before heading to the office around 8:30am. My days are generally quite varied with a mix of meetings, design, emails and phone calls with our Sales Manager who works remotely.
On my way home, I stop off at our property that's currently being renovated to check on the progress of the day's work. It's so exciting to see the transformation and the designs come to life. Then I spend my evenings relaxing on the couch with a good book, maybe a bath and a glass of wine. The days can be quite busy and full on so I’m learning to decompress in the evenings and separate work and home life a little better.
A: I’m a new Mum, so life looks different now. Its an early jolt awake to the sound of my son cooing (or crying) in his bassinet. Followed by a coffee delivered by my husband – which is usually drunk cold due to the distraction of the baby. I tend to be mumming around the house, out walking or meeting Bailey at the office for strategy meetings – babe in tow.
Beauty, skincare or wellness products you swear by?
Maryse Enzyme Refine Cleansing Balm, Lesse Bio Active Face Mask, Sans Bio Active Body Exfoliant, Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré.
And lastly, do you have a favourite BAINA towel?
B: At the moment my favourite towel is the St Clair bath towel. It's minimal, soft and calming.
A: I agree with Bailey, I love the ivory St Clair too, its so fresh and clean. I also use the Agnes Face Cloth morning and night to ensure a deep clean of my face. Also, the bath mat is luxe, the density of the cotton makes for an enjoyable experience when stepping out of the shower or bath.