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Behind The Brand | A chat with MAYDE founders, Tim & Sylvia Hill

Behind The Brand | A chat with MAYDE founders, Tim & Sylvia Hill

We recently caught up with MAYDE founders, Tim & Sylvia Hill, to chat about their path leading up to starting the brand, what a typical day in the MAYDE HQ looks like and the artisans who use the traditional art of hand-looming to produce their collections.

What was your path leading up to starting your own brand?

Funnily enough, it was all Tim’s idea, even way back before we had met. But I loved that he had this idea for something that could be creative, but also completely practical. It was in the back of my mind for quite a while and after we’d moved from Sydney to the Gold Coast, and i’d had our first child, Duke, it felt like a great time to leap forward with the idea. Carrying big heavy bath towels to the beach just seemed impractical with young kids in tow, and once we discovered the beauty and simplicity behind Turkish towels, we were well and truly on board.

You started Mayde in 2012. Tell us the story behind the name?

Oh gosh, I literally made it up haha. What i wanted to portray, when thinking of the name, was something that was easy to pronounce, but unique in a way - kind of the same thinking behind the brand itself - simple, but doing things differently. I loved the connotations that the word ‘made’ had behind it, like ‘hand made’, ‘well made', 'made with love/passion’, etc etc, and the ‘made' sound stuck with us. And so MAYDE was born.


What does a typical day in the Mayde HQ look like?

It’s hectic! But we love it. Tim and I still run things to this day, but juggle it all with family life and also our second business, GC3PL. My days generally involve lots of liaising with our international suppliers, staying on top of production schedules, social media, customer service (yep, I still love interacting directly with our customers!), touching base with our reps and national accounts, number crunching, website updates, product planning and research, and the list really goes on. We have a lot of hats on in the business. Tim is my numbers guy and looks after a lot of the spreadsheeting and forward planning, which is great; and beyond that, he’s busy liaising with his own clients for GC3PL and packing orders! 


Tim at GC3PL

You've got a young family, how do find a balance between running your own business and your home life?

Balance?! Has anyone actually truly mastered that yet?! Look, it’s a juggle as everyone knows- the first 5 years of the business saw me only working part time on the business as I was at home with two kids. When our second son Jethro was born, I was back in our little rumpus room packing orders just a day after returning home from the hospital. It doesn’t stop. Now, both boys are in school, and Tim and I can work on the business 5 days a week. After hours, I focus on the kids and making sure they get the attention they need from us and weekends are purely for fun. Sometimes we need to work late to get things done, and so those guilty feelings do crop up, but we make it up as best we can. 

You've traveled to some amazing places, where are some of your favourite destinations?

My favourite place in the whole world is Canada, specifically the west coast. I could leave today if someone said “let’s go!". On the other hand, the Maldives - need I say more? I definitely favour places that are less “occupied”, as in, more open spaces. Cities are fun and it’s great getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of NYC or Tokyo, or smelling all the beautiful spices (with 10 million others) in the Istanbul spice markets, but honestly, give me wide open spaces (and a margerita), and i’m a happy lady. I’m much more inspired by snow capped mountains and empty stretches of beaches.

With a lot of your towels being named after lust-worthy locations around the world, it's clear that travel is a huge inspiration for Mayde. What else are inspired by?

Interiors, for sure. Our products are supposed to not only look good, but be practical, and one thing I love is that they’re very versatile. So when we’re creating our new ranges, I love imagining where the products are going to be used. Even when we’re styling them, I like to think outside the box, to show people the many ways our towels and throws can be used. I have about a million interiors magazines at home that I trawl through constantly, and a lot of inspiration comes from those pages. Pinterest and Instagram come a close second (but those are rabbit holes I go down only when I have some time haha).

You work with local makers and craftspeople around the world to produce your towels. Tell us a little about the traditional art of hand-looming.

Yeah it’s definitely one of the things that drew me towards the world of textile production in Turkey. One of the things that we really wanted to stay away from when we started the business was any kind of ‘fast fashion’. we wanted our products to resonate with people for different reasons, other than it just looks ‘cool’ at that point in time. Historical crafts like hand-looming are just a beautiful way to connect back with products that were made with purpose. Our suppliers use artisans in the southern region of Turkey (known as the Buldan region) where they grow the cotton that is then used to produce our towels and throws. Some of these artisans have had looming in their family for generations, and the art itself goes back hundreds of years. It’s really important to us and also just feels good knowing we have some part in keeping this honest tradition alive.

When you're trying to get in the zone, what kind of music do you listen to?

Lately, i’ve had a lot of Grizzly Bear, Asgeir, Air, and Tori Amos on repeat…give me moody music with guitar riffs any day. When I need a bit of oomph though, i’ll pop on some Tame Impala, Faith No More or Radiohead. The xx and the Shins are always good to revisit when the mood takes me.

If you had to pick a favourite towel from your collection, what would you pick and why?

Like a favourite child, practically impossible! So all time favourite towel has to be our best selling Rainbow Towel in Multi…it’s been with us since day one and continues to be a best seller for us to this day, so I have some sentimental love for it. From our last collection, the Patches towel was my number one, closely followed by the Bilgola towel in Olive. In our up coming range, I have a feeling the ‘Palm Cove’ linen towel will be a solid front runner for me. 


How have you had to adapt, both in your day-to-day and in the way you run your business, with the recent global pandemic?

Yes and no - we definitely felt the initial freak out, where everything seemed to just slow down very quickly all of a sudden, but it seems like it gave us the opportunity to take a minute to assess some of the things we were doing and the way we were doing them. All of a sudden, with a few buttons pushed, things ramped back up and we were back to busy. With GC3PL, we had a similar experience, all the brands slowed down temporarily and then all of a sudden, it was chaos. Which we loved! It made us definitely feel confident in what we were doing and the decisions that we’d made in that hot minute, were the right ones.

Do you have any dream projects or collaborations?

Oooh, great question - I think peak for us would be to work with some amazing world wide resorts, producing unique products just for them. Is it shallow for me to also want to see our products with some mega famous person?! (hello, paging Mr Chris Hemsworth!? Margot Robbie?!). Haha. Pipe dreams like that are fun to reach for, without even having the result, as it just keeps you pushing forward. Onwards and upwards. In terms of interiors, i’m a little obsessed with Georgia Ezra’s work. If there was an opportunity there to work together one day, i’d jump at the chance. 

Any exciting projects in the pipeline?

Well our new range is being released soon with all new beautiful styles and colours which we’re really excited to show everyone. We’re also working closely with some fabulous Australian brands who we produce towels for. We’ve been doing this for a while now and love that we’re trusted enough to take on these great projects for these equally great brands. We’re also looking at introducing some lovely new features to the website, so watch this space!


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