Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Reveling in Bath Towel Luxury: Serbia's Pannonian Linens

The UPS guy just dropped off a big fat box at our doorstep. "Come see, come see!" I call the family. "My new towels from Serbia have arrived!" My step-daughter rounds the corner looking skeptical. "Serbian towels are AWFUL." My husband, who's been known to load up on discount luxury towels at TJ Max before trips back to Serbia, promptly agrees. What's this crazy Amerikanka going on about?

Although most Serbs may be oblivious to it, Serbia has a longstanding tradition of fine luxury towel-making. The cotton is from Turkey; the work is done by hand on antique Swiss shuttle Jaquard looms; and, the initial customer base were Hapsburg nobles who visited Serbia's plentiful, natural thermal spas. (I've heard Serbia has more hot water spas than any other country in Europe. Sadly most are in very bad shape now. Could be a goldmine for the right investors.)

A Serbian company called Pannonian Linens offers large towels in a variety of colors (I got one each in white, off-white, blue, gold, and teal - all use German eco-friendly dyes.) They feel lush and slightly silky but not overly soft to the touch - a perfect balance between brisk roughness and soft thickness. I don't know how you can get them in Serbia, but if you are in the US or Canada you can get them online in the towel section at Bon Savon or call (877) 832-4635.

Bon Savon is a California-based, online store specializing in fine soaps from around the world. They don't have any soaps from Serbia, so why the towels? Turns out president Alex Hughart is actually originally from Novi Sad. Her friends back home know her better as Dragana Aleksic.
(Dragana is not exactly an English-friendly name -- people think you're named after a giant lizard -- so she changed her name for her new country.)


Kendi said...

What a great story! But the towels are insanely expensive (I think).

Alex Hughart said...

Rosemary, I'm so glad you're enjoying the towels! Serbia's textile industry was up to snuff until the latest wars all but destroyed it. Hopefully, with more companies going back to quality manufacturing, we'll be able to restore the lost reputation.

Our towels are made by Presla (sold in the U.S. under the Pannonia Linens brand name). To order them in Serbia please, contact www.PreslaTextiles.com (btw, a completely new site is in the works). There's an option to buy them through your work place "sindikat" in three (easy) payments :). Ask about it!

Alex Hughart said...

@kendi -Thanks for your comment. Yes, we agree, the price is not particularly budget-friendly. We are trying really hard to lower the production costs without compromising on quality or any environmental and labor standards.
The good thing is, they last longer so, you'll need fewer to buy. As the English say: I'm not reach enough to buy cheap :)(good for the planet as well).