Welcome to marlo + olive!
We are Julie Misarti and Derya Keskin, Chicagoland moms, neighbors, and most recently, business partners. We also have diverse career skills in banking, sales, the military, project management, and social work that have uniquely prepared us to import beautiful peshtemals from Turkey to the United States.
We met as Julie was walking her sweet and silly Shih Tzu-Yorkie dog, Olive, down Derya’s street in Western Springs, Illinois. Derya’s gentle giant Maine coon cat Marlo met Olive when Derya was dog-sitting Olive one weekend. Unfortunately, Marlo and Olive didn’t fall in love.
Then, in the summer 2019, Julie invited Derya’s family to their adorable lake house on Geneva Lake, Wisconsin. Instead of beach towels, Derya, who is Turkish, brought peshtemals. Julie’s traditional beach towels got easily soaked, became heavy, and were covered in sand while Derya’s wet peshtemals dried quickly on her chair. She also had plenty of room for the thin, absorbent—and soft!—sheets in her bag. Julie began asking questions about these miraculous things, learning that they come in a variety of colors, shapes, textures, and styles. By the end of the day, Julie and Derya decided to launch a business. Months later, we had 600 boxes of peshtemals in our living rooms, ready to go.
Three days later, the pandemic hit.
The country shut down. Gone was our idea of selling in pop-up stores and at local markets. Like the rest of America, we had to pivot. We began taking photos of the peshtemals to post on Facebook. We got a bit more creative and posed them with friends, pets, kids, and seasonal décor, like Easter baskets and picnic tables, and increased our social media presence. But our big break came when we discovered The Porch Sale. Julie set up a small table in the front of her house and, to our delight, customers lined up around the block waiting for their turn to choose their first peshtemals. Word spread, and the business took off.
Oh, and our pets? While they aren’t exactly bosom buddies, their names do sound so good together.
Thank you for visiting marlo + olive. Come back soon.
xo, Derya and Julie