Baturina Homewear, definitely has an interesting story, and it all started around 2010, in the city of Hamburg. Long before Christoph Waltz wore their elegant, pastel blue floral cotton dressing gown, as part of a global advertising campaign for Allianz. Before this, it was a small project for Natalia Tishchenko (née Baturina.) Natalia, as a very talented and professional seamstress, had always been doing various commissions, from outerwear to wedding dresses as a small home business. Around this time, she had planned to gift a nice-looking housecoat to her grandmother, however she couldn’t find anything suitable in stores, other than terrycloth ones on the lower quality side. After browsing the internet and being unable to find anything, she happened to stumble across some very worn sewing patterns which had old fashioned dressing gowns, with quilting, frogging, and tassels. The shape of the dressing gown itself was very simple and always the same, however it was the details and materials used that made all the difference. It was at that moment, inspiration was born.
After creating a couple of vintage-inspired dressing gowns for friends and family, Natalia’s daughter, Anna, suggested posting it on the internet, and together they decided upon the name Baturina Homewear for their fledgling business. Anna, who at the time, was in her senior year at High School, began writing blog posts about what dressing gowns they made, with lots of detailed shots and process photos. It didn’t take long for it to spark interest and soon there were comments and questions from people asking where they could buy the products.
‘We noticed the type of clothing we were producing was incredibly rare and missing in people’s wardrobes,’ Anna explains. ‘High quality dressing gowns made in a distinct vintage style with a quilted collar and piping. Something to throw on at home and look good in, that is also not made from terrycloth or fleece. A lot of male readers on the blog were interested and soon we started to get a small following.’ At that time, sites like Etsy and its German counterpart “DaWanda” were booming and the brand soon decided to open a shop on Dawanda. Later, it was acquired and merged with Etsy and that’s how Baturina wound up on Etsy.
This is where the brand was introduced to international customers and quickly they started to get orders from the US and UK. ‘Our American and British customers helped shape the brand to what it is today,’ says Anna. Today they are no longer an Etsy-exclusive business, and run their own e-commerce. There are not a lot of family businesses in Germany, especially nowadays with a lot of them shutting down. ‘We are one of the few family-run small businesses that produce clothing entirely in Germany, without outsourcing production in other countries. Supporting family businesses is a matter of sustainability and keeping local craftsmanship such as sewing and tailoring alive.’
For me, Baturina Homewear is a glorious throwback to a bygone era, of classic Hollywood. You could have imagined the likes of, Carey Grant, Errol Flynn, and Audrey Hepburn, wearing their smoking jackets, pajamas, robes, kimonos, night shirts, and looking like the very picture of understated elegance in the comfort of their home. This is a brand who are doing something incredibly different and exciting. They are also a reminder of how important it is to support independent businesses. It cannot be underestimated the amount of work that goes into producing items that are of such a high quality, and doing it with sustainability in mind. It was a pleasure for The Atlantic Dispatch to sit down with co-founder of Baturina Homewear, Anna Tishchenko to learn more about the brand.
VILLAINS AND PROTAGONISTS
We, often draw inspiration from old cinema and try to emulate the look of those dressing gowns, often worn by villains and main protagonists. Another source of inspiration is historical menswear from the Rococo and Victorian eras. We have some distinct color schemes that we perfected over time, such as various light pastel shades, like blue, cream, pink or a darker palette of velvet fabrics in deep shades of burgundy, green, purple, black and navy.
We even started by using real vintage sewing patterns and very often implemented our customers feedback and tried to fulfill their requests as closely as possible. Many times, customers were looking to find a robe like their father’s or grandfather’s one and requested some specific details, like certain
colors and finishes. Overall, you could say that it is a combination of historical inspiration and lots of customer feedback.
A RARE SKILL
As a small business, we do not have the same resources such as large companies, such as marketing budgets, logistics and infrastructure. One of our first and biggest achievements is that we were able to grow a following on the internet organically, without purchasing ads, just by means of our content. But that was a long time ago, the internet has since changed a lot. It is very challenging to build and grow an e-commerce business as an independent small brand. I’ll also add that for us every single positive review from happy customers is an achievement on its own. Another challenge is finding professionals in the sewing and garment making field. Here in Germany professional sewing or garment cutting is unfortunately a rare skill. Our garment makers are extraordinarily talented and have honed their skills in our studio. Since we work with a lot of uncommon fabrics, such as thick cotton velvet, cord piping, heavy woven jacquard, and use multiple components for the robes, such as the collar and lining parts, it takes a lot of practice to accomplish sewing such a type of garment in perfect quality.
DEDICATION TO THE CRAFT
What makes our brand unique is our dedication to the craft. We make no shortcuts to bring the highest level of craftsmanship and ethical production to each customer since all our pieces are 100% made in our own studio in Germany. Often in fashion it is quite ambiguous where something was made, and under what conditions, but we are proud to have a fully transparent production. Our customers can be fully confident about the garment’s origins.
Each garment is individually made by one of our talented dressmakers from start to finish, meaning one person individually creates the entire piece. We also use deadstock fabrics; these are industry leftovers such as unused stock. Or sometimes a fabric is made in the wrong color, rendering it unusable and then the factory must either destroy it orsell it. By using deadstock, we can repurpose already existing fabric and offer a wide range of unique patterns and colors.
Combining made-to-order production and deadstock materials helps us to make a positive impact on the environment. In addition, we repurpose fabric leftovers for sampling and small accessories such as smoking caps, eye masks, throw pillows. As I already mentioned all our products are made to order. This allows us to offer custom designs and extensive personalisation like custom tailoring and monogramming. Additionally, we offer a wide
range of sizes – from XS to 5XL.
Customers can pick any fabric from our website and create their own unique robe, by choosing the different fabrics for each part, like the body fabric, collar, lining. The need for customisation has been clear from the very beginning, since we’ve been asked to do custom fit and personalised designs very early on in our business. Since a robe is worn daily in the privacy of the home, it makes a lot of sense to make it as personalised as possible. Another very important point is our return policy – unlike any other seller we accept returns and offer alterations for all custom designs. Many sellers have a strict no-returns policy when it comes to customized goods, however we believe that even if something is custom made, the customer should still have the right to return. Because we are a small business and individually make all products, we have the flexibility to offer this return service.
A BUSTLING CITY FOCUSED ON TRADE
Baturina Homewear was founded in Hamburg, and I don’t think this would have been possible in anyother location. It’s a bustling city focused on trade – here we’ve been able to establish many of ourfabric supply chains. Hamburg has many beautiful historical districts such as Speicherstadt which have a long history, even in medieval times it was the city of merchants. The historical scenery and close proximity to the Elbe river and port has always inspired us. Our office and studio are very close to the port and we often hear the signaling of passing cargo ships. It’s also not the warmest climate here, so a warm robe at home is needed. We did a few photoshoots at some of our favorite spots last summer, like the Fischmarkt, and plan to do more, as the historical setting and river scenery work quite well with our vintage-inspired dressing gowns.
CAPTURING UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE
There are two older designs that have been with us since the very beginning, which represent our brand the best. It is the bronze gold and navy blue paisley dressing gown, and quilted navy blue velvet dressing gown. Both designs follow a maritime theme. They perfectly capture understated elegance in dark colors and playful details, which is highly sought after. Many of our customers want some rich color and bold details, but not too much. And these two always hit the right spot. We developed the designs a long time ago and to this day we still offer them, though with some improvements. So, there’s a bit of nostalgia to them as they always remind me of the early days. We’ve had many bestsellers over the years come and go, as the fabrics run out and we can’t produce them ever again. However, the bronze gold paisley and navy blue velvet are mainstays of our collection.
BATURINA IS DOMESTIC COMFORT
This year, you can expect many more robes and pajamas, designed for aesthetics and comfort. We have a lot of incredibly rare, beautiful fabrics that are still not utilised. Additionally, we plan to expand our women’s section and offer many more robes and pajamas, as we have not focused properly on this segment yet.
Originally there was little interest in women’s loungewear, as there is a plethora of brands targeting women, but very few for men. We believe that a dressing gown is a unisex type of garment anyway, but due to many requests recently we started to build up our offering specifically for women. What’s interesting is that around half of our customers are women – so it makes a lot of sense to finally offer some dedicated styles. After all a matching robe and PJs partner look is quite fashionable. We also consider further expanding our home décor offerings. We envision Baturina as the kind of brand where you can find anything needed for domestic comfort – robes, pajamas, home textiles and wall décor. But the dressing gown will always be at the core of our concept.
Thank you very much to Anna Tishchenko for her time.