Vendor Highlight: House No. 23
MEET HOUSE NO. 23:
HAND-WOVEN FROM THE HEART
By Lindsey Goodrow
Behind House No. 23 are twin sisters, Melis and Melda, whose blood runs deep in the Turkish textile business. It is as they were predestined to start the business they now run, as they can trace their trade back to their grandfather, who opened a wholesale towel company in a small Turkish town some 75 years ago. Lucky for Long Beach, it is here that these sisters use their inherited knowledge and refined taste in all things woven to run House No. 23.
An appreciation for fine Turkish cotton was instilled in Melis and Melda at a young age, with their grandfather having sole access to lush cotton fields around Çeşme, a coastal town along the Aegean Sea. This hometown of theirs is an ancient city, home to an Ottoman castle, crystal blue water, and breathtaking views of both sea and mountains. Their memories growing up in Çeşme as well as their continued visits no doubt offer a well of inspiration for the textures and colors they choose for their hand-crafted towels, throws, and robes. But the sisters’ journey to owning their own business was not handed down to them. Instead, it was earned with time. The twins left their small Turkish town and headed west to The United States in 2000, where they quickly jumped into retail. Having both studied merchandising, Melis and Melda began working for famous designers and well-known clothing companies. They proceeded to gain knowledge on the ins and outs of retail and between the two of them, they handled all merchandising, buying, and ordering for their respective companies. For many years, the idea of having their own business felt like a far-off dream.
The seed idea for House No. 23 was always there, planted with the hands of their grandfather, growing stronger and evolving while Melis and Melda developed their trade and earned wisdom and respect in the industry. It wasn’t until 2012 that Melis took a huge leap of faith by quitting a job that she knew in her heart was unfulfilling. She desired something grander - a job and a purpose that would allow her more freedom to grow a family and provide for them.
When asked what advice she would give to anyone else who might be considering starting their own company, she said
“Ask yourself if you’re happy. If you’re not, go and do what makes you happy. And most importantly, learn to be adaptable”.
Although she was working in the right industry, she sought out a greater challenge that would allow her to make her own mark in the world. She felt confident that she had the necessary skills, an indisputable and refined taste, and the drive to launch her very own project and company, so that is exactly what she did.
The meaning behind the name House No. 23 comes from the fact that Melis and Melda started their business from their home (House) and that their birthday date, April 23rd (No. 23), also happens to be their lucky number. So lucky, in fact, that Melis began to see this number everywhere when she started to consider going off on her own. The number 23 would be on shipping dates and orders, beckoning her to branch off into unfamiliar but exciting territory. The final push for her to leave her job came on a fateful night in Las Vegas, where she bet on 23 in a game of roulette and won what would be her budget to begin her own business.
With a small budget but big dreams, Melis took off on a six month journey to travel the coast of Turkey in search of quality organic cotton as well as the perfect manufacturer for her endeavor. She roamed through small towns along the Aegean coast similar to that of her hometown, using a scrupulous eye. At first, Melis only sold Turkish towels through House No. 23. But due to the explosion in popularity of their soft and resilient towels, as well as bringing her sister Melda on to the business to help with design, their company quickly expanded its products to throws, towels, bedspreads, and artwork. Their highly curated Turkish cotton, featuring earth tones and geometric patterns, caught the eye of and was featured on websites such as Madewell, Food52, and Lulu and Georgia, allowing them to not only survive but thrive during the pandemic as their online sales tripled.
With Melis and Melda’s inherited knowledge of Turkish cotton, their education in merchandising, and the heart of sisters who love what they do, House No. 23 will continue to impress and satisfy their clients. Their towels, throws, and blankets are impeccably soft and tasteful, giving your home a feeling of indescribable luxury.
You can learn more about House No. 23 at their website!