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Colourful Ta Lii Towels raising the bar

November 18, 2015   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons
Lisa Iafrate is leading a very colourful life lately.
And she wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, she’s having the time of her life, but her version is thinking, planning, marketing and pitching her products, 24/7.
The creator of Ta Lii Towels, Iafrate is a go-getter and has taken an idea and transformed it into a full-time business. She’s spent the last 18 months researching and improving her product line, peddling her towels at almost every conceivable venue and trade show.
Iafrate hasn’t slowed down one bit. She can’t afford to.
She just wrapped up a stint at The Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, pitching her colourful assortment of towels that do it all to show-goers. They are super-absorbent, anti-bacterial, quick-drying, compact and eco-friendly. They are similar in feel to the micro-fibre shammy cloths that we’re familiar with. That’s where the similarity ends.
Ta Lii towels are 75% thinner than regular towels; dry 70% faster and hold 500% more water.
Iafrate has turned the product on its head, offering a vast array of colours, along with personalized embroidery. From corporate promotional items, to must-haves at the beach, pool or in your linen closet, Ta Lii towels are the new trendsetters. Iafrate also offers custom embroidery.
Iafrate gets full marks for her dedication and tenacity when it comes to bringing her line to market. She learned which colours and sizes sold well, and which markets to target.
While we think of towels as personal bathroom items, we can also use them on our pets and equine friends. They’re also perfect for polishing that collectible automobile or pristine powerboat. From sweat sheets to hair towels, “everyone needs a towel,” she observed.
What started off as a “thing,” has evolved into a thriving business that’s growing exponentially.
It even caught the attention of Canada’s business reality show, Dragons’ Den, which airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. on CBC.
She auditioned for the show in Collingwood this past February and then quickly began searching for markets. She visited a laundry facility of an adventure tour company in Mexico, urging them to switch to her towels, which would save them time and labour costs over the traditional terry towels.
When her time came to appear on the show, she presented the “dragons” with their own monogrammed towels. Her pitch was spot-on because she was well prepared and knew all the numbers, facts and figures. She asked the dragons for investment capital and warehousing facilities.
She hopes her episode will make it to air shortly.
Iafrate launched her business with very little capital. Not being a risk-taker by nature, Iafrate has planned every move. She does admit, though, as things are progressing she’s becoming a bit more adventurous.
“I’m excited,” she said. “I’ve never been happier. I love my product.”
She’s proud of what she’s accomplished and she hopes to quadruple her business in the future. She does admit she would like some mentorship from knowledgeable entrepreneurs. She hopes to get her line of towels into the major retail chains. She also hopes to introduce patterns and colour combinations in future designs.
She wants to learn more about business, even though the front-line marketing has come naturally to her.
Iafrate also wants to employ more local young people and give them hands-on experience in a small business. She hopes to help instill a strong work ethic and teach them the skills needed to survive in today’s marketplace.
Her days are filled, but the single mom is no stranger to hard work. She’s always done what she had to.
“Working is fun for me. There are so many adventures (yet to come).”
Keep an eye out for upcoming her Dragons’ Den episode.
For more, visit her website at taliitowels.com.

         

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