One of my favorite things about being a New York City wedding photographer is the abundance of amazing vendors in the city. One of the first wedding vendors I reached out to when I moved to New York City was Catherine Schiff of Bayith, which is a boutique textiles company in Brooklyn that specializes in ethically sourced wedding linens. I spent some time with Catherine, learning more about her and her business and am looking forward to seeing her work at more weddings.
Ty: Tell me about yourself
Catherine: I’m a nerd and love a good sci-fi movie or tv show. Currently, my husband and I are binge-watching Legion.
I make it a point to shut off my business mind and live in the moment when I’m walking around Brooklyn. It’s important to notice the seasons changing, flowers blooming, and all the wildlife around, otherwise life is going to pass by without me some-day!
For my business of renting ethical linens, I want to create a sense of community, warmth, and connection. Table linens are just a part of this experience, but it adds to the organic feel of an intimate dinner party or grand gathering. The event space is an extraordinary industry, and I love being part of it.
I would say my dreams are very similar to my business goals – quality meaningful connections. I would like to make a positive impact on the Earth with my business, so we donate a portion of every sale to water conservation efforts. Also, running an upstate NY animal sanctuary/wedding venue/farm would be amazing!
Ty: How did you get started in textiles?
Catherine: My background is in fashion production and design. With BAYITH linens, I get to keep working with textiles in the celebratory atmosphere of events.
Ty: You mention that BAYITH was born in the kitchen of a Brooklyn apartment – what was that process like?
Catherine: I looked everywhere for ethically made linens and found nothing available for rent for my wedding. My first client was my husband and me on our wedding day! From there, we kept making every piece in New York, and things took off; it’s been nothing but a wild ride. I worked out of my Brooklyn kitchen for a year and a half before moving to a studio space in Greenpoint.
Ty: Tell me about life as an entrepreneur
Catherine: It’s easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I do believe anyone with grit and a great idea can make it happen. I love connecting with other entrepreneurs and discussing our challenges and wins!
Ty: Why do you love your job?
Catherine: Freedom to travel. Since my husband and I both own our businesses, we make our schedules. We love to travel and can take several weeks off at a time, projects pending of course. I also love that even my tiniest choices can make a positive impact. That’s why we hire locally and only use natural fabrics.
Ty: What is your favorite design to create?
Catherine: I love creating details that add to big moments like a wedding, or small moments like baking a cake at home. The key is that they are part of people’s lives. Personalization is always fun because I know it’s going to be extra meaningful to someone.
Ty: What is your process?
Catherine: For rentals, the client chooses locally made linens from our boutique collection. They either come chat over cookies and cold-brew at our Greenpoint, Brooklyn studio or we mail over swatches and samples. Once a client books, we produce more if needed, launder, and inspect every piece right here and make sure it’s perfect for the event.
For large orders, we are proud to work with local freelance seamstresses. We hire talented sewers that are college students, stay at home moms, and everyone in between. For any events out of NYC, we ship the order, and the clients send it right back. For NYC events, we arrange a specific delivery time to the venue. We also work on custom orders such as runners that are extra long or embroidery details. These can range from a set of 4 custom napkins to large orders for catering companies. These are for the clients to keep and reuse again and again!
Orders, rentals, and customs each provide unique challenges and provide variety to my day. It’s important to me to make every decision with sustainability in mind. If something we do doesn’t positively contribute to the environment, we either shouldn’t do it at all, or we need to offset it. I hope to keep growing BAYITH in this way.t of variety to my day. It’s important to me to make every decision with sustainability in mind. If something we do doesn’t contribute to the environment in a positive way, we either shouldn’t do it at all, or we need to offset it. I hope to keep growing BAYITH in this way.
Ty: What is your secret sauce that makes your clients fall in love with you and BAYITH’s wedding linens?
Catherine: I think people come for the connection, whether it’s the connection to the natural fabrics or the local people that make the linens. Weddings are so celebratory and are about two people and two families coming together. The fact that we emphasize community resonates with our clients.
Ty: What do you want your clients to know about BAYITH more than anything else?
Catherine: Our clients should feel good about booking linens with us! They are supporting a local small business, supporting the local economy because we employ locally, supporting the Earth through the use of sustainable materials and zero waste production (meaning we use or recycle all our leftover fabric.) Our clients also feel good long after the event because we donate a portion of every sale and booking to water conservation efforts. I want our clients to keep celebrating long after the event is over.