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It’s the little details that matter

When Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring was restored in 1994, the public was able to follow the progress through a glass panel. What they witnessed was the restorers discovering the hereunto hidden secrets of Vermeer’s masterful technique. To show how the light reflected off the figure’s lips, he used two small pale pink spots of paint, one on top of the other, on the left corner of her mouth. It is a tiny, barely discernible detail, but it is part of what brings the painting to life. 

So it is with what is otherwise perhaps considered inconsequential. Many people focus on the big picture, but let the little things slide: not returning a trolley, or not paying enough attention to hold the lift. Companies do the same. But tiny touches add up to something sometimes intangible yet vital – like the highlight on the Girl’s mouth, which helps us imagine the real sun on a real face. 

At toast&co we’re all about detail. We didn’t want just any towels for your treatments. So when we went out to choose them, we handled the towels, held them to our cheeks, focusing on the feel of them. The best of the lot? A waffle-weave fabric that’s absorbent and eco-friendly. Then we got them specifically dyed so they would be the exact match to our carefully chosen colour scheme. 

Our uniforms are made to measure by a local seamstress, because we want to empower the community around us and we want each item in the store – down to the clothes we wear – to be curated, neat, homemade and carefully done. We want a face behind the stitches, someone masterful at her craft. 

Our coffee is sourced from independent growers in Uganda who are part of a co-operative. We think that the manner something is produced matters: how are the workers treated? Are their growing methods sustainable? We go beyond just the taste of a good cup of java – though, of course, that is important too! Similarly our biscuits are made by a gentle and kind meditating vegetarian who uses a family recipe. But not even we know the secret behind the buttery goodness. 

Over and over we look for ways to pay closer attention to the little things, because so much of life is in the details. The small moments, when taken together, paint a picture. We want that picture to be beautiful, subtle, alive.  

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