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WE STARTED FROM THE FLOOR

WE STARTED FROM THE FLOOR

Mustafa İlhan: "Designing and the brand equity are the only factors keeping you strong… Thus, we set out with a brand perception that creates a state of belonging for the customers."

Apex Carpets, which crated a new style and an effective brand awareness and formed its own customer group, started to adapt the new technology and reproduce angora woolen rugs, which were woven on hand weaving looms in 1990s and inclined to be forgotten. Apex correctly analyzed the processes and determined the requirements of the market on rational bases, thus, it managed to increase the quality and created its own customer group for its attractive products. Apex Carpet, which is a significant trade mark in integrating the concept of fashion with the carpet sector, has been a powerful actor in the sector and influenced customers' preferences since 1994 with more than a thousand shops. In order to learn more about this process, we had a sincere interview with Mustafa İlhan, the Chief Financial Officer of Apex Carpet.

What does "being different" mean to Apex Carpet? What is the specific feature differentiating Apex Carpetfrom the others?

During the 19 year commercial life of Apex Carpet, the key word has always been honesty. Honesty here means being honest to the customers, to the suppliers and to our workers. Within last twenty years, honesty has become a very significant element in business life due to the degeneration in commercial morality in terms of corporations and persons. What being different means to us is firstly honesty, then innovations and finally the emotional bond between our company and the customers. We have a motto that the most important thing for the company is giving customers the feeling of belonging. The first condition of being a powerful brand is creating a feeling of faith and inspiring customers this feeling. It takes at least ten years for a brand to be well-known and preferred in the sector. Of course you have to keep your promises on quality, credibility etc. The most important factor of having a great credit with both customers and dealers is the high quality of the products and the effort to be perfect in terms of customer satisfaction. Moreover, innovative corporate identity is another important factor for this high credit with the customers.

Could you tell us about the history of Apex Carpets briefly? What hasbeen experienced since the first day?

The commercial life of our company started on sales of angora woolen rugs and blankets, which are called Siirt blankets, 19 years ago and today, we added machine woven carpets, non-slip carpets and hand woven carpets to our product range. During these years, as it is known, Turkey has increased the rates of carpet production and exportation and become a significant carpet production center of the world. Especially, the economical development in last ten years supported both the sector and our company to grow to a great extent. In the last ten years, carpet has almost completely become a decorative object. Colors and patterns has been replaced for the material and weaving finesse. Visuality became extremely important. Today, we present our products to our customers at approximately 450 shops. We also provide online shopping on our corporate websitewww.apexhali.com

As a significant brand, could you briefly inform us on the importance of brand equity, the viewpoint of the sector on this issue and the perception by customers?

We see that most of national brands in the carpet sector in Turkey are less than 10 years old except a few brands. This situation gives us clues on that most of the companies in the sector have just started to give importance to brandizing. There is a war not among the countries but among the brands in the global sector. Place of production, which used to be of great importance before, now follows the brand. Brand is one step ahead of the place of production in many products of well-known companies. Turkey is a very good brand in the region and the companies in the sector should benefit from this value as much as possible. At this point, it is of great significance that your company has a good credit with the customers. Your brand, your logo, designs, price policy, visual materials etc. should be in harmony and fill in each other.

As an important actor in the sector, what are you plans for the year 2013? Could you tell us about your evaluations of the year 2012 and expectations from the future?

Turkey has been one of the countries which is the least affected by the financial crisis, which broke out in the USA in 2008 and spread all over the world. However, 2009 was a year when the sales and profit margin were low. Although it was not a profitable year in 2009 for the carpet sector, in 2010 and 2011 the carpet sector increased their sales and profit rates. Yet, unfortunately, there has been a decrease in the domestic market. I believe that 2013 will be more profitable for the carpet sector than 2012 was. The exportation rate in the carpet sector has increased by 24 percent in the first ten months of the year 2012 in comparison with the same period last year. We can see that the decrease in the domestic market was partly compensated with the increase in exportation rates. Economical processes and the figures are clear. As a manufacturer, how do you evaluate the economical status? Could you tell us about the power of this sector within the national economy? We have to admit that investment in designing and brandizing is at least as significant as the investment in concrete materials. What we have to do from now on is combining our manufacturing power with creative designs and presenting our products to customers under worldwide known brands. If we cannot go beyond this barrier, Turkey would be doomed to be the contract manufacturer of the world and work for low profit margins. If we do not give importance to brandizing and envisagement, we will have to sell our products in kilos like the greengrocers do. The vicious circle of the sector is the shrink in the exportation markets. Approximately 60 percent of Turkey's carpet exportation goes to 10 countries. The remaining countries more than a hundred consist of only 40 percent of total exportation. At this point, it is really important for Turkish companies to find new markets and make exportation to these countries.

We know that you make important business both at domestic and foreign markets. What can you tell us about the problems in exportation, and your experiences?

Fairs are the most important factor in international trade. Of course fairs are not as popular as they used to be due to the spread use of internet technologies. Attendance of Turkish companies to fairs addressing various markets will both increase our exportation rates and expand our vision. It is possible to produce and sell high value added products by employing designators who canmake creative designs.

26.12.2012
This News 9002 read.
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