Yes, we can... and we will.
It was a crucial decision we took a year and a half ago.
Our region and our country weren't going through the best of the times.
Problems in Syria and millions of refugees moving to Turkey. We had serious problems with Russia as we took one of their army planes down for accessing our borders. The Russian president Putin wasn't happy at all. And eventually, Russians were banned to visit Turkey for their holidays which created a 7.0 scale earthquake in our little resort of Alanya whose economy is %90 dependant on the tourists.
And what's next. An attempt of a coup. Some members of Turkish army attacking Turkish parliament causing 254 casualties and a legendary avoidance of the attempt by Turkish people literally throwing themselves in front of tanks trying to stop soldiers take over the democratically elected government. I can't even gauge the economical damage given no matter the coup was a success or not.
On the other side of the world, Central Bank of America FED increasing the interest rates making Turkish Lira loose value over %20 literally creating a
devaluation when combined with geopolitical problems, terror, conflicts. We
were trying to keep our workshop alive in a market dominated with Chinese leather handbags (as we are originally leather crafters) and in an environment with no potential customers.
We were at a point where we needed to take a decision as it was not possible for us to sustain our business under these circumstances. We didn't have many options either. We were either going to try to go on. Or shut down and try to get a day job. Yet, there was another option which we couldn't neglect or ignore.
The other option we had was to review our processes as at that stage our production was leather craft and gourd craft in the workshop moving at the same time. We made gourd lamps but they were more of a tourist's souvenir type of designs with simple figures and relatively cheaper cost. And those days we started to think, maybe we should focus on this craft, this niche. And like we always do, we took the challenge. We decided to remove leather production entirely and invested all our resources to gourd craft. That was the humble beginnings of today's largest and most diverse calabash based gourd lamp collection in the world. We utilized everything we had, all the connections we know and every single penny that we can get. We added the most talented Veysi Yildiz as a full-time member of our workshop and also Ahmet Ozkara and Guler Albayrak as part-time members of our workshop.
We standardized some of the processes on gourd while we separated the workload in between us. I moved to marketing focusing on building this web page and expending our store on Amazon.
It hasn't been easy and I can't say we succeeded yet. But is is for sure that we have come to a point. A point where we are recognized as a Gourd Lamp brand globally. You google gourd lamps and you will see us on the first page. Well to me that's something. But beyond that, we sold over 250 gourd lamps within the course of 2017 and that's the supporting element for us. Yes, we claim the largest and the most diverse gourd lamps collection in the world and yes we will sustain what we claim.
I have some news and even more improvements that I would like to introduce here but I will leave that to another blog post as I don't want to turn my articles into boring long essays. A little dose of gourd every now and then is good enough for all of us.