Nur Beğen is manufacturing and selling the worldwide known Turkish towels as organic products, and making organic toys for children, and managing a pioneering company in a different and future-promising field of business.
Would you please briefly identify yourself?
I am born in Ankara in 1978. I am a 96 graduate of TED Ankara College. After high school, I finished the Industrial Engineering Department in Gazi University, and got a master’s degree from Bilkent Industrial Engineering Department.
How did you decide to build your own business? From whom did you get support at the time of decision making?
Indeed I wished to do my own business at all times. I was looking for a field of business wherein both I could express myself better as a philosophy of life and I could believe in and dedicate myself. No-one gave me support in terms of business idea. On the contrary, my kith and kin thought I have gone crazy as I was entering into a sector I had no idea about.
In which business are you working? As there were many other business ideas, why did you decide to do this business?
I am a founding partner of Organikturk.com dealing with sales of only certificated organic products. At the same time, it is supplying and manufacturing fully organic certificated towels, bathrobes and similar other home textile products, baby dresses, sportswear and toys under the trademark of OrganicEra (means Organic Era in English). While creating our own trademark, we intended to offer products not existing then in the marketplace. That is why we decided to manufacture and sell worldwide known Turkish towels as organic products.
They are followed by organic toys offered for sale with the motto of “healthy toys for healthy children”. Thanks to organic toys, mothers feel at ease while children play with their toys. Your babies will never get harmed while they play with or touch or even contact their toys with their mouth.
My interest in organic textile began with an article published in a magazine. In fact I am an Industrial Engineer MSc, and do not have a past with regard to textile, but in 2005 when I have read the article, Turkey has already lost blood in textile sector due to cheap products produced in China, and the article was suggesting to enter into organic textile production as an alternative way of getting out of the red.
Later, as a result of my researches based totally on my personal curiosity, I learned that though I was not ever cognizant of that fact at that time, Turkey was already the greatest producer of the world in organic cotton production, and that there were already a great many of companies exporting various different finished products from Turkey. Then, when I learned to which extent chemical and synthetic fertilizers and insecticides are required to be used for production of conventional cotton which is still the mostly used raw material in textile production though we believe it is totally pure, I understood to which extent organic cotton is important and vital both for our own health and for the future of our planet, and I decided to work in this segment.
In contrast to the Turkish textile sector losing its strength due to price competition, I felt that I can make production in “organic textile segment” solely for environmentally-sensitive customer segment with high purchasing power, and that I have at last found a business to which I could dedicate my life as a philosophy of life, while on one side I could “raise image” of the Turkish textile sector as well.
The first thing I did after reading the article was to visit an organic cotton field. It is not possible for any person not to latch on to cotton named as “white poppy” in Anatolia. As we are basically focused on export markets, our foreign customers wish to see also our cotton fields and to get detailed information about all production process stages. Therefore, together with them, I am still visiting our organic cotton fields in Söke, Manisa and Amik plain.
What types of troubles did you have while doing this business and how did you overpass them? According to you, to which points must one pay attention while building his business? On which issues is one required to collect and have information?
I was too tired of jumping into a sector I had no knowledge or idea about. Textile is one of the strongest fields of business in Turkey, but at the same time it is to the same extent difficult to handle and manage. Goods not shipping on time, delayed orders and being obliged to learn on the road while trying to do business cost an arm and a leg to one. You have to make a pretty good investment so as to create a trademark. For instance, at the time you start business, you have to determine and choose very well your corporate identity, purposes, goals and trademark philosophy. Trying to determine and formulate them on the road by time causes loss of both prestige and money to you.
According to you, are there any difficulties of taking your part in business life as a woman? If any, what are they?
Particularly, textile sector I am engaged in is a marketplace mostly dominated by men. Unless you strongly pounder your fist on the table, neither you can buy good quality goods or materials, nor producers take you and your business seriously. And additionally I seem young. For this reason, I must admit and confess that I have still great troubles in order to be taken seriously in the serious business meetings.
Could you get the results you desire from your business? What are your future-oriented goals and targets?
Yes, we are selling organic products which have not yet become prominent in Turkey. We are the first organic certificated towel and toy trademark of Turkey. We have always produced very good quality goods, and we have always kept our promises. There are stores selling only our products in Ankara, Antalya and Samsun. We are presently producing more than 100 product items, and have created a demand for them in the marketplace.
What do you recommend to women wishing to do their own business?
To do your own business is very cheerful, but also tiring to the same extent. If you are doing your own business, you have to get prepared to be still working after 9 in the evening until late hours at night. I am recommending them to travel with their mobile phones in hand even in holiday, and to get prepared to work as an accounting department or if and when needed as a warehouse officer.