“OUR NEW TARGET IS TO GROW 3.5 FOLD IN THREE YEARS”
Koton is one of the brands that has transformed itself as the rules of the game in the market have changed and, in one sense, has captured the spirit of the age… In fact, Koton Board CoChair GÜLDEN YILMAZ believes that this is the reason for their success
There are certain periods that stand out in Koton’s story and it is in these periods that you have raised your targets. When did you first increase your target?
In fact, like many entrepreneurs, we started off in business with the same motivation. A better life, a new success, a new excitement… As young people, we wanted to change our lives. In fact, this was the first increase in our target. When we look at the course of Koton’s life, there is a striking periodicity. In fact, this is what underpins its success. It is because we were at that point at that time that we are where we are today. For example, in terms of the course of our corporate life, the rapid rise of the textile sector after 1980 was an important chance for us. Throughout the 1990s, we learned how to make collections, to retail and to market and we developed ourselves. At the end of the 1990s, when global competition came to Turkey, the rules of the game changed. Everyone began to invest in their own brands. We also, as a result of the influence of global competition, focused more on branding.
What is the importance of the 1990s in Koton’s story?
The 1990s are very important from this perspective: We have significantly developed our manufacturing and design capabilities. We began exporting after 1993-94. We noticed that, while we were working as exporters, that foundation had slipped a little. We again came to a crossroads. We chose the path of exporting our own goods. We went and we opened a wholesale store in Munich and we began to export Koton brand products. This was an important threshold for us. Because it developed our ability to make collections according to the tastes of European customers.
So why was the decision taken in the 2000s to make the transition from manufacturing to fashion retailing?
In fact, the period 2000-2001 was a turning point for us in terms of raising our target. At that time we looked at ourselves through the retailer’s eyes. We went abroad and we studied how this business was done around the world. We were going to go down the fashion retailing path. Because there was