Hometextile is Turkey's Only Worldwide Sector Brand

TETSIAD Executive Board President Hasan Hüseyin Bayram states that Turkish home textile industry is in first position in Europe and fourth worldwide. According to these facts he continues stating that ‘' Home textile is Turkey's only worldwide sector brand.''

Hasan Huseyin Bayram, the new president of Turkish Home Textile Industrialists and Business People Association thinks that home textile sector is undermined, even though it creates a considerable industrial power and economy. Furthermore Bayram states that, though being a worldwide brand as a country, having a market share of only 5 billion USD in a global market of 95 billion USD as a failure. Bayram: ''We are preparing our road map of the new term within this framework" We have discussed with President Bayram the prioritized projects of the new administration and how they intend to bring the sector to its well-deserved status.

Let us start with your presidency process. What was your vision as a presidential candidate?

My candidacy happened with demand and wish of the sector. We have committees both at the Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Industry of Istanbul. The wish of these committees and of our stakeholders in Bursa and Denizli was in this direction. So my candidacy developed as a common consensus of the sector rather than a personal choice. Nevertheless the basic reason is the problems of the sector and the worsening of the business. TETSIAD was losing its reputation in the eyes of our members and there was a need of a new vision and new blood. During the election process and afterwards there was an excitement.

Since we are on duty we are in touch with our members. We are calling them, asking them the problems they are encountering and collecting data. Within three months we had a serious amount of new membership applications to TETSIAD. This motivates us to work even more.

What will be your road map in order to solve problems and deficiencies?

First of all, we will do our best to solve the problems which have been told us during the election period by our members. For instance our members complained a lot about the raise in electricity. To solve this issue we collaborated with an electricity company. Due to this cooperation the electricity expenditures of our members diminished about 20%. Similar solutions will continue to come. There was a forgotten water dispenser at the historical peninsula. We renovated it and due its interior design it brought a dynamism. We opened it to the usage of our members. They can organize here product launches, cocktails, meetings. I kindly request from our members to own this place.

Our members encountered some problems during our large EVTEKS fair at CNR which we organize each year in April. We will have most of the issues handled by the next fair. We will be moving to our new offices in a couple of months and we will be able to give better service to our members, since our offices at the moment have limited capacity. Furthermore we have projects which we would like to share with all our shareholders in the sector.

Which is your priority project?

Our priority will be to establish the reputation of the home textile sector and its producers which is long due. We are preparing our road map accordingly. In order to increase exports we plan to invite approval committees of international fairs. As ITHIB, Denizli and Bursa Export Alliances and TETSIAD we have UR-GE (International Competitiveness Development) projects. With this projects we aim to bring serious buyers to Istanbul. We are trying to figure out how to increase the American market.

What do you mean by sector reputation? Is the home textile at the level it should be?

Home textile has always been covered up. The Turkish business world and the law administrators, are unfortunately not aware of its potential and the added value it provides. It is considered as a textile product and people tend to think ready to wear upon hearing textile. But actually home textile is everywhere; homes, hotels, cafes, yachts and transportation. Since we don't have an export alliance, our sector has shares both in ready to wear and raw material exports. Accordingly the created economy and exports of the sector appear to be way below its potential. I think that there we have a deficiency. In home textile we are world's fourth largest exporter after China, India and Pakistan and first in Europe. Home textile has an export of almost 5 billion USD but it doesn't have an export alliance. This is a very important lack for our sector.

Ok, is the only solution to have a seperate allience ?

This shouldn't be thought of as a division or a separate alliance. Since we are already different than the ready to wear and raw material sectors. Instead it should be considered as an umbrella alliance covering the whole home textile sector. The alliance to be established will represent as well as Bursa, as Denizli and Istanbul. This is something which needs to be done for the future of our sector, so that it can stand on its own feet. Our only desire is to have an alliance which will enable us to defend and protect our sector.

Couldn't be the enforcement of TETSIAD a solution ?

Within the status of an association we can't realize our projects in order to have larger market share from the global market. Because the alliance has an official status, the association on the other hand is based on volunteer status. Nevertheless I would like to add that TETSIAD is the largest NGO among Turkey's industrial businesses. Its dimensions, functions and the membership fee of 5000 TL paid by their members by their free will prove its grandeur as an organization. That's why all our shareholders need to show the necessary value and respect to TETSIAD. We have large machines in all our factories. Ready to wear and textile are labour-intensive, but home textile uses only 20% of human labour. For instance, we are number one among countries which have the Brode machine. Nevertheless this does not mean that we provide less employment. Since we have more machines we have also more employment. We have member companies with 5000, 7000 workers.

There is no doubt that alliances and associations are very important fort he development of the sectors. But there are also brands which carry the sectors . Did home textile manage to have an international brand ?

In home textile there is no such a branding neither in the world nor in Europe. But companies have their own reputation. We as Turkey are a brand in home textile. I can say that Turkey's only worldwide brand in the world, is home textile. It might sound very presumptuous, but though Turkish textile is a brand in the world, home textile is ahead of all.

Can we say then that the companies in Turkey have a greater chance to be a brand ?

We have many brands which are known within our country. There is a difference between being a brand and to be known. In order to be a brand one has to be known at least in 40 countries. In home textile sector to be known among the experts of the business is at least important as being a brand. As a country we have also a design power. In design we are number one in the world. During the last meeting we had in China the most of the questions were in regard to design. For instance a Chinese company told us that they hired three Turkish designers. Home textile is one of Turkey's first industrial work areas. There is a very important experience, know-how. Every one of our companies function as a pattern design factory.

Is the fact that even though Turkey is a brand in home textile, has only a share of 5 billion USD, in the World market of 95 billion USD due to the Chinese competition?

One should ask how many alliances or countries exist which can resist China let aside home textile. 80% of every sector is in the hands of China. They have a part of 60 billion USD of 95 billion·USD global home textile business. Independent from sector, wherever in the world your only competitor is a Chinese company. Within this context Turkey's most important competitors are countries of the Far East which have cheap human labour and are subsidized by their governments. The Far Eastern companies have innumerable advantages. Our only dynamic structure here is the wish of doing business of the Turkish people, the ability to take risks, the great desire to work and the design power. Without the support of the government you can fight till a certain point.

As hometexile is machinery the only thing you depend on foreign know-how ?

This is one of the points we can criticize the Turkish home textile sector. All over the world countries started by buying machines and then they came to a point where they built them on their own. Unfortunately as Turkey we are behind at this point. The Turkish textile and machinery industry has a huge lack in this respect. In order to enable more SME's to export ,there are actions taken in leadership of Turkish Export Council (TIM).

When looking at home textile in general, what is the export percentage of the producers ?

Regarding this point we are in a satisfactory position as well. At this moment 90% of our producers export. There is something which I always tell ; one day all home textile producers will be exporters. There is just a portion of %10 remaining.

As a final question,what should be the priority of the Turkish home textile,both as sector and companies in the near future ?

First of all we need to increase our market share. Exports in 2019 is in parallel with the previous year. It was important to keep up the current state during a time period where the ·EU economy didn't recover and the global business is in decline. Nevertheless next year it needs to grow. Because as a sector we are functioning in low capacity. At this point we care a lot about the ongoing UR-GE (International Competitiveness Development) projects. We carry out UR-GE projects with our friends both in Bursa and Denizli, with the export alliances in these areas and Istanbul Textile and Raw Material Export Alliance. Our priority is to bring more European customer again to Turkey. As a leader in the sector we need to have a larger market share. We need to find a solution to the Chinese competition. For the exports of countries such as ours China is a very big threat.