Mustafa Karabayır Interview
Mr. Mustafa, first of all, could you please introduce yourself? How did you establish this business?
I have graduated from Zeytinburnu Industrial Vocational High School, Shoe-Making Department in 1994-1995. Mostly, the modelling of shoe-making has been caught my attention. After high school, I worked at Slazenger Product Development Department in Esem Sport company approximately for five years. After, I worked in Fatih Heel Company. I worked at steely sole division of the shoe. Fatih Heel was like a school those days. I have established Elit Sole in 2008. I had examined that there were a gap regarding the insole. First, we have started to the production with 7-8 thousand pairs of shoes per day. Within 5-6 years, we have reached to the capacity of sole production in 35 thousand pairs. There is no any company in Turkey that can produce in this quantities. We can produce all kind of products like Men Shoes, Women Shoes, Pleat, Petite, Baby Shoe.
Well, what kind of companies and brands are consisting your customer group?
We are able to meet wide range of customer expectations. We supply the insole for many shoe companies like Greyder, Flo. Because of our high volumed production capacity, we can handle the immediate delivery. Our quick service creates great satisfaction and continuos relationship with our customers. Additionally, sometimes we participate in tenders like military and penitentiaries that manufacture.
What is your management style as being a company owner?
I am not a desk boss. I always try to be active in the market and engage in close dialogue with my customers. I try to finger on the pulse of the industry well and analyse. Due to my graduation from shoe-making school, coming out from the production itself; I know shoe trade as a whole model, template etc well. It gives me advantage and simplicity to establish conscious dialog with the people and customers who are in this sector and to comprehend their expectations as well
Well, the industrial trends are developing in what direction? Can we get information accordingly?
The trends of our industry is mainly determined by Italy. Because, we also follow them. We buy prominent products from there and produce. For example, we are buying a material from Palamut Group that this material is made from cotton and only we consume in Turkey. In general, we also use the latest materials around the world. However, the template, model and design may be changed
Has government got a special encouragement about the industry? How do you find the policies in this area?
Generally, we prefer to continue our way with our equity capital. How do you consider the course of events in the industry and the scene within the country? The Shoe industry has difficulties because of the problems at our neighbours and market shrinkage. The companies that have good equity capital in shoe industry are doing good businesses. Other companies have difficulty concerning to the payments and finance. Shoes, because of being a product that is used by everyone, we think periodical difficulties will be overcome. Hence, the businesses are getting better
So, how are the competition conditions and environment in the industry?
There are always a competition in shoe industry. This leads us to the quality and innovator production. In spite of that, surviving the companies that compete insensible is too difficult. Because, all materials that we use are import and indexed foreign currency. Because of Turkey’s fragile economy, sometimes it’s possible to be seized currency risks. We should analyze and handle those very good.
What is your opinions regarding the new markets in shoe industry?
We have to focus on Europe and sell products. Until today, Russian market was so powerful. However, it can be affected by slightest problem. There are a great deal of difference between Europe and Russia. As in instance, when we buy a merchandise from Europe, formal procedures and rules are implemented. The buyer and seller do not take the risk. Recently, we are attaching importance to the Iranian market and aiming to be effective. We are aiming to visit some exhibitions in Iran for the upcoming period and reinforce our interest as well.
Well, what are your strengths of your company that distinguish from your competitors?
The most important feature is our high production capacity. There is no any competitor that can run with regard to the quantity, production and quality. We can perform rapidly and meet the demand very good.
Well, you’re working with Palamut Group also ? How are your business relationships?
We are in a quite productive business relationship with Palamut Group since our establishment. We are not experiencing the difficulty regarding the products that are supplied by Palamut Group. So, due to this reason, we always buy the raw materials of our products from Palamut Group that are related with our shoe soles that we are looking for special quality in upper segment. Everytime, it is possible to communicate with this company. We consider them as our business partner
What is the most important prominent feature of Palamut Group according to you?
I can express that firstly, they import high quality products and we do not face with any problem about supplying and continuation of this products. We provide the 80% of the materials that we use in our production from Palamut Group and they all the time raise the level. We really appreciate their performance a lot. Otherwise, in any case , making a long termed relationship that much could not possible.
Well, have you ever think that if I knew then what I know now I could do and approach it different?
In any case, we have had some losses in business world… However, we always try to look ahead instead of back. Because, you will always remain back if you look your back and you can not go ahead.