Rivet is celebrating Women’s History Month with a series of Q&As with female leaders in the blue world.
Ebru Ozaydin, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Artistic Milliners, has experienced the denim industry in various roles. Ozaydin, who holds a degree in chemical engineering, studied fashion management and has a postgraduate degree in interactive marketing, launched her denim career 21 years ago as a product development engineer at Turkish denim mill Orta Anadolu.
At Orta, she worked in various roles, including marketing manager, and conducted philanthropic projects in collaboration with global NGOs/NPOs and fashion brands. Following a stint at Calik Denim, Ozaydin moved to New York City to lead sales and marketing for Karachi, Pakistan-based Artistic Milliners, where she has built buzz around the mill’s products, including Cradle 2 Cradle Gold Level Certified denim fabrics.
Along the way, Ozaydin says she has had both female and male mentors. “They have helped me not only to build my career but also improve my personality,” she said. “There is one thing they have in common: Knowledge is power.”
Here, Ozaydin shares with Rivet advice for the next generation of female denim leaders and innovators.
Rivet: Do you think companies in the denim supply chain could do more to support women?
Ebru Ozaydin: Admit it or not, the denim business is largely run by men. However, there are very talented and smart women at blue-collar and white-collar levels: operators, supervisors, engineers, researchers, designers, developers. [Each has worked] extremely hard, contributing the success of their organization as well as trying to sustain their work-life balance, raising children and supporting their families.
Companies have to have gender equality policies that recognize the equality of opportunity and treatment from recruitment to decision-making process across all levels. They seriously have to think about improving the gender balance of their staff and in leadership positions. Partnering with NGO/IGOs, learning about pacesetters, understanding better practices for self-assessment and creating a roadmap for continuous improvement would help a lot.
Rivet: What are you most proud of in your career?
EO: Winston Churchill quotes, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’ What really makes me proud is just being a trustworthy person who sincerely respects ethical values in business life.
Rivet: What advice can you offer to people who are seeking a career in the denim industry?
EO: Bluebloods are nerds! Denim is not a mere textile business. It has a very unique culture and a very passionate tribe. Never stop learning. Listen, read, research, travel, observe. Keep your eyes and ears open. Observe the successful people, be courageous, try to be the best whatever you’re doing…but also stand on your dignity and express yourself creatively.