We live in an era where we see major shifts in the way we work, commute, communicate, spend our free time and shop. Digitalization, e-commerce, and social media have given us more time for ourselves and transformed our mindset in many aspects.
Today, consumers are in search of new, customized products with an experience, and they want them now. And while they buy, many consumers are also keen to ensure their purchase isn’t contributing to harming the environment or anyone involved in the complete supply chain that product emerged from.
These shifts have forced retailers to re-consider their sourcing strategies and make creative, cost-conscious, and sustainable changes in the way they look at their value chain and product offers. The need for flexible and value-adding opportunities is increasing and an already existing sourcing partner is reemerging in the spotlight.
For nearly five decades, Turkey has been the solution partner for retailers in Europe and the U.S., with a fluctuating relationship. With ongoing investments into skills and technology, Turkey has been able to remain among the top three sourcing countries for Europe. Although the country has faced political and financial difficulties, entrepreneurial ambitions of Turkey’s young generation have been able to match the new challenges retailers have been facing.
The vertical manufacturing capability of the textile and clothing sector in Turkey has been upgraded to a new level by adding design, an understanding of Industry 4.0 and a skilled young workforce. With flexibility of turning around smaller quantities fast, it has enabled retailers to try new products and trends and still trade within the season on bigger quantities. Buyers have started to enjoy a better after sales margin, lower inventory need and costs to bring up-to-date fashion to their shelves just when they need it. The massive depreciation of the Turkish lira to the euro and the dollar since the start of the year, made buying from Turkey even more favorable.
In some product categories, Turkey is now almost as competitive as some key Asian sourcing markets.
The diversity of the country’s offer, ranging from basic T-shirts, to fashion denim, shirts, dresses, blouses, underwear, swimwear, knitwear, and accessories like socks, belts and even bags, has made Turkey a one stop shop, where a variety of distribution channels can satisfy the needs of their end-consumers, at the right time and at the right price.
The investments Turkey has made on its ecological regulations and on complete ethical transparency—despite hosting nearly 8 percent of the total refugees in the world—has given manufacturers a strategic advantage compared to other alternatives.
With the increase of disloyal “uber-consumers” aggressively jumping between e-tail platforms and looking for constant product inspiration, major frontiers like Asos, Zalando, Boohoo, Missguided, Amazon and even hypermarket chains like Prisma, are increasingly choosing to buy from Turkey. The total clothing export of Turkey in 2018 will be more than $18 billion, with a year to year increase of 10 percent. U.S. manufacturers with a good understanding of the total value chain that the sector is offering, can spot the trends and find quick and customized solutions for their partners.
With the end-consumer in mind, one of the leading e-tail sourcing partners, Perseus Tekstil, has been joining forces with its Asian counterpart, Oculas Virtual Manufacturing Limite, to provide a complete and comparable one stop shop sourcing offer to customers. With 3-D design capabilities shortening the product development cycle, buyers’ open-to-buy budgets will find the correct platform, allowing for further savings.
Looking at the import figures by the biggest players in fast fashion, like Inditex, and in sustainable fashion, like H&M, there is only one direction retailers should consider. Turkey is leading in responsible fashion, and that’s what’s driving the sector today.
As Bulent Alkanli, managing director of Perseus Tekstil Dis Ticaret Ltd. Sti and board member of the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers Association (TGSD), put it, “Turkey is back in the game as it was never before.”
Guido Schlossman is the visionary, strategic, committed, and agile president & group CEO of Synergies Worldwide, a company expanding and evolving in an era where the middleman is questioned. With an unparalleled passion and industry experience spanning thirty years, Guido’s grit to evolve along with industry disruptions is considered remarkable and an inspiration to entrepreneurs, leaders, and professionals alike.