Turkey's home textile makers are planning to cooperate with "Gastarbeiters" or guest workers in order to boost exports.
Producers think that making the Gastarbeiters foreign representatives of their brands will help market their products better and increase sales.
Despite having the necessary infrastructure and raw materials, Turkey's home textile producers are facing difficulties to break into new markets and increase sales in the existing ones. Now they are looking to solve the problem by using a new model.
Vice chairman of the Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters Association (İTHİB) and a supervisory board member of Turkey Home Textile Industrialists' Association (TETSİAD), Şerafettin Demir, said one of the biggest problems they face doing business abroad was not knowing the language and culture of particular regions.
"But we have guest workers living and doing business there. We will find them, train them, raise awareness and request them to represent our brands. The guest workers will be our brand ambassadors," Demir said.
"No matter where you go in the world there will always be a Turk doing business there. We need to convince these people and win them over," he said.
Demir said that there was a need for permanent markets in order to be able to expand in other countries. He added that there should also be permanent exhibitions of home textiles similar to the "Mobilyacılar Sitesi," rather than an annual fair.
TETSİAD Chairman Ali Sami Aydın said the bad days were over in terms of exports, and added that reaching double digits in home textiles exports to Europe was a promising improvement.
"Each kilogram of our products is priced around $12, making it more profitable than the automotive sector. Eighty percent of the value produced in the automotive comes from abroad, while in our case it is only 25 percent, the rest is processed in Turkey."
Aydın said the Russian crisis forced them to enter new markets as far as the Far East. He noted that they mostly export towels to the U.S. and upholstery fabric and curtains to the EU and China.
"China's growing number of wealthy wants Turkish fabric on their furniture," he said, adding that the Chinese furniture makers charge $400 for a product that uses Chinese fabric, but ask $1,000 for the ones made using Turkish fabrics.
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