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Turkish delights(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 07,2007)

Cookware

 

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Turkish company G凴eli‚s Porselen San Tic A.‚S. is making key inroads into overseas markets, with its eyes firmly fixed on China

One of Turkey's biggest household brands is making key inroads into overseas markets, with its eyes firmly fixed on China as its next port of call.

The Eternity brand of cookware and kitchenware is the domestic best seller of veteran Turkish company G凴eli‚s Porselen San. Tic. A.‚S, which has been in the kitchenware business for half a century. "At least one of our pieces of cookware can be found in every home in Turkey," claims international business executive G蓾n Kaymak.

G凴eli‚s Porselen started out in 1958, decorating glass and porcelain kitchenware in Istanbul before expanding to distribute and market these items in high volumes in other domestic markets and neighbouring countries.

The company built its first enamel cookware factory in 1979, adding a further facility for producing non-stick cookware in 1994. It also established liaison offices in the US (Chicago), Kyrgyzstan and Macedonia along the way.

Most recently, G凴eli‚s Porselen opened an office in Shanghai on the Chinese mainland in response to increasing interest from Chinese buyers looking to meet the growing demand for quality cookware.

"Today, we have an annual turnover of US$250m and we produce more than 120,000 pieces per month," explains Kaymak. "We have a total staff of 735 and two manufacturing facilities in Turkey: one for enamelware in Istanbul, and another for non-stick coating in Izmit. They occupy some 9,583 square metres of space."

G凴eli‚s Porselen's fully automated machinery and computer-controlled systems use German-Italian technology for production lines, offering a manufacturing capacity of 1,000 pieces per hour. The firm also operates a 10,000-square-metre warehouse equipped with the latest logistics and storage techniques.

The company now offers an integrated product line ranging from cookware to porcelain ware and glassware, together with serving ware and ovenware, all produced in the same Eternity decorations.

"Our Eternity brand of porcelain enamel non-stick cookware can be found in 2,500 sales points in Turkey, from large department stores to specialist shops, and we now export to 50 countries worldwide," notes Kaymak.

Eternity is a fine example of high quality and modern technology, she claims, attributing the brand's popularity to a three-step coating system: steel, enamel and decal.

"For our enamelware, we use a 1.2mm or 1.5mm thickness steel layer, two firings and the patented US Excalibur non-stick coating, which we have exclusive rights to in Turkey," explains Kaymak.

All G凴eli‚s Porselen non-stick enamelware can be used in or on any type of oven or stove, except microwave. "The Excalibur non-stick coating is completely scratch-proof and we offer a lifetime guarantee on all our non-stick cookware," she claims.

"We offer more than 100 decal designs and some 2,200 different items," says Kaymak, adding that the company's main ranges of Eternity cookware are its top-end Gardenia chintz-design series, a range of strong-coloured floral patterns, and its mid-end Fruits and Nature patterned series and its single colour range.

"Decals for our Gardenia series are designed by UK designer Bailey Co, and we also use porcelain handles and knobs for this series," remarks Kaymak.

"Our Fruits range is available in eight of our own designs and the single colour series is offered in yellow, red, green and blue, which is available with stainless steel wire or melamine handles and knobs."

While G凴eli‚s Porselen targets the high-end houseware market it also ensures its prices remain affordable. For example, a round-shaped seven-piece porcelain enamel non-stick cookware Gardenia series set with porcelain handles and knobs, comprising 20cm, 24cm and 26cm saucepans with tempered glass lids and a 24cm frying pan, is priced at about US$76 per set.

Meanwhile, the square-shaped series costs about US$90 per set for a minimum order of one TEU delivered 21 days after order confirmation, while the mid-market, stainless steel, wire-handled Fruits design is priced from US$50-60 per seven-piece set.

Another, albeit smaller product range, is the company's porcelain 83-piece six-person dinnerware sets. "We import the white porcelain from Egypt and use our Gardenia decals to offer a full, matching kitchenware range," explains Kaymak.

Having reached a high level of market penetration in Turkey, G凴eli‚s Porselen is eager to expand its export business, which currently accounts for around 20% of its sales.

"We export to 50 countries, primarily the Arabic, Russian and Korean markets," notes Kaymak. "Our largest export market is Egypt, where we have five distributors, followed by Korea where we have two."

The company also has a distributor in Hong Kong, and is currently in serious talks with a mainland company that has 20,000 retail outlets. "The Chinese now want high-quality cookware and Western-based designs, particularly floral patterns, and we have successfully test-marketed our Gardenia series there."

As such she says the company has its eyes firmly fixed on expansion into the China market, as well as Europe. "We have just opened an office in Shanghai, and we started exports to Spain this year," she notes. "We already have distributors in Belgium, Norway, Holland and the Netherlands, and we would like to expand our German market."

For a company that celebrated its 50th anniversary on May 29, 2007, G凴eli‚s Porselen works hard to stay at the forefront of the kitchenware market and to understand different market needs.

"We attend the Hong Kong International Houseware Fair, Ambiente and Macef to meet new buyers," notes Kaymak. "Then we test the market with our products and form strong relationships with our distributors."

Kaymak remarks that while the Gardenia design series is particularly popular in Russia, the Ukraine and Azerbaijan, buyers in Egypt prefer the Fruits range. "In Europe, most demand is for our single-colour series."

The company's attention to quality and customer service has paid dividends, running to a 24-hour free call centre. "We are delighted to regularly win local awards in Turkey for consumer rights including a Gold Brand Customers Award and the 2007 Gold Quality Award," says Kaymak. "We have also won the International Trade Prestige Award in Spain, and we won the 2007 Bronze Effie Award this year."

Its reputation among buyers has also helped increase business drastically. "We are growing every day, and last year sales increased 100%, mainly from our export growth," she notes. Russia is a large, increasing market for the company she observes, and Azerbaijan is an established market but one that is still growing.

Moreover, the company is embracing new product areas to expand even further. "We have started producing kitchen furniture, such as trolleys, and plan to introduce new furniture lines and possibly new product types , all using our signature Eternity designs," enthuses Kaymak.

With its well-established brand of cookware and kitchenware and new product lines to come, G凴eli‚s Porselen aims to share its Turkish delights with even more markets around the world.

TEXT BY SANDRA JENNER

G凴eli‚s Porselen San. Tic. A.‚S.
Yalniz Selvi Caddesi, Orhan Gazi
Sokak No. 23 34880 Soganlik Kartal,
Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: 90-216-4529-595
Fax: 90-0216-4525-715
Email:
info@guzelis.com.tr
Web: www.guzelis.com.tr