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Turkish shoe-sole model producer to manufacture in Iran

ISTANBUL – Referans | 9/16/2010 12:00:00 AM | ARAM EKİN DURAN

Entrepreneur Yavuz Erdoğan started the first shoe-sole model facility in Turkey, saving local shoe manufacturers from having to import them. As his company recently started exporting to neighboring countries, Erdoğan has accepted an offer to start a joint venture in Iran and is set to invest in a mass production facility there.

After coming to the understanding that public office was not his ideal work environment, an Ankara University political science graduate invented a brand new professional field in Turkey, thanks to his talent in model making.

Yazvuz Erdoğan, born in the Black Sea province of Amasya, is an exemplary success story in the convergence of technology and entrepreneurship.

After transforming a traditional Turkish tea house in the Zeytinburnu neighborhood of Istanbul into a workshop Erdoğan started producing models of shoe soles in 1999 for shoemakers who had until then been bringing them in from Italy – at a huge cost. Consequently, he not only helped local shoe manufacturers by saving them from having to import goods necessary for their businesses, but also started to sell his products in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Israel.

[HH] 1.5 million annual turnover

Refusing to enter the public service after graduating from university, Erdoğan dipped his feet into trade instead. He decided he wanted to do something that had never been done before. Having developed the shoe-sole modeling industry in Turkey – a pair of his soles cost around $250 – Erdoğan is now chairman of both Plasmod and Plaskalıp, two companies with a $1.5 million combined annual turnover.

However, before the local industry is what he made it, Erdoğan said producers used to go to Italy every year and purchase shoe-sole molds and models for the shoes they were producing, which cost them millions of dollars. “Mold and model imports both resulted in a loss of money and a delayed arrival of fashion trends in Turkey. After I started my company, we began by producing 70 units of shoe models monthly, in the first run. Soon after that, the demand was so much more than we could meet that we invested in more advanced technology to increase production volume.”

He said his group worked almost without a night’s rest for three months with the new technology they purchased with borrowed money. “Finally we computerized the shoe-sole model design industry.”

[HH] ‘We will sell our technology to Iran’

Erdoğan said in the beginning, shoe producers did not trust his company and continued to import from Italy.

“After a while, both because of our advantageous prices and the installment opportunities we offer, which an Italian seller would never bother with, we began to receive a lot of attention and interest from Turkish shoe manufacturers.”

He said there is now no single shoe production firm in Turkey that would prefer to trade with Italy rather than buy locally, adding that the business has grown so much that they could now could produce 200 pairs of shoe-sole molds and models on a monthly basis and planned to sell the models in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia soon.

“In these countries, exactly as it used to be in Turkey ten years ago, there is no shoe-sole model production company. Therefore the producers are coming to us. At the moment, our largest international customer base is in Iran. Furthermore, we received a partnership offer from one of the producers there. We will most probably install all the necessary technology in Iran and start producing there next May,” he said.

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