Christmas wreaths made by housewives exported to over 20 countries
Production of these ornaments has become an important industry in Antalya since the 1990s. Now, the wreaths are exported to more than 20 countries, including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Slovenia, Japan, Canada and China. This year, a total of $10 million in revenue is expected from their exports.
Local firms have started to collect orders in August and the production of these decorative objects by housewives in Antalya continues until the first week of December.
Şerife Altındal works for a company that exports the wreaths. Altındal told state-run Anadolu Agency that around 2,000 wreaths are produced each day.
“Last year, we shipped around 200,000 Christmas wreaths to foreign countries and a large chunk of those deliveries took place in the final months of the year,” she added.
“There is a strong demand for the wreaths produced in Antalya because of their higher quality,” Altındal said.
According to Altındal, “wreath fashion” changes each year. “This year’s popular color is lilac,” she said.
Forest waste such as pinewood waste, pinecones and cypress branches are used to make the wreaths.
She added that the combined revenue from wreath exports from all the companies in the province are expected to hit $10 million this year.
Wreaths are produced at company workshops as well as by women in the villages and in Antalya’s city center.
The Zeytinköy district is one of those areas in Antalya where women are involved in the production of wreaths.
The companies start to distribute materials used in the production of ornaments early in the morning. Women make the objects as instructed by the companies. A singe worker produces 80 to 100 wreaths a day and gets 2 Turkish Liras (around $0.40) for each wreath.
Kemal Genbeş, a local neighborhood head –“muhtar” said that Zeytinköy had a bad reputation. “It was known as the place of drug addicts and drug trading for years,” Genbeş said.
“We have managed to bring ornament company factories here. We have worked to create jobs for locals. Now, wreaths are produced at around 300 households in three neighborhoods. Ten-year-old girls and 80-year-old ladies are all making wreaths,” he said.
In the Zeytinköy area, around 10,000 wreaths are produced each day, according to Genbeş.
“One in every three households are engaged in wreath making,” he said.
Zeynep Çarıkoğlu is among the women who make wreaths to make money.
“We start working very early in the morning. The whole family is part of it. We make 100 to 150 wreaths a day. Our neighbors also take part. Men, who do not go to work, help us. We have been doing this for 10 years now,” she said.
Hüseyin Çarıkoğlu helps his wife.
“We all have different duties. We are happy with the job we are doing and the money we make from it,” he said.