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May 2014

Entrepreneur Update: Figen Çakır, Figgi Yarns

By | News, Rebecca Self
Figen and team  PepsiCo Istanbul 2012

Figen and team
PepsiCo Istanbul 2012

We love hearing back from business owners after they’ve completed the 6-month Empowering Women Entrepreneurs Partnership Program, especially when they’ve taken the strategic advice and lessons from the program and used them to grow their businesses in new and unexpected ways.

This month, Figen Çakır, founder of Figgi Yarns in Gölcük, Turkey reports:

Within a few months of completing the program, I moved from a small office to a shop. At our last meeting, the Turkish members of the PepsiCo team were insistent about acquiring domestic sales (instead of relying 100% on export).

I was unable to find a reliable distributor so I decided to be a retail shop myself. In the last two months since opening I’ve sold as much Chic yarn locally as I have in six months overseas! Of course the price is much more ‘local’, but sales volume is higher and the product is moving faster.
I’ve also got local brands, but Figgi Yarns are prominent and have been a huge hit. The next step now is to set up a Turkish online sales website. It is no trouble to manage production, design and export sales as before. I have hired a part-time shop assistant who deals with the shop, so I am not speaking to walls anymore!

Figgi storeIt’s a small space and I’m also using it to warehouse some of my stock so excuse the messy appearance!

I do themes for the window dressing every month which apparently is a novelty in Turkey for yarn shops! I think it’s the

window which attracts people to it, usually yarn shops in Turkey have piles of yarn packets stacked against their windows. I’ve got a local woman working part-time, it has been a godsend for her to contribute to her home and the local community relate to her better than they do to me, so her presence has increased customer volume.Figgi store

Overseas sales has seen a drop, the Greece retailer has gone bust – their own recession problems – and the UK is suffering again. However, it’s always been up and down and local sales are a sustenance – the Chic cotton yarns have made a real splash locally and have been selling madly. Amazing.

Unbelievable that it’s only been less than a year since we met in Istanbul and so much has happened so quickly in between! I’m so grateful.

Figen, you’ve done a great job with a new strategy, storefront, hiring your first employee and developing yourself as a businesswoman. We look forward to hearing more about what’s next for you and Figgi Yarns.