The entrepreneurial story that started with carpentry in Trabzon has reached many countries of the world, from France to the USA, with the Albox brand under the management of the third generation. “We will move our factory in Ataşehir to Kurtköy, Tuzla region with an investment of 15 million TL and we will create employment for 100 people in an area of 10 thousand square meters,” says Olgun Sağlam, Chairman of the Board of Albox. 'We should focus on design' "One of the biggest problems of our industry is VAT. Different rates in VAT create problems when creating prices. At the same time, like all exporters, we are in favor of a stable exchange rate rather than a decrease or increase. Design is one of the main issues that this country should focus on, in my opinion. We can come up with designs that can carry our traditions into the future. We have reached an important point in the R&D part, but we need to solve our design part as soon as possible." Turkey's modular kitchen and bathroom sector size reached 1 billion dollars. 30 percent of the market is in the hands of branded companies and 70 percent in the hands of non-institutional workshops. This market, which is open to development, is dominated by carpenters. In this market, there are also entrepreneurial stories that started with a workshop and opened up to the world. Entrepreneur Ali Saglam's entrepreneurial story, which started as a carpenter in Trabzon, has now reached many countries of the world, from France to the USA, with the Albox brand. Producing 8 thousand doors, 4 thousand kitchen and bathroom cabinets a year, the brand serves important and niche projects from hotels to consulate general offices, from wine cellars to home design. We talked to the third generation representative of the brand's development story with the Chairman of the Board of Albox, Olgun Sağlam. Can you tell us about your company's founding story? The story of our brand, which was founded under the leadership of my grandfather Ali Saglam, begins in Trabzon. My grandfather was in the carpentry business. My father Osman Sağlam started his profession in 1976 with a saw and a cutter he bought from his father Ali Sağlam. The journey, which first started in Izmit, continues in Istanbul in 1987. At a time when constructions are accelerating in Kadıköy, it first carries out the joinery works of the constructions in an area of 250 square meters. I started working with my father at the age of 14. In 1991, we doubled our 250 square meter workshop. With the acceleration of the housing sector, we turned to projection works. We are in a position to do all the work from A to Z, from the doors of a house to the kitchen, from the bathroom to the wooden coverings in the hall. In fact, let me tell you, at a time when computers were just starting to enter business life, we were drawing projects on excel when there were no drawing programs. In 2006, our institutionalization efforts started with our growing structure. How was your branding process? First, we found the name of our brand, Albox, which adds life to spaces for our brand. 'AT' describes the energy of red, life, and 'Box' expresses spaces. In this process, while we were presenting designs with our own brand, we also assumed the Turkish distributorship of Germany's largest kitchen manufacturer. Distributorship has added a lot to us in terms of design. We opened our first store in 2012. In 2015, we realized our first export. Our workshop, where we laid the foundations of our brand, still stands. Apart from fabricated production, we realize designs with high craftsmanship that need to be done by hand. We have another factory where we carry out fabricated production. He is also in Ataşehir. We also have one store. At the same time, we are the only representative in Turkey of the Germany-based company, which is an unbreakable and explosion-proof glass manufacturer. Can you tell us about your company's production capacity and production location? We currently have a team of 50 people in our factory. As I mentioned, we have two workshops. We produce 8 thousand doors, 4 thousand kitchen and bathroom cabinets in a year. How did the pandemic affect your business processes? 2020 has been a surprising year. We grappled with a pandemic that we have not experienced before. With the appearance of the first case in Turkey in March, we entered the wait and see process like other brands. However, with the month of April, we encountered a demand that exceeded our expectations. The demands were mostly on decoration and home renovation, people wanted to renew the quality of their comfort areas and create new living spaces in their homes during the period they spent at home. We started to do a lot of business especially in summer areas such as Bozcada, Fethiye and Bodrum. We are a company that takes part in boutique and niche projects. We do not have a very fast growth projection, but we aim to take part in the concise business. What are your growth goals? Will it be a new investment? We want to move our Ataşehir factory to Kurtköy and Tuzla regions in the next two years. Our goal is to move forward with employment of 100 people in an area of 10 thousand square meters. The investment cost of the factory seems to be 15 million TL. While we aim to expand our export market to 10 countries (our main target markets here are Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and Canada) within two years, we plan to give six dealerships in Ankara, Antep, İzmir and the Black Sea. We wish to grow with the franchise system both in the country and abroad. We closed 2020 with a turnover of 50 million TL. We are growing by 15 percent every year, our exports are now 17.5 million TL. Our target this year is 75 million TL turnover. What are your main export products and export markets? Export adventure that started with Russia Sochi Winter Olympics, France, England. It continues with Nigeria, USA, Romania, Kazakhstan, Cyprus. We take part in important and niche projects from hotel to consulate general office, from wine cellar to house design. Exports make up 35 percent of our turnover. We want to increase this to 40 percent in the first place and to 60 percent gradually. We export 30 dollars per kilogram. What is your export target? We determined our export route as follows. We definitely want to grow mainly in the European market. Because we offer much higher quality products, more affordable prices and faster than European companies. Especially in this market, we will open franchises through franchises, and we have a goal of accelerating our exports through merchandising. Despite our strong rivals abroad, we destroy the bad perception against Turkish products and move forward in line with our goals. Have you added new products to your product range? The entry of men into the kitchen with the pandemic led us to innovation. Men like big kitchens and at the same time everything should be at their fingertips. In the second half of the year, we will launch a very special product where people can cook while watching their videos on digital screen covers. With the move of offices to homes, we have added new models to our product range, from work tables coming out from under the kitchen counter to antibacterial kitchens that do not contain germs thanks to nano technology.