Albox, the brand of the kitchen and door industry that has moved to the 3rd generation, continues to grow abroad as well as in the country. Olgun Sağlam, Chairman of the Board of Albox, states that their goal is to become one of Turkey's well-established brands.
Leaving 45 years behind and changing residences in the world and in Turkey with its designs, the Albox brand represents one of Turkey's 3rd generation stories. Established by Osman Sağlam in 1976, the brand offers top-notch designs to the country and abroad today. The brand, which develops itself day by day, brings together design and technology, transforming spaces into more useful ones. We met with the Chairman of the Board of Albox, Olgun Sağlam, which gained momentum during the pandemic period and is preparing to present its brand new collection to consumers in a short time, and listened to the development of the brand from past to present. • Could you briefly introduce Albox to our readers?
The story of our brand, which was founded under the leadership of my grandfather Ali Sağlam, begins in Trabzon. We are a family from Trabzon. My grandfather was engaged in carpentry business in his hometown. Later, my father Osman Sağlam started to practice 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, we first do the joinery works of the constructions in an area of 250 square meters. I started working with my father when I was 14 years old. In 1991, we doubled our 250 square meter workshop. At a time when the housing sector started to accelerate, we also started to do projection works. We were in a position to do all the work for Adan 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, along with our growing structure, our institutionalization efforts started, first we found the name of our brand, Albox, which brings life to the spaces for our brand. The points we inspired while determining the name of our brand were as follows: “Al” describes the energy, vitality and life of red, and “Box” expresses spaces. In a sense, “living spaces” became our motto. In this process, while we were presenting designs with our own brand, we were also trying to be the Turkey distributor of Germany's largest kitchen manufacturer. We can say that distributorship has added a lot to us in terms of design. Then 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.

• You are a family business and your 3rd generation representative is in charge now. Family companies in Turkey generally do not manage to be long-term in this way. How did you achieve this? Can you rate it?

We learned this business with our elders. My father was with my grandfather at a young age, and I started working with my father at a young age, just like my father. Being united, always striving to move our business forward, and the concentration of adapting the generations that come after us to the business brings a success that has lasted for 3 generations. You see when you go abroad, families have been around for a century,
They've been doing their family's business for two centuries. They don't even relocate their shops. However, although almost 90 percent of the companies in our country are family businesses, cracking starts with the 3rd generation and then the brand is closed without a long life. Or the brand is losing its power. But if you can ensure sustainability, you can create centuries-old brands. For this, family companies need to ensure institutionalization within themselves very well. Our aim is to carry our own brand to the future.

• Your creative work is at the forefront. Could you introduce your work processes, work discipline and R&D department to our readers? What do you pay attention to when developing innovations?

One of the dynamics that carries our brand forward is our product group, which we constantly develop. We work with a strong interior architect team. We follow the trends of the day very well, identify the needs and develop products for them, for example; The nano-technological kitchens we have developed with the pandemic do not contain any microbes or come from inside the kitchen counter.
The resulting table offers both office and kitchen features to those with small spaces. In short, the important thing is to identify the needs correctly and develop products accordingly. This is where Albox's success comes from. • Could you tell us about your targets and investments?

We currently have a team of 50 people in our factory. As I mentioned, we have two workshops. One is our workshop, where we still keep the door open to protect our past, and the other is our factory where we carry out fabricated productions. In this factory, we produce 8 thousand doors, 4 thousand kitchen and bathroom cabinets in a year. When you look at our projection for the next 2 years, we want to move our factory in Ataşehir to Kurtköy and Tuzla regions. Our goal is to move forward with employment of 100 people in an area of 10 thousand square meters. Currently, 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, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Canada) within 2 years, we plan to give 6 dealerships in Turkey, in Ankara, Antep, İzmir and the Black Sea region. We wish to grow with the franchise system both in the country and abroad.

• Can we have the last thing you want to add about the subject?

2020 has been a surprise year for both us and the world. We have struggled with a pandemic that we have not experienced before and that our elders could not experience and convey to us. With the appearance of the first case in Turkey in March, we entered the wait and see process like other brands. However, in April, we faced a demand that exceeded our expectations. In fact, there was more demand than last year and we were in a hurry to meet these demands. The demands we received were mostly on decoration and home renovation. We saw that 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. The pandemic has been a year of experience for us and we have turned the game around and added a lot for ourselves and our brand. We will continue to strive to make Turkey's name known in the world arena with the Albox brand.