“PLACES BRING TOGETHER WITH ALBOX”
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, in a period 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. We are also the only representative of the German-based company, which is an unbreakable and non-exploding glass manufacturer, in Turkey. • You are a family business and your 3rd generation representative is now in charge. In Turkey, family companies generally do not manage to be long-term in this way. How did you do that? Would you consider it? We learned this in front of our elders. My father was with my grandfather at a young age, and I started working for my father at an early age, just like my father. Unity, the effort to always move our business forward and the concentration of adapting the generations that come after us to the work bring a success that has lasted for 3 generations. When you go abroad, you see, families have been doing their family's work for a century, two centuries. They don't even move their stores. But although almost 90 percent of the companies in our country are family companies, cracks begin with the 3rd generation and then the brand closes before it can last. 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 very good institutionalization within themselves. Our aim is to carry our own brand to the advanced periods. • Your creative work is at the forefront. Can you introduce your work processes, business discipline and R&D department to our readers? What do you pay attention to when developing innovations? One of the dynamics that moves our brand forward is our continuously developing product group. We work with a strong team of interior designers. We follow the trends of the day very well, identify the needs and develop products for them, for example; The nanotechnology kitchens we developed with the pandemic do not contain any microbes or the table that comes out of the kitchen counter offers both office and kitchen features to the small ones. In short, the important thing is to identify the needs correctly and develop products accordingly. That's where Albox's success comes from. • Can you tell us about your goals and investments? We now have a team of 50 people in our factory. As I mentioned, we have two workshops. One is our workshop, where we do artisanal work that we still keep open to take care of our business, and the other is our factory where we carry out fabricated productions. We produce 8,000 doors, 4,000 kitchen and bathroom cabinets in one year in this factory, and when you look at our projection for the next 2 years, we want to move our factory in Ataşehir to Kurtköy, Tuzla regions. Our goal is to be able to move forward with an employment of 100 people in an area of 10 thousand square meters. For the moment, the investment cost of the factory is 15 million TL. Again, we aim to increase our export market to 10 countries (our main target markets here are Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and Canada) within a 2-year period, while we plan to give a total of 6 dealerships in turkey, including Ankara, Antep, Izmir and the Black Sea region. We want to grow both abroad and domestically with the franchise system. • Can we get what you want to add last thing on the subject? 2020 was a surprise year for us and for the world. We struggled with a pandemic that we had not experienced before, which our elders could not live and pass on to us. With the first case appearing in Turkey in March, we, like other brands, entered the wait-and-see process. However, with April, we faced a demand that exceeded our expectations. In fact, there was a lot of demand over the past year and we were in a hurry to meet those demands. The demands we received were mostly on decoration, house renovation. We found that people wanted to renew the quality of their comfort zones during their time at home and create new living spaces in their homes. Especially in bozcada, fethiye, bodrum, we started to do a lot of work. Pandem 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.