CEMALETTİN SARAR: “From Tailor Shop, to World Trends”

Sarar, from 1944 to the present day, having a long history of more than a half century, produces for more than 80 different global brands such as Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Marc’o Polo, Calvin Klein, Kenzo, Mens Wearhouse, JC Penney, Nordstorm. The brand, possessing two main production units with a total area of 550,000 square meters, owns more than 400 stores in 5 continent with 5000 employees.

Fictionalizing its philosophy on the motto “always do the best”, the brand’s contribution in boosting Turkeys economy through its female workers, constituting 90% of the brand is an undeniable fact. Targeting to present the best product at affordable prices and with the right presentation, the brand opens a new store almost every month. Cemalettin Sarar, stating that their purpose is to serve for the entire world, explains the very reason why they adopted the above philosophy, which is to work their damndest.

My father Hadji Abdurrahman Sarar was known as ready made suit maker in a bazaar flea market. The day I was born which is April 19, 1944 he registered the company called as SARAR.

When I was 6 years old I began to sell chewing gums and candies in my spare time. Our Tailor Shop was close to the bus station and train station so I was going there trying to sell my gums and candies to the travellers. And I wasl also selling handkerchiefs in fron of our own store.
In time my father, together with me and my brothers we started to grow from 3 people 10, 20, 50 and grow up to 250 people in the city center and we made our first export to europe in early 80’s from that location.
Than in the meantime my father decided to expand the production plant and bought a field where todays SARAR is based in the industrial zone area. Our plan was to have 1000 employees and in 1984 our factory started but my father passed away. Before we were able to start that factory.

Many companies like Boss, Armani, Gucci came and asked for cooporation but we started to cooparate first with Hugo Boss and for 15 years we were the main suit maker of Hugo Boss suits. We learned a lot from them and they learned a lot from us. Both companies expanded during this period and during that time
we decided to open our own SARAR retail stores. And since than we worked both for our own brand and made production for more than 80 different global brands such as Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Marc’o Polo, Calvin Klein, Kenzo, Mens Wearhouse, JC Penney, Nordstorm etc.

In 1995 the Turkish government decided to sell their properties like factories and we bought the factory called SUMERBANK located in Eskişehir. It was a factory built in 1955 and was a weaving facility. It is a 200.000 squaremeter production facility and today we are producing home textiles under our brand SAREV and our shirts factory is based there. We have 1500 employees in that location.

Besides our own brand SAREV, we also do home textile production for global brands like Zara Home, Kenzo, Hugo Boss, Oliver etc.
Today we have 2 main production areas which total is 550.000 squaremeters. Totaly 5000 employees, more than 400 stores worldwide in 5 continents and more than 55 countries.
Are we succesful? We leave it up to you. But as the SARAR family and employees we have just one target. Always go forward and always maket he best.

Women’s participation in production process is an important phenomenon. Most of Sarar’s employees are visibly women. How do you provide employee productivity and employment incentives in your company?

We always respected women and at the moment 90% of our employees are women. Women are blessed, they are mothers. Our women employees wake up eearly feed their kids and come to our factories to work. As you know Atatürk was a great leader who worked a lot for women to put them in the right status in the community and we follow his doctrines after him.

When you talk about efficiency, we have targets in our production calculated according to performance. Our employees are aware of the system and I see some employees sitting on their chairs working even after hours just to make more than they can. And we always promote these kind of employees. But what I recognise is that in years we became like family. There are 3rd generation of a family as our workers. We help our workers kids for their education and we choose our new employees from our current employees families as much as possible. Thats why we became family instead of Boss-employee.

Sarar is also showing a spectacular acceleration in “retailing”. What is your road map? What are your goals in retailing?

As told before we as SARAR always aim to maket he best. Even in retail we try to open our stores at the best location, with the best staff and of course with the best product. Our difference from other Turkish companies is that we always intended to grow globally not locally. Thats why our quality standarts are way higher than usual.

We are one of the first retail company opening a Turkish Brands Retails Store outside Turkey in the fashion industry. Today we have around 100 stores around the World outside Turkey.

What innovations have Sarar brought to retailing sector?
Of course we develop several projects to our retail stores. For example we are able to follow up our customers needs, their range and we create our new collection according to it. We work with the RFID technology to follow up our stock and sales. We are the first company using SAP systems in retail. If you want to be a global brand you need to develop yourself according to it.

How does your team, making Sarar’s moulds work? What are the details that you care about the most in your designs? How are fabric, color and cutting designs planned? And what are the characteristics of the fabrics you mainly use?

While developping our patterns we use technology as well. Our 3D body scanners and our own software combined together, creates our customers body on the computer and we are able to put on clothes on those bodies and see which areas are comfortable which are not on screen. With the help of these kind of technologic tools we are able to create the most comfortable and fit and modern looking patterns to our customers.

Design is something totally different. Our worldwide very well known designers work at our factory at our design center to create our new designs. They follow up the trends and lead our production how to go. Our collections are always 1 year ahead. For example in 2017 winter we are ready to launch the upcoming winter collectipn for 2018. We believe that we lead the fashion industry in that way.

How do you assess textile industry in Turkey? How would you define the power of Turkish fabric?
I believe that the textile industry of Turkey is very strong. We have lots of companies which have big potentials. But unfortunately I believe they are not brave enough to be able to catch success.
About the fabric industry of Turkey; let me tell you what I did for them. During the 80’s we were very strong in exports and while working with global brands we were developing fabric collections with big fabric suppliers from Italy. And we were leading the local fabric suppliers how to develop how to create collections and new fabrics to the industry.

How is the new consumer habits and market positioning in ready-to-wear going? What do you want to say in this regard?
The trends in ready to wear and customer behaviors are changing constantly and you have to adjust yourself according to it.
We as SARAR began to serve “MADE TO MEASURE” to our customers. The customer chooses the fabric themselves, decides on the model and style and the product is “MADE TO MEASURE”.

While making the private product the customer needs to feel comfortable and stylish following the trends of fashion, here SARAR is helping to the customer to create their own collection.

As we know Sarar is the owner of plenty of awards. What do you want to say about that?
Here I would like to thank to everyone who gave us these awards. The latest award we got was the “GOLDEN BRAND” award. This one and similar awards show us that we are doing right. And it pushes us to serve better than we do. We try to give the best to our people cause they deserve the best.

How do you evaluate Turkey’s stance in the global apparel market?
In fact the location and strength of our country is in the best situation. But we need to unite. The competition has to be hold right. Producing cheap and low quality products does not help anyone. Creating the best, with the right price and presentation will make us stronger. Than we can build a better world together.

How do you evaluate customer trends nowadays? Do you actually make product developments consistent with customer trends?
Our design team is following the trends all over the world and creates our collection according to it. The classical suit will always be present but according to the market and customers needs we always develop new products. Thats why besides our main brand SARAR we developed our other brands like INTERVIEW, CCS, SARTORIA. The Interview Collection offers the customer more colorful, fit, both elegant and young energetic designs. The CCS brand offers a classic collection to the customers who doesn’t want to change their style in time. And to the customers who want to be unique and elegant we offer the SARTORIA line.

Do you have any plans to open up new international stores?
Yes, we are always searching for new markets. Almost every month we are opening a new store. We do not want to slow down. As I mentioned at the beginning our aim is to serve to the whole world. And we try our best to be able to do it.

Is there anything else would you like to add?
I would like to say a few words to the new generation. Do never give up, work hard. Believe and make your job right. If you obey to these rules success will follow up.