Sinan Odak
Interview

Building a brand is a delicate matter. We have to take every step consciously. We are proud of our many successful designers in Turkey and we follow really happily to have each but they have to invest more in digital. As The Slash, we have experience and knowledge not only in digital but also in all disciplines.

First of all, could you tell us about yourself and your projects?
Hello there! I’m Sinan Odak, fashion and tech entrepreneur. I’ve spent most of my life developing new ideas and tech products. I started working at a fairly early age for my career goals. I studied Economics at MEF University and Civil Aviation Management at Istanbul Gelişim University. I can say that in 2008, I stepped into technology entrepreneurship with a social media application called SocialAsocial, which we could not switch from idea to product.

Later, while I was a student at MEF University, I founded the Entrepreneurship club of MEF university and led the chair for about 3 years. In the meantime, we have made many successful conferences and trainings in Turkey. I have been involved as a Fellow in several entrepreneurship initiatives. In 2016, I was the founding board member of TOBB Entrepreneur Clubs platform. Between 2017-2019, I co-founded the I am Coding Studio. I am Coding Studio is an initiative founded by digital pioneers to support passionate people on learning to code. I was the co-founder of a Webrazzi-backed technology startup called Dashmon in 2018 until 2019. Dashmon is a digital signage software where you can manage and schedule your screens via cloud-based panel. Dashmon was supported by Webrazzi Ventures. Now I am the founder and creative director of The Slash, luxury streetwear brand. I am also the co-founder of Marjinal Software Agency and the founder of ModaHayat.

ModaHayat is a fashion-tech brand which connects the fashion life with the industry leaders from content, advertising, branding, business and economic sides. While managing all these initiatives, I also mentor successful university and high school students.

The Slash brand has a technological background. You design original collections by blending your digital experience with technology and fashion. Could you elaborate on your brand and the structure of the collections?
The Slash is a brand integrated with digital. We use digital in the best way in almost every field such as marketing, sales, product development, customer relations. If you take a look at www.theslash.com.tr, the online sales channel of The Slash, you will see that it is a completely custom designed website. Two people are on the team in-house for the development of our digital channels. A site that constantly renews itself in line with customer demands. As The Slash, our goal is not only to be the best in the product we have sold, but to give them the best experience from the first moment that the potential customers see us until after they buy our product. You cannot become a brand just by selling a good product. You must ensure that your visitors, customers and business partners get the best experience. Unlike all other brands, we took a risk and tried the high mold print model of our first collection, named the The Flower of Life collection. This printed shape on the back of our oversize t-shirts models received incredibly positive feedback and reflected in our sales positively.

With your founding team, you have set yourself a goal of “Becoming a world brand out of Turkey” as a vision. How have you set yourselves up to achieve this great and ambitious goal?
The vision of The Slash from the very beginning is to be a world brand. Therefore, the business partnerships we have established, the team we have established, the technologies we develop and our business model are scalable. We closely follow global fashion trends, developments and strategies of brands. The sector we follow is not limited to fashion. We closely follow brands that are successful in different sectors, and there are even those we are in contact with. We receive mentoring from the very successful people in Turkey. Building a brand is a delicate matter. We have to take every step consciously. We are proud of our many successful designers in Turkey and we follow really happily to have each but they have to invest more in digital. As The Slash, we have experience and knowledge not only in digital but also in all disciplines. We see the positive reflection of this from the first day. It never gives up on our long-term vision for short-term financial gains. Fast financial returns sometimes attract brands, but not us.

If I share the 2020 data with you, we currently have sales points in Bebek, Nişantaşı, Karaköy and Akasya Mall. In addition, our sales continue in 7 different online marketplaces. We launched capsule collections for 3 different brands. These numbers will increase even more in 2021. We will also have sales points in several shopping malls and different locations. With the end of the pandemic, we will be opening our first overseas sales point.

Could you tell us about your limited number of “Flower of Life Collection” and your collaboration with TEMA Foundation?
The Flower of Life is our first collection. I am not a fashion designer but I can examine the products well with the eyes of a customer. I designed the Flower of Life Collection completely in line with my wishes. Maybe it is a mistake in commercial terms to produce products without measuring the market needs. But we had no commercial concerns. Despite this, the Flower of Life is currently the most sold collection. According to the orders, we only donate saplings on a monthly basis. We are not in cooperation with TEMA. We will consider these donations for different institutions in 2021.

Let me tell you about the story of the Flower of Life; It is said in the scriptures that the world was created in 7 days; 1 sphere per day. These 7 intertwined spheres give the seed of first life. Then it continues up to 19 spheres and the 20th sphere and the Flower of Life which encompasses them as a whole is formed. It is believed that the secrets of the universe and the beginning of life are hidden in this symbol. The name is the same all over the world. The source of all languages, the primary language of the universe: Pure shape and proportion.

The Flower of Life is the most powerful symbol that conveys the unity consciousness of the universe, the energy of creation and abundance. It allows us to find our place in life and to adapt easily to innovations.

This symbol, which explains that everything in life has a single creative source and that everything is
interrelated, reminds us that we are all one. It opens new doors in our lives and brings us together with new situations and people in harmony.

Has the Covid-19 Pandemic caused you to revise your goals?Can we get your thoughts on what you have experienced during this period and the post-pandemic period?
We are going through a difficult time for the whole world. In fact, from the moment Covid was first heard in China, I decided to change all my plans in short-term. I am a disciplined entrepreneur in taking action and therefore I have to follow all developments in the world closely.

The pandemic period did not affect our sales negatively. However, as I mentioned before, our branding goals are more important for us than sales. In this regard, of course, we encountered many obstacles. Especially our overseas visits were completely stopped. Festivals and fairs were canceled. We also encountered many problems in the manufacturing part. But I am a person who does not like to think badly. Not only us, but the whole world and almost every sector is going through this negative process. The first thing I will do after the pandemic is that we will have a party with my whole team.  Really, people longed to have fun and longing. Team is the most important element for a brand. I want each of them to be happy and peaceful.

We hope to accelerate our global targets after the pandemic also great cooperation goals. We aim to take faster actions for them as well. We are already strong in digital, we aim to become even stronger offline after the pandemic.

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