Our goal is vertical growth, not horizontal growth

Fatma KAYTEZ

Canan Önder, the fourth generation manager of Tevfik Aydın Saat, whose foundation was laid in Trabzon in 1889, said that they have left 134 years in the sector. Önder said that the brand, which was founded in Trabzon, currently serves in Sirkeci, Istanbul, noting that as a boutique company, they aim to grow vertically rather than horizontally. Emphasizing that they want to be the first company that comes to mind for customers in the industry, Önder said: “We sell mechanical watches and valuables.

The mechanical watches we sell are almost a piece of mechanical art. Although not in every part of the production, there is at least one stage of human intervention, i.e. manual work, labor and mastery. “They are real, lasting and timeless products,” he said. We spoke with Canan Önder, the fourth generation manager of Tevfik Aydın Saat, about the development of the brand from the past to the present, its investments and plans.

First, we would like to hear from you briefly the founding story of Tevfik Aydın. Where and when were the foundations of Tevfik Aydın laid?

It was founded in 1889 by my great-grandfather Kabazade H. Mehmet Nuri as a sole proprietorship in Trabzon Kunduracılar Caddesi No. 15. My grandfather Tevfik Aydın, who started working in the store with his father in 1930, opened a watch, glasses and radio store Tevfik Aydın under his name in Eminönü Square as a continuation of the business in Trabzon, Istanbul, knowing that he inherited in 1940.

Our building, which was expropriated in 1957 due to regulations around Eminönü, continued its activities in Eminönü, Yeni Cami Park Row of shops until 1989 and from this year Sirkeci, Mimar Vedat Sok. She continued her activities in our own building No. 18.

After we moved to our new building, my father Ömer Fatih Aydın and my mother Melahat Aydın started working in the family business in 1991. Our sole proprietorship was established in 2003 under the name Tevfik Aydın Saat San. and Tic. Inc. It turned into a family business and since I joined as the fourth generation in 2012, it has continuously continued its activities with the importation, wholesale and retail sale of expensive watches and pens.

What generation of managers is currently in the brand?

Currently, the third and fourth generations are working together, I am the fourth generation.

How did you get into the industry?

I am a graduate of Koç University International Relations. I studied my department with great pleasure and then completed my Master of European Studies (MAPES) at Boğaziçi University and graduated in 2007. After graduation; I briefly participated in the organizing team of the 5th World Water Forum held in Istanbul.

Just before moving to the family business, I worked at the Foreign Economic Council (DEIK), a trade organization affiliated to the Ministry of Economy. In 2012, of my own free will, I started working with my father and mother to contribute to our century-old family business with the valuable experience I gained outside the company, especially in the field of communication and promotion.

Working at DEIK gave me a bird’s eye view of the Turkish and international business world and the close and inseparable relationship between business and politics around the world. This way, from the very beginning, I was able to see more clearly the areas where our family business needed improvement, before I got completely involved in the business and got lost in the details.

“Mechanical watches are machine art”

What is the secret to becoming a long-lasting brand?

Products we sell; Although mechanical watches and pens are no longer considered contemporary products, I think not being excited by temporary trends, not bringing family relationships into the business environment, always being available and listening to customers has ensured the continuity of our brand.

Could you provide information about your product range?

We operate in the service sector. We sell mechanical watches that are not considered contemporary products, but are considered to be the smallest still working mechanism in the world, which we call the full definition of “Heirloom”, and valuable pens for those who do not forget to write and want to leave a handwritten mark for future generations. The mechanical watches that we sell are almost a machine art, that is, a manufactory. (Manufacturing by hand). Although not every part of the production has at least one stage of human intervention, it is craftsmanship, work, mastery. They are real, durable and timeless products .

What is the current trend in watches?

The watch market had a hard time during the process of manufacturing quartz (battery) watches based on automation and without human intervention. One-off watches, which we call fashion designer watches, are completely designed for design; With the advent of smartwatches, they have lost their former appeal. People have now turned their preferences to either a multi-purpose smartwatch or a mechanical watch that can be durable, a legacy that is considered a piece of mechanical art.

The School of Micromechanics and Watchmaking was accepted as a major

You had a micromechanics and watchmaking school project. Could you talk a little about this topic?

A sixty-year-old watchmaking school project; It was born in 2013 at a meeting of TÜSAD (All Watchmakers Association), of which my father Ömer Fatih Aydın was also a member, from the idea of ​​’let’s do this work within the vocational schools of the Ministry of National Education’. To this end, members of the association in Burse founded the Foundation for Micromechanics and Clock Technologies and Education.

Businessman from Bursa, Mr. Through the acquaintance of Hayrettin Akpınar, we managed to reach Mahmut Özer Bey, who was the deputy of the Ministry of Education at the time, and this year our Micromechanics and Watchmaking School was opened within the field, which is also accepted as a field. Bursa Tophane Vocational and Technical High School, a 155-year-old technical high school. Our building was renovated by craftsmen and industrialists trained in this school through collective work.

The exact machinery and equipment that should be in it came about completely by chance when my father Ömer Aydın mentioned this school in his Ustasaati blog, which he has been writing for years. When Mr. Bülent Uçar, who read this article, mentioned the Department of Micromechanics that was previously opened at the Vocational School in Balgat, Ankara, but did not continue; Swiss-made desks and tools were assigned to our school, mostly untouched, which were sitting idle in this school.

This situation is very important because it makes the machine parks of all vocational schools open to each other in the digital environment and thus fulfill the mutual needs of the schools. Currently, our school is a 4-year secondary vocational school commissioned through LGS. Tools, equipment and benches are complete. The curriculum is adapted day by day to the conditions of our country.

What are the three main points of your program this year?

Protect the cultural heritage, bring transparency to our company accounting, marketing, internal communication and relations with company partners (family members), explore the problem together where a joint decision needs to be made and be able to take the initiative when necessary.

What are your short and medium term plans?

We want to be the first company that comes to customers’ minds in our industry. For this we need as many customer ambassadors as possible. I know that the best advertisement is a referral. This is actually the basis of the “influencer” concept that has been around on social media for quite some time. Of course, at this point, people today have begun to perceive them as the same advertisement on television or in the newspaper, and they do not seem as sincere as before.

We have always strived to grow this business more organically. In other words, it’s like people who are our actual customers are telling the other party about us completely out of their own free will, not with the budget that the company has given that person. We have encountered this many times over the years. Doing your job honestly and building trust is always a long-term investment.

“I don’t look at the past and evaluate it in today’s terms”

Canan Önder: “Did you have any wishes in your business life?” He answered our question this way: “Actually, both in my business and in my social life, instead of saying ‘I wish,’ I look back and see how I’ve progressed today. So I think one by one about the steps that led me to today, to my current endeavor.

If from what I’ve been through today, I’m happy with where I am; I think to myself: “So it was necessary not to go that day, or to go there to prepare me for this. Of course I didn’t know that day and how angry, scared or angry I am. I should note this awareness; “Let me not be prejudiced in my feelings about my decisions.” Even if I’m not happy with what I’m experiencing right now, I think, “Okay, the decision I made that day was bad, but I wasn’t the same. person…

“I wonder what would have happened if I had made a different choice?” Of course, time doesn’t go back, and neither does the answer to this question, but I’ll note it so I can make a more detailed decision next time. Simply; “Times change, options change, mentality changes, your customer changes and you change. In this case, I don’t look at the past and evaluate it on today’s terms.”

“Doing resistance and cardio exercises is my biggest hobby.”

Canan Önder said about her hobbies: “My biggest hobby is getting up early in the morning and doing resistance and cardio exercises for 11 years. With the training I have done in the last 2 years, I became a Personal Trainer and now take it as a second job. It is a fact that our lifestyle, where movement is gradually decreasing, represents a great threat to our health rather than comfort. “I feel very good about helping my clients who think like I do and want to exercise for their health,” he said.

“There can be a day that feeds the moon, there can be a month that feeds the year”

Canan Önder: “Is there any advice you learned from your elders that resonates with you and guides your business and personal life?” He answered our question this way: “When I first started working in business; When few customers came, I always had my eyes on the door and felt uneasy. At such moments, my father used to say: “There will be a day, it will feed the moon, there will be a month, it will feed the year.” He continued: “Calm down, some days there won’t be any sales, some days you won’t be able to sit down at all, some months you won’t be able to sit down at all, that’s the way retail is. “Over the years I’ve always seen that he was right.

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