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TURKEY Growing to become a globally renowned
brand in Jewellery and Allied services

Turkish jewelry, with its 5,000- year heritage, continues to increase export volumes with more than 35,000 retail brands, 6,000 producers and 1,000 service firms.

Turkey is one of the leading global jewelry markets, and has the 11th largest stock of gold in the world. In 2017, it was the 10th highest global exporter of jewelry, generating a value of $4.1 billion and constituting 4.5% of global jewelry exports.

A new record was set in 2018, with total exports amounting to $4.54 billion, a strong increase on the previous year. B o o s t e d b y t h i s continuous increase, Turkey's jewelry sector has set its target for 2023 to $12 billion in exports.

As part of its effort to reach the targets , Turkey's Jewellery Exporters Association (JTR) organizes the Istanbul Jewelry Show twice in a year featuring all the major Turkish jewelry brands, as well as many global brands, explained Association President Mustafa Kamar at the March 21-24 show.

The 48th Istanbul Jewelry Show which held as usual at CNR Expo hosted 1,250 brands with over 30,000 businesspeople from 120 countries taking part. This year, Istanbul Jewelry Show welcomed the group of International Buyers Committee of 1,500 people from target markets.

Buyers and designers all around the globe have been trading jewelry in Grand Bazaar for centuries, said Mr Kamar. Turkish jewelry has evolved and influenced many jewelry designers throughout history. All around the globe, there are many successful Turkish jewelry designer labels that are globally sold in wellknown department stores from Saks Fifth Avenue to Selfridges, such as Roberto Bravo, Kismet by Milka, Sevan Bicakci, Gurhan, and Tohum.

“Globally, appreciation and awareness for the design and quality of Turkish jewelry are rising," he said. "Jewelry designs and Turkish brands stand out in the global arena. More specifically, Istanbul is becoming the new heart of the jewelry trade with increasing numbers of B2B visitors. Every year, in March and October, Istanbul Jewelry Shows gathers buyers, influencers and decisionmakers from all around the globe," stated Kamar, Chairman of both the Turkey Jewelry Exporter Association and the Turkish jewelry brand Roberto Bravo. He added: "In 2019,we aim to increase export volumes to China and make Istanbul Jewelry Show the 3rd biggest jewelry trade show in the world.”

He said the Istanbul Jewelery Fair is the 4th largest jewelry fair in the world, and will set a record for both Turkish and foreign participation this year. "We are happy to have realized our goal of turning our country into a hub for the jewelry business. At this edition of the fair, we organized a VIP Purchase Mission with the participation of 1,500 foreigners from 73 countries in order to increase exports, to find new markets for export products and to maintain market share. Our goal with the VIP Purchasing Mission is to create $200 million exports. Thus, we will take another step towards our target market share in the global arena.

“Globally, appreciation and awareness for the design and quality of Turkish jewelry are rising," he said. "Jewelry designs and Turkish brands stand out in the global arena. More specifically, Istanbul is becoming the new heart of the jewelry trade with increasing numbers of B2B visitors.

The Turkish Jewellery Exporters’ Association (JTR) has set 2023 for reaching the next stage of its planned development and growth , he explained. "Turkey has a $13 billion export goal for the year 2023. We are working very hard to reach this number. We realize that marketing is a weak point. On the production and quality control sides, we don’t have any problems.

"Although our sector receives considerable government support, it is undergoing structural reforms. Our companies, as with jewelry sectors around the globe, are struggling somewhat as profit margins remain very low. Our factories are working hard and we export $3 billion of goods annually, but it is obvious that our added value should be much higher.”

“Because there are similar services and products everywhere in the world, prices are decreasing and profits are lower. We believe that we can create a difference with a robust marketing strategy which would add value rather than simply trying to increase production capacity and making more goods. We need to emphasise our difference. While Turkish production quality is higher than that of our competitors, our added value has not risen significantly. If we compare it to that of other countries, Turkey's added value goes down and this is because we are focusing on creating similar products in a cheaper price range. This is not sufficient, and we have to work hard to create a difference.”

Kamar repeats that the key to achieving this is via significantly improved marketing. "We are a sector whose expansion is based on production and sales. We used to think that sales and marketing are that same thing. But, in fact, they are two different parts of a strategy.

“With the world changing all the time, and innovative technologies , products, services and markets continuously coming on to the market, we have to change in order to keep up. At one time, we sold hundreds of kilos of hollow stamped gold jewellery to America, but now we don't sell it, and we are not even producing any now. Globalization and tough competition forced us to make choices. B2C companies picked up on this beforehand and adapted themselves to what was coming. But now everyone is turning their attention to B2B brand management. Of course we should also create strong brand names that carry high added values, just like Sevan Biçakçi has done. But what we should also focus on is to create a B2B strategy for the sector as a whole.”

He explains that in the same way that major international brands such as Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Intel, SAP, Fedex and Boeing are immediately recognised, so must jewellery be associated with Turkey. He doesn't expect it to happen overnight, indeed it's a long-term strategy. We are also aware that it is not enough for JTR board members to only acknowledge this strategy. We are holding workshops for our exporters to introduce them to this plan. This is how we are revising our global marketing communications as well. From the standardisation of trade fair stands to advertisements in international magazines, we are choosing a more professional language.

“Our goal is to increase knowledge about the Turkish jewellery sector, and to make Turkey the first thing that comes to mind when jewellery is mentioned and in the end create much higher added value for our exporters."