Önder Honi is a highly experienced and visionary name in the Turkish mattress industry. Having worked as the vise export manager for many years until recently for the strongest conglomerate in the mattress industry, Honi has a vast accumulation of information, knowledge and experience about world markets, major manufacturers and products. We have conducted an exclusive interview with Mr. Honi for evaluation the industry.
What do you have to say about the future of the mattress industry? How do you evaluate the developments in the sector?
While commenting on the mattress industry, it will not be right to think only on Turkey. Many companies in Turkey that produce mattresses, mattress machinery, and other sleep related products have already become international identities, and they sell their product in the four corners of the world. So, while evaluating the position of the mattress industry, we have to think about the production for domestic demand; those products destined for exports and those companies that supply materials, machinery and accessories for the mattress industry.
When only the industry is taken account without thinking about other related sub sectors for the mattress industry, we can easily say that an accelerated growth has been experienced in the main industry during the last decade. There are several reasons for the growth of the mattress industry. Rising welfare of both individuals and the society as a whole and shortening period of replacement of mattresses from 10 to 13 years to 7 to 8 seven years has fuelled the growth of the market. Besides, increasing population and their moves from rural areas to urban living, and even increasing immigrating people from abroad as a result of regional conflicts are other possible reasons for the general outlook in the industry.
Growing sizes of houses, separation of living and sleeping rooms even more are other causes for increasing sales of mattresses. Demands of retailers and growing numbers of hostels and hotels have increased the sales. In line with developments in productivity of industrial operations, cost of production is reduced and made it more practical to produce. Mattress producers can buy domestically produced mattress machinery, and can obtain more 44competitive price quotations for their investments. They are easily supplied by domestic companies with equipment, materials and labor. Almost every input used in the production of mattresses can be produced in Turkey. There is no need for import for these, except some few special products. Even input costs are lowered as a result of increasing competition of suppliers.
In addition, the limited demand in the Middle East, Russia and in the neighboring countries in the east of Turkey began to rise thanks to the launching of new generation mattresses. The growing potential in these countries has become a good business opportunity both for the Turkish mattress industry and European producers who want to reach these markets via Turkey.
Rising costs of European made mattresses and semi-finished zipped covers and raw materials have forced companies to procure their needs from Turkey.
Depending on the causes that I mentioned above, we observe that, thanks to the geographic position of Turkey, an important gate for the Middle East markets, the fast development in the industry, foreign investors have began to invest in Turkey. Last year equities of the two major Turkish mattress producers were bought buy foreign investors. Earlier, a European fabric firm has invested in Turkey and another company have opened office. There is a rumor in the market that the third is on the way. A European bed cover producer stepped in Turkey. An Italian company is seeking to sell machinery in Turkey. Clustering of the industry may cause some problem for them however; in the long run they will have certain advantages. Besides, some famous European mattress companies started to sell their products in Turkey by opening stores, among them are Hastens, Dux, Lamborgini, Magniflex.
Do you think that Turkey is a sufficient market for suppliers of mattress industry? Are imported items useful and help the industry to develop more?
Mattress industry covers many other products, such as quilts, side closings, bordure, and packaging machinery; raw materials such as bed covers, carcasses and frames; raw materials and accessories such as air capsules, carrying handles, labels, fabrics, springs, foams, latexes, fibers, adhesives, bands, bases, headstands, mechanisms, pillows and quilts. These products may have been sold at even greater volumes both in domestic and export markets and may have much more potential for further growth.
You have become a brand name in the industry. What is your plan for the future? Will you establish your own firm?
I spent 15 years in the mattress industry; it is neither too short nor too long. I traveled much in and abroad, participated in fairs and meet with many customers during a fast growing and transition period that moved from furniture to mattresses. I know personally many of the leading names in companies that produce mattresses and supplies. In my ex company we sold our products into 90 countries. I got accumulated knowledge and experiences in mattress fabrics, springs, foams and other materials and about manufacturing processes I know about companies, producers, sellers, locations, names, qualities, prices, markets, suppliers, etc. operating in the mattress related businesses worldwide. I keep records for the breakdown of the volumes and kinds of materials used in various parts of the world, preferences for fabric patterns, mattress types and changing trends.
I used all these knowledge for the benefits of the company I have been serving. The firm has reached an envying position in the world. Then I began to be helpful to other people in the sector and in related industries. As you know, I helped and gave advice in the conception of SleepWell and SleepTech magazines and took part in their development and fair organizations. Now I will be active in the industry and in the new companies that I will establish soon. In addition to these, I want to share my knowledge, experiences and views with the readers of SleepWell and SleepTech in their columns.