Kerim Ture is a Turkish entrepreneur who founded Modanisa with the intention to provide modest fashion brands and designers with a platform to promote a variety of options and style for Muslim women all over the world.
In conjunction with the recent launch of Modanisa in Malaysia, we had the chance to get up close and personal with the man behind this successful global brand. In our interview with Kerim Ture, we discussed how the brand started a decade ago and where it’s headed to in the near future.
1. You were listed as one of the “Top 50 Leaders of Islamic Economy”. What did that title mean to you?
Back in 2011, We noted the potential in modest fashion, a market that has previously been overlooked; and set up Modanisa. We worked hard to transform the endeavour – seen by many as an impossible task at the time – into an impressive area of employment and investment. Modanisa achieved an important social innovation by enlarging women’s area of participation in social life. With Modanisa, we not only produced a lucrative service that answered consumer needs; but also created a platform that appealed to a range of suppliers, producers and other brands. I think this title was given to Modanisa, not me. Of course I am proud of Modanisa.
2. Many people want to be in your position. What do they have to do to achieve such a feat?
When I started this business, I actually wanted to encourage others to do this job. However, when others did not believe in this idea, we rolled up our sleeves and got into this business ourselves. I am considered an entrepreneur who established many companies before Modanisa. To be honest, e-commerce is a really difficult way of entrepreneurship. If anyone showed me how I was one year after founding Modanisa in 2012, I would have considered not getting into this job. However, we managed to overcome the difficulties after entering.
The original business idea came to life in 2010 as we took notice of how limited the choices were for these women. The industry was so limited in this regard that I witnessed a modest-dressing woman buying two of the same short-sleeved blouses, which she brought to the tailor to have made into one, long-sleeved blouse! Even though 65% of women in Turkey are covered, it was impossible to find a clothing style that was both on-trend and suitable for women of the faith.
For this reason, we would see a 25-year-old woman wear practically the same outfit as her 55-year-old mother. I felt like no brand cared for them, so we decided to address this issue and give women more options with a variety of choices that fit their body and their values.
3. What are some of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make as CEO of Modanisa?
When the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic occurred, we had to make a lot of difficult decisions. There were a lot of uncertainties and this became a global problem. Our first intention was to safeguard our main stakeholders, which are our employees and at the same time, ensure that this outbreak would not affect our quality and efficiency in serving our customers all over the world.
We quickly took precautionary measures to secure both our profitability and employees. We made necessary changes to optimise our marketing and logistical operations. Even with the lack of flight operations, we managed to deliver our products on time to our customers with the help of our logistic partners.
4. Are there any celebrities you think would be perfect for the Modanisa brand?
Modanisa has already collaborated with big celebrities such as actress Mira Filzah and rising star, Iman Troye. Working with celebrities is valuable for generating awareness of the Modanisa brand to various kinds of audiences. We have more upcoming several celebrities in mind that we believe would be perfect for representing Modanisa, it’s all in ongoing discussion and we can’t disclose it yet. It will be a surprise.
5. Can we expect more collabs from Modanisa & KLFW? What can fans look forward to?
Yes, it is also amongst the plans we have for Malaysia as to our effort to localise Modanisa for the market and also provide more opportunities to the world. As mentioned before, we want to serve the market better by having more products that fit the market needs. We are very excited for this plan and we’re looking forward to making it happen.
6. 4 years ago, you predicted that modest fashion will go mainstream. How do you think fashion will impact pop culture in the foreseeable future?
Muslim women are sought-after consumers, because they’re open to purchasing most products which fall within their religious parameters. However, they don’t hesitate to challenge brands’ values and motives. They are willing to do the research to make sure they are being respected and represented in all steps of the process, so marketers need to make sure they are supporting them where it matters.
For the likes of Modanisa, embedded in the halal economy, we have the advantage of knowing our diverse Muslim consumers, their needs and sensitivities. For example, traditional dress codes determine purchasing decisions in Turkey and Malaysia, compared to urban styles sought by modest dressers in Europe and North America. But there is no room for complacency. We need to double-down to ensure our ecosystems are robust enough to withstand the entry of bigger players. From design to delivery, marketing and after-sales we must match those of the mainstream to compete effectively, and continue to provide customers with appealing, affordable ready-to-wear apparel.
7. We’re approaching the year end. What else would you like to do before that?
In 2019, we conducted a research on our market expansion plan, and shortly we concluded that Asia will be our next focus. Starting from there, our team has been working endlessly to ensure the visibility of it. We started on enabling the logistic solutions which enable us to serve several countries within Asia such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei.
As a brand, we also want to ensure that we understand what the market needs and we want to ensure all our customers will have the best experience shopping in our platform. In order to do so, we enabled our 6th language, Bahasa Indonesia, in our platform and also several local payment solutions for the market, such as, Banking Transfer.
Our work doesn’t stop here, as we are committed to ensuring Modanisa to be successful in Asia, we still have a lot of things to do and our team is working hard to ensure that we get there. Modanisa will have the biggest sale event of the year to celebrate 12.12! We have prepared big discounts for thousands of products and lots of surprise deals specifically for the market. Download the app and don’t miss it!
Speaking of the 12.12 sale, Modanisa.com has already kicked off its December campaign with the following offers:
- Daily deals from 7th to 13th December 2020.
- From 14th to 20th December 2020, Asian shoppers will enjoy great savings from the “Spend and Save” campaign, which they will receive a coupon code that can be redeemed at checkout.
- Aside from free shipping, shoppers who purchase more than RM210 (USD$50) on a single receipt will be entitled to a free abaya (a traditional robe-like garment).
- Those who spend RM450 will get up to RM80 back.
“Malaysian shoppers, as well as those from Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Philippines will be able to choose from thousands of items across 800 world-class Turkish labels at discounts ranging from 50% to 90%, with discounted prices from as low as RM12,” Kerim Ture said.
He added, “The Daily Surprise will change every day during this period. Customers will get a sneak peek into the featured items a day ahead on our social media platforms. So, be sure to look out for our daily announcements on our social media platforms to not miss out on these special offers.”
In the meantime, you can also check out our Modanisa contest here.