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QUICKFIRE Q&A: Bosphorus Leather’s digital platform investments boost B2C business

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Bosphorus Leather is run by Adam Arslan from Turkey.

As the owner, he selects the high-quality leathers, leather dyes and other equipment for production and also works across all parts of the process.

With business all over the world, WatchPro finds out more in conversation with Muslum Arslan, marketing manager.

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WP: Tell us more about the brand and the process for it to be where it is today.

Bosphorus Leather re-founded in 2012 by Adam Arslan in Turkey after covering up the workshop of his father and uncle. The flag of leather mastery was handed over. Due to leather works being a family tradition, Adam does what he knows best with his team of masters like himself.

Bosphorus workshop is being led by a young and passionate craftsman who is a participant in all the production processes from the leather production with new techniques peculiar to Bosphorus Leather to the end of the product. When we are building up this background of the company, he is still dying a case personally. And his team does not approach their works as a job but as an art. We do work with an amateur spirit; on the other side, as a registered international brand, all our operations are being carried on professionally.

Whilst we are in warm contact with our precious Customers, at the same time our Corporation Communication efforts to take space in top prestigious platforms and serve the sector by providing Handcrafted/Hand-dyed products from High-Quality Genuine Leathers.

The brand also managed to win the trust of its customers with its customer care services, customer loved return policies and the warranty programs. International registrations have been taken such as from the EU Property Office. Our production continues with the international qualification certificates such as ISO shows Bosphorus carry over its productions compliant with the international standards.

We do operate with wide product segment from Watch Storage Equipments such as Watch Cases, Trunks, Bonds, Rolls, Winders, bespoke Trays for your drawers or briefcases to Duffle Bags, Wallets, Briefcases, Sneakers and such bespoke orders for watch enthusiasts, watch collectors, jewelry/watch stores or anyone who loves travel with timepieces and stay them in safe.

Bosphorus Leather is a young company and has not been in the sector for a century, though, with its high passion and excitement our brand became globally recognized in a quite short time.

In which countries do you operate?

Firstly, I need to say that since B2C operations, we operate in the whole world. It is possible to own a Bosphorus item from anywhere in the world. Many retail customers; highly respectable resellers, distributors from various continents such as US, EU, Arabic Kingdoms, Emirates, specific Asian zones and Far East Asia.

Though, most of our total sales consist of North America and European Countries sales. Nearly 70% of our sales from those countries.

How has Covid impacted the business in these areas?

There were many restrictions, curfews have been applied by the countries in which we mostly operate in 2020. Offline stores, all jewelry/watch boutiques and malls were closed nearly until the beginning of last summer. Thus, our business partners and distributors got through tough times in the first half of the year.

But, with the summer we have experienced that the business was getting warmer since people restart their purchases. On the other hand, B2C business gave us new customers, new relations even in the curfew periods. By moving quickly to develop digital platforms, we have compensated for the losses of physical platforms.

What is the route to market for Bosphorous Leather?

Bosphorus is a family company. Thus, we adhere to our roots and traditions firmly. In that case, we will continue to be a participant of conventional, physical platforms. We strongly believe that boutiques, stores, malls will remain the gamer of international trade. Bricks and Mortar Retail will be a part of our business even if the pandemic would survive. We love conventional business methods such as street merchandising, jewelry boutiques, watch stores etc.

The curfews have shown us that all of us love to go out and do shopping. However; online stores, digital platforms, business types of B2C are the areas all sector gamers must be in. It is not a should, I think. Many customers have been preferring to buy something from an online store even before the pandemic. After the pandemic, online marketing has gained many many new visitors who have not followed up that way before. Also, we have met many new customers and compensated our probable losses from B2B businesses.

We couldn’t close that door and day by day try to improve our digital services by investing in this area. In short, we desire to be in conventional trade and digital platforms at the same time.

Do you have expansion plans for this?

We have noticed at the end of 2019 while the virus was crawling that we need to invest more in digital platforms. The idea of all us was, shifting investments from physical works to online sales. We have freezed all the workshops of store concepts for 2020, cash supportings for franchisers and planned all that money to develop our online infrastructure.

Also, we have had many meetings with the gamers of the sector which have high experience in terms of digital sales and will have many in 2021 to build up a smart network.

What kind of price point do you look to tap into and why?

We indeed have sold our items from reasonable prices. When we compare our prices to the prices of supplementaries, we sell from reasonable prices even if all of our items are handmade from genuine calf leathers and exotic leathers. Even some of them hand dyed according to customizations. There are lots of ready made products in the sector and they are sold from relatively higher prices.

If we do not consider the costs of handmade works which have soul, there may be some misconceptions about the prices. We will carry on to provide high quality, handmade lovely items to the sector and all of our items will continue to be worth their prices. We put to the table the costs and the satisfaction of our customers and decide the prices.

Who is the main target audience for the Bosphorous Leather offering?

Bosphorus leather provides many leather, handmade items and we desire to reach all leather lovers. Since our flagship is luxury watch storage equipment, our first goal has been reaching to watch collectors, watch enthusiasts and jewelry/watch boutiques.

Does this differ depending on location?

We can say it doesn’t depend. We have lovely customers who are luxury watch lovers from various ages, genders, countries but we are planning to be more known in the luxury markets of Far East Asia while expanding our markets in the US and in Europe.

What plans do you have for the future of the business?

Firstly we plan to introduce the handcrafted products to more watch lovers. They should know that they are not doomed anymore to short-lasting ready-made products which do not carry their own spirit! Our second short term goal is to introduce Bosphorus items to more people who have timepiece(s) but do not use any watch storage equipment. We want to be more in the watch winder market in 2021. By those goals, we would have expanded the target audience. Our midterm goal is, start up giving full customized safe service to luxury watch collectors at the customers’ place such as estates, jewelry/watch boutiques, hotels, malls etc. In the next few years, all teams are working strongly to become a brand which officially designs special watch cases for the launches of top watch brands.”

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