Sectoral Interview of the Month: BAGİDER

Tunç Karaaslan

President of BAGIDER

Sectoral Interview of the Month:

BAGİDER

President of BAGIDER: ‘Exhibitions create a priceless opportunity to come together, to do business, and to improve partnerships.’

The second guest of our ‘sectoral interviews’ is Mr. Tunç Karaaslan, the everlasting supporter of CBME Turkey ever since it was founded, and the President of the last two periods of BAGIDER, Baby Maternity Product Manufacturer, Importer and Retailer Association, one and only official representative in children baby maternity products.

CBME Turkey, the most influential exhibition for children, baby, maternity products industry, is organizing 39th International İstanbul Children, Baby, Maternity Expo in İstanbul Expo Center between 8 - 11 December 2021. While the preparations are ongoing, we have had the chance to meet Tunç Karaaslan, a long-lasting supporter of CBME Turkey and the chairman of BAGIDER board, and talk about the effects of a pandemic on exhibition industry and the values added to the industry by this exhibition.

1. Can you inform us and the readers CBME Turkey Trend Newsletter about BAGIDER and its recent works?

 BAGIDER, Baby Maternity Product Manufacturer, Importer and Retailer Association, was found in 2015 with the motives of increasing the service standards for children-baby-maternity products in Turkey, creating a healthier environment for the babies who are the future of our country, and improving the industry. At that period, we had only 18 members. Today, we have 43 members. The motto of our association can be summarized with one word: “trust”. This trust is crucial for both our industry and our client portfolio. In order to provide this trust, we are working in close cooperation with the official authorities to solve any kind of problem in the industry. With the projects and the campaigns we organize, we try to increase awareness in the general public.

2. Do you think your project ‘Standards Protect You and Your Baby’ has fulfilled its purpose?

 In recent days, we have initiated that project ‘Standards Protect You and Your Baby’ in order to provide safety and health for our kids, who are our most important assets in life. This project has been realized with the partnership of BAGIDER and the General Directorate of Consumer Protection and Market Surveillance within the Ministry of Commerce. We introduced our project to our members and the press with the launching meeting we organized. A public spot movie prepared within the scope of the project has been aired on national channels and its voiceover has been prepared for the radio. Our aim was to prevent the use of non-standard products and to raise the awareness of consumers for product standards. We believe that thanks to our project, the habit of reading labels was created in the consumers; and manufacturers in the industry started to be more sensitive about product standards. We, as BAGIDER, attribute great importance to awareness campaigns. Our previous one was about drawing attention to the importance of using baby car seats, and it was a very successful one too.

 I would like to continue informing our readers about the most recent activities of BAGIDER. We are organizing training for actual and special topics for the industry. We try to create partnerships between our members, and we organize many events to gather them together and introduce them to each other. After the pandemic, these events and activities have been adapted to ‘new normal’ and we pay the utmost attention to take necessary measures, such as social distancing. Furthermore, we are printing a digital bulletin and a printed BAGIDER Magazine annually and make sure these publications reach the actors of the industry, the blogger mothers, and the corresponding bureaucrats. 

 

3. The pandemic has affected various industries severely in the world. How did it affect your industry?

Since the beginning of 2020, the baby products industry has been one of the least-affected industries by the pandemic in Turkey and in the world. We can even say that the importance of using safe and healthy products has proved its worthiness in times of pandemic. In Turkey, 1.3 million babies are born each year. Therefore, for both the manufacturers and the consumers, the baby products industry is an auspicious one which will maintain a constant growth over the years. According to pre-pandemic research, families in Turkey spend 40-60 USD monthly, and around 480-700 USD annually for their children. The majority of this happens in the new-born group since the cribs, appliances, pushchairs, strollers, etc. are mostly necessary for this group. Post-pandemic research will show us whether this fact has changed during the pandemic. In my opinion, changing needs have increased these numbers in some groups while decreased the numbers in others. On the other hand, I firmly believe that the upwards trend will endure in our industry. Three years ago, the volume of this industry was 7 billion TL; and the fact that it increased to 12 billion TL in 2019 shows us that it grows 20% on an annual basis.

 Over this period, we have always been supportive of the actors in our industry. Our board meetings have been done online. Our work to increase manufacturing and exports has gained momentum. We have organized an online seminar for this topic. In order to facilitate the export transactions of our members, we have organized another online seminar with the participation of the Ministry of Commerce. During the lockdown, BAGIDER members have mostly kept up with their commercial activities through online sales. We also have gathered a committee in order to organize the export subsidies and international exhibitions in 2020 and 2021. Our work for collective participation and visiting groups to domestic and international exhibitions is ongoing. 

4. What is the size of baby and children's products industry in Turkey, and what are your expectations regarding the market size in 2020 under the shadow of this pandemic?

The children’s product industry business volume in Turkey is approximately 2 billion USD. The textile group has the biggest share in the market with 30%, followed by diapers with 22%. Baby food and toy groups follow these two in terms of the market share size. Baby equipment and furniture products, including baby strollers, have an approximate share of around 8%.

5. How did the pandemic affect your thoughts on the importance and value of exhibitions?

Exhibitions create a priceless opportunity to come together, to do business, and improve partnerships. As BAGİDER, we have been a CBME Turkey participant and supporter with our members for years. CBME Turkey is the only trade exhibition in our country where we come together with buyers in terms of trade and export. The pandemic reminded us of the value and importance of exhibitions. During this period, there were exhibitions that could not be organized or postponed. Fortunately, CBME Turkey was not among them. In our exhibition, held in İstanbul in January 2020, our sector realized value-added collaborations. Now with BAGIDER members, we are preparing for CBME Turkey 39th International İstanbul Children Baby Maternity Expo that will be held between 13 and 16 October 2020.

The world is going through a difficult period in terms of protecting public health and economies. I believe that exhibitions will continue gaining importance and taking a big role in terms of contribution to economic recovery. However, we will not be able to go back to the good old days completely. We need to be more cautious and careful. We also closely monitor the measures to be taken for our companies and visitors to participate in CBME Turkey. In line with the information we received, Informa AllSecure Safety and Health standards will be implemented at CBME Turkey. These standards include comprehensive and in-depth cleaning, hygiene, and safety measures. BAGIDER members and non-member companies and visitors can also join CBME Turkey with their minds at peace.

6. Do you think the exhibitions will be more important in the future?

We need exhibitions more than ever. We experienced things we thought we would never experience. Millions of people had to shut themselves to their homes to avoid the virus. Manufacturing stopped except for the basic needs that would allow us to survive. Though life did not stop, it continued. I admit it is a difficult period, but our country and our industry have the power to survive. During the pandemic, e-commerce increased, especially in retail. Even virtual exhibitions were organized as a temporary remedy. I believe that virtual exhibitions will continue to be complementary exhibitions that will be held alongside the actual ones. I find all these solutions very positive, however, the essence of trade is to come together, to see the product you will buy, to touch it, to exchange opinions, etc. These are indispensable. Moreover, our industry helps to maintain babies' health and safety at the maximum level. For this reason, exhibitions provide us with a safe and effective commercial meeting environment that we need. In this period, the exhibition organization industry has been damaged like many others, but it will recover in a short time. In my opinion, companies need exhibitions more than ever during these times.

Published date: 12.08.2020

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