We get a lot of people that want to know the story of how Galen Leather really came to be. I introduce myself as a business owner and they ask 'why did you decide to do that?' Even people who purchase our products want to know more about where the idea came from and why we decided to create our own product line in this way. So I've decided to share my story, a deeply personal story that required me to change my way of life, my way of looking at the world around me and even the way I was able to provide for my family. I really believe it's an amazing story and I hope others will be inspired by what you can accomplish when you really set your mind to it.
A graduate in the geophysics engineering program, I spent ten years in advertising and sales, working with the public to promote products and achieve higher sales numbers each year. My husband and I had recently had a small child and we worked hard to provide for him the best life possible. Everything about our lives seemed perfectly normal and we had no reason to believe that anything about that was going to change. Unfortunately, we were completely wrong on that front and in 2012 our life changed dramatically, in a way we never could have imagined.
In September of 2012 I was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, a rare type of head and neck cancer. The doctor told me that I would be fine once treatment was completed but I would be incapable of speaking for approximately one year. The proclamation was alarming. I was still young. I had a four-year-old little boy. How could I be going through such a horrible chain of events?
Even still, I knew I had to do whatever it took and so I pushed myself through the treatments, through four months of surgery and radiotherapy. The problems had only just begun however. I couldn't speak. I could only drink liquids. Without the ability to speak I was no longer able to speak with customers and make sales. My job was over and I had to look for a new job model that would allow me to work without speech.
I began looking for a crafter and found one on the southern side of Turkey that I could purchase leather samples and vintage kilims from. I used those pieces to make a name for myself on a nationwide retail website, the perfect platform for an unprofessional seller. In this way, I was able to create my company, Galen Leather, named after a precious stone I remembered from my education.
Slowly my business began to grow. Since I was able to communicate with customers via email I didn't need to worry about the fact that I couldn't talk. Even still, I knew the business needed something more in order to succeed. What I found was my brother, Yusuf, who had just graduated from an Economics program and was looking for a job. But he too was not interested in a traditional 9-5 job. And so he started taking pictures for me, creating the most beautiful images to display the leather goods and pillows we sold.
For the next year we were able to manage a slow increase of business, until the Christmas 2013 season, when an unexpected spike in orders threatened to end our entire company. Our vendor was not able to meet the demand and we were unsure if we would be able to keep going, but we managed to pull through and keep our customers happy. Our business returned to a semblance of normal, until my husband asked for a leather journal for his Moleskine notebook and iPad. When I requested this from our vendor he was not interested in helping and I knew we had to make some changes.
Yusuf and I decided to start producing our own leather goods and we took classes to learn crafting. Learning from some of the best leather crafters in the area as well as YouTube videos of all types it took several tries to create exactly what my husband had been looking for but we finally managed it to his satisfaction and I was ecstatic. I was so proud of myself for what we had accomplished that I continued creating more and more things. Yusuf and I were able to create tech accessories and other specialty products. Everything was laser cut and stitched by hand. The business took off.
For the next couple years we continued as we had started. In 2015, however, we decided to make a change, closing our present online shop and creating our own online store with our branding. We created an agreement with shipping companies including UPS and FedEx. Our products were now capable of being shipped worldwide and we were able to focus on creating new things.
Today I am healthy and returned to my normal life. My husband, our four-year-old son, Cagan and I are able to survive on the revenue from this company, only four years old. I can speak again and I can create new products every day, which I have continued to do ever since. I've never yet stopped looking for new ways to create leather products and new leather products that people will be interested in and my customers have never stopped telling me what they're looking for or what they find most important.
We continue to provide high quality and beautiful products to each customer. With all the products handmade they are unique amongst themselves, meaning that each product is a creative work of art that our customers can show off to their family and friends. Things are looking better every day and our beautiful products are our pride and joy, especially when we create something new. We know that you will love them as much as we do, no matter what you're looking for.
Want to give a personal thank you to my husband Yunus, my son Cagan, family, and friends who are supporting this new adventure. Also a big thank you to the customers who support small business & Hand Made products.
Thanks for reading,
Zeynep & Yusuf
You can find us on Instagram as @galenleather
Below you can find our contact information
Masko 2A Blok No:1 Ikitelli Istanbul Turkey
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Thanks for visit to our shop!