Dursoy AS (Dursoy Inc) were established by Mahmut A Duruk and Ahmet S Gürsoy in 1981. From the beginning, the company have specialised in the manufacture of fur and doubleface. Dursoy Inc have the capacity to produce 750,000 leathers a year in their 10,000 sq m tannery located in Organised Industry Zone in Tuzla. The company also manufacture 40,000 fur and suede garments annually.

Dursoy believe that Türkiye will be one of the biggest leather manufacturers in the world in the near future. The company continue to invest in this regard, and set aside money for new technologies in the sector. The company employ 150 people at full capacity and place a strong focus on setting high standards for raw leathers, workmanship and products.

Dursoy exhibited at the recent International Leather Days fair in Istanbul with some success. Gürsoy commented that the exhibition was very crowded this year, but the fair failed to generate any new customers and he was actually hoping for a higher number of foreign visitors. Nonetheless, the company plan to continue exhibiting at the fair and also plan to exhibit at this year’s APLF leather fair in Hong Kong.

‘We are not expecting many changes for 2002’, said Dursoy’s co-founder Ahmet S Gürsoy. ‘We are currently producing around 500,000 doubleface or 4.5 million sq ft per year, although we do have the capacity at the moment to increase this by a further 30%.’

In terms of imports, Dursoy acquire the majority of their raw materials from Australia, the UK, France, Spain and the US, but not Türkiye. Gürsoy believes that the quality of Turkish raw skins is good but they are not always easy to collect. However, the company do import some of their chemicals and machinery from Türkiye.

Russian revolution

With regards to exports, Gürsoy explained that the company’s exports to Europe were decreasing, but Russia continues to be an important market for them. In 1990, the company exported 90% of their finished leather to Europe and the remaining 10% to Russia.

Between 1990 and 1993, this ratio had altered to 30-35% exported to Russia and the rest to Europe. By 1997/1998, the percentage of finished leathers exported to Russia had climbed to 80% and today that figure is 90%.

‘Fluctuating prices in the US are also a problem’, Gürsoy said, and he explained that this has made it difficult for his company to make long-term contracts with raw material suppliers. ‘Although this is a negative factor, the up side is that we are now used to making smaller contracts and being very fast and very flexible’, Gürsoy said.

Future competitors

Gürsoy added that he is expecting an increase in business from China in the future, but not any time soon. He believes that in the next five-to-ten years, Russia will remain an important market for the company, but then Gürsoy expects that China will start to become more active, especially in the doubleface market.

‘But China will not be able to produce doubleface leather at such a high quality as Türkiye for a sustained period of time’, Gürsoy said, ‘so we will certainly benefit from that.

‘In the doubleface market, we can compete with some of the good tanneries in Spain’, Gürsoy continued. ‘They have the knowledge, but it’s easy for them as they have good access to raw materials. But Türkiye is following Spain and we haven’t really got any other major competitors.’

Sammying by hand

While the tanning process for doubleface fur and suede obviously differs from that of leather, the one noticeable difference at the Dursoy tannery is the sammying procedure. This is carried out by hand at Dursoy where they believe that a sammying machine could easily damage the suede. Although this procedure takes more time, Dursoy can sammy around 200 skins a day.

This technique is mostly used in Spain and not everywhere in Türkiye. Dursoy used large, conventional machines for the sammying process in the past, but moved onto the small, individual, hand-operated machines not only to protect the suede but they believe that hand-sammying provides a second opportunity to check for any defects on the suede.

The tannery also incorporates a fully-equipped laboratory for research and development. If a customer requests a new or specific colour, then Dursoy’s technicians experiment with the colour and produce a sample piece of leather for the customer before a bulk order is placed.

Dursoy also have a department that produces their own garments such as coats, but Gürsoy believes that the export of finished skins will become more important in the future. When asked about his plans for the next ten years, Gürsoy replied: ‘We want to develop the quality of our products and perhaps start producing different skins depending on the needs of the international markets.’