Brokering hides and skins

15 October 2003

Nuran Yenisehirli is an Izmir-based agent for Australian doubleface producers and, in March 2003, became the region's agent for the Spanish Colomer Group's Ledexport division. She also supplies goat skins from Greece and France, representing the Hellenic Tanneries and Arpo acquisitions of the Colomer Group. Nuran and her husband, Semih, formed their company, NS Deri, in 1988 and were pioneers in importing the first Australian doubleface to Izmir. Semih died in 1999 and, with two teenagers to support, Nuran gave up teaching to take over the business that bore their two forenames. 'Our foreign suppliers encouraged me and local tanners helped me acquire the in-depth skills I needed to be effective as an agent', she recalls. At this time, the Turkish leather industry was still reeling from the Russian rouble crisis and its disastrous down-stream effects for Turkish companies and many of their suppliers. Yenisehirli emphasises that it was established tanners and agents who carried the day then, the less reputable elements having fled from the chaos they helped to create. Subsequently, an agent or broker became a valuable asset for those who sold doubleface into Türkiye but shied away from direct dealings with tanneries. Being an agent involves more than buying, selling and taking a commission. Yenisehirli ensures that logistics, container transport, quality checks, L/C, customs procedures and exchange rates operate smoothly. Discrepancies or complaints must be rectified quickly. An agent provides a hide or skin supplier access to many Turkish tanneries, not just individual ones. Lack of finance is the sector's most pressing problem. 'In the Aegean region, many smaller banks were not sufficiently profitable to continue in business', she stated. Doubleface is traditionally processed in Istanbul or Corlu and Izmir producers are more used to nappa. But, according to Yenisehirli, interest in doubleface is increasing in Izmir. Brokers here service loyal, long-term customers and remain friends beyond the profession but, recently, she has defended her patch from Istanbul agents stretching territorial limits. Asked about the future watchwords for Turkish leather, she identified niche markets, specialised customers and branding. In future, Yenisehirli expects more crust to come into Türkiye. Even when Russian rules eliminate the luggage trade in January 2004, this agent anticipates no real decline in supplying high quality skins to professional tanners.

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