Everyone has a success story of its own. And these stories mostly have some details which hide great successes if the main characters are heroins. Please note the names of Selen and Ilgen Manizade. Soon Angora apparels will be named after them. Their energy and the passion they feel for what they have succeeded are noteworthy.Our interview starts with the mentioning of a gap in regards to thermal apparels in the textile industry in Turkey. They know that thermal apparels are essential for preserving the body heat and it is something vital for people like themselves, for they are carriers of Thalassemia (a genetic disorder of red blood cells) and they feel cold more than people with normal red blood cells. “Feeling the cold” is the key word in their story.
After their graduation from University, they worked in world’s largest multi-nationals for 15 years. Gained much experience in marketing, communications and finance, deciding to set up their own business when the time comes to realise thier dream. Their company REPCON was established in 2004. In order to learn the basics of the Angora business, they pay a visit to Kayseri, a city in the Central Anatolia where the Angora rabbit originates from.
They are also the proud winners of Eurowards as women entrepreneurs representing Turkey in Berlin. “With this success we have amplified the goals we set” says Ilgen.
They applied to KOSGEB, a unit of Ministry of Industry for supporting SMEs to be able to find an answer to the question “how can we manufacture innovative apparels with Angora?” In Europe, whilst Angora apparels are generally manufactured for elderly people, Ilgen and Selen modernised and evolved these apparels into outdoor, daily and thermal apparels. Thermals are designed especially for babies, children and elderly people. These apparels
help the treatment of rheumatism, anemia due to the therapeutic effect of Angora.
They have also created a capsule collection for women. Aesthetic, chic, functional and healthy. All in one garment. The sweaters and cardigans in the collection are timeless pieces, very delicately knitted into almost see through Angora mixture fabrics. Pink, anthrasit, black and cream colors offer an elegant feminine touch.
They say they have modernised and in a way re-created the Angora sweaters their mother was wearing back in the 80’s which was the fashion then!. The collection meets the needs of business women as it eliminates the need for wearing many layers.
Did you also know that world-famous mountaineer Mr. Nasuh Mahruki tested their outdoor apparels during his ascent to Mount Everest? Needless to say, he was quite impressed with the performance of Angora outdoor apparels.
The dream Manizade sisters have realised is not a trendy “design” business which is very popular nowadays! I see two entrepreneur souls. Realisation of their dream with patience, determination and sacrifice. Angora is light, but what they have gone through is heavy.
Their success is one of a kind. Congratulations!