British buyers looking for stylish, high quality and affordable homeware products now have a fantastic new option to shop from: Karaca. Expect to find over 1,000 design-led products, ranging from everyday living to luxury pieces for the home.
The Turkish brand entered the British market quietly earlier this year with its online shop. On Thursday, 24 November, Karaca threw open the doors to its first UK store, located in London’s trendy Islington Square.
Founded in Türkiye in 1973, this family-run business has grown to operate over 375 dedicated retail stores and more than 1,100 concessions, as well as its online shopping channels, serving three continents.
Karaca’s collections span tableware, cookware, bedding, home accessories and small appliances, all displayed in its new store on reclaimed wooden pallets. There also Christmas ranges and gifts, and Karaca’s award-winning limited edition Hussein Chalayan sculptural tableware collection, crafted from ground pearl.
Cihangir Çetintırnak, Karaca’s UK Managing Director, led the ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, together with the Turkish Consul General, Bekir Utku Atahan. Also in attendance were Karaca board members Selin Kiper and Hüseyin Karaca, Namık Cafer, the Consul General for the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus London Office, and Murat Özsoy, Chief Commercial Counsellor for the Turkish Embassy.
Çetintırnak described the opening as “an exciting day” and Islington as “one of London’s most dynamic retail destinations”.
Remarking on the company’s global expansion, the UK Karaca head said he welcomed “the local [Turkish] community and shoppers from farther afield to not only be a part of our journey, but also as welcomed members of the Karaca family.”
T-VINE’s Sonya Karafistan talked to Cihangir Çetintirnak ahead of their store opening to learn more about the company and its UK plans.
What sparked Karaca’s entry into the UK market?
We are an established brand in Turkiye. The company was launched over 50 years ago and our international network currently has seven stores: four in Germany, two in Romania, and we recently launched a new store in the French capital Paris.
Our expansion to the UK market is in line with this wider mission to become a global brand. We feel it is the right time to enter the UK. We also feel we have a unique proposition for UK consumers.
We are guided by our consumer in evolving our product lines and understanding local trends in homeware.
Our UK online store, www.karaca.uk is live. We have invested heavily in understanding the UK consumer, and data analysis will shape our offering to British consumers. In this sense, our UK proposition will be tailored to the UK market.
We are currently running qualitative and quantitative focus groups to better understand our UK audience, and to ensure we can better reflect their needs.
Is there a gap in the market you are looking to fill?
We do not see a single equivalent in the UK market to our offer. The breadth of our product range and price point means we can offer something for everyone; from home starters and students to those with a wedding list to fill, and those looking for elevated tableware.
At the top end of our offer, our ‘Digital Pearl’ Collaboration with renowned designer Hussein Chalayan redefines tableware. Being able to place your crockery on top of each other in the shape of a pyramid is where tableware is transformed into art; it’s a real conversation starter.
Who do you consider to be your competitors in Britain?
We haven’t identified a single brand with the range and breadth of our offer. Whilst the current focus for UK entry is on tableware, the Karaca range spans cookware, small home appliances, home textiles, and rugs, as well as tableware.
Last year you launched the Chalayan collaboration. What others are planned?
The Chalayan ‘Digital Pearl’ and ‘Poly’ ranges were many years in the making. Perfecting designs, refining the manufacturing process to deliver the quality and finish takes time. We are certainly open to new and interesting collaborations.
Our new Turkish headquarters is located in Bomonti, Istanbul, on the doorstep of Turkiye’s esteemed Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts. The sustainable and ergonomic design and planning of this landmark space helps us to attract the best-in-class design talent. In that sense, we are very lucky.
Tell us about your first London store
We are very excited to open our first London store. It’s a curated space in a retail outlet spanning 2,641sq ft, spread across two floors. Customers can now see our tableware range for themselves for the first time in the UK.
We’re also running a special offer for all visitors to the store, as all in-store purchases will receive a 15% discount until 31st December 2022.
Karaca’s new Islington store address: Karaca, Unit 116J G4, Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QP
For more information or to shop online, visit www.karaca.uk