Kutay Saritosun is currently the Senior Marketing Executive at ISKO, a division of SANKO and the world’s largest producer of denim fabric. Saritosun’s previous experience includes Marketing, Sales, and Brand Managers at Trendyol, Chico’s Fas, and Gap Inc. The Makegood recently spoke with Saritosun about his New Position as Senior Marketing Executive and what the clothing industry holds for marketing.
The Makegood: Congratulations on your position as Senior Marketing Executive at ISKO, you have been an integral part of the team thus far. In your position, you are responsible for denim brands and all marketing and PR related activities. What is your strategy for managing not only the Americas, but also Scandinavia?
Thank you. It has been a pleasure to accept this new position. As the largest denim fabric supplier in the world, ISKO is not just about supplying denim fabric with advanced technology to its clients, but it also offers complementary services such as design, marketing and public relations. With top notch premium brands as clients from all around the world, ISKO denim fabrics add an amazing value to the garments through high performance and on-trend products. Our brand partners want to communicate this to their consumers which is where ISKO marketing really comes in – we identify the concept, the communication needs and the necessary tools. With these kind of projects, it is essential to have face-to-face client meetings to identify the product concept that will be launched and to work with the client’s own team to accomplish their goals. This in turn causes for a lot of travel between the US and Europe. I often times also tap into the expertise that the respective sales teams have with the brands in the US and in Scandinavia to better understand the dynamics, discover what sells more in each market and weigh the opportunities. On location client visits are a must in order to understand the market and its needs. For example, the US brands like high performance stretch fabrics while Scandinavian brands can be more about selvedge and organic cotton. You need to evaluate each client individually and build the strategy accordingly.
The Makegood: In the current market, the clothing industry requires attention to trends and fashion. What does ISKO do to continuously keep tabs on the most current trends?
We have international trend consultants solely working for ISKO in this industry segment, who travel around the world to key denim markets such as the US, Italy and Japan to identify what is trending in terms of fits, colors, fabrics, textures, etc. That information is then translated into fabrics. We invite the management team from our key markets for a collection preview to get their feedback on what is in the collection and what else needs to be added. After all, they are facing clients every day and getting valuable input from them on their needs, which we also incorporate into our collection.
The Makegood: Is ISKO responsible for any current or previous trends? How has the company succeeded thus far in maintaining a knowledgeable approach to trends?
ISKO’s product portfolio has more than 25,000 different fabrics. As far as new collections are concerned, we introduce close to 150 new fabrics every season, that is almost 300 new fabrics each year! Many of these fabric concepts are trademarked, so we bring new technology to the market each season. Jeggings was first developed and trademarked by ISKO. Another ISKO patent, the Future Face fabrics, use a special technology that creates a completely authentic denim look combined with the comfort of your sweatpants. This fabric technology was first adopted by Diesel to create the Diesel Jogg Jeans line and since then has become a global phenomenon. ISKO Reform stretch fabrics is the latest sensation among all premium women’s denim brands in the world and is ISKO’s trademark using the patented Recall stretch technology that provides 360 degree movement and keeps its shape wear after wear. Due to the incredible holding power of Recall stretch technology, this fabric makes the ladies look one size smaller.
The Makegood: What sort of technology does ISKO implement in its marketing? Has this helped the company focus on satisfying very diverse needs in the market?
As ISKO marketing, we strongly believe in listening to the market, asking the right questions and then translate that into products. This is just the opposite of developing products and putting them out there, hoping they will sell. We recently conducted a global market research in five countries to understand the purchasing behavior of the denim consumer. What we discovered is that, the more you understand the metaphors behind their buying purchases the more you can customize the product message for each market. At the end of the day, high performance stretch fabrics sell well in each market, but the way the consumer is associating herself with the product is different in each country. While a product might trigger subconscious feelings of transformation in one country, it might trigger feelings of adventure in another. Through understanding these metaphors in each market, you can tailor the message of the same product to trigger the purchasing behavior of denim consumers from different cultures.
The Makegood: How has your year of experience at ISKO been different from your previous positions at other companies? Do you see yourself continuing in this type of industry?
Before starting at ISKO, I worked many years in product development and garment sourcing side of the fashion apparel business in the U.S., working for companies such as Gap Inc. and Chico’s. I used to be at the end of the supply chain whereas now, I am at the beginning of it. I think, the closer you are towards the end of the supply chain, the closer you are to the product and since product is everything in the apparel world, things might often times get very emotional. My background is in textile engineering, so I always enjoyed working with fabrics, even thought about studying surface design after my MBA. That is why it is very fulfilling for me to be on the fabric side of things and to be able to collaborate with world-class denim brands in communicating our value as an ingredient brand to the end consumer. I am very proud of ISKO as a thought and innovation leader and definitely see myself in this industry for the long run.
The Makegood: Thank you, Kutay.