The SeatUp Turkey factory at No. 106/1 Şentuna Sokak was tucked away in a nondescript metal building in an industrial area near Bursa’s Panayır neighborhood. A small sign on the metal front read “Koltuk Dünyası” (Seat World). My friend, Yusuf Kudusi, met me at the door and welcomed me in.
“Come on in and let’s go up to my office,” Yusuf invited. He led me up the stairs through a room full of seats of all colors and sizes and into his office at the end of the hall. As we sat down and sipped Turkish coffee in his comfortable office, we exchanged pleasantries and chatted about our families. Then, with a little hint of passion, he abruptly turned the conversation toward his company.
“Let me tell you about this place and what we do here,” he started. I quickly put down my coffee and reached in my bag for my pen and notebook.
“I’m the co-founder and manager of SeatUp Turkey, the international export department of Koltuk Dünyası,” he declared. Yusuf seems well-suited for such a position. With an entrepreneurial mind and a service-oriented disposition, Yusuf says he is ready to tackle any opportunity. And his fluency in Turkish, English, Arabic, and Hebrew allows him to function in many settings.
“This place is the Koltuk Dünyası factory,” he explained. “Right here we make high-quality auditorium and stadium seating, and we’ve been doing it for more than 20 years. And we’re pretty good at it, too; we’re ISO 9001 and TSE 12727 certified and we’ve applied for some important patents. TSE 12727 is the highest standard for seating products.” He spoke with a sense of confidence. “We do everything here—we have a wood shop, a metal shop, and a paint shop. We have our own plastic and foam injection systems, and we sew the upholstery ourselves. We fully assemble our seats right here in this building. The only thing we don’t do is make the fabric, but we have good connections with suppliers in Bursa’s fabric industry. We produce seats to European standards at a cost that is far lower than European prices.”
Yusuf took a breath before landing his punchline. “Really, that’s what sets us apart. Most of our export competitors are middlemen who work as agents on behalf of manufacturers and suppliers. But we make and market our own products. This way, we can directly control and guaranty the quality of our seats, and we can offer significant cost savings. Plus, we can easily customize seating to our customers’ specifications. It’s a win-win situation for our customers.”
One of Bursa’s key industries is furniture manufacturing. Bursa boasts a large number of manufacturers and suppliers, especially in the nearby town of Īnegöl. Like many of Bursa’s furniture producers, Koltuk Dünyası until recently had been exporting through third-party agents. When Yusuf arrived at the company, he saw the opportunity for international growth by offering better service and better prices. He quickly established SeatUp Turkey and began marketing the company’s seats under the SeatUp Turkey brand name, providing a direct manufacturer-to-customer link in Turkey’s international furniture market.
“We’re growing,” Yusuf said. “Not only do we have a number of projects in Turkey, but we also have projects in places like Dubai, North Africa, France, Romania, and elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East. Almost half of our business is international. Our customers really appreciate that they can come to our factory, see our processes, and know exactly who they’re ordering from.”
After reviewing the product catalog and hearing about other services the company offers, such as acoustic paneling, partition systems, and interior design, Yusuf invited me on a tour of the factory.
“Our average order size is around 750 seats. Some projects are much smaller and some much larger. Annually, we produce around 20,000 seats here in this factory. We have 20 technicians working in our factory on a regular basis. During peak times, we bring in more,” Yusuf explained as we walked through the assembly room.
“We make seating for all kinds of projects: cinemas, stadiums, auditoriums, theaters, conference rooms, museums, government buildings, schools, and universities. We even produce home theater seating. We make our seats to customer specifications, but we do it using quality supplies,” Yusuf continued as we passed through the metal shop and foam shops and into the wood shop. “Many of our wood products come from locally grown beech trees. Our frames are reinforced metal. We can produce foam to any desired density. We bring in only the best fabrics. We upholster the chairs ourselves.”
As we headed back to this office, he stopped in the wall-to-wall packed showroom to show me remnants from a few of the company’s recent projects: a reclining chair for the planetarium at the Bursa Science and Technology Center, an embroidered leather seat for the VIP boxes at the new Beşiktaş stadium, an over-sized home theater seat specially made for a friend. “This is our current showroom,” Yusuf said. “But we’ve outgrown this one and we have plans to move into a larger and more inviting showroom in the very near future.”
A little later, Yusuf and I said our goodbyes and I headed out the door. I was glad that Yusuf invited me to tour his factory; I learned a lot that day about furniture manufacturing and was reminded of the importance of the furniture industry to Bursa’s economy. I also learned about an established local company making quality Turkish seats for the world market.
Contact Yusuf Kudusi through SeatUp Turkey’s website. Factory tours are available by appointment only.