The world of colours
My journey towards job satisfaction and, ultimately, economic empowerment has been a lengthy and rather complicated one. But one early decision, based on my experiences in the first jobs I had during my university years and after graduation, was that I was very much motivated by customer satisfaction. So I knew I should be making my living in the services sector.
I had another impulse: I have always hunted around to find new business formats unknown in Turkey that I could develop myself, resisting the safe option of taking the position that was offered to me in the family business.
My first two start-ups might be considered failures by most. First I sold adverts and editorial to tradeshow participants which were then published as a special tradeshow insert in a daily national newspaper – a publicity-generating concept that was unknown in Turkey at the time. Next came a ‘make your own salad drop-in & delivery shop’, again never seen before in my country. However, I then needed to find home-based work because of various family responsibilities, and for some time I juggled four part-time jobs simultaneously.
My Swedish mother returned to her home country some years ago. On one of her visits to us in Turkey, I was very impressed by her ‘new look’, the result of a colour consultancy with an expert. I was ready to strike out into the business world again, and decided that colours might be my new business idea: it excited me and there were no specialists who focused exclusively on colour in Turkey. I could see the chance to be involved with the launch of another ‘first’ in my country.
I began searching for a colour consultancy training course which would teach me what I needed to know, and would also allow me to pass the knowledge on to others who might not have the financial resources or language skills to take such a course abroad. I finally found one in UK at The Federation of Image Consultants. However, for various reasons, I had to wait another four years before I could enroll on the course.
After completing it, I returned to Turkey to set up my new business. I chose a brand name that stressed only colours – Colourfit – and left me free to venture into areas beyond fashion. However, there was no awareness of how all kinds of businesses and individuals might benefit from a considered approach to the use of colour in Turkey back then. I had to knock on many doors and explain what I was doing. I needed to create demand by explaining how an understanding of colour could serve people in their personal and professional lives. I struggled for three years and my business had still not reached break-even point, but I had no intention of giving up.
Since 2007, I have spent my waking hours mostly with colours; experimenting, reading, sharing. My knowledge of foreign languages helps me follow the latest developments in both my specialization and other disciplines. I have been able to formulate my own vision of colour-driven business models and colour harmony theories. I have taken part in more than 3,000 one-to-one sessions, written a book about colour and trained more than a dozen colleagues. Last year I became Turkey’s first certified Architectural Colour Consultant and I work with paint and construction firms based here, bringing new creative ideas to our own home-grown businesses.
As the pioneer of this profession in Turkey, I know that anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps needs a low capital outlay, and doesn’t need to invest in shop or office premises. I believe I can contribute to the development of the new concept of colour consultancy in Turkey and convert this into a demand-driven service.
Working hours should be pleasant moments in life and I still enjoy every day of my work and have done since the very first day. The best experience of work should run parallel to our personal interests and allow continuous personal and professional development. Sharing our experiences and knowledge with others is the cherry on the cake.
Economic empowerment has allowed me to liberate myself from a focus on solely monetary gain, and to mean ‘no’ when I say ‘no’ to any kind of pressure. It has given me the strength to use time as I wish, and time is worth more than money in our busy lives.
Focused occupation helps us to reach our full potential. It helps us interact with the people around us and to appreciate the beauty and potential of all humankind. That must be the essence of touching other people’s lives. I feel that it is thanks to my profession that I can live fully.