British Council Creative Economy

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Ebru Alkanat

Ebru Alkanat

Creative Enterprise Training Participant

Ebru Alkanat founded her own fashion label after spotting a gap in the market for stylish clothes for women during and immediately after pregnancy. She took part in Creative Enterprise training in Istanbul in 2015.

HOOYO: A Pioneering fashion brand for pregnant women

Founded in 2015 by Ebru, Hooyo is an online based fashion brand designing stylish clothes for women during and after pregnancy. Hooyo has collaborated with Turkish celebrities and is supported by the Turkish government as an emerging new business.

Turning a Pain Point into a Viable Business:

Working in the fashion industry, Ebru was always well dressed but when she became pregnant she noticed a big gap in the market – there were no fashionable collections for pregnant women in Turkey. She turned her own frustration into the inspiration for a viable business by not just creating pregnancy wear but by making stylish clothes for women post-pregnancy, thereby setting Hooyo as a brand apart from any others. 

Looking at The Big Picture:

With over sixteen years of background in the fashion world, Ebru didn’t find it particularly difficult to start Hooyo; however, learning what it takes to sustain a business was a huge learning curve. The Creative Enterprise Toolkit training helped her learn to stick to a financial formula that works. Starting from an online store meant that she didn’t have the unnecessary overheads of running stores and staff and it also gave her the ability to tailor the business around her lifestyle, especially while raising a family.

Little Steps to Big Dreams:

Hooyo has began production of their second collection to be released in 2016 and is currently exploring partnerships in Dubai and Jordan. Hooyo in Somali means ‘mum’, and Ebru ultimately aims to donate a portion of her profits to Somali women's groups.

Lessons from the Toolkit:

Ebru had been in the fashion industry for sixteen years and knew it well, but she recognised starting her own business needed a separate set of skills. Meeting people from across a variety of creative sectors made her realise that everyone has similar problems when it comes to launching their own businesses, so why not join forces to solve problems together? She keeps in touch with fellow workshop participants through a Facebook group that continues to provide support for everyone post-training.

Ebru's Words of Advice:

  • Organisation and communication are key skills for any business to succeed.
  • Creative entrepreneurship is not about “making a quick buck” so calculate your financial status as well as your mental agility to ensure you have what it takes before beginning this wonderful journey.
  • Also remember the crucial legal aspects of building a business – for instance registering the brand - that might not be as "sexy" but are crucial.
  • Stay true to the values of your brand.
  • Don’t stress over recruiting and spending money where it is not necessary, as much as I would like a team to lean on I understand right now it is not the way forward. Always put the business first.