Van Carpet Shop was founded in 1983 as a family enterprise. It is named after the city Van, our hometown located beside the Lake Van in Eastern Turkey near the Iranian border, on the Silk Road. It is a border town neighboring Iran and Iraq, which has access to locations and tribes renowned for their carpets and kilims maintaining their traditional culture.
From our childhood years in Van, the big-scale Tabriz carpet in our home, the kilims of Sene, Herki, Qashuran origin and the Kayseri carpet from our mother’s dowry, constitute unforgettable pictures in our memories.
Carpets and kilims are weaved on horizontal spreads in highlands, vertical looms in villages, and mechanical looms and workshops in major residential areas. For us, the town-dwelling children of a father with semi-nomadic heritage and a mother from an urban family of artisans and merchants, carpets and kilims were beauties often possessed by families influential in the social life, and treasures that warmed our souls over harsh winters, adorned our homes, and honored their owners.
Highlands, villages, the town and city; sheep herds, shepherds, yarns spinned out of fleece wool, horizontal spread weaves on the one hand, and the bazaar and the stores of the major city, the workshops, carpet and kilim looms, schools, national day parades, lifestyles and customs, were all different from one another, but all within our immediate reach. These venues were at the same time the places where carpets and kilims were manufactured and traded.
As the eldest child of the family, I had just completed my primary education in the early 1970s when we moved to the capital city. The motivation of our parents was to provide us with a good education and to secure our place in the city, which appeared well-organized, comfortable and affluent to us.
My embarkment on university education and the inauguration of our shop coincide around the same time in early 1980s. Within the framework of Turkey’s vision to open up to the world and prosper out of the inward-looking and impoverished society it was back then, we have opened our shop in the Southern Aegean in Datça, the seaside town frequented by yachters. We named it Van Carpet Shop after our hometown.
The entire family worked in the shop, open in the summers. We have set up a headquarters in the Ulus Fair Passage in Ankara to collect carpets and kilims. We would both continue with our education in Ankara in the winter and assemble our collection for the summer season in our shop.
I have studied business administration in Ankara at the Middle East Technical University. My brother Musa received undergraduate and MBA degrees from the Wisconsin and Manketo universities in the United States. My sister studied in Ankara School of Administrative Sciences.
As we opened our HQ office in the capital, we have changed the name of our shop due to the fact that it was pronounced differently in other languages with unintended meanings. We named it Sultan, on the grounds that it was pronounced with ease, referred an asset of our heritage for whom the most beautiful carpets were weaved, and mostly because our carpet and kilim shop held the throne in our hearts.
We have opened shops in Ankara, Antalya and Datça with our Sultan brand name and provided consultancy services abroad to clients, decorators and stores in Europe and North America.
There were occasions when we assumed that the soft power and the glory bestowed upon us by the beauty and the attraction of the carpet were intrinsic to our nature, when we misinterpreted the relation and embarked on other quests. But it was only when we came together with our carpets and kilims that we found the colors and the warmth that we lacked in our lives on such occasions, and we were blessed to find our life companions where we left them. With all the lessons learnt, we continue the journey in Datça with Sultan Rug Gallery.
The profession of carpet trade, which helped us open up to the world and win over many customers and friends, requires many virtues like patience, loyalty, creativity, elegance and aesthetics, trustworthiness and sustainability; and should be maintained by generations. That is precisely the reason why carpet trade has a long-standing background in the East-West trade via the Silk Road. In Eastern and Western worlds alike, carpets maintain their supreme reign in the space design for influential families of commanding heights.
Within the scope of our commercial business of carpets and kilims, we choose not to rely on chance in our search for the best and the beautiful, but rather to roam among the peoples and the families endowed with the divine talent.
But first and foremost, we know that any beauty is deserved by only those who can appreciate its due worth and value. It is an honor for us to share our knowledge, experience and expertise with true carpet and kilim lovers from all around the world.