A Family Tradition: The History of Hakan Evin Rug Store (Known as Imperio Otomano)
Hakan is a third-generation shopkeeper whose history is woven deep into the ancient corridors of the Grand Bazaar. “I’d dreamt since I was a child of becoming a rug dealer,” he says. “I love carpets, like the mother’s love for her children.”Growing up among the stacked mats and earthy aroma of the family’s carpet business, he finally joined the company as an apprentice after high school. He learned the art, culture and science of carpet making, and naturally, selling.Now the owner of his own shop, Hakan says he never tires of answering client questions. “It’s a big pleasure for me to teach people about a thing that has played such a large part in my family’s history, and in the history of this country,” says Evin.
Preferred by American government officials, Hakan Evin has played host to American Presidents and world leaders for more than a decade. But, despite his celebrity clientele, Hakan focuses most of his energies on the daily shopper. To that end, he reaches out to the expatriate communities, while also serving generations of families living in Istanbul. “We don’t want to sell a rug and then forget about that customer,” he says. “We want to gain the customer and make them come back. If they are pleased with us, then hopefully we can also sell a rug to their friends.”
Hakan, who speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian in addition to his native Turkish, named his shop Imperio Otomano, which means Ottoman Empire in Spanish.
Hakan travels frequently throughout the country, searching for new markets from which to purchase. “It’s really fun to go to the small villages, stay there for a few days and see their hospitality,” he says. “It’s a pleasure to see the artist make her rug. It’s beautiful to see how proud she is while making perfect knots.”
There’s no denying Hakan appreciates the hard work and imagination that goes into each of the carpets: shopping with Hakan is like getting a mini-master’s degree in rug arts. His tips for choosing the right rug? He recommends “feeling” the rug with your eyes, and then with your hands to see the quality: “When the knots are tight, it is good quality.”
REPUTATION IS THE KEY
Hakan Evin is proud and grateful for his impeccable reputation. But with this privilege comes responsibility. In order to protect his status, Hakan continually provides the highest quality service and products. Excellent word-of-mouth is the cornerstone of the business so he insures that each and every customer is 100 percent satisfied.
The cornerstone of his rug store success is customer service. Hakan Evin personally ensures that each of his customers receives the highest level of attention. His goal is to create a perfect shopping experience, from beginning to end. Though, as Hakan frequently says, there is “no end” to his service. In fact, most of his customers become lifelong friends.
Hakan and his team avoid the “quick sale” that is so frequent in the Grand Bazaar. Although some carpet dealers are more interested in a single purchase — making a quick deal — Hakan Evin concentrates on each individual customer, answering every question in detail. He wants to be sure his customers are happy, not only immediately after a purchase, but also for years to come. It is because of this attitude – total commitment to customer satisfaction — that Hakan welcomes so much repeat business. His loyal customers frequently refer their friends and family to Hakan.