Marine biologist and founder of Olta Azul company in Fethiye, Turkey’s tourism region. We had an interview with Dr. Aylin Ulman. He talked about the protection of marine creatures and its place in both the marine ecosystem and circular economy by introducing the leather of Puffer fish, which is an invasive species in the Mediterranean region, to the market. “The Olta Azul family is not just about leather; it is about restoring balance to our seas and writing a new narrative for the control of invasive species. Olta Azul opens a new era in the leather industry, where every purchase is the guarantee of greener and healthier seas.”
Ms. Aylin, can you tell us about yourself and your brand?
Dr. Aylin Ulman, I started my maritime career in 1998 as a PADI Scuba instructor for the International Association of Professional Diving Instructors. I gained expertise in fisheries science and invasive species. I run Mersea Marine Consulting, which specializes in filling major gaps in science and conducts scientific research in marine conservation on marine fisheries and ecology in southern Turkey. In 2022, I started my first commercial puffer fish fishing in Turkey. I’m also very passionate about shark conservation.
Our new brand Olta Azul, together with the team we established, is the first brand to introduce puffer fish leather, one of the worst invasive species of the Mediterranean, to the market. As the founder of Olta Azul Family, I am a fisheries biologist specializing in invasive species. I am proud that our brand was the first to showcase the excellence of puffer fish leather, sourced from the most notorious invasive species living in the Mediterranean. As the Olta Azul family, our mission is very clear, to combat invasive species by turning them into a sustainable source of financing for their eradication. Olta Azul is not just a brand; It is the power of positive change in our oceans.
Why fish leather?
Our puffer fish leather is not just leather; a canvas of nature’s incredible artistry. Our puffer fish has a cheetah-like print on its back. It transforms leather accessories and shoes into stunning wearable works of art. What distinguishes Olta Azul from others is our commitment to transforming environmental challenges by bringing them into the economy. By creating a market for this unique and beautiful leather, we are creating a future where sustainability meets style and showing the world a new model for combating invasive species. Olta Azul opens a new era in the leather industry, where every purchase is the guarantee of greener and healthier seas.
Can you share detailed information about the population of sea creatures and why their leather are used?
Our Indo-Pacific species, the silver-cheeked frogfish (Lagocephalus sceleratus), is the worst marine species ever encountered in the Mediterranean, endangering ecosystems, fisheries and human health. They can grow up to 10 kg, have few predators, are highly poisonous when eaten, and can even attack some swimmers. They also harm fishermen by tearing their nets and eating their prey. Dr. Aylin’s mission is not only to control their populations, but to revolutionize conservation through a pioneering bio-economic model. The Olta Azul family is not just about leather; it is about restoring balance to our seas and writing a new narrative for the control of invasive species.
What are the important details in using fish leather? As leather option or color option.
As we said, by purchasing our leather or products, you both contribute to marine life and support economic development. As Olta Azul family, we offer all these details to our customers. Now you’re helping to repair seas, improve livelihoods and support a new wave of small business and industry.
Our leather, which is approximately 0.5 mm thick, is very strong! We proudly offer its durability, rivaling the strength of lamb leather. It is also puncture proof and water resistant after tanning (chrome tanned choice), a testament to our commitment to quality. With 12 vibrant colours, each piece is a nod to nature’s diversity. But what stole our hearts is the natural gray that represents the elegant, original and distinctive essence of Olta Azul.
Does the fantasy Leather, fall into the fish leather category or is it because it is an invasive species by nature?
This past year has seen remarkable improvements in our tanning process. Whether you label it as luxury fish leather, invasive species leather, eco-positive leather or advantaged leather, we are the sole provider of this magnificent leather, each piece of which is extremely unique in pattern and finish. At Olta Azul, uniqueness is not only encouraged; is celebrated. In a world of mass production, your accessories should be as unique as you are. By using our leather, all of our company’s many benefits are passed on to the consumer, so companies can improve their sustainability goals.
Besides being a fashion icon, how can we evaluate it in terms of sustainability?
Olta Azul goes beyond the concept of pure sustainability because natural leather is already a sustainable material. As we said when we consider fish leather, we consider them as invasive species. So keeping invasive species under control in the Mediterranean basin is part of sustainability. Contributing to the cycle of marine life and ecosystem.
Choose our all-vegetable tanned leather for a conscious choice that will minimize your impact on the earth. Our commitment includes ethical fishing practices that ensure zero bycatch fishing with hook and line. Sustainable Materials Textile Professor, who is in our team we are in partnership with Prof. Dr. Muhammet Uzun. This allows us to stay at the forefront of sustainable textile trends. Olta Azul introduces a leather with proud benefits to the fashion industry, supported by scientific research.
Do you offer the desired finishing setting and design in your customers’ leather selection?
We offer our products and varieties among the Olta Azul family leather types. We offer over 12 options for vibrant shade selection on our tanned leather and two organic tanned leathers. For the ultimate personalized options, we offer rawhide coats treated with chrome or vegetable oils, allowing you to color and finish them to your unique liking.
What are your expectations from the markets in general?
As the new kid on the block, we need to get out there as much as we can to introduce our leather to the world. In addition to our finished leather, from 2024 we will also offer a select category of luxury leather accessories prepared in our workshop.
Do you have markets all over Europe?
When we step into the market, Europe and America emerge as our primary focus and we receive intense interest, especially from the shoe industry. Available in a variety of sizes, our versatile leathers cater to different styles with a single shoe often made from just 1-3 leathers. We plan to sell our accessories both online and at events in Europe.
In addition, in our partnership with the Istanbul-based LIG Shoes company, they are presented as crampon samples produced from blowfish leather.
You can find us at Europe’s leading trade fairs, starting with PremierVision in Paris from 6 to 8 February 2024, the FAO FishForum Conference in Antalya from 19 to 23 February 2024, and the Lineapelle Milano fair. We are so excited to be officially open for business and hope to meet you soon! Our minimum order quantity is only 2 leather so that everyone can easily order our new leather.
Finally, what would you like to say to young minds who are just starting out in the craft of leather and leather products and to those who are devoted to the profession?
Every business starts with an idea and can thrive with the right team! We are very excited about our new journey, especially about the new friends and customers we will meet on our journey with the impact of healing our planet.
If you want to see our leather up close, call us; We will be happy to showcase our leather options to you, giving you a first-hand look at size and quality.
For leather sales we encourage personal phone calls or messages so we can give you detailed information and for products they are available for special order on our website and social media platforms in early 2024 www.pufferfishleather.com – instagram@pufferfishleather.