Osman Özcanlı, the founder of OZPACK, who designs bags that make life easier for students and the business world, provided added value to the Turkish economy by establishing his initiative in İzmir, Turkey. Offering new generation bag models to the world market, OZPACK continues its efforts to bring the ideal bag models of today’s world to life with its 20-year history.
Mr. Osman, we would like to get to know you first.
My father is an aeronautical engineer, my mother is a teacher, and I had an interest in inventing something against art and engineering since I was little. After graduating from high school, I honestly wanted to be an inventor. In my student life, my lessons were not very good, I could not focus on the lesson and my university score was not good. I did projects in my high school years and thanks to these projects, I got international degrees. Thanks to these projects, I was accepted to University of Wisconsin Madison. A friend of my father’s became a guarantor and I took a loan from a US student loan agency so I started my 4 years of schooling. The situation in Turkey was not good economically, at that time the salary of an engineer was 450 dollars. The minimum monthly amount I had to pay to pay off my loan was $650, so I had to find a job in America to be able to pay off the loan. I took the stress of him, wondering who will pay this loan if I can’t find a job while I was a student. I worked hard. In first grade, the idea of OZPACK came to my mind. I brought this to life in Izmir, Turkey. I didn’t even know how to make a business profitable, so I couldn’t make a lot of money. After graduating, I got a job at a StartUp company in Chicago. I was following new materials and technologies there, informing the R&D departments of large companies about these materials so that they could be more creative. It was a company that prepared R&D studies for companies such as Nike, Motorola, Coco Cola to be more creative. This has broadened my vision a lot. I was so tired for 4 years, I didn’t want to work in America anymore. I returned to Turkey for a while. In the meantime, I was able to pay very little of my school installment. Because America is an expensive place. It would take 20 years for me to pay. And I came back to Izmir with that debt. Then I said that we need to start OZPACK again from somewhere. The information I learned at StarUp company helped me a lot. I was only able to sell 250 OZPACKs in its first year and it has become popular over the years. I earned some money this way.
There was a young entrepreneur competition organized jointly by the British Council and Eczacıbaşı, and I joined it. I was chosen as Turkey’s young creative entrepreneur among 50 finalists. I entered the competition to meet Eczacıbaşı. Because I wanted to make a product for them. They got back to me from Eczacıbaşı. Osman said, “Can you design a product for us?” I also had a sink in mind and I started working on designing and manufacturing it. After 1 year, I made the world’s first and only shape-changing sink. And I’ve proven to myself that you can really do anything you can imagine. I paid my debt, which I could not pay in America, from Turkey within a few years. Thus, I fulfilled my childhood dream of being an inventor.
Mr. Osman, what are the advantages of using genuine leather in the production of OZPACK bags?
Genuine leather can be used for a lifetime. I think it is a must, especially for products that are very deformed, such as wallets and belts. Artificial leather is very light and water resistant. We mostly use artificial leather in Ozpacks.
Mr. Osman, does OZPACK have the potential to enter the craft industry?
OZPACK, which came out as an alternative to the backpack 21 years ago, is releasing a backpack today. Of course, we will have alternatives in the field of crafts, but our priority is backpacks. OZPACK is now our backpack priority as a model that makes life easier than carrying books and notebooks by hand.
Mr. Osman, what is OZPACK’s sustainability policy?
The more natural the raw materials produced to facilitate the life of future generations are a sustainable raw material, the more sustainable a product will emerge in terms of quality if it is produced without harming the environment and human health. Of course, our priority is human health and environmental awareness.
Mr. Osman, What is the place of OZPACK in this transformation in the concept of digitalization, especially in recent years?
As OZPACK, it is already a digital store in terms of digitalization. Our product stock, from handbag models to backpack models, sells on the digital platform. The world has been a more transformational process on digital platforms, especially with the effect of the last Pandemic. As OZPACK, we are working on providing customer satisfaction by making innovations on our digital platform.
Mr. Osman, does OZPACK plan to open stores in various parts of the world in the coming years?
Especially the digital transformation that started with the pandemic and our current digital platform OZPACK, apart from our site where we sell our products, yes, we will have an attempt to open a store in the future. This store will be for contacting customers, increasing customer satisfaction and meeting more than sales.
Mr. Osman, apart from OZPACK, I think you are taking courses in the field of maritime in England, but have you noticed anything about leather in the field of maritime?
Since I started the course, leather is used in certain parts of the oars and sail masts, which has caught my eye in the maritime field, both in terms of aesthetics and durability.
Mr. Osman, finally, what would you like to say about the sector?
OZPACK is a good and quality business example for future generations in the bag industry. We are making sales to the world today on this road that I set out with the promise that everything you can imagine is real. For a more natural and sustainable future, it is necessary to make breakthroughs in the bag industry both in our country, Turkey and around the world.