It Starts With Me: Celebrating our Colleagues. First Spotlight — Banu Beylanli

ItStartsWithMe Banu

At OI, we want everyone to be their own leader.

As we collaborate across regions and cultures, we each make our own path. Along the way we are supported by mentors and peers, as well as inspiring Learning & Development programmes. We are proactive, solution-focused, and open to new ideas, while always striving for the best results.

With all of this in mind, we are launching a new campaign based on our slogan for when anyone here is overcoming a challenge or wants to push for something new: It Starts With Me.

In this series, we aim to shine a light on how we can not only pursue our passions at OI, but also how we can each drive the change we want to see through our own self-motivated efforts.

To achieve this, we invited everyone across OI to nominate peers who they thought should be recognised for what they do. We did this to ensure that anyone in the organisation had the opportunity to be acknowledged.

The first employee we are spotlighting is Banu Beylanli. Banu is a Senior Merchandiser for one of our key accounts and is based in Istanbul, Turkey.

So, how does Banu Make a difference?

Banu has been at the forefront of transitioning our business partners towards using more sustainable digital solutions in the sampling process. She has worked closely with both our customers and suppliers, advocating for the change simply by demonstrating its utility.

Just some two years ago Banu’s working experience was completely different. “We used to travel a lot both to see the customer in Germany and the vendors in various regions of Turkey. While it was very nice to meet people in person, it was a lot of effort for what needed to be done. Now with the further digitalisation, I don’t need to travel as much. This saves me a lot of time and energy, while also minimising our environmental impact.”

Active Collaboration

While the pandemic was no doubt a catalyst for this change, Banu’s colleagues mention her own drive as being a major factor. Banu herself explains that “it was not easy at first. It was a learning experience for everyone.” This is because the merchandising team not only had to make sure everyone understood the new methods, but they also had to make sure our business partners were using them to a proper standard. To solve this, Banu’s solution was simple. “In the beginning, when the suppliers would send virtual samples, I would look at the rendering, pretend to be a buyer and ask myself ‘would I buy this?’ based on what I could see in front of me. It meant a lot of reworking before samples would be sent to the customer, but it meant we were showing a quality digital sample.

“I also like to help with creating new styles. I am not a technical person, but I will make suggestions to the vendors to do this or that. I also shop online, and I want to help make a product that is exciting and unique for our customer.”

For the customer themselves, the convincing came from them comparing the physical product sample with the digital samples on the first few orders. According to Banu, this makes perfect sense: “I understand their concern: I didn’t like ordering clothes online for a long time. I would think ‘No, I want to see it in front of me at the store, I want to feel it and try it on before I buy it’. But once I ordered a few things I realised it makes life a little more convenient, and it’s the same with the digital samples. The future is digitalisation. So, if you want your business to continue being stable, it’s a path we all have to take.

“Now that everyone is used to it, it works! We all speak the same language about the products, so you can just show something on the screen, and everyone understands. It’s simple really, just follow the briefing given by the customer with the suppliers and resources that we have.”

Openness to Learning

It is by the example of her solution-oriented attitude that Banu has been able to support her coworkers with embracing our digital solutions. Additionally, her open-mindedness and drive to constantly learn enable her to inspire, while also teaching others.

When asked about her desire to learn, she speaks openly. “I started at OI in 2007 as an Assistant Merchandiser while I was still studying. To be honest, at that time I was just looking for a job and because I can speak German and English, I was a good fit for the position. If you had told me 15 years ago, I would still be [at OI] or working in the textile industry I wouldn’t have believed you, but I love this business. It’s like a school for me: every day I am learning something new, and I think imagining it like that is what makes it so exciting for me. Learning about the job itself is one thing, but I have also learned to connect better with other people in other teams and other countries, especially in the past few years.”

On the whole, how Banu contributes to our change is her willingness to change, grow and develop herself. “For me the most important thing is that you should always be open to new ideas; you cannot stop learning. You cannot live in the past and if there is a new opportunity, you should take it.”

Follow us on LinkedIn for more spotlights on OI employees who truly know what it means when we say “It Starts With Me.”

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