Istanbul business owner and sales and marketing coordinator Tuba Alayli believes that every business decision she makes is a challenge to the current situation. She believes in thinking differently.
She also believes that our physical atmospheres play a key role in our productivity— be it in classrooms, offices or home spaces. And the pandemic has only expanded the amount and necessity of workspaces that need to promote collaboration, functionality and creativity.
“We are a company that takes into account the recommendations of its customers,” she says of Sihirli Boyalar, her innovative paints and derivatives business.
Being receptive and considerate of customer needs brought Alayli to found Sihirli Boyalar as the missing piece in the much-needed space of workspace design and innovation. When she gave her friend a product to use on exterior walls to prevent graffiti at his school, he asked if she knew of a product for the interior for the opposite: to be written on. She spent time searching online beyond Turkey and into other European markets until she found one.
Sihirli Boyalar provides WRITE & CLEAN PAINT and WRITE & CLEAN PAPER as creative surfaces for businesses to use to foster a modern aesthetic with a functional interactive layer. Rather than buying a whiteboard or chalkboard to create wall writing space, with the WRITE & CLEAN products, businesses can simply apply a customized, cost-effective and practical alternative to their preexisting walls— forgoing the hassle of a full wall installation.
Alayli recognized this demand for a simple, interactive workspace that had no convenient supply, and created a new space of niche paints in the market when she brought the products to Turkey for the first time in 2013.
“I took out a loan from the bank and took a risk because I was confident the business would grow and meet a significant need,” she explains.
Since then, Sihirli Boyalar has been transforming the walls of corporate meeting rooms and school classrooms into writeable and erasable surfaces. The product line has expanded to offer equivalents of whiteboards, blackboards and magnet boards.
By June 2019, the product line had been implemented in hundreds of offices and school classrooms. Well-known companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM and Ford have also applied these products to their meeting rooms. They add meaning and purpose to spaces.
Like many businesses, Sihirli Boyalar struggled with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; sales initially declined, but Alayli persisted. She embraced the new challenges the transition to at-home work provided for her business model.
“We approached the pandemic with the perspective that we needed to develop a new product offering, and our WRITE & CLEAN PAPER project was born,” she explains. “With it, our sales and projects increased rapidly and provided completely different opportunities to provide solutions to large, global companies.”
Alayli makes a habit of asking herself “What is the gift of this difficulty?” when challenges arise. She came up with the idea of WRITE & CLEAN PAPER after reflecting on the changed needs of customers. WRITE & CLEAN PAPER is a transparent, portable, writable and erasable foil that can be used by individuals in an at-home setting.
Alayli has big plans for growth: after further research and development to assure best quality and sustainability, she intends to expand abroad. To do so, she knew she needed access to a global network, so she got certified by WEConnect International in hopes of promoting her business to a worldwide network of buyers. As a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, Alayli has been able to boost Sihirli Boyalar’s brand recognition through speaking engagements, social media campaigns and media channels— both locally and internationally.
“It is a truly amazing opportunity to meet with leading, global companies that prioritize buying from female entrepreneurs, to develop projects and to create business opportunities,” Alayli remarks. “Global company managers that I’ve met through WEConnect International inspire me to keep pursuing my dream and fully develop my potential as an entrepreneur.”