How to take advantage of lockdown to smarten up your home and yourself
Lockdown has its advantages says Turkish-born entrepreneur about her
new online home-shopping site that brings a taste of Turkey to your table
Turkish-born, Yuksel Pain believes that being in lockdown for a third time can have its advantages. With plenty of time on our hands, Yuksel says that now is the time to smarten up our homes with new kitchen ware, tableware and accessories. Yuksel, who now lives in Wells, Somerset, spent her early years in rural Anatolia, Turkey and would love to bring her motherland to the UK by sharing the colours and vibrancy of her country in the shape of stunning plates, mugs, tablecloths, napkins and jewellery. She says: “There is a huge choice of designs and vibrant colours to brighten up these dark times and cheer up the most miserable of days.”
Traditionally, Turkey is famous for carpets or soft towels, so people may be surprised to know that it is also just as well known for its stylish ceramics and tasteful tableware in spectacular colours and patterns. In Turkey, ceramic production has a long history and this tradition started with the first ceramics being created in Anatolia over 8,000 years ago. Yuksel’s online home shopping business, Snug & Cosy, offers a wide variety of products with dazzling Anatolian motifs, cushions and beautiful Iznik tableware.
Struggling with dyspraxia and other health problems, Yuksel decided to give in to her passion for Turkish culture, traditions and designs and start her online Turkish shopping business. She explains: “I loved experiencing the Turkish traditions of my upbringing like choosing special ceramic gifts for weddings and serving delicious food in tasteful tableware and I wanted others also to feel the pure joy of having the luxury of this colourful crockery in their homes.”
Yuksel agrees that it has been hard starting up a business during a pandemic as well as trying to cope with the challenges of dyspraxia, a neurological disorder, which impacts on an individual’s ability to perform some normal tasks. But Yuksel is a strong character who has also managed to cope with this and overcome the onset of diabetes. She believes a lot of her strength comes from the examples set by her Turkish upbringing and family. Her grandmother was the first Parish Councillor in her village; her mother worked hard making traditional Turkish lace, which Yuksel has also learned to create; and her father was a farmer, set to become a farmer for the rest of his life, but decided to move to the city with only one penny to his name and managed to build up a very successful business.
The pathway to establishing Snug & Cosy has been anything but Snug & Cosy! After graduating in Istanbul, Yuksel moved to London to study – fully determined not to let dyspraxia hamper her learning. Alongside her studies and to help pay for them, she worked as an au-pair and then became a play-worker, nursery nurse, further education teacher, volunteer teacher of English to Nepalese families of retired Gurkha soldiers and an English Language coordinator to the Turkish-Cypriot Cultural Association in London.
Now that Yuksel is older, she recognises even more the importance of her cultural heritage and has a strong passion for wanting to bring her beloved colourful products to the attention of people in the UK, so they can share the beauty of these hand-made artefacts and the traditional style and customs that they represent. It was while she was living and travelling in different parts of the world that she realised what the bright Turkish colours and designs meant to her life. The idea of sharing these flamboyant inherited colours and impressive designs was a passion she needed to keep alive.
Taking her lead from the country’s long history with pottery and ceramics, Yuksel is offering a choice of tableware and textiles to covet. “Turkish colours and designs have an uplifting effect on us” said Yuksel. “It is so important at this awful time to choose something cheerful and warm to use and enjoy every day. That is why I want to share my passion and bring pleasure to people who want to brighten their homes and their lives either for the New Year, a new home or a new you.”
Against all the odds – poor health and a global pandemic – Yuksel has remained strong and is determined to make her Snug & Cosy business a success story. “Regardless of so many obstacles that I have faced with illness and as a Turkish woman living in a different country and with a different culture, I don’t give up. I believe everyone has something worthwhile to give and make a difference.”
Yuksel also supports local business, artisans and the environment. The packaging for all her products is eco-friendly and recyclable where possible, she works with local business owners and artisans in Turkey and the UK, she buys reusable cloth materials and natural products and 95% of her Turkish producers are female small business owners. Her new online shopping experience also helps to reduce the carbon footprint, as you can get to the heart of Turkey without having to travel there to buy the authentic, traditional motifs and colours that are reflected in all Yuksel’s products!
Each item on her website is not an ordinary product – it is a story! A story of designs and patterns passed from generation to generation in the Anatolian culture of Turkey. Take a look at Yuksel’s Snug & Cosy Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/snugandcosyhomeshopping and her website: https://www.snugandcosyhomeshopping.co.uk. She says it has the intimacy and friendliness of a corner shop, but with a bountiful range of historically rich Turkish products.