Mavi Jeans … From Turkey to the world, fashioning a path to brand growth

August 15, 2017

Mavi means blue in Turkish, and has become one of Turkey’s most celebrated brands.

The brand has developed a cult following across the world,  selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of high end, slim fitting denim. Building a global luxury brand is tough, especially for an emerging market firm that doesn’t have the cache of European brand heritage, and are now worn by the likes of Kate Winslet and Chelsea Clinton.

Harvard Business School have just produced a fabulous in-depth case study of Mavi’s story, which starts like this:

“Sitting around the boardroom table in late December 2015, Mavi’s chief executive officer, Cuneyt Yavuz and global brand director Elif Akarlilar were finalizing their strategy for the next three years. Mavi, a Turkish apparel retailer, had sold more than seven million pairs of jeans in 2015, achieving sales of $419 million, up 20% from the previous year. Growth rates like these were becoming routine at Mavi; in fact, in the six years since becoming CEO, Yavuz had delivered a 30% compound annual growth rate as the company pursued aggressive store expansion which left it with 387 retail stores in Turkey and wholesale distribution in over 5,000 additional points of sale in 2015.

But the path to growth was getting more challenging, and the board needed to make some important decisions as Turkven, Mavi’s private equity partner, planned its options after seven years of investment. There were four growth levers Mavi could pull, but each involved selecting one growth path while neglecting another in the rapidly changing Turkish fashion market. Yavuz and Akarlilar realized that the choices in front of them would not only determine the company’s short-term growth trajectory, but also shape the longer term value of the Mavi brand.”

Take a flash back to this ad, which introduced the brand internationally:

The Mavi brand currently sells, directly or indirectly, in 34 countries and is distributed through over 5,500 points of sale, 392 branded stores, as well as luxury department stores and online partners such as Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Simons, The Bay, David Jones, P&C, Amazon, Zappos.com and Zalando.com. Mavi has flagship stores in New York, Vancouver, Berlin, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Moscow, and sold over 7.5 million pieces of denim in 2016 alone.

Designing and producing products that are known for their superior quality, the brand has a strong reputation as a leader in the luxury denim market. Reinforcing the importance of product innovation, Mavi regularly partners with industry leaders and top fabric houses, such as the Indigo Move collaboration with designer Adriano Goldschmied in 2016. The brand has also had many of the most successful and sought after models as the face of their global seasonal campaigns, including Adriana Lima, Elsa Hosk, Barbara Palvin and Lucky Blue Smith.

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