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Umani Pfeiffer Celik: Integration with blouses and shirts

The designer Umani Pfeiffer Celik comes from Turkey and is at home in Hamburg. Her company sells nearly 60,000 blouses a year.

Hamburg. Ahmed Celik must be a proud father. 47 years ago, he came to Germany as a young guest worker. In his hometown of Adana, there was no future for the weaver. The business of the small company he worked for went badly. He quit and left. Today, his daughter Umani Pfeiffer Celik, 39, is the main client of this weaving mill in southern Turkey, which he had once turned his back on to seek a more successful and successful life. "They always pick me up with a chauffeur," says Pfeiffer Celik. "That's something special for my dad."

The fashion designer is namesake and manager of the company Umani blouses & shirts. "She is one of the 100 Turkish-born personalities from business and science, for the book" German Standards - In best society "on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the recruitment agreement with Turkey as Examples of successful integration have been portrayed, and President Christian Wulff and Turkish President Abdullah Gül will attend the book launch on Monday in Berlin. "That's pretty exciting, and I'm looking forward to both statesmen alike," she says. Because both countries belong to her. "My nationality is Turkish, but my home is Hamburg here." She was born in 1972 in Turkey. Her mother traveled to the old country especially because she thought her child had to be born there. But Pfeiffer Celik grew up at the Großneumarkt. "I know every street in the city and always thought it was very beautiful," she says. And yet childhood was not always easy in a foreign country. "Our parents did not speak the language, and we did not know anybody here who advised us," she says. As a daughter of one of the first guest workers, she belongs to the so-called second generation. "The next generation has a lot easier, their families are well connected and everyone speaks German." However, the better starting conditions do not mean that the offspring will be more successful. "Because they have become more comfortable."

Pfeiffer Celik made her middle schooling and training as a merchant. "At that time, no Turk has graduated from high school," she says. "And today the universities are full of them." To make her proud, she smiles. In conversation with a friend, she came up with the idea of ​​making tailored shirts. Since Turkey is now a textile country and even the industry was practically in the blood, it was quickly clear how. Designed, sold and accounted for in Germany, production takes place in the Mediterranean. "I want to achieve that the blouses and shirts are not too expensive." Now there is the Umani brand for almost 13 years. The company has a good 30 employees, trains, sells nearly 60,000 blouses a year and, in contrast to the first two to three years, is no longer a minus business. "I think it's great that my performance is now acknowledged in the book," says Pfeiffer Celik. After all, she not only enriched Germany economically, but also visually. "My blouses dress every woman," she says. Conservative, simple and high quality are her designs. "I'm just Hanseatin, and that's how my blouses look." Most of her clothes are from own production. "Only jeans and accessories I buy," she says.

The slim woman sits in her office near the Alster, which is also the meeting room, studio and storage facility, at a massive wooden table. Mobile phone, telephone and laptop are at hand. From the cigarillo in her hand smoke threads pull through the room. Likewise, a comic artist would draw a boss. "I am Umani, all this is a part of me." Pfeiffer Celik's husband has also worked in the company for three years. "I'm the boss like any other," she says. Unusually, they never found the constellation. And at home they are equal again anyway. They also bring their roots into the education of the children: they are Turkish, they are German, they are Muslims, they are Christians. So the family also celebrates Christmas every year. "And I love it," says Pfeiffer Celik. When she was a child, the party was not celebrated. "That was painful sometimes, because we could see with our classmates how nice that is," she says. Your own children are better off. "We just celebrate the German and Turkish festivals."

* Hamburger Abendblatt, 14.09.2011

Umani Pfeiffer Celik

"I rediscovered the blouse and developed it into a must-have"

Mit einer guten Idee, Fleiß, Mut, Unternehmergeist - und einem Tapeziertisch fing alles in Hamburg an.  12 Jahre später ist aus der Idee eine Marke geworden, die Frauen rund um den Globus tragen: Umani Blusen und Hemden. Eine Erfolgsgeschichte.

Hamburg - In their old-building office in a Hamburg city villa, the creativity rules: Tailors' dolls with blouses in various shapes and colors are lined up on the walls, fabric patterns for the new collection are everywhere on the big table, next to file folders, order lists, the laptop, telephones - which sound almost incessantly - and in the middle: Umani Pfeiffer-Celik. "My command center," she laughs. And really: The large desk in her office in Harvestehude is the hub of her empire; Umani Pfeiffer-Celik the uncrowned blouse queen: "Everything always starts here," says the successful Hamburg businesswoman with Turkish roots, who created a blouse empire in just a decade from nowhere and her brand "Umani" via the Internet now women "My ideas are born here, here I plan the new collections, here I develop the fabrics and the designs." But also in sales strategies, purchasing, mail order and personnel decisions, the 38-year-old has the last word. Nothing happens in her company of which she has no knowledge, nothing is implemented for which she has not personally given the "go". Short ways help: Online-Shop, Personnel-Department and Sales are in the villa, the other 30 employees work in seven stores all over Germany. And even there is "the boss" as it is commonly called, at least three days a week somewhere to find: "I need direct contact with the customer," the entrepreneur justifies her workaholic, "I always have to know exactly what Our customers want what they like. That's the only way I can keep improving our product." 

"The Product" is the unmistakable UMANI blouse, with 11 buttons on the groin, cuffs, fine fabrics and the perfect fit. "There is a lot of work, love for the product, diligence, courage and also a bit of luck in it," the lively dark-haired, who calls herself "Hanseatic Orientalin", openly admits. And entrepreneurship. She has no doubt. Only very few could have made a small-scale enterprise out of the ground in just over ten years from a simple idea. "It all started in 1997 at a party," recalls Pfeiffer-Celik. "At that time, a friend of mine just came back from Asia and had wonderful shirts made from very expensive fabrics for very little money. When he asked me why I did not actually do that, the idea for "umani blouses and shirts" was born. " With her own energy, the trained saleswoman actively approached her new task: "I did not know much about blouses, I had to teach myself everything about cuts and fits, about web techniques and fabrics." And then also the business people in convince Turkey to give their start-up a chance to launch small and very small production volumes. "Going to Turkey made sense to me," said Pfeiffer-Celik, "after all, I was born there, I speak the language, I know the mentality - and of course the production costs are completely different than in Germany." And the young self-confident woman knew To convince: "It took a while, but eventually I met the right manufacturer, the idea was good - and it was also quite chic that such a young Deern was not deterred by anything." Finally she could do so In the same factory as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger produce: "But actually I went with him once to apprenticeship, to really understand what is important in a cut, where the possibilities - or even the difficulties," says Pfeiffer-Celik. After many hours, days and weeks of patient watching, questioning and trying out, she was finally sure that she had found the perfect fit: "The Alpha and Omega for a blouse is the seat, I already knew that then," said the lively Businesswoman who is most pleased that she has succeeded, "that women who found blouses always stuffy, today wear a Umani. I rediscovered the blouse and developed it into a must-have. " 

But - for the really perfect blouse, the fabrics must also be of first-class quality: "The best fabrics existed in Italy," says Pfeiffer-Celik, "and that's exactly what I wanted for my collection." So she traveled to Bella Italia and convinced - of course - there also manufacturers who worked only for big names like Zenga to produce small quantities for them. But that's yesterday's snow. Today, fabrics for umani blouses are made according to their own specifications and ideas in the best weaving mills in Turkey, and some, e.g. the Oxford with Stretchanteil, now even copied from other manufacturers. However, the way to get there was not quite easy, despite the perfect fit and the successful search for producers and fabrics: "My first assignment in the late '90s over several hundred blouses went very wrong," recalls Pfeiffer-Celik The customer became insolvent and I had already paid for the goods. "But instead of giving up, Umani Pfeiffer-Celik faced the challenge with a clever idea:" I found a small shop on Eppendorfer Baum, which I could rent, bought a wallpapering table - and put "From cardboard boxes, she sold her goods. No expensive furniture, no decoration, no advertising. 

Only she, the papering table, the blouse and word of mouth. Six weeks later, the last piece went over the counter - and Umani Pfeiffer-Celik was finally convinced of her business idea: "Good quality at good prices, attractive costs - that worked." The next few years, she remained true to this principle, only sold each ongoing production in short-term rented shops and between the seasons exclusively via the Internet. "But at some point we could no longer meet the demand of our customers," said the mother of two, "we needed fixed locations. She now has seven: three in Hamburg, one each in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Munich. International delivers via the online shop. "And everything is going extremely well," says the diligent entrepreneur. Which is probably because their blouses are regulars in the style guide sections of the "Elle" and similar magazines, worn in Hollywood productions and even inspired the conservative "Welt am Sonntag" to a hymn of praise: "The success of" Umani "is in the golden section. Because Umani's blouses are not ordinary blouses. It's the little details, the wrap sashes, the embroideries, the necklines that make the most classic of all garments an eye-catcher and even make opponents of the conservative Ralph Lauren look into die-hard blouse fans. " Only the question remains: Do you already wear Umani?

* Welt am Sonntag, 15.01.2006