From 1968 to Today
İbrahim Erdoğdu – 1956, Tophane, Istanbul, Turkey
İbrahim Erdoğdu laid the current foundations of Erdoğdu Group in 1968 in a shop in Çarşıkapı, Istanbul, where he conducted his footwear materials supply trade. İbrahim Erdoğdu lost his father Bayezid at a young age and migrated from Zile, a small Central Anatolian village in the province of Kayseri, to Istanbul in 1944. Intending to learn the shoemaking and cobbling trades, he followed the footsteps of his great-grandfather Hafız İbrahim, who was the first in a long tradition of shoemakers from Zile, and had established his own business in Istanbul in the early-mid 1800s.
Anecdotal accounts of family history dictate that Hafız İbrahim was the first person of Turkish descend to emigrate from the village of Zile to the capital and largest city of the Empire, Constantinople, in order to work as a shoemaker, during the late Ottoman period. After his initial apprenticeship as a cobbler repairing old shoes, he sets up shop in downtown Karaköy in Galata, selling ready-made shoes. Unfortunately, however, fires are a common occurrence in the wood-laden city, and the most destructive one, the Great Galata Fire of 1870, engulfs the entirety of western Galata. Hafız İbrahim survives, but his shop and all of his inventory are lost in the fire, after which Hafız İbrahim leaves Istanbul for his village. His apprentices, most of whom were also from the same village of Zile, and had migrated to learn the trade in his mentorship, disperse upon his departure. As those apprentices spread throughout Beyoğlu and its environs and became artisans in their own right, they settle down in the city and set up their own shops, bringing along their own relatives from the village as apprentices. Thus, approximately 80% of the male population of and from the village of Zile have chosen the shoemaking profession, a fact still apparent in today's footwear industry.
Following in the footsteps of his namesake great-grandfather, our founder İbrahim Erdoğdu also practiced the professions of cobbling and shoe-selling between 1944 and 1968. Cobbling —the art of repairing old shoes and crafting bespoke ones— was one of the popular crafts of Turkey in the 1940s and 50s, but was gradually rendered obsolete as mass produced shoes eliminated the demand for cobbling. Deciding to take part in the sub-industry section of the developing footwear production sector, İbrahim Bey began his own footwear supplies trade in a 9 square meter shop in the Grand Bazaar in 1968, where the foundations of Erdoğdu as it exists today were laid.
Erdoğdu begins its operations in a 9 square meter workshop operated by İbrahim Erdoğdu in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar in 1968.
As the sector grew out of the cramped storefronts and corridors of the Grand Bazaar to the Gedikpaşa district, Erdoğdu's first branch was established in 1983 on Kadırga Hamamı Street.
Built in 1989 to accommodate the expanding business, the headquarters building at Gedikpaşa begins operations in 1990.
Following the fall of the USSR and the resulting economic boom in the footwear sector and in Turkey's international trade, Erdoğdu Footwear Materials Industry and Trade Limited Company is incorporated in 1994.
In order to better meet the demands of Turkey's expanding export market, Erdoğdu's Zeytinburnu sales and distribution branch begins operations in 1996.
With the intention of serving customers moving to the İkitelli Organized Industrial Zone, Erdoğdu's two branches at Aymakoop begin operations in 1998.
As the need for the Turkish footwear sector to compete on a global scale with high-quality products arose at the end of the 90s, Erdoğdu altered its business model to focus on higher-quality materials. Cooperating with footwear companies from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, and the U.S. with expertise in their respective fields, Erdoğdu begins offering its customers the exclusive distributorship services of established global brands.
Continuing its investments in the Güngören district, with its increasing strategic importance in the sector, Erdoğdu moves its headquarters to and establishes a showroom in its expanded Güngören branch.
Erdoğdu's Aykosan branch commences operations as a depot and logistics center.
Erbil Orthopedic Insoles Industry, Domestic and Foreign Trade Limited Company is founded to engage in the production, marketing, and sales of orthopedic insoles.
Erteks Synthetic Leather Import and Export Limited Company is founded in Güngören.
Unifying its production and shipping facilities, warehouses, and offices, Erdoğdu Group's new headquarters begins operations in Esenyurt, Istanbul.