Meet Guillaume, designer and champion of made in Britain

Continuing our local business series on People of the World, today we’re talking to Guillaume Lyons, founder of Kaigami Ltd, a UK company which produces innovative folding lampshades. Kaigami’s designs are loosely inspired by the Japanese art of origami, but the company also aims to “maintain Britain’s reputation for producing classic designs”.

Guillaume in his workshop

Please tell us a bit about yourself

From a young age I have always been a creative person, I can remember whilst in primary school picking up elastic bands and other bits from the playground and arranging them to form some kind of mechanical toy.


March 14, 2013 Comments disabled

Meet Sevcan, working mum and organic pioneer

This interview is the first in a new series on People of the World where we’ll meet locals from all over the world who run small businesses. Hope you enjoy it! If you know a small, local business you think we should profile then please write to us!

Today we’re meeting Sevcan, who was born in the UK but has lived in Turkey since the age of 13. She’s a mother of two who runs a natural cosmetics company together with her husband, using her cross-cultural savvy to bring new products to the Turkish market.

What is your business?

Our company’s name is Burmino, our aim is to bring certified, high quality, eco friendly products, to improve the quality of our lives and the world we live in. We are the exclusive distributor for Skin Blossom UK who are a skin care company who make safe, affordable, effective organic skin and hair care, because we believe everyone is entitled to healthy, beautiful skin.

February 28, 2013 1 comment

A carpet shop in an old Ottoman house

Taner Sağıroğlu sits in the office of the wooden, historic Ottoman building which houses his carpet shop. Outside there’s a tranquil, vine-covered courtyard decorated with painted tiles from nearby Iznik, but winter arrived early this year and in mid-October it’s already too cold for sitting outside. The floor of the room has a warped hump rolling across it; one wall is covered in wood panelling, doors concealing handy-looking cupboards in the wall.

Inside the historic wooden building which houses Anadolu Kilim

Taner set up shop here in 1985, after ten years living in Italy, during which time he acquired a fluent Italian with a slight Neapolitan accent.

“This isn’t a big business”, says Taner. “I don’t deal through middlemen or wholesalers. That’s a great advantage because it means I know where each carpet comes from – I buy it off the original owner.”


October 5, 2012 Comments disabled

Turkish customs: almost everything delivered right to your door

In Argentina you can have your soda water delivered to your door; in many parts of Turkey you can get almost anything you need without leaving the house. Provided you live nearby, most shops and restaurants will deliver to your house, even for the smallest purchases. If you make a purchase in a bigger shop (a piece of furniture, for example), almost always the shop will deliver it to your home for no additional cost. In addition to this, a plethora of vendors roam the streets selling (or sometimes collecting) their wares.

Buying melons from a street vendor


June 6, 2012 5 comments

Recycling in Turkey

When PocketCultures contributor Nargiza was in Istanbul airport recently, she snapped this photo of separated bins for recycling waste.


Sights like this are quite new in Turkey. But in comparison to other European countries Turkey recycles many more things in an ‘informal’ manner.

In Turkey, if something can be re-used, chances are it will be: the eskici passes in front of my house at least once per week to collect unwanted furniture, broken electronic goods and anything else that isn’t needed any more; another man patiently combs through rubbish bins to salvage empty plastic bottles; a neighbour takes away all my empty glass jars to fill with home-made pickles and sauces.

The overall volume of rubbish that actually gets sent to landfills is much lower than in many other countries in which I’ve lived.

The eskici passes regularly to collect unwanted goods

Official figures confirm this observation. In 2008 (the latest year for which measurements are available) Turkey produced 428kg municipal waste per inhabitant per year, which is lower than every country in the EU-15.

For comparison, Sweden produced 515kg per capita, UK produced 565kg per capita, and Spain produced 575kg per capita. The ‘winner’ is Denmark, which produced 802kg of waste per person. (Source: European Environment Agency)

Maybe the most interesting answer is one I received from the local council in the town where I live.

According to them, the local government does not need an official recycling programme. Instead private companies compete for permission to collect waste for recycling, because it is so profitable.


Read more

Organic recycling in Indonesia
How to reduce emissions without reducing growth
Tulip: symbol of abundance, indulgence and Istanbul

November 18, 2011 Comments disabled

Sweet-Sour Topoloveni Plum Jam

Recently I participated in an open day at Topoloveni Plum Jam Factory, in an anniversary moment: the company celebrated 10 years from takeover by purchasing the production units from Mrs Bibiana Stanciulov, a very energetic and determined woman,  which offered it the chance to continue Romanian jam manufacturing tradition after an old recipe from 1914.

Mrs-Bibiana-Stanciulov-Topoloveni-Open-Day. (more…)

October 12, 2011 1 comment