My first visit to Turkey was in the year of 1993, where we had some business opportunities based in Mersin. Today we have many buyers partnering us and I travel to Turkey quite frequently, sometimes 2-3 times a year.
The country has a lot of potential for Ceylon Tea and as a people we share two common social traits which have helped me cement many a relationship beyond business. Firstly, as with Sri Lankans, Turks are extremely hospitable and will welcome you into their homes even after a brief acquaintance. Secondly, like us they are also quite inquisitive and very comfortable in asking for and sharing personal information.
Thus during my many visits over the years I was introduced to our business associates families and children. Many of the children were involved in their fathers businesses. This made me look forward to the day where my sons too would complete their education and join the company.
My eldest son Sajeev joined the business two years ago and I’m proud today of how quickly he was able to understand Tea business essentials and strike out on his own with a Tea Lounge concept based on our family tradition of 63 years in Tea. His stamina encourages and stimulates me too.
Sajeev joined me on my my most recent visit to Turkey during November last year bringing back memories of my first visit.
The opportunity to travel with Sajeev and introduce him to our customers and partners was quite pleasurable.
All our customers whom we visited were very pleased to meet Sajeev and they were especially glad to meet the next generation who will take on the business at Empire.
I had the opportunity to share with my son the details of the clients & partners whom we met, their specific requirements and certain challenges we need to meet in order to improve business, information – he listened very keenly and even made a few suggestions which showed the value a fresh look at how we do things helps..
I’m sure this visit made at a young age would inspire him to take Empire Teas to new vistas in the near future.