WELCOME + COME INSIDE + STAY + ENJOY!
For those who know me, you will no doubt agree that I am always on the move, creating, designing, producing, entertaining and making sure the most discerning of clientele have their ideas come to life. But after 22 years, I am feeling myself being happily pulled in a new direction. Actually, it’s not a new direction. I’m going back to what I know and feel most deeply connected--my Turkish roots. Roots that are richly steeped in the tradition of hospitality, warmth, abundance, and generosity.
For quite a while, I’ve noticed a general, but subtle disconnect in people. Whether it’s waiting for the train at 125th Street, intermission at the theater or walking through Central Park, I feel it—a quiet malaise of isolation. People all around, but instead of connecting, we are in a pool of digital devices, being bombarded by electronic data with no true refuge in sight.
In Turkey, hospitality is in the DNA. I grew up immersed in authentic, warm and selfless hospitality. I would visit a friend’s house and be greeted with “Hos geldiniz!” which translates as “your arrival brings us joy!” Immediately a steaming cup of cay, tea, prepared exactly as I liked it with a lot of sugar, would magically appear in my hand. Soon, my friend’s mom would bring me recel, a sweet, pungent jam, a tradition that comes from the idea of eating “something sweet to make the conversation sweet.” Before long, I would be invited to stay for dinner and told Allah askina kalin, or “please stay for God’s love.” Needless to say, my memories of Turkey are always associated with a feeling of being loved and nurtured.
I want to change that. I want to make hospitality the trend. Interacting with neighbors, friends, family and the community on a personal and meaningful level. I want to make people feel life. And what better way for me to do that than share what I know best—hospitality.
But it wasn’t until recently that I realized how unconscious Turkish hospitality is. It’s in our bones, imbedded in the culture. It’s effortless, plentiful, gentle and so very genuine. The hospitality from my home country wraps you in abundant kindness, whether you are a dear old friend of forty years or someone who is lost and has stopped to ask directions.
This innate cultural trait is what I know best and this is what I want to bring back to our lives—the unconscious ritual of human connection. By bringing this tradition to life, my objective is to help international hospitality brands connect with customers through memorable experiences. Boutique hotels, and restaurant groups can evoke a sense of community. I can create that memorable experience and allow it to become a refuge, where people feel connected to each other--shoulder to shoulder, face to face and smile to smile.
Sevgiyle Kalin or as we say in Turkey, “Stay with love!”
DEDICATED TO: ETI MESULAM (best hostess I EVER knew)