Modanisa aims to be first Turkish startup valued over 1 billion dollars

Turkish online modest fashion portal Modanisa has become a global outlet for conservative wear.

According to Financial Times, Turkish startup Modanisa, an online fashion portal for Muslim women, broke even for the first time in 2017 and has now reached estimated annual revenues of 120 to 150 million dollars. The site has received several investments including from Goldman Sachs and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Company founder Kerim Türe aims to reach a valuation of 1 billion dollars by 2023, before launching a public offering.

Kerim Türe and four of his friends founded the company in 2011 after realizing Muslim women who want to dress conservatively did not have many choices. The name refers to the Koranic chapter al-Nisa, which means "women" in Arabic. The company grew exponentially over the years and currently connects 800 clothes producers with customers all around the world, from New York to Kuala Lumpur. Modanisa also is regularly the main sponsor for "Modest Fashion Weeks" in cities like Istanbul, Dubai and London.

Mr. Türe says their website has over 150 million unique visitors per year with 3.5 million returning customers who have shopped from the site more than once. "We're an enabler. We have the reach, the marketing power and the capabilities. We know our customers, and who wants what" he says. This is partly in thanks to Turkey's long standing position as a textile manufacturer and exporter.

Although the company saw slower growth in Turkey last year due to the economic crisis and lira devaluation, growth in international markets have been steady. Currently Turkish market makes up only 20% of total sales.

A report published by US based research and strategy group Thomson Reuters and DinarStandard found that Muslim customers spent 270 billion dollars on fashion in 2017, a figure which is expected to rise to 361 billion by 2023. Global fashion brands have also realized the potential of Muslim market and big names such as H&M, Macy's and Banana Republic have begun experimenting with modest fashion products.

The company has 550 employees and has recently moved to a new, larger office in one of Istanbul's business districts. A London office to manage English speaking countries is due to open before year end. Mr. Türe says their aim "is to make modest fashion main stream. This is a big market and people need to realize that." With help of new investments and healthy growth, seems like the success story will continue.