Yurdakul Gürol, the creator of the clowns’ combat boots that young people love to wear, has been designing shoes for more than 50 years.
Gürol, who is originally from Adana, came to İstanbul for his university education. He has been continuing his father’s business as a shoemaker since 1963 under the brand of Yurdakul Kundura. Gürol, who opened his first shop in Çarşıkapı, Beyazıt, had worked in this workshop for 10 years. He has been serving in Kadıköy for 45 years. Yurdakul Gürol, who started by straightening bent nails at the age of 6, is 75 years old today and works shoulder to shoulder with his sons.
Graduated from two universities
Even though his father’s profession was shoe-making, Yurdakul Gürol had experienced corporate life in Adana for a short period. He turned his career path into shoe-making when he decided he didn’t have the spirit to adapt to the rules and hours. After graduating from İstanbul University Department of Turkish Language and Literature, Gürol studied economics for four years. While studying Turkish Language and Literature, Gürol opened his first workshop in Beyazıt in 1963 and continued his education while working as a shoemaker. Gürol, who has three sons and a daughter, says, “After finishing high school, I worked as an assistant accountant in the Çukurovabirlik company in Adana. Being part of a structure where my delayed start for five minutes was questioned made me unhappy. Having my own business would make me happier. So, I changed my course towards my father’s profession to be more independent. This profession has helped me to make a living for my family and to get education for my children in the best way possible. I’m in charge of my job 24/7. Even my two sons, like myself, have taken training in different fields and ended up preferring their father’s profession. While we are working together, we have things that we agree on and things that we do not. Regardless, working with my sons is a great pleasure. While working with my youngest son Alper and my eldest son Poyraz, we are always learning different things.”
“21st century will be the time of artisans.”
Gürol says that they had worked for stores during their years in Çarşıkapı, Beyazıt. He tells about their transfer to the Anatolian side, “During the Beyazıt period, we were producing products for stores such as Hayko, Altın boot and Atlas. After the end of the university, I decided to work in the Anatolian side. My house was at Moda. Thus, we opened the Kadıköy store in 1974 in the Sümer Pasajı. We have been serving in Osmanağa, Kadıköy for 17 years. We have been developing our own designs for many years. I’m the designer of the clown combat boots that young people like to wear. All our designs are completely leather. We also make custom designs. We are a team of 5 working at the shop. We design maximum 100 pairs of shoes in a week. I open the store every day like 7.30-8.00 am. We do the job distribution after everyone comes. The urgent jobs are given priority. It should be noted that the 21st century will be the time of artisans. Currently, all sectors are dominated by automation. Everything is produced to exceed the demands. As the supply-demand balance is ignored, most things end up in trash. However, the works with spirits will always be at the forefront and preferable even after centuries have passed. A code is registered on the edge of each pair of shoe. For years, we have been designing custom shoes and boots. Our products are 70% men and 30% women based. Our goal for 2019 is to increase the proportion of design models for women to 45%.”
Foreign sales have accelerated
We asked Alper Gürol, son of Yurdakul Gürol, what kind of trends would come forward in footwear in 2019 and we got the following answer: “Women’s models are dominated by leopard and snake texture and patterns. High-heeled cowboy boots and ankle boots will come forward. We work primarily boots, combat boots and classical models for men. The patent of the clown combat boots belongs to us. My father has come forward with this design for the last 20-25 years. Our online sales have also accelerated.
Yurdakul Gürol’s middle son, living in Los Angeles, Göker Yurdakul coordinates the American leg of Yurdakul Kundura. Yurdakul Gürol said that their models will reach different locations in America in 2019 through the online company established in the United States. Although Yurdakul Kundura’s foreign focused sales have been existed for many years, this process has accelerated in the last 3-3.5 years with the establishment of the online platform. The patrons of Yurdakul Kundura are located all over the world but mainly in Australia, Mexico, Canada, America, Italy, France, Ukraine, Russia, Spain, Azerbaijan, Uganda, Nigeria, and China.