Shasenem Garlyyeva is a businesswoman through and through. With her two firms, she promotes business relations between Turkmenistan and Germany and contributes to bringing the cultures of the two countries closer together. She brings handmade home textiles made of camel hair into German living rooms. And in her own bakery, she will soon be delighting her fellow citizens with genuine German “Baumkuchen” layer cakes.
Shasenem proudly presents her new Baumkuchen machine, which recently arrived. “Now it’s a matter of practise, practise, practise”, the dynamic entrepreneur laughingly says. She adds that the process of producing traditional Baumkuchen is costly and requires a lot of effort. The batter is turned on a spit for one hour, during which up to 20 layers are carefully baked on top of each other. A process that takes a lot of patience, something the experienced businesswoman has certainly proved she has.
The manager of “LaTartine” café in Ashgabat has waited four years for this moment. That’s how long it is since she tasted her first Baumkuchen in Hanover. She knew straight away that she wanted to offer it one day in her own bakery and cake shop. During the Manager Training Programme, she already decided on a manufacturer of Baumkuchen machinery and organised the delivery via a forwarding company in Hamburg. Processes were slowed down due to the Corona crisis, so she only recently received the machinery. “When I sell my first Baumkuchen, I will have a German party”, she says. She wants to invite representatives from the German embassy in Ashgabat, among others.
Founding a new firm
During her stay, Shasenem had the wish to raise awareness in Germany for her country and its cultural achievements. She took part in a trade fair in Frankfurt, where she displayed Turkmen handicrafts. “I wanted to show how diverse our tradition is”, she explains. Originally, that had nothing to do with her business, but it has become one. While at the trade fair, she got to know a consultant. He supported her with her idea of establishing a firm for the sale of organic home textiles made from camel hair and advised her with regard to design. “Furnishing trends in Germany and Turkmenistan differ strongly. In Turkmenistan, anything modern and new is “in”. In Germany, the trend is towards natural materials. I noticed that already during my stay”, Shasenem says. This insight prompted her to found “Iner Unique Camel Wool”. Shasenem offers a range of home textiles in popular earth tones under this brand, which she sells abroad on a B2B basis. The goods are produced by hand in Turkmenistan according to old techniques on traditional weaving looms, using naturally coloured wool. The producers are craftswomen whom Shasenem located on countless trips through Turkmenistan. Within the framework of the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI), a project supported by the EU among others, she has designed her first collection under the name of “Caravan Journey” – a homage to the tradition of the Silk Road. She successfully presented the collection at two trade fairs in Milan and Paris. Moreover, she recently opened her own showroom in Ashgabat, where anyone interested can view and buy her products. “Gradually, a furnishing style with natural materials is becoming popular here too”, Shasenem is pleased to say.
Shasenem receives support from her daughter, whom she works with. Her daughter takes care of communication and marketing and designed the Instagram presence and website . “I am happy to bring part of Turkmen culture to Germany and Europe in this way in the future”, says Shasenem.