Beachroad head to Kite Beach and chat with Can Ozis the founder of Koala Collection helping Dubai's beachgoers sunbathe in style.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // I was a Logistics Specialist for an aircraft company... And now I’ve landed in the towel making business (see what I did there?)
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // Co-founder of Koala Handloomed Towels with the best business partner, Salih Aydin.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START KOALA COLLECTION? // After living in Dubai for a year where the sun is always shining and the beach is always calling I realised that there was a need for cool beach towels. We did a bit of research (well, a lot of research) and we found that there was a gap in the market for towels that are not only practical and do the job, but also nice to look at. We really feel that going to the beach should be a happy and relaxing experience, and we wanted to add some vibrancy in the form of our trendy towels. Our brand is super important to us and we have a big vision for the future of Koala.
WAS STARTING A BUSINESS IN DUBAI AN EASY PROCESS? // It’s definitely not easy, but it’s very fun and we love what we do so it’s worth all the effort. What did make it easier is that I previously had another company in Dubai where I made some contacts and acquired lots of experience so that’s helped in this particular venture. I have to say that it’s also really fulfilling to see how well Koala is being received, we get excited when we spot people using our towels on the beach!
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE DESIGNS AND PROCESSES? // It’s all about the brand for us, so with that firmly in our minds we built our very first Koala cart for Kite Beach. It’s a sociable place so that made it easier to chat to the beach-goers and discover firsthand what they like and what they’re after in a beach towel. Their feedback is invaluable to our process. We’re self-confessed perfectionists, and quality control is imperative to us, so together with our fabulous manufacturers we’re able to take our towels to the next level and create a trustworthy brand where our customers keep coming back for more. We also started designing and making unique round towels that you won’t find with any other brand. Whilst functionality is key, we believe that style is just as important to make your beach experience that bit more fun and personalised.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BEACH IN DUBAI? // We promise we’re not biased but Kite Beach does it for us. It has a beautifully natural and vibrant atmosphere, and some delicious places for lunch!
WHATS IS YOUR FAVOURITE BEACH OUTSIDE OF DUBAI? // A hidden beach in Positano, Italy. It’s quaint and makes you feel that you’re the only one who knows about it.
WHERE WOULD YOUR DREAM KC STORE BE LOCATED? // On every popular beach in the world!
WHERE DO YOU SEE THE BRAND IN 5 YEARS TIME? // As a household name. We’d like Koala to go global and we aim to have over five-hundred stockists worldwide by then.
WHERE DO YOU EAT, SHOP AND SOCILAISE IN DUBAI? // We love Turkish and Thai food... (but not together!) Our favs are Sultan Baba, Bosphorus and Little Bangkok, and for a cheeky sweet tooth we personally can't resist a dessert from Home Bakery. All Saints and Beyond the Beach are great for classic pieces and the odd impulse buy. We like to socialise with friends at the beach or at one of the amazing pools Dubai has to offer, with a couple of our towels in tow of course. And we do dabble in a notorious Dubai brunch every so often, you only live once!
YOUR TIPS FOR VISITORS TO DUBAI? // Find stuff to do that's not too touristy. Check out many of the one off events and markets. Visit places like Kite Beach, Alserkal Avenue and party like it’s your birthday at Blue Marlin and Nikki Beach.
WHY SHOULD SOMEONE VISIT DUBAI? // Undoubtedly, the sunshine! There are always new things to do and the people here are friendly so you can make new friends of all ages and backgrounds. The vast mix of cultures in a modern city that is placed in a desert is what makes Dubai so unique.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Growing a brand and watching it bloom.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Sandstorms!
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Probably eating too much ice-cream :)
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // My father because he was always positive and had fun wherever he went. He was always living in the moment and struck a great balance of work and play. It’s an ethos that we like to embody with Koala.
YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST? // Dave Gahan-Depeche Mode
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE JOURNEY AND DESTINATION? // Goa, it’s easy to go and every time it’s a different experience. And the journey to Istanbul, it’s a mixture of business and leisure with incredible views.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST FASHION INFLUENCE? // Yohji Yamamoto, I love Japanese style!
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // An engagement ring to a very special lady ;)
WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? // My Adidas trainers! I wear them everywhere.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Enjoy the moment and don't overthink too much. You’re only young once so make the most of it!
WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT? // Excitement for the next day... And snacks.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // Being a bit too sensitive.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Ignorance…
YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIES? //Life - great Sci-Fi movie that makes you wonder! Pulp Fiction - classic
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // Jake Johnson from New Girl ha!
FAVOURITE MUSIC // Deep house
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // MC Fioti - Bum Bum Tam Tam (makes you want to laugh and dance at the same time!)
FAVOURITE BOOK? // The Godfather
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // The Three by Sarah Lotz - but I must confess I didn’t get round to finishing it
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // Waking up to an earthquake near Istanbul in 1999.
FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Bodrum, Turkey
LEAST FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Love travelling to anywhere, but not too keen on the plane part ha!
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Nice music, cold drinks and laying out in the sunshine
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach, naturally
URBAN OR RURAL? // Urban
CATS OR DOGS? // Dogs
COFFEE OR TEA? // Tea
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Your mama jokes
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // Cruelty and hate
YOUR MOTTO / MESSAGE? // We’re nothing but tiny specs in the universe so don't take yourself or life too seriously. And remember that you’re able to achieve whatever you want, you just need a dose of unbreakable drive, determination and some vitamin D.