Nihan Sedef Ardor, Director of QuiQuattro, USA
Combining an extensive background in design and computer science with her exposure to the import / export markets, Nihan Sedef Ardor gained considerable experience in mass production and manufacturing throughout her career. Totaling over 17 years of business experience, Ardor decided to start her own company and, in a way, give back to the small, local manufacturers and designers, by creating a fair trade environment for them. Her passions took her all the way back to her hometown in Istanbul, Turkey.
A native of Turkey, Ardor received her interior architecture degree from Mimar Sinan University — one of the oldest and most prestigious design schools in Istanbul. Her interests brought her to the U.S. after meeting her husband and eventually settling down in Columbus, OH in ‘93.
With most of her extended family and siblings still in Turkey, Ardor continued to visit her family and friends. During her visits, she was always surrounded by creative minds yearning to get recognized for their craft. “I was saddened to see how large companies with mass production abilities were pushing small manufacturers out of the market. Propelled by my background as a designer, I wanted to give these artisans their due by providing them with a chance to get recognized and tell their story at the same time,” Ardor said. “I knew how hard it was to get recognized as a designer when working on new projects one item at a time.”
How it started
In February of 2013, a small seed of QuiQuattro was planted and ideas began to bloom.
“My artisan friends and I came up with the idea of bringing their products from Turkey to the U.S. and marketing them online. This would not only provide them with a platform for exposure to foreign markets but also ensure a fair trade environment for them to work in,” Ardor said. Thus QuiQuattro, which translates to "here are four," began with four core members. Producing a variety of products — from soaps to scarves and more — all of which we use in our daily lives reflecting the changing of seasons. The phrase, “here are four” surfaced in the branding development.
With Ardor’s background in IT and U.S. manufacturing practices, paired with her talented designer friends, QuiQuattro easily became more tangible and fully launched in late August.
About the Products
The QuiQuattro consumer is sophisticated, smart and earth conscious. QuiQuattro’s products are made and designed for women by women.
“Ever since the Turkish Independence War in the 1920s, Turkey has been one of the more progressive countries in the Middle East as far as women’s rights are concerned. Having said that, it has been my impression that there are less job opportunities for women than for men. I wanted to provide these women with the opportunity to showcase their work,” Ardor said.
What separates QuiQuattro’s products from other companies is their handcrafted quality from start to finish. Whether hand-loomed, hand-knitted, stitched or poured, the products don’t originate from a factory assembly line. Manufactured and shipped from Turkey, all of QuiQuattro’s products are hand-touched in a unique way just for the consumer. Manufactured in the city of Denizli, the traditional Turkish towels, also known as peshtemals were originally used in traditional Turkish baths or Hamams but are more commonly used today as sarongs and beach or spa towels. Unlike conventional towels, they are made from an extremely absorbent cotton material. A green product by nature, they dry fast and do not take up much room in the linen closet.
QuiQuattro’s soaps are all hand poured vegan soaps made solely from natural oils.
QuiQuattro’s accessory line wouldn’t be complete without its delicate jewelry pieces sourced from Turkish third parties. The QuiQuattro team strives to find unique and unusual designs incorporating hand blown glass or hand poured metal.
What separates QuiQuattro from other accessory companies is the stories that come along with the products. They speak for themselves and they give credit to the crafters.
“We aim to share the stories of our products as well as those of their makers,” Ardor said. “Every product will tell a story about the people who make them.”
As far as the future goes for Ardor and her team, this is just the beginning. For now, QuiQuattro strives to build brand recognition and a loyal customer base. One who cares about quality over quantity — investing in one-of-a-kind products created at the hands of individual artisans from the first cut to the very last stitch.