We had the good fortune of connecting with Tara Cetinkaya and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tara, what matters most to you?
Honesty/Authenticity. There are many reasons why this principle is so important to me. First, from a moral and religious standpoint, honesty is considered one of the highest moral values for me. It has always been very important for me to be honest, and I hate to tell a lie, no matter how small. This principle is also very important in the business world. When you are honest and authentic with your customers, they will recognize that and it will gain you loyal followers who support you and your brand. They will be your best advertisements and testament to your company. Consumers are tired of being lied to and scammed. They want to trust a company and trust the products they buy from them — and they also want to be able to trust that if something goes wrong, you will have their back; and one of the best ways to build this trust is through honesty. One way this directly impacts our business is in our product descriptions online, as well as how we explain our products to customers in store. We don’t want to exaggerate. We want our customers to be happy with what they’re getting, and that starts with an honest understanding of what it is they are buying.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am the CEO of Modefa — we are a modern Islamic retail store, specializing in imports from Turkey. After I converted to Islam, I realized how difficult it was to find quality Islamic products here in the USA. My husband is from Turkey, so I was able to see first hand the wonderful products coming out of Turkey, especially in terms of textiles and decor products. We founded our company in 2011, and started very small out of our home, selling hijab scarves online and locally. From the beginning, we have worked hard to set our business apart. We did not want to be like other Islamic retail stores. We have focused on quality, affordable products, and having a large variety of items. We are very proud of how far our business has come. We are now one of the largest online Islamic retail stores in the country, and we have evolved into a brand as well as retailer. Modefa is a top prayer rug brand in the USA, and we are also a top store for Islamic decor, Turkish hijabs, and Islamic gifts. In 2019 we moved into our current location in Richardson which features a beautiful showroom where local customers can come to shop. Our journey to get where we are now has been a constant struggle. There are always new challenges coming up with each stage of our business. For the last several years we have struggled with constant growing pains. One of the biggest things I have learned that I always tell other entrepreneurs, is that when you set out on a journey to start your own business, you need to first know your “why.” Why are you doing this, what is your goal and purpose? It should be more than to just make money. And it should be WORTH it. It is going to be a struggle, and you will have to make sacrifices along the way. So make sure you are doing something that will be worth it to you.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a mom, all of my adventures around the city over the last 6 years have always included my kids, so I will have to focus here on great places for the whole family! When I have family visiting from out of state, there are a few spots that are always on our list of places to go: in downtown we will go to the Dallas World Aquarium, Reunion Tower, and the nearby Dallas Arboretum. We will spend a day at Grapevines Mills, where there is so much fun stuff for kids, plus the Rainforest Cafe is always great for the fun atmosphere. A day trip to the Fort Worth Stock yards is also fun for all ages. Besides that, we lookout for special events that might be going on like the State fair, or the Jurassic Quest exhibit.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to my parents, for always believing in me and giving me a strong foundation in life. I also want to give a shoutout to my husband, who co-owns our business with me — for going on this crazy journey with me; and partnering with me and supporting me so we can make it work. He always tells everyone “this is my wife’s business,” even though I couldn’t be doing this without his support and hard work.