The story of Nakkaş is also the story of Cengiz and Cengiz, two people who met working in a rug shop, became fast friends, and then business partners. Growing up in Istanbul, they began their journey into the world of Turkish rugs when they were both young men. Starting off in a traditional Istanbul antique rug shop, they rolled and unrolled, stacked and restacked the colorful offerings for visiting customers all day long. Over the years, they learned the colors, the patterns and the textures; how to distinguish between natural and artificial, between used and antique. They began to move up the ladder, from simply showing the rugs to sharing the story of each rug with the customers. As their responsibilities increased, they both began to travel outside of Istanbul, visiting the villages where the rugs sat half-finished on looms or hung out to dry over fences in the yard. Learning about the process of making these woven heirlooms, finding them and bringing them back to the city set the foundation of their passion for Turkish rugs.
Soon, the varying regions of Anatolia became as familiar to them as the rugs in the shop. They met all manner of people, from individual weavers of traditional rugs to small factory owners to large producers of carpets. By 1989, their broad range of contacts proved an asset to them when they decided to open their own store, “Galeri Cengiz”. Located behind the famous Sultanahmet Mosque in the Arasta Bazaar, they spent 15 years welcoming tourists, both foreign and local, to their shop.
Over time, they developed a reputation for quality and honesty, with returning customers becoming close friends as well. As they developed their retail business in Istanbul, Cengiz and Cengiz also became more involved in supporting carpet production. Working with local governments, they provided fundamentals such as looms and funding to help develop local cottage industry in the Eastern Turkish regions of Malatya and Adıyaman. And, with a growing business and international clientele, in 2004 they moved into a new building just behind the Hippodrome on Nakilbent Sokak, and were reborn as Nakkaş.