Wild Heart Free Soul: Woven Treasures

“Tradition doesn’t need to be old-fashioned”. -Beyza Özler

Adventurous Beginnings Self-proclaimed “kilim jungle”, Wild Heart Free Soul is a wondrous haven of richly woven tapestries in Berlin. Each killim is carefully curated by owner Beyza Özler, who travels throughout Turkey several times a year selecting original vintage pieces for her shop.

Traditionally produced by nomadic people in areas of the former Ottoman Empire, kilims are woven rugs renown for their symbolic motifs and intricate patterns. What began for Beyza as a languid summer roaming throughout Turkey in 2012 turned into a full-blown fascination with these traditional Anatolian textiles.

My vision is not only to source vintage kilims but also to find women in Turkey who can still do this kind of weaving and support them doing what they love.

The motifs, colours and skillfully-woven weft strands captivated Beyza, who began to decorate her summer cottage with them. Upon returning to Berlin with her treasure trove of carpets, she discovered that many of her friends and acquaintances also adored the Turkish kilims and desired them for their homes. She was then inspired to open her store Wild Heart Free Soul.

Identifying the niche

Each morning upon entering her shopfront, Beyza removes her shoes to tread across the soft carpets. She then lights incense, filling the place with an inviting fragrance. Warm and mesmerising, handspun pillows, kaleidoscopic rugs, towels and other crafted items line the walls, floors and corners of the shop.

Drawing on her meticulous research, Beyza is often able to provide her clients with the meaning of the motifs patterned on the tapestries. She lovingly refers to these motifs as “woven poetry”, reflecting the weaver’s wishes for herself and her family. Given the roaming nature of the nomads, the symbols found on the collected kilims are thought to have been preserved from outside influences throughout hundreds of years, handed down from generation to generation.

“Rituals...connecting with nature. That’s zeitgeist. This is what everyone is looking for.”

Many of Beyza’s customers purpose the oriental merchandise as statement pieces in their decor. Her small business has grown considerably as her goods offer their owners a way to bring an earthy aura into their home, wherever it may be.

Beyza may have begun her business selling vintage kilims, but she now has also made it her mission to locate and employ Turkish women who are skilled in weaving these kilims—a dying tradition in the face of machined modernity. Empowering these women to continue their singular craft while supporting themselves financially is a huge facet of Wild Heart Free Soul’s spirit.

Vintage goes mod

When she first opened her shop, Beyza was only able to accept cash. But she soon found this to be a drawback for her customers as they often had to go to the bank to withdraw cash for their purchases.

Ever-progressive, Beyza searched for a way to offer card payments within her store and selected SumUp as her payments solution provider. Now her customers can pay with ease by card or contactless, preventing the inconveniences or second thoughts commonly associated with the need to pay with cash.

When I discovered SumUp, I was super happy because it’s mobile, doesn’t take a lot of space, and I can take it everywhere with me.

For private events, home visits or pop up events, Beyza can easily toss her SumUp card reader in her bag and be prepared to accept card payments. Cashless payments allow her to dedicate her energy to enhancing relationships with her customers and to share with them the special knowledge she has obtained about each and every piece in her shop.

At SumUp, we are proud to partner with Wild Heart Free Soul as this small business not only empowers women in this distinct trade, but it allows for the continuity of an artistic tradition of great historical and cultural value.

Watch the Wild Soul Free Heart merchant story. Find out more about our card readers for small businesses.

Micah McGee