This portfolio is a small sample of the work I have created over the years. My work extends beyond writing to marketing, content creation, and digital asset creation, including websites, to brand building, social media, and speaking.
I have conceptualized, designed, and executed various ideas throughout my career. I am also fortunate that I had two creative, intelligent, and capable sisters, Arzu and Fusun, who supported this work and assisted with it.
Words have always been my lifeline. After high school, I took a compilation of my poems from my teenage years and self-published it. Self-publishing back then was nowhere near as painless as it is now, but I taught myself how to do it. I started my own publishing company, planned my own book tour, came up with the cover design, developed my own marketing materials, and got it accepted into bookstores. I also had my poetry published in teen magazines like Seventeen and CosmoGirl!.
Though the material I designed is too extensive to list on this site, it did help me land a major book distributor whose response letter to my promotional packages was: “We do not normally take on poetry books by first-time authors. However, yours is the best proposal I have ever seen in my entire career, so we will give you a chance.” My journey as an author led me to give poetry workshops at schools, juvenile detention centers, and libraries. I also had the opportunity to read my poetry on TV and radio, in bookstores, including Barnes & Noble, and was published in magazines.
I’m currently working on my first memoir, which I hope will be the first of many. Stay tuned…
Fun fact: To design the cover and inside photographs of the book, my sisters and I made our own angel wings, gluing on hundreds of large white craft feathers onto cardboard, then dusting it with glitter.
One slow day at Flatbread Grill®, my sister, Arzu, suggested we start an Instagram account to share our story. I took Arzu’s suggestion seriously and started the account. We posted about ourselves in an authentic way and people responded quickly to our story.
Eventually, we started a Facebook page for ourselves and a blog. Within a year, those pages were being visited by people all over the world. The content we created and the blogs we posted were a reflection of our journey. We never expected to become ‘influential’.
My work for Esendemir Sisters involved content creation, blog writing, photography, SEO, and digital design, as well as launching and managing all of our social media accounts and updating our website (which has been put on hold temporarily as I focus my attention on building Thumb Bread® and finishing my manuscript). Follow us @esendemirsisters
Flatbread Grill® is a fresh casual Mediterranean concept founded in 2007 by my sisters and me. Our decade-long journey through one of the toughest industries in the world at the height of a great economic recession is too exhaustive to write about here. My sisters and I worked hard, stayed honest, and never gave up. We inspired lots of copycats, experienced significant setbacks, overcame tremendous challenges, and did the impossible, even as all the odds were stacked against us.
My work for Flatbread Grill® was very extensive as I worked alongside my sisters for over a decade. The highlights of it involved content creation, assistance with menu design and layout, food photography and styling, digital design and maintenance, as well as launching and managing all of our social media accounts, preparing printed marketing collateral, interior and exterior signage design for all customer touchpoints, menu execution, and recipe development, POS design, and navigation, raising new customer awareness, implementing loyalty programs, targeted marketing campaigns, direct mail campaign targeting, and design, email campaigns, digital ad campaigns, event planning, working with social media influencers, new store openings, operations, and training manuals, writing and developing press materials, acting as a brand spokesperson to the press, data retention and analyzing, day to day operations, plus so much more! Follow us @flatbreadgrill
Bread For Everything™
Thumb Bread® is an all-natural, extraordinary artisanal bread created in 2007 for use in our fresh casual Mediterranean concept, Flatbread Grill®. Back when my sisters and I were starting Flatbread Grill®, Arzu decided that Flatbread Grill® needed major differentiation. Her vision was to create a special kind of bread. Within two weeks of Flatbread Grill® ‘s grand opening, the New York Times gave us an outstanding review centered around Thumb Bread®.
While watching customers enjoy the bread in our restaurants, Arzu came up with a unique package design so the bread could be available as a consumer packaged goods. Almost a decade later, after making MILLIONS of pieces by hand, we got this very special, proprietary bread accepted into major retail outlets.
My work for Thumb Bread® involved content creation, setting up an online store, food photography and assistance with styling, designing a conceptualized prototype bag for manufacturer sourcing, digital design, and maintenance, as well as launching and managing all of our social media accounts, and preparing printed marketing collateral for distribution and sales representation, such as sell sheets, marketing plans, and signage, including our display. Follow us @thumbbread
SPEAKING + MENTORING
I have had the pleasure of speaking at industry events as well as mentoring at events focused on entrepreneurs. I have been asked to speak about industry-specific topics, such as sustainability, operations, menu creation and design. I have also mentored and spoken about marketing, social media, brand building, and entrepreneurship.
My sisters and I launched our Rainbow Hummus initiative in 2016 to celebrate Pride Month by partnering with a local non-profit, HUDSON PRIDE CENTER, one of New Jersey’s leading providers of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) cultural sensitivity training., as well as offering support for at-risk youth.
We worked with influencers via Instagram and Facebook to spread the word and even launched an online store. I hope to expand and grow the program in years to come.
HOLD THE BREAD FOUNDATION
Back in 2007, when we started Flatbread Grill®, we brainstormed ways we could give back to our local communities and help those who were less fortunate. We added a ‘HOLD THE BREAD’ feature to our menu for those who did not wish to consume the complimentary bread. In turn, we donated the bread to local food pantries.
The Hold The Bread Foundation™ is currently being turned into a non-profit organization that will allow my sisters and me to consolidate the work we do with inner-city schools, local food pantries, and other local non-profits.
Hold The Bread Foundation™ is the first step in turning Thumb Bread® and Flatbread Grill® into mission-driven companies. As we grow and scale, it is our hope that we can turn this into an international organization helping those in need.