Bathtubs filled with colourful balloons, glitter confetti, doughnut walls and undeniably positive vibes. Jumana Al Darwish owns this space, aptly named The Happy Studio, in every sense of the word. It’s her baby, the business she had always dreamt of and her way of making sure that happiness prevailed in the community.
Nestled within the concrete lanes of Alserkal Avenue, the studio is where all the magic happens. Available for hire, the studio also houses the factory where The Happy Box, an activity bundle for kids, is made. However, Al Darwish’s interaction with mums goes far beyond meeting them at The Happy Studio.
“What an incredible sisterhood to be a part of,” says Al Darwish. “I’m so proud to have had the consistent support of our lovely mummy community throughout this entire venture.”
Starting out by introducing her products at local craft markets across the UAE and working from her dining room, Al Darwish was able to move Alserkal Avenue in only four years.
“The mum community believed in me and, most importantly, shared my vision. The support I’ve received here from mothers, whether it was from my own team or our amazing subscribers, mumpreneurs, bloggers and press community, I had not witnessed elsewhere,” she says.
So what advice does Al Darwish have for mums who are keen on garnering support? “I have extensive personal and professional networks and associate myself with likeminded individuals through events and informal outings. I rely on the mum community to bounce off ideas, co-create and diversify our product and market base, and fulfill our expansion plans.”
Al Darwish believes in the value of support groups in helping growth. “Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from others’ experiences, be it the successes or hiccups along the way? Being open to feedback will save you a lot of resources, be it time or funds,” she explains.
Jumana’s business tips for mums
• If you believe in your business venture, embrace it and run with it. You won’t regret the experience, it will only enrich your background.
• Strategic operational and financial plans are key and numbers are oh-so-important, but they’re never set in stone – always remember that.
• Expand your network and partnerships. A business idea can never thrive on its own. You’ll grow at a much more sustainable rate by forming alliances.
• Don’t shy away from help. You’d be surprised at the amount of people who are willing to help.
• Your business will keep you on your toes and enable you to be creative.
• Try and find the good in everything you do, and trust that your adventure will be more fulfilling.
• Remember to enjoy and laugh along the way with a few sparkles here and there.
Fascinated with the symbolic construction of a community, The Happy Studio’s founder believes that Dubai is a prime example of the process of naturally building communities and enriching them.
“With over 200 nationalities residing here, there are pockets of mum communities everywhere: from nationality and interest-based, to work, school and even social media-based, these communities remind us that we belong, that we’re valued and that we’re home. Dubai is truly special and is my home away from home.”
The Happy Studio, Warehouse 73, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, www.thehappybox.ae/the-happy-studio (058 584 2779).