Just Kidding interview

Popular family store opens a new branch in Al Safa


How did JustKidding come about?
Seven years ago, we were on holiday in France with the kids enjoying some local grape-juice. We started talking about good business opportunities in Dubai, and here we are! We’d noticed the European products we knew and loved for our own children were not available. We started the market research and soon after that, JustKidding was born.

What were the challenges you faced when setting up?
Getting to know our way around the visas, red-tape and the set-up costs, which was much more difficult than we’d expected. But the licensing was the hardest. If we were to do it all again, we’d hire someone to take care of it all. It was really hard work.

It’s been a huge success story. Why do you think that is?
The brands we sell are unique, trendy and the best in their class. I believe one of the main reasons for the success is that Ben (my husband) and I are so passionate about what we do. We love the store, our customers are great and the staff are terrific. Plus our product selection is broad. We stock the necessities like cots, car seats and strollers, but we also handle gifts, interior design, maternity fashion, breastfeeding equipment and so on.

How has your role as a parent influenced your business decisions?
It was the first biggest influencing factor. We were familiar with the brands because we’d researched them all for our own children and we selected products to stock in the store based on our own experience. We also make sure we keep up to date with what mothers want by employing experienced mums and new parents. And, we regularly take their feedback about products on board.

How are you managing to juggle motherhood and your career?
At the beginning it was a juggling act, but my children are getting older now and as I’ve tried to teach them to be independent, life is much easier than it was. I try to work from home so I am there for them, but sometimes it is just really hard and I end up with no time for myself. Any mum will understand that! My family will always be my priority. Sometimes I say to them, ‘I’m tired, I’ve had enough for the day, let’s go and have some family time.’

Just Kidding is very involved in promoting car safety. Can you tell us about that?
We’ve always been passionate about child safety overall, and not just in the cars. We’ve developed a new website www.childsafety.me to highlight all the areas of safety for parents. In the last 12 months we’ve also provided over 15,000 new born babies with carseats in the UAE. We recently opened the JustLearning Centre too, where we teach shop-staff, nurses, teachers and police officers about the correct use of car seats.

You’ve just opened the new store at Al Safa. How is that going?
The response from our customers has been very enthusiastic, which is really nice. Opening a new store comes with a lot of hard work and it’s paying off. With the new opening hours we’re also experiencing traffic from mums on the school run after drop off.

What are your future plans?
To take a holiday and spend some time with my family. After that we’ll look for more opportunities and see where the JustKidding journey take us.
For more info, call JustKidding, Al Safa (04 346 6050)

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