Why did you decide to set up Mumz N Babyz – what’s the story behind it?
As a mother of three who travels frequently between Dubai and the US, I felt there was a gap in the market for children’s retail in the Middle East. The Middle East has a very young population with seventeen per cent of people under the age of 15. There are approximately 4.8 million babies born each year here in comparison to approximately 4.2 million babies in the US. Despite this staggering figure, there are only 11 dedicated baby shops in the UAE and a few online players in the region. This market has grown tremendously in its product offering for families and mothers specifically. However, the information and selection of products that people have access to in the US is still much greater. My view is that there’s no reason why we can’t have that choice here.
Internet shopping seems to target mums in a big way. Why do you think this is?
E-commerce provides accessibility in terms of access to information and choice from multiple sources, which in turn allows for more informed decisions. It gives a busy mum the ability to access products anytime and anywhere at her own convenience. Mothers, mothers-to-be and working mothers always have a lot to do with little or no time in which to do it. Mum’s schedules very often revolve around their children, the many activities that they have and their jobs as well. The ability to shop from home or work means a mother has one less trip to make. That’s got to be positive.
What makes the site different to other online stores in the region?
Our site is different in a number of ways. First of all, we are providing our members with access to a really interesting blog that contains many articles and expert advice on parenting and childcare. Secondly, our baby name finder is a unique and useful tool to search for all types of baby names, boys, girls, Arabic and European. In addition, we also carry many sensory and developmental products that help with early learning and we will soon be carrying some great baby designer items that you will not find elsewhere.
How do you manage to juggle three kids and a business startup as complicated as this?
It certainly is a juggle. I work in bits and pieces all day. Every opportunity I get for alone time is really work time. Obviously, I have to plan my days ahead, but fortunately I have the help of my siblings who each handle a different aspect of the business. My brother manages the day-to-day operations. My sister handles our marketing and PR while I focus mostly on the core of our business. I identify and source the best products for our customers and to constantly keep our online community of mothers up-to-date with the latest childcare information, news and products.
What are your tips for other mums who want to branch out and start their own businesses?
I have two main tips for mothers who are looking to start their own businesses here. The first is, make sure you are doing something you are passionate about because that will keep you going on tough days. As the saying goes ‘Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’. The second is; don’t expect to know everything. Some people will tell you ‘know your market’. Knowing your market is definitely key, but one thing to keep in mind is, you may not know everything from the start, you will always learn along the way.
In the past five years, mum-founded online stores have mushroomed in the UAE. Run by people who are passionate about motherhood and who know their target audience well enough to source products that really are useful for parents, here’s our pick of the top Dubai-based online mum-stores.
The first of several online services to launch here, bubsboutique offers a superb range of products, many of which are exclusively stocked. We particularly rate their selection of slings and baby carriers – our favourite of which is the Boba range. The site founders also help mums find carriers to suit them by taking part in the Dubai Babywearing workshop, which happens once a month at the Organic foods and Café.
The original brainchild of two mums with twins, BabySouk has become one of the best recognised online stores in the region. Specialising in hand-picked products, selected by the team of mums running the business, it has just become the official retailer of Phil+Teds buggies and baby equipment.
Rather like the Amazon of the Middle East, Mumzworld has stocks a staggering number of products, from prams, Lego kits and kids’ bikes, to nappies and baby formula. If you really want to take the slog out of every day shopping for families, this is the place to be.
With three actual stores you can visit, as well as an online retail outlet, Dubai Babies is the exclusive retailer of the Mima range of prams and pushchairs. Stocks range from dummies and BPA-free products, to those back-to-school essentials.
Launched last September, Momsouk has grown at an incredible rate and has become more of an online community than an online channel for pre-loved goods (it’s original purpose). While you can still pick up a huge range of baby bargains and maternity items, you can also find out about new events and everything that’s going on in the world of the Dubai mumprenuer.