How did you start your business?
2008 after my first baby delivery, I realised there was really little choices that was to my liking in getting stuff for my newborn.  It was very difficult to buy things that I really need and want for my newborn.

Why did you decide to go into this line of business in the UAE?
I am a national from UAE planning to franchise a business like this where it can help new mothers like me to shop online for things they really need for their newborn without going through all the hassle of purchasing.  The convenience to buy online was eminent, there was a need, thus I went into the online retail for newborns and kids.

What were the highs and lows of setting up your business? High and Low Moments 
High moments was setting up meeting with vendors and do the business deals – and see the products on my site.  There was also great satisfaction when people purchase online and say they like my product choices and that it was convenient to have items that they really need.

Low moments is when the prices of the products compare to market make me lose and make me rethink pricing even to a minimal gain.  That makes me sad,  It is very competitive.

I was also working in AD and made all the issues of concentration full time distract the business aspect. There was very little time to follow for business calls and customers a new so on.

What was your best day at work?
The best days perhaps when people call you after purchasing the products and say complimentary things like they really like what they bought and would recommend the site.

What was your worst day at work?
I did a decoration plan for one of the customer and they used my design and did it themselves without me.

How did you manage to fund or finance your business?
It was from my own funds. Now, I want to accelerate the website and have a trajectory in the business like an investment plan for it to grow.

Who has been your greatest influence in setting up this venture?
It was my newborn baby who I modelled my business like what he will need and deserve. My mother was also a great influence as she motivates me and push me to do more for my own growth as a businesswoman and also for the businesses per se.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs when setting up their businesses?
Plan well.
Believe in yourself.
Have enough budget to cover your losses.
Be financially strong.
Market as much as you can by mouth , social media , TV etc.

Describe any amusing or strange experiences, or interesting moments (an incident that happened that you will never forget) that took place while establishing or running your business.
I participated in MBC exhibition and I got the social affairs minister recognised my stall and came to know more about me and my business , I remember I was pregnant and she liked it.  It gave me a boost to do more and be a good online retail for newborns and kids.

Describe any challenges you experienced and how you overcame them.
The business is well established since there were known well among its target customers and the industry.  The challenge was to let locals like me patronise the online purchasing trend.  It is very unique and I can’t stress it enough, very convenient for new mothers who have limited capacity to move freely if they have a newborn.

Outline the reasons why your business succeeded and any particular factors that influenced your success.
There was a real challenge as I was targeting locals since I am local Emirati, but the transition was slow so I moved to another market, the expats who was the majority of this country.  That was when business picked up.  Of course, locals were still there to support like my friends and family – but the biggest bulk of purchase came from the foreign expats.  I changed it to their viewpoint like making it accessible and not limiting it to UAE nationals.  Example was I had it translated to English to make it more universal.

Did you ever think you will be what you are today?
In truth, I failed in the start-up area. I was working in Abu Dhabi then and I had no time to expand and fully concentrate on the business – so everything came to a stand still.  Now, I am planning to concentrate more and give it more time again so I won’t do the same mistake and I am eyeing to succeed.  I had gained the Best Business Women Award  before and I am determined to claim it again.

Outline your future plans for your business.
Reestablish my business and relaunch  the online e-store with better marketing and engagements.  I want to build relationships in the industry again and have an investment plan. To grow the business from e commerce to a site store in malls all across UAE.

Outline any important lessons you learned along the way or ways in which you would have done things differently.
To have patience. The business really teaches you to work even harder once you have established it from its roots.  You have to cultivate it.  I also learned that it is very important to build relationships with your existing clients and customers and to network effectively.  The biggest lesson perhaps is to plan your finances properly once the business takes off.

Describe the defining moment that made you feel certain that your business is going in the direction you want it to go.
The encouragement from people that tells you to go ahead with the business.  It gives me a new excitement to reestablish it to be better. Even after 4 years in the business, there are still people that remembers me and urges me to continue what I have started.  Many are very welcoming to bring me back to the business industry again, like waiting for me to do a good comeback.  This made me aware now that indeed I have  successful business going and I just have to keep it up to the game.

Explain why you set up your business in the UAE.
I am a national from UAE.  It was just right that I cater to my own country first, be successful from home ground – then expand in the future to other shores.

What is the single most important decision you made that contributed to your business?
I had a good business going but because of lack of concentration and focus, I let it slip away.  i thought that once you have a business, it is there.  the most important decision perhaps would be there was clamour for me to improve and be one to competition.  To focus and really establish the business name again.

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by Cristina Magallon
Tweet @UAEDNAofficial
LinkedIn: Cristina Magallon
Company Page: UAE DNA

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