Dubai’s Magnificent Mumpreneurs

As we celebrate Mother’s Day in the UAE, we meet 3 fabulous, family-focused entrepreneurs to talk babies, business, and building more than just a brand…



When it comes to entrepreneurship, the UAE has always been a a hotbed of activity – chock-full of incredible women launching their own businesses day in, day out. But with the events of the past year impacting drastically on all aspects of life, more women than ever have before have been encouraged to take firmer control of their career path and start out on their own, juggling the myriad roles of motherhood with nurturing a fledgling business. As we celebrate UAE Mother’s Day, The Gaggler met three of Dubai’s incredible mumpreneurs to find out how they got started as a business owner, what it takes to be your own boss, and why they’ll never go back to the corporate world.


Q&A With Rachel Dowes

Co-Founder, Beyond Wellness

Q

TELL US WHAT YOU DO?

A

Beyond Wellness offers a 360-degree mind, body, and spirit experience for individuals and corporate entities, including wellness retreats in the UAE, the Maldives, Bali, and beyond – promoting physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.

Q

WHAT CAME FIRST? THE BABIES OR THE BUSINESS?

A

You could say the business gave birth to the babies! Having worked in the fashion world for many years, I suffered the health consequences of the stress and responsibility of corporate life, and unfortunately during that time, suffered multiple miscarriages. You could say these experiences ‘opened me up’. I said to myself “Something has to give – and what can I do to help others who are struggling?” This is where Beyond Wellness was born, and I made the transition into wellness and the start of my own journey from infertility to having a family of three. I believe that to be a mind, body, spirit philosophy, and something I now teach at our retreats.

Q

HOW DO YOU MANAGE BEING A BUSY MUM, WIFE, AND ENTREPRENEUR?

A

As a busy working mum of two boys aged 2 and 5 years (and with a third now on the way) life certainly isn’t slow! With the challenges of Covid on top of this, homeschooling and the like has definitely added an extra layer of stress. Meanwhile, we’ve enjoyed more time together as a family, and I’ve loved having the opportunity to see my children learning and growing as their school teacher would have done. We’re also blessed to have the help of a wonderful nanny at home, so we certainly can’t complain, and with the children going back to school, the light at the end of the tunnel is truly in sight! 

Q

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING YOUR OWN BOSS?

A

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that time with our children is truly sacred and precious. While I was in the corporate world, I missed out on time with my children – now I can plan my days around them. As a mumpreneur I’m now able to drop them at school, collect them from school and be present with them. This makes me happier and more productive. In addition to that, as a business owner, no day is ever the same, and I get to do what I genuinely love!  

Q

HOW HAS YOUR MUM INFLUENCED YOU AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?

A

My mum was a school teacher, and always taught both myself and her students to follow our dreams. When she saw me burning out in the corporate world, she was the one behind me, spurring me on to pursue my passion in women’s wellness. With her support, I qualified in Clinical Hypnotherapy and Psychology, all whilst holding down a full time corporate job. Juggling all of those things, I slowly made the transition into founding my own wellness practice. Since then, I haven’t looked back.

Q

DO YOU THINK MORE MUMS HAVE LAUNCHED THEIR OWN  BUSINESS VENTURES SINCE COVID-19 HIT?

A

Absolutely! I’ve seen a number of mums starting up businesses during the pandemic who have been hugely successful in a short time. So despite all the disruption and uncertainty, it certainly isn’t all doom and gloom. Those who can see opportunities, whether by going online or offering services tailored towards stress and anxiety, can reap great financial rewards and personal fulfilment by knowing they are doing their bit to help. For Beyond Wellness, while that meant we had six months where we weren’t able to run retreats, our online business skyrocketed; with demand for one-to-one coaching, meditation and hypnotherapy sessions at an all time high. As well as this, we’ve recently seen huge interest in our short-haul retreats. 


Q&A With Lama Jammal Houssami

Founder, Mamalu Kitchen and Eazy Freezy

Q

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING YOUR OWN BOSS?

A

Running everything on my own time. And time for me is so precious – so yes I might work until midnight, but then the next day I know I can take my kids to school with no stress, or pick them up because no-one is clock watching me. I also feel it doesn’t limit my creativity, and that’s so important to me – to feel as creatively free as I possibly can be, whenever I want to be. 

Q

WHAT’S THE USP OF YOUR BUSINESS?

A

For Mamalu Kitchen, it would definitely be the interpersonal experience and the energy. It’s really fun – we make cooking fun! We take care of the stuff that you don’t want to worry about when you’re learning to cook, like cleaning your dishes and chopping everything up…you just have to be there and enjoy yourself. For Eazy Freezy, it’s definitely the convenience factor…the fact that we provide great, home-cooked food that’s full of flavour and nutrients and that’s really good for you, but containing no preservatives. 

Q

WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A MUMPRENEUR IN DUBAI?

A

It’s amazing to be a mumpreneur in Dubai – I genuinely think it’s the best place in the world to do it, because everything that’s in place here makes the whole process and the journey easier. So you’re able to have your own business, and be a hands-on mom, and be socially active, and work out – I feel that Dubai really facilitates that for you, whereas if you’re in Europe, or somewhere else, it’s a completely different story. It’s all about support. I have an amazing group of female friends that support me, and so that’s like my own tribe, and my husband is the most supportive human in my life.  I’m also a part of EAO – Entrepreneur’s Organization Accelerators, and now I’m a part of the Spinneys Incubators, which is an amazing business support system.


Watch the video: Interviews with Dubai’s magnificent Mumpreneurs


Q&A With Sara Chemmaa

Founder, Citron

Q

HOW DID YOU FIRST COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

A

My son was always a fussy eater. When I introduced solids at six months, he never wanted to eat, and always refused food, which made it really hard for both him and us. At 18 months, he started nursery, and I had to pack a lunchbox for him. One day when I went to pick him up, his teacher told me that he was really upset because his water bottle had leaked, and got into his food, and he’d refused to eat anything. Very frustrated, I went straight to the stores and looked everywhere for a lunchbox with compartments that didn’t leak, but couldn’t find any, either online or on the shelves. So I spoke with a friend who had been producing goods in China for many years, and asked them to help me make this product that would make mealtimes for mummies and kids be stress-free and fun. And this is how it all started

Q

WHAT’S THE USP OF YOUR BUSINESS?

A

We have many, but the main one is that Citron products are designed by mums for mums. We learn from a kid’s experience of the product, and we build on that – every product is designed and tested with the help of our children. We also take great pride in our quality and material we use, ensuring all our products are safe for kids as well as working brilliantly.

Q

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING YOUR OWN BOSS?

A

Being in charge of your own time! 

Q

HOW HAS YOUR MUM INFLUENCED YOU AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?

A

My mum always worked – she started as an employee for a large corporate firm  and switched to entrepreneurship afterwards. She taught me that resilience and not settling for average are the keys to success.

Q

IS THERE ENOUGH SUPPORT FOR MUMS STARTING OUT WITH THERE OWN BUSINESSES HERE IN THE UAE? IF NOT, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE?

A

We have a wonderful support system in the UAE, and I feel very happy about the number of groups that are popping up to help mumpreneurs grow their business. I’m part of the Female Fusion group, as well as many Whatsapp groups, and I find these to be the best places to get information and guidance from other entrepreneurs. I also have a wonderful support system at home with my incredible husband, and my wonderful nanny, who I wouldn’t be able to do without.

Q

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP TIP FOR ANY MUM CONSIDERING LAUNCHING HER OWN BUSINESS?

A

Understand your own, personal monthly needs, do a small market study, don’t go for niche products, try it out and then see how it goes – be brave!

*With very special thanks to Tania’s Tea House, Dubai.

Check out the world’s 7th Most Instagrammable cafe at www.taniasteahouse.com

Lucy Wildman

Lucy Wildman

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