Saudi doll maker’s business idea

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Doll-making is entrepreneur Ola Almehdar's answer to a lack of diversity in the children's toys market. (AN photo by Lojien Ben Gassem)
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Doll-making is entrepreneur Ola Almehdar's answer to a lack of diversity in the children's toys market. (AN photo by Lojien Ben Gassem)
Updated 04 February 2019
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Saudi doll maker’s business idea

  • Almehdar plans to produce dolls that represent the heritage and culture of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Entrepreneurial Saudi doll maker Ola Almehdar believes she may have hit upon the perfect business model.
The 26-year-old art graduate has set up her own enterprise creating dolls in the image of their owners.
She is already looking to the future with plans to recruit and train her own workforce to mass produce the toys.
Almehdar, who gained her art degree in Madinah, told Arab News: “The idea is to create custom-made dolls that simulate the personality of their owners, which includes their skin color, length and color of their hair, and their style of clothing.
“I have customers of all ages but generally it tends to be adults who buy the dolls for their kids,” she said.
Almehdar had the idea for her business after noticing a lack of diversity in the children’s toys market. At first, she struggled to source some of the necessary raw materials locally, but eventually managed to find what she needed online.
Her dolls take two days to create and up to five days to deliver to customers.
Almehdar said she had always been inspired by photos of Russian dolls, but when she was unable to order one for herself, she decided to make her own. She reckons her business idea could tap into a niche market in Saudi Arabia and her aim is to start teaching and training other people to produce the toys.
“I am aiming to establish a factory with professional workers who can create large and diverse numbers of these dolls,” she added.
Almehdar is also a talented painter and enjoys crocheting, sewing and other handicrafts.
She sells many of her products via social media platforms and at exhibitions. One of her most popular creations is a family portrait with 2-D dolls that pop out of the frame. Almehdar also plans to produce dolls that represent the heritage and culture of the Kingdom.


Al-Jubeir meets UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Updated 26 April 2019
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Al-Jubeir meets UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

LONDON: Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir met the British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the British Foreign Office in London on Thursday.

The two sides held talks during which they reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries and regional and international developments.

The meeting was attended by the Kingdom’s Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber.

Al-Jubeir also met with Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt and a number of UK Parliament members at the Saudi Embassy in London.

Earlier, Hunt highlighted the strategic partnership between Britain and Saudi Arabia and said that it would help British efforts to end the war in Yemen. “The strategic relationship that the UK has with Saudi Arabia is what allows us to have a huge influence in bringing about peace in Yemen,” he said.