Tejar Dubai's first event to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) was held on Thursday, with the participation of local talents who exhibited their skills in different fields like graphic designs, perfumes, lifestyle magazines, handmade chocolates and architecture.
The event was held with the support of Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in cooperation with the Private Office of Sheikh Majid.
"Our contribution is mainly to inspire young entrepreneurs and upcoming ones in their projects, where we share our business plans and how we have developed our branding and how we created our product," Meitha Al-Mazrooei, a WTD team member, told Arab News.
"Obviously we were more than happy when we were invited to be part of this event because we faced a lot of difficulties starting up and we realize how beneficial it would be to share both our mistakes and successes with other young entrepreneurs," Al-Mazrooei said.
"WTD is an architecture and design publication that was founded a year ago based on the lack of documentation of spaces and buildings of the region. So, we thought of initiating this for preservation of design thoughts and discussion in this area of the world," Al-Mazrooei added.
The teams members of WTD consists of seven multinational graduates from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and other countries. They all graduated from the American University of Sharjah, with architecture major.
"During our studies, we could not find a reference to go back to in terms of learning our context for the region and that is how it all started. We thought of collecting information and documenting in buildings that work for our region in terms climate and sustainability, whichcan be referred to when thinking of design," she said.
On the growth of WTD, Al-Mazrooei said: "Our team is growing because we have an interactive aspect to the publication, we are not limited to in-house contributors rather we interact with our readers to participate and even criticize our content and add to it. Hence, we have created a two-way dialogue to engage and inspire our readers as well as to win their loyalty."
She added: "We are looking for potentials to design furniture and spaces that we wish to go live from print to reality in Dubai as we would like to utilize our acquired knowledge and capabilities to implement that."
Moving from architecture to a mix of graphic design, fashion and style, Fatma Al-Mulla, a young Emirati graphic designer, shared her colorful experience with Arab News.
"FMM is a pop-culture brand, which I started by placing my illustrations on a blog through which I received great feedback and inquiries of how to use my designs in a clothing style.”
Fatma Al-Mull said: “So, after going through an extensive research and broad readings, I decided to put my designs on t-shirts but in a way that would differentiate my brand from other designers. Now, my brand is known for its peplum cut T-shirts; and picking up from there, I thought to diversify my product to reach a wider segment of audience. So, I decided to do brand extensions via an accessories line such notebooks as well as bags and pouches. I would not call myself a fashion designer as my label is a mix of pop art and culture, which is my signature touch of illustrations with a touch of sense of humor that expressed in Arabic wording but Emirati dialect," she added.
Al-Mulla said: "This is to encourage expatriates and visitors of Dubai, an English-oriented city, to discover more about the culture of Dubai in a modern and funny way." On how it all began, she explains: "It all started when I could not find a job that suited me. As I looked for a job in graphic design, I went to private and governmental sectors, however, most of them needed graphic designers but within the marketing department and in very long working hours."
Al-Mulla's struggle to find a suitable job ended when she started working on her humorous illustrations and from there it was developed into a growing business and FMM has become a known young brand in the region with a promising future and great potential.
She added: "My products are now available in 13 boutiques around the Gulf, six in Dubai and others in Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and two in Saudi Arabia — a Cream boutique in Jeddah and a LEO's boutique opening soon in Alkhobar. I was also part of an activity for Oasis magazine in Harvey Nichols, Riyadh."
"Tola is an Emirati perfume brand, it is a niche brand that is inspired by luxury perfumes. Our brand had a strong start as it sold out internationally in London as we are finalizing with Selfridge's department store and in Paris in a specialized niche perfume store," Dhaher bin Dhaher, founder of Tola Perfumes, said.
"Our brand is part of Links investments; we needed to carefully plan the idea before introducing it to the world. So, the long process of creating the brand came actually before launching it. We have spent 3 years developing the concept, packaging, juices, perfumes, all in-house." Tola perfumes are available locally in our boutique in Jumeirah as well as Le Jardin De Perfume boutique in Abu Dhabi mall.
Mohammad Al-Banna, one of the founders of Emirates Diaries that focuses on young Emirati talents, spoke about the concept of the magazine. Al-Banna said: "The issue you are holding in your hands is our first issue. It highlights the culture of UAE which is also resembled in the logo that is shaped as the UAE map outline with a twist."
On the content, Al-Banna said: "Our writers are usually Emirati students from various universities who note down short stories, their views on different aspects or interviews with people whom they have met. In Emirates Diaries you would find about small and medium entrepreneurs as well as different talents in poetry, photography and more. In the meantime our magazine is distributed in UAE cafes, universities and boutiques and we are planning to go for hotels as well. However, our main goal is to distribute it either in Etihad Airways or Emirates Airline."
Overall, Tejar Dubai is accomplishing its stated mission — fostering the development of a more diverse, knowledge-based economy to enhance Dubai’s position in the global economic landscape. This program will work to create a supportive environment in which knowledge activities can be cultivated, gestate and mature.