Name of business:

What do you do?
We are an online marketplace that focuses on handmade products made by artists and crafters in the UAE. We provide a platform for local sellers allowing them to showcase their products both here and internationally. We also ship globally.

How did you get started?
As avid travellers, we are total suckers for all things local. And every time we'd go somewhere new, we would end up bringing back each other authentic handmade gifts for each other. Something that seemed missing in the UAE.

We stumbled upon ARTE and (after going almost broke buying literally everything at every market) we realized there was a gap. Sellers wanted to be online but didn't have the technical know-how and found the process of setting up a website for themselves very complicated.

We knew then we could offer them something to fill that gap. And voila! Three years later, happened.

Who and what inspire you?
Anything and everything to do with design/crafting/DIY.

Grace Bonney of Design Sponge is a huge inspiration who started her empire with just a tiny lil' DIY blog. That gives us hope.

Australian blogger Geneva Vanderzeil who runs A Pair and a Spare offers some amazing DIY inspiration.

Apart from that, give us film and good design, and we're sold.
What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
On a commercial level, we want to make big buckets of money. Jokes apart, it's not something we had ever thought we would do. And it came together as a project that we were deeply passionate about and of course with a cool title called 'entrepreneur'. The model of our business is such that ideyna encourages sellers to be mini entrepreneurs themselves. So I suppose we can say that to us being an entrepreneur means supporting a local eco-system by using local resources and doing something original. We hope that we're able to encourage someone sitting at their house crafting away that they can also be entrepreneurs.

How do you split your time?
Nafisa is a producer/director and Ekta is a photographer/filmmaker. However, being a two-person team means we are everything. From designers, coders, writers, photographers, videographers to marketing managers and the janitor, there really isn't any room for splitting too much time. However, as frustrating as that can be, we've also come away learning a lot and have developed new skills like we never thought we'd ever put on our resume. For example, Nafisa can now juggle seven oranges. SEVEN ORANGES. No jokes.

What is your workspace like?
The good thing about being online is we get to work from home. YAY! Which means we have our pet cats/guinea pigs as colleagues and casual pajama day is everyday. Our workspace is quite organised and considering we end up creating our own content, our storage is stuffed with props galore for shoots, etc. Also, we are never short on cake. Ever.

What three items can't you live without?
Ekta: Chai, music and my camera. Nafisa: My feather pillow, books and computer games
Which UAE companies do you admire?
The Sameness Project
Darling, Let's Go Home.
ReMade DXB
Entrepreneur Middle East
Mawaheb For Beautiful People
Gulf Photo Plus

Why is supporting small businesses so important to you?
Small businesses are the backbone of an economy. Unfortunately, as much as the Dubai start up scene has grown, there is still quite a lack of support for small businesses in general. From technical knowhow to finances, you need to kind of learn as you go, or rather, grow. Without a business background or even massive funding, small businesses usually have to depend on friends, family and local community for support. Therefore, we are always looking to collaborate and welcome new ideas/opportunities on how we can grow further. For us, it's especially important because ideyna is a collective of smaller businesses underneath our umbrella. So the better we do, the better our sellers do and that has always been our main goal.

How can the community get involved in your business?
We are DIY junkies and are always looking for other DIYers. We love doing videos as well as DIY workshops. So get in touch if you would like to collaborate and we'd be more than happy to oblige. And of course, if you are a maker, come join us on ideyna.
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