Getting ready for your ‘big’ day can be daunting with a million questions springing to mind ” Where do I start?” “Who do I go too?” “How much will this cost me ?” Well, luckily all these questions can easily be answered in an online portal designed specifically for the Emirati community in the UAE called yebab. The recession may have caused a ripple effect around the world but one thing that was untouchable was the wedding industry within the UAE. It’s been estimated that an average Emirati wedding costs around 300,000 AED – that’s a whooping $80,000 ! So if you’ve got that much money to blow on your big day, you obviously want to spend it on the right people,services and products. As a make-up artist based in Dubai, I’ve met and worked with the co-founder of yebab, Mareyah Mohammed, and have also listed my services on this wedding portal. From the time it started,in less than 12 months, Yebab-UAE has grown more than 10 times in terms of traffic, 3 times in terms of pages viewed per one visit, and double in terms of revenue! Here’s a little intro on the woman who started the very 1st online portal for wedding directories in the UAE.
Co-founder of yebab.com
How did you start with Yebab.com and how long has it been running for?
goes back to 2008. It is the biggest Wedding Directory in the UAE and it is also a member of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Establishment for Small & Medium Enterprises. We initially received an investment from N2V, a leading venture capital company which specializes in online start-ups. You can also get more information through this link: http://yebab.com/en/about-us-0
By February 2012, we will be announcing our new expansion to KSA and Egypt and a new yebab website with various design & features . Another very exciting project that’s been keeping us busy, is a Cartoon that’s soon to be released. It’s a joint project with “Kharabeesh” – a media production & publishing company specialized in online entertainment and cartoons. The Cartoon will be about an Emirati Bride who gets proposed and goes through all the stress and drama of handling and managing her ‘big’ day!
What obstacles did you face starting yebab as an Emirati woman, and how did you manage to overcome these issues?
I would say that it requires a lot of patience and determination. What I found most difficult was that being the first to start in this domain, YOU have to set the standards. You don’t have anything to refer to, where as it definitely helps to have mentorship with people in the same field.
Before twitter and Facebook even peaked up, people depended on printing material and tangible marketing materials, so gaining credibility was the main goal at the start, especially when you had to start from scratch as an online business directory.
What was the initial response from friends and family when you decided on starting yebab ?
Complete and absolute support all the way!
What is a typical working day for you?
It’s 24/7 even during sleeping hours! A startup business takes a lot of your time and effort more than you initially expected and guess what, when deciding to enter the growth or scaling phase, it becomes even more challenging. So it’s all about time management !
Do you have any fashion obsessions? Who’s your favorite designer ?
Focusing on Yebab
and giving it my full-time and attention, my style has become more practical in terms of my Abayas, Shoes, Bags. I depend on a documents bag more now, I wear more flat shoes and my abayas have become more simple.
Regarding my fashion obsessions, I would have to say Donna Karan and Celine! Especially when it comes to their shoes and bags as Phoebe Philo has made a major change in the designs of Celine’s accessories. Otherwise, what always attracts me to designs is the creativity side of it combined with elegance. My attitude in terms of my clothing is to be different from the others. I don’t like to wear something that is worn by a lot of people.
What advice would you give to anyone that wants to start a business in Dubai or anywhere else for that matter ?
Believe in yourself. Be confident no matter what happens even if there is no support from anyone around you. Determination is Vital. Never look back ! and last but not least, is to be EXTRA patient!
Last question Mareyah, what is your fashion must-have ? What can you not leave your house without ?