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Baby steps: Can a kids shop find success online?
Inspired by her own experiences of limited resources and right products for kids in the region, Mona Ataya hopes to make it easier for other mums with her latest project.
October 26, 2011 5:11 by Precious de Leon
“My husband went to the US with three empty luggages and came back with the baby products we felt were the best for our first born,” said, Mona Ataya, CEO of Mumzworld, a bilingual shopping website dedicated to moms, baby and children that’s just launched this October.
“We laugh about it now. But back then, we wanted the best for our twins and couldn’t find what we needed here in the UAE.”
That was in 2003, when the veteran marketer just found out she was having twins on her first pregnancy. Now she is a mother of three and carries under her belt the marketing experience from working at P&G and Johnson & Johnson, along with the online and entrepreneurial background from her more recent affiliation as one of the pioneer staff at Bayt.com.
It was during her time at Bayt.com, a company that started in 2000 on just high hopes and low resources, when Ataya says she found her passion for creation and development of a company or business idea.
Three years later, when she found out she was pregnant for the first time, and with twins no less, she went on a research rampage, scouring stores and studying up on what kinds of items are needed for newborn twins.
“I walked through malls, tried to get brand comparisons and asked questions in big name baby retailers and got nowhere. I finally searched online and got a list of things I needed and I realised that 90 percent of what’s on that list wasn’t available here. Or at least it was very difficult to find them,” said Ataya.
THE BIRTH OF AN IDEA
So it was almost natural that Ataya would come up with the business plan and concept for a single comprehensive online platform, where parents can purchase both products and get information.
A few people cautioned her about some key challenges, however, namely the nightmare of logistics and getting retailers onboard.
Ataya was able to solve the former by delivering products themselves if it’s a local purchase (within Dubai) and an open contract with several couriers, choosing the most economical courier service according to a particular order.
As for the retailers, in the end Ataya decided to approach the principal brand owners and distributors, who were onboard got on board—this detour was a blessing in disguise as it allowed Mumzworld to offer more competitive pricing. The company now has more than 230 brands, including ones that are not available in stores anywhere in the country.
“The company philosophy will always be about giving consumers a wider selection at lower prices,” says Ataya.
SHARING IS CARING
Aside from the gift registry feature, what will most likely catch consumer’s attention is the reviews section for each product. All the ratings and reviews come from the buyers and none of them are solicited by company. Each product can also be added on a customer’s Facebook page or tweeted.
While the company is still in its infancy, unbiased reviews on each product should be a testament to how useful the site will be to customers. And, perhaps, how the brands will receive negative or less than glowing reviews—but that of course, we’ll just have to watch and wait out for.
WAITING TO GROW
Currently stocking more than 24,000 mother, baby and child products, Mumzworld houses brands including Lamaze, OshKosh B’Gosh, Phillips Avent, Disney and Lego, as well as Kaiya Eve Pettiskirts and Lemon Loves Lime, with more brands signing-up to the site on a daily basis.
Three weeks into its launch already sees 20,000 visits to the site so far and 554 people liking its Facebook page. The company will start promoting the site after Eid Al Adha holidays, with a focus on marketing through sampling, live chatting on its website, and presentations at nurseries and schools. While its digital nature allows the site to be accessed from around the world, Ataya is keen to first focus mainly on…
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