Handmade items/Hobby ~ business in Dubai.

Dear Friends,

Often I have been asked on my blog if I run classes and could employ people and/or for some kind of guidance in this field.

Recently amongst the many calls I receive for some guidance was a call from Rida Farooq who also wished for some direction in this matter, staying in UAE.

Firstly, by no means, am I, an expert but I could only provide some of my own experience in this field.

I am a papercrafter and create handmade greeting cards, altered art, book binding and recylable items.  To view a full range of my cards and papercrafting creations, please click here.  In the past I have taught in schools and institutes but realized that these venues provide a large limitation on budget and generally dont fullfill their pledge when they advertize a product to their clients.

Therefore, I decided to offer private classes for children as well as ladies. I offer classes from my home at the Arabian Ranches every quaterly. For the children, there is a beginners and advanced art class covering all aspects and mediums of creating art works including water colors, arcylics etc.  And for the ladies, classes are limited to the various aspects of papercrafting.  I am not a sewer (which I would have loved to be !)

5 years back, I chose not to get involved in full time business for various reasons which do not apply now. But becoz you could be in a similar situation I am disclosing it to you.

1: My kids were alot younger and I prefered to do something on the side, rather than jump into a full time commitment which I may not be able to fullfill.

2: Business, in this part of the world is rather complicated with the involvement of trade liscence, visa procedures, having a partner’s constant involvment ( to have a business in Dubai or UAE, one must have a local “arbab” who is the local representative or sponsor of the business, although his involvment could be limited, in terms of finance and decisions, nevertheless, one has to pay him a fee on an annual basis, depending on the individual case )

I too, like many, prefered to manage from the comfort of my home while waiting for the right opportunity. (Which by the way, may not be the most ideal situation for you, but it “WAS” for me.)

Having said that, now, for what you should do, if you feel you have a talent which has the potential of bringing in, monetary gains ? Well, Primarily find out what exactly you wish to pursue ? You have the choice of selling your product or selling your skills ? Which would you prefer. That is ‘THE’ most important question. Please realize that most people who visit us in our homes or our friends, are going to praise our “ART” skills, becoz that is the polite thing to do, but are they appreciating it so much as to buy it ?

Next, having determined which direction you choose, “NETWORK”  … It is a KEY WORD. Talk to people at work or spouces’ friends, or neighbours, friends of friends and spread the word that you can offer some skills or you have products which you would like to sell.  Which ever, but first find out from your community, what response you get.

Another important aspect is “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION” as they say in the business jargan . Perhaps you reside rather far from where your potential customers are. Well, then you have to find a way or a channel to come to them, if they cant come to you.

Here, I can also suggest that selling online is also another option. It has benefitted several folks, I know. And its really not as complicated as we make it out to be. There are several sites where you can join to be able to sell thru eg : ETSY.

One drawback about handmade items is that , being handmade, naturally they are always above the regular prices, and there is generally only a particular kind of clientele which appreciates handmade. So reaching them is the question here.

In my opinion, ARTE ~ Artisians of the Emirates,  provides an excellent and very balanced platform for the new hobbyist. They are a monthly “souk” ~ exhibition/fair where you can participate on a monthly basis once you register with them. What I would advise to some one like Rida, is that you should probably visit one of their exhibitions/fairs which is held every first friday of the month at the Times Square on Sheikh Zayed road. Get a feel of how they exhibit and what are the kind of products that sell, talk to the vendors, and see how you think, you can place yourself there.  You can reach arte from here : ARTE  or join their facebook group here : Arte

One amongst the score of ladies selling handmade crafty items at the fair. She creates fantastically creative wall hangings.

If you feel more confident then this could be one way you could choose to move in. Another permanent option is where you take up a space/store/shop in a small sized mall or a larger mall. Depending on your budget, these are the basic two ways to go in. Both can turn out to be fruitful provided you believe you have what it takes to make it suceed.

I know of ladies, who have started out from Arte, moved on to get a space thru the Freezone but they struggled, becoz they were located far from the reach of the “REAL” client and I also know of women, who persisted with home business for years before actually opening up large size stores in more renowned malls. We all have our own situations to deal with, so in the end, it boils down to what your situation and budget is like.

I could go on forever on this subject but the most important thing is, that you set your priorities right first and see where you place your hobby/skills. There are scores of books written on this subject. But the bottom line is, as my closest friend Judith put it when I was in a delimma too, was “Running a store/shop/full fledge business is like getting on an ongoing  threadmill”  If you get what I mean. Are you 100% committed ? If so, and if not so too, trying out opportunities is alot better than waiting to let things happen to us, get out there, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH and atleast make an effort to know where you stand with your product.

If I can be of any help. Feel free to contact me.

I hope you found my little article informative, inspiring and educational. If so, kindly leave a comment to tell me how and what you feel.

Dubai Metro.

One of the most spectacular achievements in Dubai’s history has got to be the DUbai Metro. It was inaugegrated on 9-9-09 at time 9pm9mins9secs. Not that Arabs are superstitious culturally but I suppose they have gotten into the habit of making records of everything.

Ofcourse the majority of the riders at the moment are maily joy riders, and probably after a month of so, they will be able to get an estimate of the real traveller. So there we were on Wednesday morning at 8:30o in the morning excietedly going thru the map at the station, and what a modern and fantastic station that is. The decor is exceedingly modern and what I fancied most was how the old generation pictures were displayed thru out Union square station.

So we started out from Mall of the Emirates station and rode to Union Square. The display board were placed prominently to indicate the arrival time of the trains. Small things that count were really well taken care off. The ride was ofcourse smooth. The feel of the train itself was very fresh, clean and new. And then ofcourse the breath taking views. How I regret not having had kept my camera on the charger for longer !!

People tend to take things for granted. I have realized the world is filled with people with “glass is half empty” mentality. People tend to bicker more …  Especially here in Dubai, people get pampered so much that they just never know how to be grateful for what has been given in ones plate. Some people can just never be satisfied leave alone happy @! 

The construction company has done an excellent job and the few teething issues are expected which is a part and parcel of every project worldwide. RTA, Road and transport authorities have taken over very well too.  They deserve a pat on the back. 

Just a few pics to share with you’ll :


the bay area, these doors open automatically only when the doors of the train open

the bay area, these doors open automatically only when the doors of the train open














Rules to Driving in Dubai

I found this very entertaining article at a community bloggers site called : UAE Community blog.  It has scores of issues related to Dubai and living here.  I am an optimist so although the below pointers may be true to a certain extent, in all honesty, almost all  of the Gulf is like that, if not worse !!!   

Dubai has been my home for the past two decades and I have been driving almost past one decade.   And I am so pleased to say that inspite of driving in all sorts of areas from Sharjah industrial area  to Deria Nasr square to Jebal Ali – – I’ve just had one small accident while waiting for my right at Al Barsha round about that too by the desperately impatient driver behind me !!!!!!!! What are the odds to that ?????

 Infact if you came from India and Pakistan or such places, you’d think, driving here was much more organized than there although the speed factor is the only reason why fatality in an accident is so high.  Kudus to Dubai RTA for all the fantastic bridges, flyovers, high ways and metros that are “work in progress”       We are with you.   I liked these comments becoz true as they are, there is something very comical about how the author ” James Hamilton”  has written them. Hang in there James, a decade or two and we’ll get there !!  

Quite frankly, there are scores of expats who have landed here in the past 5-7 years having heard of Dubai being a safe, welcoming and prosperous place to live and grow in … they are the ones who have not experienced life in the desert without an airconditioner and would become delirious if they had to walk without their fourwheel drive even if they had to cross the trade center roundabout !!  Complaining is their favorite passtime. Its like a hobby for them. Every lunch break they have to have a subject to brood about !!

Every young country grows gradually, and they all have teething problems, Dubai has grown drastically and the problems here, are the impatient and arrogant expat visitors who really know that they are going to stay here for not more than a year or two and would love to whine about just about anything under the sky ; who expect to transform an Arab Islamic country into a New york or Paris  !!

Agreed,  Driving here is not safe just like any other country … the accidents and casualties may be more than most countries, but when you have stayed in a third world country, driving here is relatively less chaotic.

Following are the rules from the site : UAE community Blog.       

1. If your road map is more than a few weeks old, throw it out and get a new one.

2. If you are in Rashidiya and your map is one day old, then it is already obsolete.

3. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Dubai has it’s own version of traffic rules, which can be summarized as “Hold on and pray!”

4. If it is your priority to cross, forget it and wait.

5. There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in Dubai . Everyone drives like that.

6. When you plan to get a new car, ask first about its acceleration from 80 to 160 Km/h (recommended: 3 seconds). Very important if you frequently use the Emirates Road

7. All directions start with Sheikh Zayed Road , which has no beginning and no end.

8. The morning rush hour is from 5:00 AM to 1:00 PM, The evening rush hour is from 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM .

9. Thursday’s rush hour starts Wednesday morning.

10. If you slow down at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended and then given a ticket by the Dubai Police.

11. If you are the first one at the intersection, when the light turns green ignore the car honking behind you and count to five to avoid crashing into one of the cars running the red light in cross-traffic.

12. Construction on all main roads is a way of life and a permanent form of entertainment. (Sorry for the inconvenience)

13. All unfamiliar sights are explained by the phrase, “Oh, we must be in Sharjah!”

14. Car horns are actually toys for big boys.

15. Anyone in a Land Cruiser, Tuned Patrol, jeep or Mercedes with tinted windows has the right of way. Period!

16. If you are driving a Corolla, Sunny, or another small Japanese car, stay on the far right lane. No comment!

17. Most roads mysteriously change names as you cross intersections.

18. To ask directions, you must have good knowledge of Hindi/ Malayalam

19. A trip across town will take a minimum of four hours, although Sheikh Zayed Road has an unposted minimum speed of 150 Km/h.

20. It is sobering to realize that local Arabs are taught how to drive by Malyalyee.

21. 18 wheeler trucks are one of the fastest vehicles in Dubai ; they can do 120 Km/h on Hatta-Oman Road when fully loaded.

22. The minimum acceptable speed on the Emirates Road is 160 km/h. Anything less is considered downright sissy.

23. Al Khail Road is Dubai’s daily version of NASCAR.

24. Dubai Autodrome has a new extension: The Emirates Road.