By Lubna Hamdan
The social media platform helped many a start-ups launch their brands sans hefty marketing budgets.
Because it hosts over 500 million global users, social media app, Instagram has inevitably become home to hundreds of thousands of small businesses – including many in the UAE.
Here, they share ways the virtual platform helped them connect to customers and turn their personal passions into money-making concepts.
Wild Wood sells eco-friendly eyewear and watches made with polarised lenses and natural wood frames. For every product it sells, it plants a tree in the UAE.
Each of its products are also named after endangered species, such as the Javan Rhino and Pgymy Elephant, in order to raise awareness. Its founder, Luke Morris, said Instagram helped generate exposure for the brand without costly advertising expenses..
“Without a huge marketing budget, it can be challenging as a small business to generate exposure and build awareness of our brand. Instagram enables us to do that and steadily we’ve created an audience that has similar values to ours and hopefully we can provide a little daily inspiration too,” Luke Morris, Wild Wood
Bohemian Geek specialises in handmade ladies’ leather sandals inspired by Ancient Greece. It was co-founded by sisters Stella and Valia Syropoulou to bring Bohemian-style and high-quality summer sandals to the Middle East.
According to the sisters, Instagram gave them the chance to showcase what they are passionate about and allowed them to reach more women in the region and worldwide.
Situated in art-filled area Al Quoz, The Cartel Dubai is an art gallery and luxury concept store for men and women that showcases the collections of over 60 international designers.
Its founders said Instagram allowed them to quickly and easily grow their business.
“With Instagram, we can showcase our essentials with ease and engage with our ever-growing audience. Our page allows our customers to shop quietly without the hassle of going to the malls.” The cARTel
GCC-based online concept store The Bowery Company sells New York furniture and accessories from New York across to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon and Jordan.
According to its founders, Instagram helped them acquire a large online community and allowed them to turn a passion into a leading online design store.
Focusing on quality-tested home products for children, MarMarLand sells everything from lamps to cushions, blankets and poufs.
Its managing owner, Maren Gerber said, “With MarMarLand we seek to inspire people to consider design focused, eco-friendly brands when decorating their homes or buying gifts for their loved ones. We love connecting with our Instagram followers and seeing how they feature our products in their homes.”
LokaLoka sells so-called “practical” bags for women who care more about the bag than the label.
Translating to “crazy” in Latin, LokaLoka represents women who are crazy about their own personal style and aren’t defined by big-name brands or trends.
Its owner Monique Wilson said Instagram helped her find like-minded customers.
“From grassroots to a small budding business it never ceases to amaze me how we manage to find like-minded souls everyday through merely sharing our daily grind on Instagram.”
Labelling itself as “the Gulf’s online artisan marketplace,” Little Majlis sells quirky, Arabian-inspired gifts. Its founding partners said the brand’s customers have a love for creative and unique gifts.
Instagram, as a global hub of creativity, is the perfect platform for them to reach their audience.
Founded by and named after Sheen Bin Ajmal, the UAE-based brand sells caps and t-shirts branded with slogans written in Arabic, such as ‘Princess’ or ‘King’.
Having launched on Instagram, the brand used the platform as a shop window to reach “thousands of customers and members of our community across the globe,” according to its owner.
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