Does the market need another e-commerce platform? According to Malik Shehab, the answer is yes. The founder of beauty platform Golden Scent tells Arabian Business that people are always looking for more choice, and he’s going to give it to them.
Why did you decide to launch GoldenScent?
When my co-founder Ronny Froehlich and I were living in Europe, we noticed the boom of the e-commerce industry, especially in the beauty segment. Our first step was to conduct market research and come up with a sustainable business plan. Along the way, we found out that in the GCC, people spend four to six times more money on beauty than the average person in Europe.
Considering the unique benefits that e-commerce offers, such as shopping for a variety of products from the comfort of your home, we knew Golden Scent would be a success story.
Why does the market need yet another e-commerce platform?
My partner and I believe the customer has the right to have as many options as possible to make the best purchasing decision. Simply put, we are giving customers more choice, and a different kind of experience compared to other e-commerce sites. We focus on the added value factor.
Is the GCC region’s e-commerce market getting crowded, or is there more room for growth?
E-commerce in the GCC is relatively small compared to the other regions around the world, since it’s a new market. Based on market statistics, e-commerce is still growing and improving day by day to deliver a better and richer experience to the customer, so there is still much room for space and more players.
What do you expect or want Golden Scent to grow into?
We want to grow the company into the number one beauty site in the Middle East, and a place where a perfume and beauty addict can find anything they need and want.
Are you looking to raise more funding, and by when?
You will hear good news very soon. That’s all I can share for the time being.
How difficult was it to raise funding in the beginning?
At first, it was challenging to find the right investors who believed in our vision and agreed with us on the same ideas and direction we want to take the company in. However, when the business started growing and the orders were coming in, it was easier to convince the right investors to fund the platform.
What were some of the challenges you faced when you first started the business and which difficulties are you facing at the moment?
The biggest challenge for me was finding the right partner and investor who understood my vision and goals. It’s also important to be data-driven and collect the right reports at the right time, particularly at the start of your business. Right now we’re growing as a business and our team is getting bigger by the second, so we’re working on ensuring the growth is smooth and successful.
What are some solutions for the SME funding gap in the MENA region?
We have to build a foundation and implement regulations not only for companies to invest, but also for families who might be interested in investing in startups but don’t know how or where to start.
There is current competition between malls and e-commerce, but some experts argue that the two complement each other. What are your thoughts on this? Are you a believer that malls will eventually be extinct?
The market is one big pie and everyone is trying to take their share of it. E-commerce is taking part of the business but I don’t think malls will ever become extinct. People will still want to go to the mall and spend time there, malls will just have to find more ways to keep entertaining people.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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