During this time (and always!) it is so important to support local and small businesses in our communities. Plus it’s great for the economy too! We are constantly inspired by the ambition and resilience of small business founders and feel that the risks that they take lead to innovation and help in moving the world forward.
Inspired by these entrepreneurs and their stories, we recently chatted with Oriol – owner of Alpargata Uris, about being an entrepreneur, running a small business while also running a family, and how he has adapted to the changes that Covid-19 had brought to his business.
What is your business about and why did you start it?
We bring to GCC selected handcrafted footwear brands for women, men and kids. Our brands are all made in Spain, using artisanal techniques, eco-friendly materials and with a touch of Mediterranean character without sacrificing comfort. Our most popular brands, Toni Pons and Castell Menorca, can be found in top venues such as Galleries Lafayette, Level Shoe District, House of Fraser, noon.com.
Everything started when we couldn’t find in Dubai the summer-style footwear we love (espadrilles and avarcas), so we decided to bring them here and test if those would fit in the GCC life-style and culture.
What do you love about your business?
It is very satisfying helping companies from your country of origin to expand into new regions and receiving appreciation from the owners. It is also very rewarding discovering the passion of GCC customers for artisanal manufactures! Especially with the possibility to purchase those items locally. One of the things I love the most is the team we have built in these years to operate the business, whom are all women except myself.
How do you manage your time between running a business and a family?
Working from Home (or from a coffee shop) has been the norm from 5 years ago for me and part of the team. W-f-H has provided the flexibility required to spend more time with my family during the day. Plus with a little bit of organization, have a nice life-work balance.
How has Covid-19 affected your business and how have you adapted?
Yes, it has deeply affected our company. With the temporary closure of the retail outlets and the change of consumer priorities during this first phase of Covid-19. We have taken the opportunity to emphasize and strengthen our online presence. This, done through marketplaces / own website as well as re-thinking the way we used to serve our customers.
It has been also the perfect time to work on things that we have been postponing due to lack of time, as well as to optimize our internal processes and platforms to become more efficient.
Any piece of advice to other small businesses owners or anyone wanting to start their own business?
In the current times, with technology and the possibility to disrupt, it’s never been easier to start a company! At the same time it’s never been harder to build one successfully. Try to be as rational as possible, stay emotionally unattached with the business and select the best opportunity that arises. If you’re more passionate about founding a business than the business itself, you can fall into a trap.
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