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. We 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 Sara Chemmaa – owner of Citron, about being an entrepreneur, running a small business while also running a family, and how she has adapted to the changes that Covid-19 has brought to her business.
What is your business about and why did you start it?
Citron is a family business based in Dubai that offers an innovative range of products from beautiful printed lunchboxes, food jars, snack boxes, lunch bags, water bottles and food cutters that make mums and kids’ lives easier. Founded by a mother that had a fussy eater, who came up with a product to deal with the situation, since its launch in 2017 with 1 product, Citron has gone on to dominate the lunchbox and back to school market of the GCC, selling over 60,000 products, winning a number of awards and proving quite the force to be reckoned with.
What do you love about your business?
I love the fact that it has a true purpose, it really helps mothers make meals time fun and it helps kids have “fun” healthy meals. I cannot express the feeling when I see mothers send us review saying thanks to your cutters, my kids ate all their fruits and veggies etc.
How do you manage your time between running a business and a family?
I have 3 kids, my son is 4 and my twins are now 9 months, and an amazing support system, the most amazing husband and a SUPER nanny. I am a planner by “essence” and I have excel files for everything. Usually I work from home in the afternoons and spend quality time with the kids between calls/meetings
How has Covid-19 affected your business and how have you adapted?
At first when COVID outbreak started in the UAE, I felt very happy to be locked with the kids! I could enjoy quality time with them, so COVID was perfect for my family life.
For my business, I had to take a decision in regards to production in March, I decided to believe that schools will reopen and that parents will need back to school products, I am very happy that I took that decision in March as we are almost sold out and we are witnessing a massive demand from the UAE but also other GCC countries.
Also, during COVID time with my team we worked on new ideas, we designed a teen collection, new cutleries, ice packs. We also recently launched a new brand called Petit Bento. Which targets older kids and young adults that need a lunchbox that is safe, doesn’t leak but is affordable. Petit Bento proved to be a true success as we sold most quantities within few weeks post launch.
Any piece of advice to other small businesses owners or anyone wanting to start their own business?
Believe in yourself and make sure you have a strong support system, launch test and then grow. Failure is part of the journey and if you do fail then fail quickly stand up and try again. There is no reason why some can do it and others can’t. The secret is perseverance.
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