During this time (and always!) it is so important to support local and small businesses in our communities, and 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 spoke to Mandy Köbke – owner of Toy Box.ae about being an entrepreneur, running a a business while also running a family, and how she has adapted to the changes that Covid-19 had brought to her business.
What is your business about and why did you start it?
I started Toybox as an E-commerce business after my first son was born and I did not find any high quality and educational toys in the UAE which I liked. Toybox was born.
I saw an opportunity in improving customer service. I started to import educational wooden toys from my home country Germany, slowly added more brands that enabled us to tell a beautiful toy story and offering a personalized service and quick deliveries.
What do you love about the business?
I love the direct contact with our customers and to chat with them. Especially when our customers post about Toybox on their Instagram and share a photo of their children playing with a toy that they purchased from us – it makes me very happy to see the smiling kids faces. I take a lot of input in regards of product suggestions from them.
How do you manage your time between running a business and a family?
Time management is a very tough challenge and we sit together during meal time and play games in the evenings.
I also switch off my phone weekends and enjoy quality time with my family.
How has Covid-19 affected your business and how have you adapted?
Before Covid-19 most of our customers came from Dubai, as this is where we are based. Since the shutdown we do have customers all across the GCC and are very happy that our toys reach all parts of the GCC. As any other E-commerce company we have seen an increased number of orders and our main goal is to deliver quickly and not let any family wait for their orders.
We started to work with various courier companies and as well deliver to remote areas with our own delivery car.
Any piece of advice to other small business owners or anyone wanting to start their own business?
I do strongly believe in a small business community where one small business supports another.
Talking a lot to other small business owners makes me stronger as I see they also have similar challenges and we can solve them together. I would say there is a solution to every task and to never give up before solving it. Setting up a business takes a lot of strength and of course means to take a big risk, but it also means a dream to become true – and not to have to ask yourself the question what would have happened if I had not tried it.
Find out more about Toy Box.
You might also like: 5 DIY Crafts to Do this Weekend