It’s throw back time here at Melltoo and today we’re reminiscing about the Instagram Entrepreneurship: The Key to Succeeding in Style event that we hosted on May 20th at the In5 Innovation Hub in Dubai Media City. The evening that we spent with our lovely speakers and guests, which amounted to more than 100, was defined by a wonderful feeling of passion, support and camaraderie. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here is a brief highlight of the evening’s whys, whos, whats, hows and take away lessons.
Why did Melltoo host the Instagram Entrepreneurship the Key to Succeeding in Style event?
Since the introduction of Instagram in 2010, it has become a huge hub for talented and pioneering female entrepreneurs, especially in the GCC. The internet and various social media platforms have allowed more and more women to enter the world of business, where they are quickly becoming industry powerhouses in their own right. Having said that, there are still very few event and resources available to support female micro-entrepreneurs who are starting their businesses in the UAE. Subsequently, the Melltoo team decided to host an event where passionate female entrepreneurs could come together, learn from each other and provide moral support to advance female entrepreneurship in the UAE. In addition to hosting events for these women to connect, the Melltoo team is also keen on using it’s platform to promote female entrepreneurship in the UAE. With it’s new Pay&Ship service, Melltoo will provide users with an in-app payment system and a convenient delivery option, which will allow passionate female entrepreneurs to focus on growing their business, while we handle the logistics.
“Melltoo is looking for beta users for our new Pay&Ship service! Are you interested? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Pay&Ship Beta User” today!”
Who spoke at the event?
1) Fatma Mohammed Obaid AlMulla
An Emarati Visual artist, graduated from the American University of Sharjah, majored in Visual Communication (graphic design) and minored in Photography. Fatma has always been interested in art/design/ photography/ traveling and has participated in numerous exhibitions in the UAE showcasing digital photography. She recently created her own khaleeji pop-culture brand named “FMM” (the 3 initials of her name, Fatma Mohammed AlMulla) where she observes social and cultural problems, stereotypes and misconceptions and addresses them via detailed illustrations and tongue and cheek Arabic captions. Created in Dubai with love, FMM by Fatma alMulla is now stocked all over the Gulf. Instagram: @FMMbyFatmaAlMulla
2) Ayesha Siddequa
Originally from India Ayesha lived most of her life in the Middle East. 12+ years of corporate life came to an end when she decided to pursue her passion of running her own business. Ayesha started her label Ayesha Siddequa in 2014; a collections of Abaya’s and Women’s ready-to-wear for her customers who are chic and glamorous with an edge. Ayesha is also the Creative Director of Future Fashion, an online marketplace that brings together sustainable fashion brands from around the world. Instagram: @ayeshasiddequa
3) Latifa Al Shamsi
A Dubai based blogger who has an immense love for her city and everything beautiful. She started blogging around 5 years ago, and 2 years ago she started a clothing line with her sisters called Queen L out of her passion for creating and designing. Latifa’s growing love for fashion has motivated her to start her own line of Latifa Al Shamsi ready to wear and accessories. Expect Latifa’s first launch, called the Capsule Ramadan collection, to be available starting May 2015. Instagram: @bylatifalshamsi
What did we learn?
Panel 1: The Story of Fatma Al Mulla and the FMM Brand
During her key note speech, Fatma Al Mulla discussed her love of graphic design and how her Emirati pop brand, FMM, came to be. Here were some of the highlights of Melltoo‘s chat with Fatma:
Knowing and thoroughly understanding your demographic is a key element of effective content creation and marketing.
Likes are not an accurate reflection of your popularity or the popularity of the items you sell. As an Instapreneur, you have to differentiate between “likers” and actual customers and find creative ways to turn the former into the latter.
The timing and frequency of posts is important when it comes to creating a loyal fan following on Instagram.
Observing follower behavior (i.e. likes and comments) can give you important insights on your customer base and inspiration for future products and services.
The effective use of hashtags can help Instagram posts reach a wider audience, while the ineffective use of hashtags can make you seem desperate or even make you lose followers.
Panel 2: Latifa Al Shamsi, Ayesha Siddequa and Fatma Al Mulla talk Insta-Business
During this panel, our talented Instapreneur speakers shared the successes and challenges that they faced starting their businesses and their best business practices with the audience. Here were some of the highlights of Melltoo‘s chat with the panelists:
- Learn from the businesses around you! Define your business’ milestones, analyze how other people in your field are accomplishing their goals and see how you can use this knowledge to enhance your own business and goals.
- Creativity is the key to success in any business. There might be many businesses out there that have a similar idea as yours, so creative branding and marketing are essential when you are trying to set yourself a part from your competitors.
- Creating relevant, timely and attractive content is more important than using 50 hashtags when you are trying to build a successful brand and presence on Instagram.
- See what other brands are doing to promote their products and services, so you can discover new ways to promote your own Insta-business in the physical and/or virtual market.
- Finding an easy and efficient way to receive payments from customers and/or deliver purchased items is vital, because it will save you precious time, resources and energy.
The Melltoo Story and Female Empowerment
Sharene Lee, the co-founder of Melltoo, wrapped up the Instagram event by talking about her journey as an entrepreneur and how she envisions using Melltoo as a platform to promote female entrepreneurship in the UAE. Here were some of the highlights of Sharene’s talk:
Check out what our new insta-friends had to say about the event:
Shaheen Nouman: Cherry Cross blog post
Naila Arshad: NailaArshadNaz blog post
Sue Lobo: Browse and Brushes blog post
Dhanusha Golukan: Khaleej Times news article
With the long term vision of building a strong community that leverages technology to advance female entrepreneurship in the UAE, Melltoo is excited to announce that it is launching an innovative webinar series that aims to provide female entrepreneurs a platform:
- To learn about the different technical aspects of their business
- To connect with professionals and experts in various fields in the UAE
- To host interactive dialogues that unlock the mysteries of entrepreneurial success in the UAE
- To get UAE-specific advice on topics and issues that affect female entrepreneurs in the region