A young girl of Indian origin in Dubai has come up with a game-changing print-on-demand e-marketplace that enables UAE residents to turn their hobbies into lucrative businesses.
Founded by Ashi Karun on her 20th birthday in April, the portal — Dude Just Dude — has become an overnight roaring hit. Karun’s success has led to an invitation to unpack Dude Just Dude at Gitex Future Stars — the region’s biggest technology event, Gitex, which will be held from October 17 to 21.
“Gitex Future Stars is arguably the ultimate meeting ground for start-ups and breakthrough ideas of the world. I’m excited to be part of it and am looking forward to meeting and learning from other Next-Gen innovators,” says Karun.
She reckons Dude Just Dude has what it takes to become the next Amazon, but solely for content creators.
Karun, who single-handedly conceived and built the portal, says she wants to empower the country’s creative community such as social influencers by connecting them with potential customers or social media followers.
“The concept is simple. For instance, if you’ve a creative design but no platform to sell it, then this is the place for you. All you have to do is to upload your designs, choose from a wide range of products such as T-shirts, travel bottles and coffee mugs. We’ll set up a dedicated store with a unique link that you could share with your customers, who will make the purchases without moving an inch from their respective locations,” she explained.
Once an order is placed by a customer, it’s sent to manufacturers for printing and packaging.
“The finished product is delivered to the customer’s doorstep by one of our dudes,” she said. “As soon as the customer has received the product and paid for it, the profit is transferred to your account,” she added.
The young entrepreneur said she conceived Dude Just Dude in a bid to self-finance her driving licence.
How did Karun hit upon the start-up’s name?
“Oh, it came from my catchphrase. I use the word ‘dude’ all the time. So, I thought I may as well name my start-up after it. The project took off during four sleepless nights, as I went about pasting insane amounts of sticky notes on my bedroom wall,” said an elated Karun, whose initial motto to launch a start-up has come full circle, as she recently received the driving licence.
Karun, a second-year college student, has recently hired several youngsters to help her run the platform.
She also hosts a weekly pop-up market — Missing in Action Markets (MIA) — a meeting ground for shopping accompanied by live music, open mics and a delicious spread.
“MIA was formed to support those who are engaged in creative pursuits. So far, the response has been overwhelming. We’ve an amazing nine-member team, comprising 15-20-year-old zoomers, or Gen Z, working with us. I want to become a unicorn, which is a shared vision of our team members,” she says,
Does Karun want to scale up and cash out?
The youngster is clear in her mind.
“No way,” she outright ruled out the proposition.
“It’s my baby. We’ve barely started. Our beginning may be humble, but our goals are lofty. Expect only the best from us,” she said.
Karun’s clarity of thought could define her start-up scaling dizzy heights in the near future.
“We aim to ensure that we don’t lose our mojo at the cost of our rapid growth,” she added.
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