A one-stop-shop for family e-commerce

A one-stop-shop for family e-commerce
Aisha Alkhaja, founder and creative director of Little Wren

dubai - Aisha Alkhaja curates luxury products on Little Wren

By Muhammad Riaz Usman

Published: Sat 15 Sep 2018, 4:33 PM

Last updated: Sat 15 Sep 2018, 6:34 PM

Aisha Alkhaja's business venture was inspired through her own experience of becoming a mother. When Aisha was looking for baby items, she started searching for high-quality family brands. But she found it challenging to meet her requirements. Then she realised a gap in the marketplace for an online boutique which can cater to the needs of modern families.

"I got the idea to start Little Wren when I was pregnant with my son. While I was looking for unique unisex stylish clothing, some of them were not easy to find and took a lot of searching. After trying the products I bought on my son, I was able to see which were the best quality items. Then, I decided it would be great to put all these brands under one roof so that people could easily find them without having the hassle of searching - like I did," says Aisha, founder and creative director of Little Wren (littlewren.com).

The website has been operating in the United Kingdom since its launch in 2017. Little Wren stocks several brands, some of which include Krome Kids, Max and the Star, Me & Hayari, Kukukids and Hippy Chick.

As an Emirati, Aisha sees huge potential for business growth and a gap in the market for a family-focused e-commerce brand back home. In August, Aisha relocated the business and her family to Dubai. Little Wren already delivers internationally and now the UAE has become a central distribution hub for the shop, with plans of opening an office and distribution warehouse in Dubai.

"I have big plans for Little Wren next year and re-locating back to the Middle East was part of the strategy to not only centralise distribution, but also to fill a gap in the market," Aisha explains.

"We are a luxury brand that offers something for the whole family but we are also focused on customer service. We have carefully designed and selected our packaging so each order comes beautifully packed as either a gift to yourself or someone you love. We also feel the UAE is missing a platform where families can easily access unique and niche brands, such as the ones we stock on Little Wren, not just mass market brands," she continues.

Aisha believes that her idea is a game changer because online companies in the UAE stock more mass-produced items and big name brands.

"We stock independent brands that are tried and tested before they join the Little Wren family. Quality is the number one priority we search for in every brand we stock and this is put to test. If the item can withstand the test of childhood mess and come out looking as good as it did when I first purchased it, only then do we stock it. Most of the brands we stock are made by parents like myself who wanted to create something different for their children. I love that. The creativity and thought put into these products is amazing," she elaborates.

Aisha says the UAE business environment is vibrant and full of opportunities. "One of the main reasons we relocated back to the UAE is because of the opportunities available for small businesses. We have only been back recently but I am very excited to see Little Wren go from strength to strength in this environment," she says.

She plans to experiment with clothes designing and create her own products to sell alongside curated brands. Aisha also plans to support local and regional designers and brands by offering them an online e-tail space on Little Wren, something she will be exploring later this year.

Aisha says the UAE e-commerce market offers huge opportunities. "It is growing rapidly and now is the time to join the growth and be ready for the demand," she says.

Aisha says her Emirati father was and still is her inspiration. "He was a businessman. He encouraged me from a young age to do what I wanted and was always very supportive. He will always be the one that inspires me. I also have to credit my husband and son for the success of Little Wren. My son is the inspiration behind me starting my own company. But Little Wren would not be possible without the help and support from my husband. He enables me to be an entrepreneur and a mother. We share the responsibilities of the company as well as being parents, which makes things a lot easier and reduces the mum guilt a bit. I am very lucky to have such a supportive partner both in life and in business," she says.

Aisha says since launching Little Wren, she learned how to balance business and family life.

"I feel this is so important and a technique that you should implement from day one. I never want my business to become something I dread or regret doing and miss out on my family," says Aisha.

Aisha urges young entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams ignoring all odds and hurdles.

"There is nothing that can limit you but yourself. If you have an idea, you should go for it. People might see limited finances or being a parent a setback but they aren't. You just have to be savvy. Do not listen to negativity, instead use it to drive you. The possibilities are endless as long as you are willing. You have to be patient though; growth and success do not happen overnight. Patience is very important. But the most important is self-belief because without that, you are guaranteed to fail," she concludes.

- riaz@khaleejtimes.com

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