Dubai: Now, sell your homemade goods at neighbourhood markets; here's how

Though the municipality is encouraging participants to have a business permit or a licence, it is not a requirement in registering for the pop-up market


Nasreen Abdulla

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Published: Sat 24 Dec 2022, 2:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 27 Dec 2022, 3:06 PM

Emirati housewife Mariam has dreamt of selling her food for several years, but she couldn’t muster up the courage to set up a restaurant. Now, for the first time ever, she is selling homemade samosas and tea at the Freej Souq.

A new initiative by the Dubai Municipality (DM), the Freej Souq is giving residents the golden opportunity to sell their homemade goods at an informal market in an effort to encourage their entrepreneurial abilities. It will take place throughout this week at Al Barsha Pond Park.

“My husband and I have a dream of opening up a restaurant,” said Mariam. “I even took an e-licence, but we were not sure. When I heard about the souq, I decided that this was my chance to test the waters and see what people like.”

While chatting with Khaleej Times, customers streamed into her kiosk and most of them wanted samosas and karak. “I am also selling pasta and vine leaves,” she said. “But since it is teatime, the highest demand is for samosas. It got completely sold out and I just got some more fried. It has been a good experience to get customer’s feedback.”

Neighbourhood market

The Freej Souq, which translates into 'a neighbourhood marketplace', aims to help homepreneurs take a step towards setting up their business. Although primarily targeted at Emiratis, the souq also has select spots for expats to offer their homemade products.

“We encourage the participants to have a permit or licence, but it is not a necessity,” said Ahmed Al Zarooni, director of public parks and recreational facilities department at the DM. “We are working closely with the Dubai SME and Dubai Economic Department to simplify the process so that more people will register their businesses.”

Mariam said she is thankful for the opportunity to exhibit at the souq. “Now, I have a bit more confidence,” said the mother of three.

“I even have a name for my restaurant. It will be called Esmohim, as a combination of the initials of my three boys, and God willing, I will open up a branch in 2023.”


At the end of this month, the souq will be shifted to Al Warqa 3 park where it will run from January 1 to 10. “All our tables are completely booked, and we now have a waiting list,” said Ahmed. “This is the first time we are doing this event, so we want to see how things go. With the lessons learnt from this, we will plan a bigger souq next year.”

Turning passion into business

Graphic designer Tariq Damouri was another one of those exhibiting at the souq. He first started experimenting with soaps when his teenage daughter developed a skin rash at the peak of Covid.

“We went to a lot of doctors, but nothing seemed to work,” he said. “When one doctor suggested changing soaps, I started researching, and what I found shocked me. Every soap has so many chemicals in them. That is how I started making my own bars of soap.”

It took him nine months of trial and error to be able to make his first bar successfully. “The first one I made was the chamomile soap and it worked wonders for my daughter’s skin,” he said. “Within five weeks, her rash completely disappeared.”

That is when the father decided to take this up as a business. His next experiments included making a turmeric and blackseed soap and then a goat milk soap. Retailing at around Dh30 per bar, he said the challenge was the time period in manufacturing the soap. “It takes me around four or five weeks to make one batch,” he said. “Since I don’t use chemicals, there is no way to speed up the process.”


More news from Life and Living