Aspiration knows no boundaries – this is the message Yislamoo, an Arabic greetings company, has clearly illustrated time and again. Dedicated to enhancing social correspondence across the MENA region, the company is a woman-led enterprise based in Jordan that celebrates the magical beauty of Arabian culture, and specializes in print as well as electronic greetings.
Talking about the venture, CEO of Yislamoo Rasha Hamdan reveals, “Our core areas of experience are in design and Arab talent scouting as well as retail and e-commerce.” The company strives to bring loved ones closer together by commemorating special and everyday occasions through a wide array of localized, arty greetings with an impishly joyful, and region-centric approach.
Yislamoo is all about breaking boundaries and stereotypes. “It was indeed challenging to convince people about the company’s immense potential. Naysayers scoffed and came back to us claiming that gone are the days of printing, and that the greeting cards industry is an aging one. But Yislamoo has proven them wrong. To everyone’s sheer surprise, our audience comprises young people – Generation Y, the Millennials so to speak,” the dynamic CEO remarks. A fact concurred to by companies and organizations worldwide.
It was indeed challenging to convince people about the company’s immense potential. Naysayers scoffed and came back to us claiming that gone are the days of printing, and that the greeting cards industry is an aging one. But Yislamoo has proven them wrong.
A 2014 research conducted by UK’s Greeting Card Association shows that the value of the UK market has increased by 5.4%, with everyday cards at £1.02 billion compared to £0.96 billion in 2012, an increase of 6.1%. In a survey, industry research company IbisWorld notes, “The popularity of online cards has surged, with sales of electronic cards, or custom-printed ones ordered online – up to $3.5 billion in 2012 from just $65 million a decade ago.”
But getting recognition and establishing a solid fan base were not the only hurdles the young company faced. “It was actually connecting to people who possessed the purchasing power which was the real impediment,” says Rasha. The company has shown resilience as it continues to expand regionally with the assistance of Eureeca – a crowdfunding entity – successfully raising its first round of funds.
There are many facets to business success and one of the leading factors is the role of the government in supporting or encouraging entrepreneurship. “Jordan has become, hands-down, the hub for tech startups and resilient entrepreneurs, with quite an impressive chunk of women-led businesses. It wasn’t forced or premeditated; it happened organically as a byproduct of opening up the platforms to anyone who was interested,” she says. She further notes, “Keeping the platforms open to everyone who applies for incubation, training, etc., is important. Yes, there are public and private sector programs that encourage businesswomen. Unfortunately, these do not positively illustrate women’s employment, where we are still underpaid and under-ranked as far as the growth path is concerned.”