Anna and Annabelle - The Creative Duo


Anna and Annabelle
Founders
Little Majlis

 

Anna and Annabelle are Masters of all things creative and beautiful, they worked in Dubai’s vibrant design industry since 1999, were great friends and partnered in their entrepreneurial venture – Little Majlis. They left behind their amazing careers to indulge in their passion for design and creativity every day. Little Majlis is an online community and specialist shopping platform for handmade and artisan products. In a market over-flowing with mass produced imports, Little Majlis enables the local creative community to find a niche, start and grow their small business, promote their work and work with customers.

What do you do and how did you get to where you are today? What drove you to success?

We’re long-time friends who share a love of creativity and beautiful things, and we are also the founding partners of littlemajlis.com.

Coincidentally, we both moved to Dubai in 1999 with our jobs in design and construction and started hatching plans to start a business of our own about 12 years ago when we both worked in the same office. Before the weekend markets started, there was a really exciting underground scene of independent designer-makers and small brands and we were compelled to create a platform to showcase this growing part of the community.

Although we each had incredibly rewarding and challenging careers, our roles had become more managerial and starting Little Majlis gave us the opportunity to get back to our design roots. In 2012 littlemajlis.com was launched.

Little Majlis is an online creative community and marketplace for hard to find products from local brands. We now have a growing community of 250+ active sellers, mainly based in UAE but also throughout the GCC, coupled with an in-house collection of gifts and souvenirs. Our upgraded platform is set to go live imminently and we’re excited about what the future holds for Little Majlis and small business in the UAE.

What brings you joy?

The success of each seller at the marketplace at littlemajlis.com is brings us much joy. It’s really rewarding to see them grow and develop their own brands and grow their market with the help of littlemajlis.com.

Although every success we have experienced founding and building Little Majlis has been incredibly satisfying and rewarding, the truly joyful times are thanks to the people closest to us, our families and friends. They have all being so supportive of us building Little Majlis.

Spending quality time with our children is especially priceless and makes the tough times at the office worthwhile. The hours are no less but running our own business gives us more flexibility to work when and where we choose which is essential for our young families. Fitting in a daily dose of quality family time is a must even when we’re overwhelmed with work.

It's essential to us to enjoy our time at work and we're fortunate that we were good friends long before we went in to business together. Having a good working relationship is key to Little Majlis’ success. Having a bit of fun puts the pressures of work in to perspective and there's no better stress relief that a good laugh.

We're celebrating Little Majlis' five year anniversary this October and we're pleased to say that we still enjoy a good laugh together.

What would you tell a young graduate today?

Persevere. Starting a new career, a new job or a new business are all challenging and all come with a steep learning curve. Listen and learn from the people around you and never be afraid to ask questions.

Battle through the testing times, acknowledge and learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them!

Why is UAE a great place for women to succeed?

The UAE has an amazing entrepreneurial spirit and you can’t help being inspired by the success around you. We have always found the business community to be supportive and the fact that 98% of sellers at Little Majlis are women are testament to that.

One of the reasons we founded Little Majlis was to provide a platform for local designer-makers and small brands and make them accessible to the wider community. We see so many amazing talented people at Little Majlis, from hobbyists who love what they do and are content with the thrill each sales brings them, to others who are more serious about making a living from their business.

It's our hope that littlemajlis.com inspires people to be creative, to seek out the extraordinary and to achieve their goals no matter how large or small.

 

 

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