March 20, 2022
Before founding her company, Clicktic Furniture, Heba Al-Habashi gained more than ten years of experience in entrepreneurship and founding the company, which she gained through her work with the most renowned international companies specializing in technology and venture capital companies. Al-Habashi holds a degree from Harvard University in Government and Economics. She was the Investment Director at Future Tech Lab, an venture capital fund focused on materials science, biotechnology and nanotechnology. She has previously worked for Uber in the UAE and other … In her interview with Zahrat Al Khaleej, Al-Habashi spoke about her company concept and the gaps it seeks to fill:
• In the beginning .. Who is Heba al-Habashi?
I am originally from Egypt, but I grew up all over the world; Because my father was a diplomat. Every 4 years I moved to another country, including: Russia, Kazakhstan, Peru and Malta. I have been living in Dubai since 2013 when I first moved there to work for Uber, which had just started in that area. I have a small family of three. My husband Imran is from Indian Kashmir but he has also grown up in Singapore and London and has been living in Dubai for about 18 years. I also have a 2 year old son, Sully (Solomon).
• How was your involvement in the field of furniture?
My uncle was an antique merchant in Cairo and I always liked to go to auctions with him and my mother when I was younger. They always worry about getting the items they want or finding a rare item for sale. Many years later, I started working in the Dubai Design District, and after meeting some in-house stylists and brands, I noticed that everyone was talking about the lack of domestic production in the UAE.
• What does the Middle East market need in this area?
There is plenty of room for innovation in the UAE, GCC and the Middle East. In fact, there are many talented craftsmen and carpenters in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and others, and they need enough guidance and motivation to apply their craft and techniques to contemporary products. We find it unrealistic to have to wait for furniture for up to 6 months because they are produced in one place, shipped to another and finally arrive here. Customers are then expected to pay more for transportation, logistics, customs and storage than the actual cost of the part. And if the item arrives and needs to be replaced, this is another 8-10 weeks which makes it a very long process for a client trying to live in a beautiful place that does not ruin the budget. There is no need for us to rely on imported goods in the furniture space when we can refine domestic crafts to match or even exceed the quality of the items from abroad, and also with an affordable price margin. To say that imported design is superior is simply a lack of adequate exploration of the talent available in the region.
• What about the innovative “Damien” sofa made by you?
Our Damien sofa is made from the high quality memory foam and hypoallergenic fiber blend we created here in the UAE just for Klekktic as a special pad manufactured in a mattress factory. It was a big surprise for us that this mattress factory is here and we were amazed by the latest technology to which they have access. They are even working on recycling foam blocks and turning them into a secondary building block as the material used for insulation. We also use high performance fabrics that will last for years and are easy to clean, according to our customers. As such, this product has achieved a performance beyond quality and has made our suppliers highly motivated to offer competitive pricing and continue to improve quality. This makes us proud that domestic production can compete with global brands.
• Who are your customers? And what are they looking for?
Our clients are people from all walks of life, from young individuals saving for a klekktic piece for their bedroom, to interior designers wanting a Klekktic Studio piece, to people moving or living in Dubai, and require an accessible site to upgrade. their space.
• You are a pioneer in the field of technology, capital and investment. How did you benefit from your previous experiences in founding and developing your company?
I have benefited immensely from these experiences. Uber has taught me almost everything I know about the economics of self-employment and how to motivate suppliers (such as furniture factories) to compete to offer quality products at the cheapest prices. And from my VC experience I learned a lot about what makes a successful business not only as a business concept but also financially. It is important to look at each business as a long-term game, not a short-term win.