How did the government and banking sector help in starting your business?
The environment for start-ups in this part of the world is still a bit conservative, but my background in the banking sector helps me navigate the system. When we registered the company, the government was helpful in setting up the company; the only challenge we had and still have is acquiring visas for our foreign workers. The banks work as business partners rather than just a source of financing because they help you to grow, which is a strength of the system in Oman. In terms of women empowerment, our culture is different from other places as the families push and welcome the concept of a woman starting a business.
How do you stay in touch with changes in market tastes?
In Oman, word of mouth is the strongest way to build or ruin a business; therefore, we focus on communicating with our clients about what they want, need, and are looking into. Every salon has the same products, the same suppliers, same service steps, so what makes a salon different is the overall customer experience.
Do you have expansion plans?
Our expansion is based on the expansion of malls in Oman. We are expanding into the forthcoming Oman Mall and we will be opening in Sohar City Centre; we're also in talks with the Palm Mall. Other than that, we are rebranding and changing the concept. Change is important in our field; after being in the market for 10 years, we are aware that customers want to see and feel something new, and change can also bring in new clients.
What are your objectives over the next 12 months?
We are looking into expansion and we are working hard on setting up new branches and hiring more Omani staff.