A Happiness Ambassador

By Deepthi Nair Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Jumana Al Darwish is empowering women everywhere by helping them improve quality time with their children. Dissatisfied with her own work-life balance, she created a business called "The Happy Box". The concept involves sending out themed activity boxes every month to help working mothers and extended family spend time with children aged between three to 11 years.

Dubai

Jordanian expat Jumana Al Darwish had it all in Dubai. A perfect career and a beautiful family. However, as a lot of working mothers often feel, she was yearning to spend more time with her daughter. Her workload and busy lifestyle were coming in the way of some quality family time. In 2014, she decided to translate her desire to spend time with loved ones into a business. Thus, The Happy Box was born.

The concept involves sending out themed activity boxes every month to help working mothers and extended family spend time with children aged between three to 11 years. The activities come with step-by-step instructions and are carefully created to ensure they aid in the development of cognitive and fine motor skills in children. They will also stimulate a child's creativity and analytical skills.

"True happiness develops when balance is incorporated into one's daily lifestyle. From the outside, one would think I had it all; a beautiful and healthy family, a supportive friends' circle and a career that gave me safety and security. However, I always felt something was absent in my life that can only be fulfilled by quality and valuable time with my loved ones. I knew other families could relate to this feeling," recalls Jumana.

The Happy Box incorporates eight activities and a book surrounding a specific theme. Each month, the activities aim to be fun, engaging and ensure a child absorbs knowledge and learns from the experience. The materials used to create the activities are non-toxic. Each box is also customized based on the child's age and gender.

Sibling love "I ensure the activities are perfect for sharing and promoting sibling love, as this is crucial to the early stages of a child's upbringing," says Jumana.

The Happy Box also provides modern women who are both committed to their career and family an opportunity to guarantee their children are surrounded by activities that are fun, engaging and ensure quality cognitive stimulus, the entrepreneur adds.

The subscription rates are as follows; one month is Dh250 per box, three months is Dh235 per box with a one-time payment of Dh705, six months is Dh220 per box with a one-time payment of Dh1,320 and 12 months is Dh200 per box with a one-time payment of Dh2,400.

Other products available include The Happy Travel Box for Dh200 to make travelling more enjoyable for the family, The Happy Tutu Box, a gift for little girls for Dh225, and The Happy Go Lucky Box for adults. Shipping across the UAE is free.

The company claims to have an extensive client base around the region "that is growing by the day". The company's co-founder Linda Al Darwish is based in the US, where much of the product development and sourcing occurs for The Happy Box. Expansion on the cards

The Happy Box co-founders aim to expand the concept globally.

"We are grateful for the referrals that we receive from our existing subscribers and hope to continue growing the concept globally," adds Jumana.

The business is clear about maintaining low overheads. The Happy Box works on an outsourced model, with 14 professionals supporting its mandate. The promoters may hire more support staff as it expands operations globally.

On what's the biggest hurdle to running the business, Jumana retorts: "The biggest challenge has always been how to manage time and, of course, the challenges that come with building a business and running a home at the same time. However, each challenge is what keeps me motivated and strives me to create more ideas to guarantee working mothers have an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones."

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