By Muhammad Riaz Usman Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) For Rana A. Batterjee, founder and vice-president of Momair Trading, bringing "Fuzziwig's Candy Factory" to the UAE was not just a business venture. It was a manifestation of her deep-rooted childhood emotions, including her love and affection towards her mother.
Born to a Saudi father and an American mother as a child of a mixed marriage and growing up in the Middle East, Rana was sensitive about her mother being accepted and was very protective about her.
"Subconsciously, I wanted her [my mother] to be embraced and recognized. Fuzziwig's represents my mother to me. Fuzziwig's being a loved brand in the Middle East is symbolic of my mother being accepted and embraced. It's a profound feeling and my strongest driving force," Rana explains.
Fuzziwig's is an old-fashioned neighborhood candy store, stocking the widest selection of premium candies from around the world, as well as a range of homemade and handmade treats crafted from the finest ingredients.
Fuzziwig's also accommodates special orders and offers a customized service for customers -- whether corporate or for personal celebrations.
"Fuzziwig's Candy Factory is a distinctive confectionery retail concept that we launched in Dubai, and plan on expanding across the GCC. We currently have 3 locations: one at The Beach opposite JBR, the second at Riverland, Dubai Parks & Resorts, and the third at Dubai International," says Rana.
Momair Trading LLC is the parent company for international F&B franchises in the UAE and GCC. These include the well-known global sandwich brand, Subway, of which Rana and her husband operate 9 outlets in the UAE.
Why it's a game changer Rana claims that Fuzziwig's Candy Factory is a game changer. "The brand offers its customers an exceptional shopping experience and does a good job of integrating a mix of retail and F&B concepts together. It is uncompromising on the quality of its offerings -- from products, to service, to customer experience. Fuzziwig's also introduces a new level of experiencing candy in a family-friendly environment," she says.
Rana holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hearing and Speech Sciences from the University of Maryland, a Masters of Arts in Audiology from George Washington University and a doctorate in Audiology from the University of Florida.
Her final role before Momair Trading was as director of the Cochlear Implant Centre at the American Hospital in Dubai, where for 7 years she helped to transform the quality of life of her cochlear implant and hearing impaired patients.
Increasing public awareness about hearing loss and assisting indigent patients and their families with funding for services through various charity organizations formed an integral part of her public outreach efforts.
Living in Dubai and running a business since 2003, Rana considers the UAE home and a place full of opportunities. She says that the startup environment in the UAE is very attractive and challenging at the same time. "Attractive because of many strong and positive factors, among them: ease of setting up a business, obtaining a trade license, hiring of staff, registration and importation of goods, etc. The processes are all well-defined and clear. On the other hand, there are also challenges that a startup in the UAE may face such as access to capital, securing an ideal location, high rents, high overheads, staff training and retention," Rana says.
On exploring other avenues other than her present business, Rana says: "I've been too consumed by Fuzziwig's to be thinking about exploring new business sectors. I'm a perfectionist and like to do one thing at a time. That said, I do find the idea of a virtual office very interesting and often think about the feasibility of implementing some elements of it in our company sometime in the future."
Advice to entrepreneurs To young entrepreneurs, Rana says dedication and belief in their ideas are crucial for success. "Guard your credibility and integrity; money will come and go, but your reputation is key," she advises.
She says that time management is also very important in every stage of a business. "Manage your time to include rest. Many entrepreneurs work over 12 hours a day and forget to include time to take care of themselves. Always make time to strategise and think of which direction you want your business to be heading," she adds.
Rana dedicates her success to her husband, parents and a few close friends. Divulging some measures that resulted in the success of her business, Rana says: "Listen directly and closely to customers' feedback and that of staff. Acknowledge positive and negative feedback because we need both to improve. Focus on the customer to make sure their experience is the best it can possibly be, all the time, every time."