“Hadyari’s aim is to promote a culture of love, collaboration and peace and create a market for the local workforce to boot.”
Rebin was explaining one day to his colleagues how much time it costs to buy and wrap a gift for my mother. It bothered him. Contemplating on this concern, a big idea came that shaped a new business idea and his whole life – creating an online gifts platform for gifts that would facilitate receiving and sending love and happiness in the form of gift that are locally produced. And so, the journey began.
His start-up, Hadyari, combining the Arabic word for gift (hadia) with the Kurdish (dyari) translation, is an online shopping platform where people can buy valuable gifts for their loved ones, professionally wrapped up and boxed. The platform showcases products of international brands and of creative small businesses such as Nask Collection, Zalale Brand, Lala candles, Klu printing, and more. Before participating in the Orange Corners Programme, his team identified a big gap in Iraqi market of online gift industry as there was no specialised gift company that would include the local workforce. OCHQ interviewed Rebin to know more about his pioneering project in Erbil.
Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
“I am Rebin Saeed, 25-years-old and currently living in Ranya, a town in the Kurdistan region of Iraq next to the Dukan lake. Recently, I graduated from the American University in Iraq in Sulaimani as a bachelor student in Business Administration. I had a variety of business and finance classes during my study, but it wasn’t until I participated in the Orange Corners Programme than I seriously realised what those subjects truly entail. In 2019, I prepared a marketing plan and business canvas for Hadyari to create an online market for local entrepreneurs and buyers and applied for Orange Corners program at the end of the year. Currently, I work together with three part-time employees: Abdalbast, Shabaz and Wlat, who support me from deliveries, packing to graphic design.
Doing business and working on a start-up works better when you surround yourself with the right people.
What happened afterwards?
“2020 was the first year I seriously dedicated all my time to my start-up. Fortunately, Hadyari was chosen amongst 15 start-ups in the first cohort of Orange Corners Erbil. We have been through an extensive incubation programme that provided us with training, mentorship and of enabled us to get in contact with a great network. In addition, OCE enabled me to talk about Hadyari in a video by Asiacell that was promoted throughout their social media and reached a huge number of target audiences in Iraq.
After the Orange Corners Programme, we applied for a number of programs including Five One labs, Takween, MIT, IOM, and Vim Foundation. This helped us creating a website, buying packaging materials and a camera. From there on, we could officially register our start-up business that is still in preparation. We finished building our platform in March 2021, and we started selling in May 2021.”
What is Hadyari’s aim?
“Hadyari’s aim is to promote a culture of love, collaboration and peace and create a market for the local workforce to boot. Asiacell, the local service provider in Erbil, supported our idea like others in my cohort than can lead to greater economic growth in Iraq and provides real job opportunities for youth. Orange Corners, as an emerging business incubator, gave us the opportunity to attent various professional training courses with continuous consultations and great networking. Doing business and working on a start-up works better when you surround yourself with the right people. They will try to help you out and in this extent, you can truly benefit from a network that can help you enhancing your business idea and give you access to finance.”
A start-up needs constant improvement and innovation in order to meet the increasing customer demands of the market.
What do you like about having your own a startup?
“Although it requires determination, persistency and continuous work, I really enjoy solving problems, creating something for yourself while supporting others, which is a platform that is still hard to find in Erbil. I would like to make it easier to offer products and gifting other. But making profit takes time. Expect at least 3 to 5 years until your startup is running at its full potential, with the right team members that fully dedicated themselves to a start-up. Finding the right people is key.
What keeps me busy right now, is going to fairs around Iraq to display the products and services of Hadyari so people get familiar with what we are doing. In the past, I have presented my start-up on radio and television and worked together with famous Youtubers in Kurdistan, which will only increase and attract numerous gift lovers! I am sure that in two years, Hadyari is going to be home to all kind of creative entrepreneurs who can bring unique gifts to the corporate world, but also specialised business such as jewellery makers, chocolatiers and cake bakers.”
Which startup challenges do you encounter?
“Identifying the problem and the target group was the easy part of launching the start-up. A start-up needs constant improvement and innovation in order to meet the increasing customer demands of the market. The laws and regulation procedure here are cumbersome, and together with building a great team are the main challenges I face. T the most important point for me is to stay in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and to work with business incubators, as it interests me enormously. Entrepreneurship paves the way for new nation-wide opportunities, but also challenges. It means the world needs to adapt to a younger generation that wants to lead to way for a better future.
Which advice would you give other (aspiring) entrepreneurs?
“Never give up. When you truly enjoy in what you are doing, it is okay to take your time and trust the process. If you believe in your plan, you will never truly let go of the thought of moving forward anyways. It is like a flower bud, it won’t bloom into a flower in two days. Take your time and discuss it with the people around you, including the media and radio stations; they can help you out. For Hadyari, I believe in the idea of becoming the Kurdish Amazon in 10 years. Keep an eye on what is coming for us next!”
“Although it requires determination, persistency and continuous work, I really enjoy solving problems, creating something for yourself while supporting others, which is a platform that is still hard to find in Erbil.