The founders of a small startup called KOOOT.com have a mission to change the way that women in the Gulf Coast region access local markets, as well as to improve their interactions with global brands.
KOOOT is an online shopping platform currently serving customers in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The company aims to expand this platform to other Gulf Coast countries in the future.
“KOOOT.com was built with one fact in mind: Arab women today are busier than ever and are caught up in the quick pace of modern life as they strive in all avenues of work.” KOOOT Founder and CEO Luma Bourisly said in a statement. “KOOOT.com is a platform that aims to make Arab women's lives easier by saving them time and effort.”
Bourisly contrasted the design of KOOOT with the traditional Souq al-Hareem women’s market in Kuwait.
“KOOOT.com’s brand and colors are inspired by Kuwait's cultural heritage, and particularly the women's souq, where Kuwaiti women sat in the narrow pathways selling colorful textiles, unique handicrafts and traditional beauty products, many of which were made by the women themselves.” Bourisly said. “KOOOT.com provides a platform for talented Arab women who produce unique products and who do not currently have an extensive distribution model to sell their products to the public…(it) is the modern embodiment of the Souq al-Hareem.”
In an online interview with the Gulf News Journal Tuesday, Bourisly expanded on the link to the market and other aspects of how KOOOT will empower its customers.
“As a Kuwaiti, it is a part of my country's history that I feel particularly attached to as a woman," Bourisly said. "It wasn't only a place of commercial activity. It was also a place where women built social bonds with other women. We see similar souqs in other parts of the Gulf as well. It's an important part of our history that deserves to be revived... We give talented female entrepreneurs in the region the chance to sell their products … The benefit is that the women can focus totally on producing their products, while we cover their warehousing, delivery and marketing needs.”
Bourisly talked about how the platform will help with the "pressures of modern life" that so many Middle Eastern women feel.
“Today, Middle Eastern women are working double duty.” Bourisly said. “They are excelling in many fields … On the other hand, they also carry on their shoulders the responsibility of taking care of others. They care for their children and for the elderly… they don't have the luxury of spending hours at a shopping center trying to find something that fits their style…. (KOOOT) gives them the chance to buy unique products from other women in their region. All that, at a fraction of the time.”
Also, Bourisly said transparency and excellent service are key.
“We want to provide women with a space to speak their minds.” Bourisly said. “Our Conversations page is dedicated to providing great content that is culturally relevant to women, and to encourage writing talents in our region, we also publish writing from other women.”