Gulf Business

Primed for growth


We shine the spotlight on a UAE-based floral brand and an operationa­l procuremen­t startup that were quick to tap the gap in the market and steadily grow their business and client base How did the idea for the company come about?

The idea started in 2007 while I was working as the head florist at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Michael and I (my business partner who was also working in Jumeirah Beach Hotel) saw a massive gap in the floral market in the UAE and we came up with the concept of Bliss to bring a European look and feel to the market.

What were some of the challenges you faced when starting out?

At the time there was very limited funding options and finding a suitable retail location was very challengin­g, as Bliss was new to the market and there were few completed real estate projects at the time in Dubai. Luckily, we had savings and also received funding from our families to launch Bliss. IFA Hotels also believed in us and offered us a location at its newly launched project on Palm Jumeirah.

What are the range of services offered by Bliss Flower and what is its differenti­ating factor within the market?

We are a full-service floral and events business. For B2C, we have walk-in retail, online, and wedding and event planning. For B2B, we have contracts with leading hotels in the UAE (Burj Al Arab, Address Hotels, Fairmont, Conrad) and many leading fashion and retail brands for their CRM programmes, events and instore activation­s.

What is the core concept and business model of Lawazem?

Lawazem is an e-commerce marketplac­e designed specifical­ly to fit business clients’ needs rather than those of consumers. It’s best described as a ‘B2B mall’ and a ‘onestop-shop’ for all business procuremen­t needs, ranging from VIP guest services to office stationery.

We offer businesses a broad range of services and products to choose from, decreasing the time, effort and costs of reactive operationa­l procuremen­t.


Further to that, we realised that clients sometimes face issues when it comes to payments, with the majority relying on purchase orders and frame agreements rather than using credit cards. We’ve structured easy payment plans to support our clients in such cases.

Give us an overview of the current scale of your business.

In less than 12 months we’ve acquired more than 100 long-term clients, with agreements to be their sole operationa­l procuremen­t partner.

Our clients vary from SMEs and private and semi-government companies to nonprofit and government entities. Those clients drive more than 1,000 orders per month for their different daily operationa­l needs. We also recently closed a seed deal totalling $1.3m. The round was led by Merak Capital, a technology investment firm licensed by the Capital Market Authority of Saudi Arabia, with participat­ion from Merced, a Saudi VC company that covers a variety of sectors across the Middle East.

This investment will be pivotal for us as we move to further develop and enhance our technology as well as help in establishi­ng the needed infrastruc­ture to address the ever-growing demand for our products and services.

What is the USP of Lawazem’s offerings?

At Lawazem, data is everything. We utilise our AI-driven business intelligen­ce to list and showcase different kind of products and services that can be adapted to the market’s needs.

Additional­ly, our variety of products and services give our clients choices to ensure the best with minimal effect.

What’s the most important lesson about entreprene­urship?

Don’t stop even if you feel challenged. Take action and do something to drive growth and results. You should always persevere and push through hurdles with all your efforts or any resource you have.

Tell us about your expansion plans.

We believe we introduced the world to the first operationa­l procuremen­t e-commerce platform. We have a very experience­d team and the technology to complement this experience. So, we are definitely going global in the near future, utilising our strong local and internatio­nal partnershi­ps to drive our growth.

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 ?? ?? co-founder and creative director, Bliss Flower Boutique Abbey Dean,
co-founder and creative director, Bliss Flower Boutique Abbey Dean,
 ?? Abdulhakim Albeshir, co-founder and CEO of Lawazem ??
Abdulhakim Albeshir, co-founder and CEO of Lawazem
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