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How I got to the top: Mona Jaber, founder of Maison Tini and Jayleen Finds

Person, Human, Female
Mona Jaber, founder of Maison Tini, the kids' concept store in Al Quoz, Dubai

What does your company do?

Jayleen Finds is the first company dedicated to sustainable kids furniture in the UAE.

I also recently launched Maison Tini, which is an experiential kids concept store in Al Quoz, Dubai, housing 50 local small businesses, offering furniture, décor, clothing, shoes, books, toys, artwork and more. 

At Maison Tini, kids come to play and explore, while parents get to enjoy observing their kids in unrestricted free play mode, while at the same time enjoying a cup of complimentary coffee.

What inspired you to develop your idea?

As a parent of two children,  aged three and five, I always found shopping with my kids stressful. They want to touch everything and play – and we often have to tell them off, restricting their tiny hands from reaching out. So I wanted to create a space where everything was styled and displayed at the kids’ eye level; it needed to be a kid’s house. 

How have your priorities changed from when you first started?

We just recently started, so I’m sure priorities will shift but we hope to always align with our values: work with good people who run awesome brands, and care about doing good to the environment.

What do you look for when hiring talent?

People who can share the vision and make it their own. I’ve been so lucky with a wonderful team of women who have supported, pushed, and worked on Maison Tini like it was their own baby.

What counts more: luck or hard work?

A magical formula of both. If I look at where I am now and what I went to sleep dreaming of exactly a year ago, I wouldn’t have in a million years thought I’d achieve what I have.

For the past seven years, I’ve come up with one great idea after another and was always afraid to take the jump. I’d try to perfect the idea so much to the extent that it became unreasonable and unattainable. 

But I didn’t get here by pure luck, nor by my own hard work, I was also blessed with great people along the way who have supported me, bartered with me on services, offered free advice, treated me like a daughter, and just did the work purely because they believed in the vision. 

I truly believe: if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. 

What one thing do you wish you’d done differently?

Spent less on storage.

If you could rule the world for a day, what three things would you change?

  1. Ban single-use plastic
  2. Set up a global reward system for kindness
  3. Educate on the importance of gut health and advocate for less reliance on medicine.

What are the most difficult things you’ve ever done?

  1. Being separated from my husband for six months because of the pandemic, and having to explain to a three-year-old why her dad couldn’t just come back to see her.
  2. Picking myself up after the death of my father – my lifetime role model – at a very young age.
  3. Putting all my eggs into one basket: The Maison Tini basket. 

What three factors do entrepreneurs misjudge about the Gulf market?

  1. As soon as your website goes live, people will find you.
  2. Consumers in the region have abundant cash to spend anywhere, and on anything. 
  3. Cashflow, cashflow, and cashflow! Being profitable doesn’t mean being cash-positive and we need to cautiously budget for that.

Dream mentor?

Elon Musk. I find his ability to get people excited about his vision incredible. I love how his ideas are positively and innovatively disruptive.

Maison Tini is designed for kids’ entertainment

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