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Ethnic

However, entrepreneurship isn’t without its challenges, he admits, pointing out that he has had his share of personal trials too. “Any journey, even if it was well established, will have a lot of challenges. Nothing is easy - from obtaining certificates to actually operating the business... But I take challenges positively,” he notes, adding that it has been a spur in the learning process. Having reached thus far, he now plans to grow his business further in terms of manpower and equipments, while concentrating on the oil and gas sector. “I believe it’s a sector that is full of opportunities. Although it’s a very high risk one, it’s worthwhile if well established,” he opines (Log on to http://gulfbusiness.com/ vote-now-your-top-entrepreneurgcc/ to vote for your favourite entrepreneur)

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entrepreneurs to start their business with funding support as well as consultation, was to lend a helping hand. Besides, he has been involved in networking events such as the Entrepreneurs Conclave and has been invited to different universities and colleges in Oman to speak about his entrepreneurial journey and give advice, if needed. One of his pet projects has been to encourage the introduction of entrepreneurship as a subject in schools, which he hopes will become a reality soon.

Muntasir Shaaban Saleh Al Farsy checks out the Ethnic Home outlet at Azaiba to present a quick peek into its antique furniture and unique merchandise

M

eeting with entrepreneur Aijaz Ahmed Kurpal of Ethnic Home was a sheer accident, and, honestly, it has been a blessing in disguise. It is an enchanting place with old treasures and beautiful trinkets. Located on the first floor of the Azaiba Mall, it has on display items ranging from aesthetic furniture to old-styled telephones and gramophone… It is a travel back to the past. Aijaz attributes his business to an early hobby where he would up-cycle any kind of waste that he would find in the backyard of his home. Eventually, as he gleaned information on the environmental benefits of such up-cycling projects, he took on the initiative of converting his passion into a business. Today, Aijaz runs this ‘makebelieve’ antique shop, whose items project an ancient look, but are not necessarily from yesteryear. The focus is on creating unique pieces, he admits, pointing out the sofa that has been upholstered from used jeans. Buyers are not scammed into thinking the pieces are from another era, nor are they overpriced to add to the enigma of novelty.

The outlet, which opened in March, last year, began with the objective of showcasing the product-line to interior designers. But, as word of mouth spread and brought clients directly to the outlet to see and feel the products, it soon got converted into a retail showroom. One would, of course, be curious to know where this modern Aladdin gets his merchandise - certainly not from the genie or the Magic Lamp… Aijaz explains that he has a manufacturing facility in India where he produces most of the items, while others are outsourced from different parts of the country. He is, however, keen to set his own factory in Oman, where he could share his knowledge of up-cycling industrial waste to interested youth. What began as an individual effort for Aijaz has now turned into a team work, with inputs from buyers around the world, which are incorporated into the designs to turn them into practical products and not just as showpieces

September 2017

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As summer gives way to autumn and all things nice, let’s usher in a fresh style quotient to give the new season a fitting welcome. Let’s cel...

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