Dum Dum Donutterie, Dubai

How do you launch an already established brand from the UK in the Middle East while maintaining your identity with it? Fadl Saadeddine and Mohammad Irshaid would know as they are responsible for bringing Dum Dum Donutterie to the Middle East. Both Saadeddine and Irshaid grew up in Dubai, and while they did go out to study, London and Vancouver respectively, they came back to “sell donuts”.

Bringing Donuts to the Middle East.

Ask them what motivated them to turn entrepreneurs, and it was mostly family influence. Saadeddine comes from a business family and says, “The culture within the family was such that it helped me start my own thing as well. When I came back from London, I worked in the family business for a couple of years, I learnt a lot, and that’s how I came to be doing this.” As for Irshaid, some good advice from his father helped, “From day 1, my dad would tell me that I don’t belong in the corporate world, he was always like why will you build someone else’s dream when you can build your own dream, so I entered the entrepreneurial venture of my own.” Both Saadeddine and Irshaid went to the same school, and while Irshaid was Saadeddine’s brother’s friend, a chance trip to LA helped them become friends. It was also some mutual qualities, Irshaid adds, “Eventually we both have the same mindset, and we come up with good ideas together, as for decision making, we are both flexible and logical as long as it benefits the both of us, it works well to work together.”

The big debate: Franchise vs. your own venture

Irshaid and Saadeddine tried a Dum Dum Donut in London in 2014, and decided to bring it to the Middle East because as Saadeddine says, “We both love the F&B industry. We are selling donuts, so it’s nothing serious, we are having fun at the same time. Plus there was a gap in the market for artisanal patisserie donuts so it all made sense.” While comparing starting with a franchise versus starting with your own idea, Irshaid says, “I believe that if you take a franchisee, you get to learn because they support you from their end. They hand something to you, but you should know how to manage it, and if you learn from that experience, you can maybe build your own concept, implement what you have learnt from before in your own concept later.” But isn’t there the fear of lack of creativity and excessive interference from the franchise? Saadeddine responds, “As for creativity, there is so much you can do with donuts and desserts, in terms of flavor, collaborations with other brands etc. and the franchise trusts you because they understand we know this market better than them and we are their partners in the Middle East, so whatever customization we think is needed for this specific market, they will take our word for it, they are very flexible that way.”

What lies ahead?

When talk turns to the future, personally they are both clear that they want to be in Dubai,because, “Dubai is home”. As for the franchisee, by the end of the year they want to expand to other regions of the Middle East as well, with another store opening up in JBR in Dubai itself soon. Saadeddine elaborates on their plans and says, “We would like to open a store in all the emirates and target all the capital as well as main cities.”

What’s very interesting is that neither of them have a specific target market for their product in mind, Saadeddine says, “Our product is available for everyone. The name Dum Dum itself breaks through barriers of nationalities, religions, age, etc. so we wouldn’t want to target a specific market.” Irshaid adds more simply, “Everyone loves donuts.” We can get behind that.

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