Spotlight on Dassie
Unique artisan pieces, elegant and stylish design, lovely quality, purse friendly price tags and a local champion who is truly inspirational, what’s not to like?
Here’s what Benita, the talent behind Dassie in the UAE, had to share about this wonderful brand and herself…
Dassie is a brand created by my good friend, David Zeeman and his wife who are based in the UK, and the idea was put into action because I was already importing items from South Africa, where Dassie was born.
They have allowed me to take the brand to new heights in this part of the world, and other parts that we are not yet available in. Now Dassie creates unique products from all over the East, not just SA. The products are eco-friendly, the brand is FAIR TRADE recognized in the UK but most of all, it is a truly artisan made – with not one piece being the same as another.
Dassie is in fact my 4th e-commerce site, my others being beloved.ae (import of South African food and beverage,) then oceansbounty.ae (import of Mozambiquan seafood) and abeeco.ae (premium face creams from New Zealand).
I started my company Amazeballs General Trading LLC after my husband passed away in a car accident 2 months after our first baby was born, and I realized very quickly that I needed a second source of income. Needless to say it’s been very daunting setting up a company whilst working full time, and raising my daughter and dealing with what happened to my family.
After the success of beloved.ae, I also had to ‘import’ my parents to run the company as I couldn’t do it alone. They now live here in Dubai and help me with the company. Anita my mom, does the accounting and my dad, Gary, manages our logistics and warehouse. Another big reason, however, for them move here was so that my daughter has more family around her and can grow up with a male presence in her life.
I was born and bred in Cape Town, South Africa, left there for the UK and was there for 4 years before moving here to the UAE 9 years ago. Although I have been out of South Africa for a long time, I still consider it the most beautiful cities in the world and I go home once a year to visit my family. We also visit my hubby’s parents in Lebanon once a year.
I found it relatively easy to set up the company in the first place, but my biggest challenge has always been the cash flow that was hard to manage. As I do not have a partner or investor, I sold my car to be able to buy my first container. I am also a single income home so paying rent on my own as well.
In hindsight I think to get investors is probably a less stressful option. I have now just done a business plan to raise money for Dassie UAE to make it as big here as it is currently in the UK, but another challenge is that the UAE is still very behind in crowd funding and peer lending initiatives.
It is always hard trying to break in to the market with a new brand and to stamp your mark, but we have had an amazing start to be honest. We almost sold out of our new collection when we took it to Ripe Market when it arrived, and we have had to air freight two big orders since then to keep up with the demand.
We have a big plan to start pushing Dassie with amazing support from the UK office – we will start with social media next month and we have booked a hotel trade show for September where we will showcase the pieces which hotels enquire most about: serving platters and the serving boards.
I have been a Saffron Souk lover since my discovery of the site. I love how you truly believe in the artisans of this nation and their products. Some e-commerce sites out here treat their products and sellers as more of a money-making business rather than supporting the nation’s independent sellers.
We believe that products will only sell when you have them in the right place and in creating a long term partnerships – we do not believe in just putting the products on a site and hoping for the best. The biggest benefit has been that you shout about your sellers and are very active on the social media angles where most other sites fall short.
You have brought awareness to our brand and we see it as a beautiful marriage between us and our perfect channel, Saffron Souk. Second biggest benefit apart from the awareness are of course, the online sales which have been steady.
To celebrate Dassie‘s shop front opening at saffronsouk.com, we’re running a competition to give you the chance to win your favourite product from Dassie’s collection. The giveaway will run from 13th to 19th June, closing at midnight. The winner will be announced on Saffron Souk’ facebook page on 20th June 2016.
Click below to visit Saffron Souk’ facebook page to like and comment on the competition post, telling us which product from Dassie‘s collection you would most like to win.
Please note, if the product chosen by the winner is out of stock or not available for any reason, another product of equivalent value will be given. One entry per person is permitted and the winner will be selected randomly from the entries who have liked and commented on the competition facebook post. Good luck!