Founded by Rania and Zaina Kana’an, ananasa.com is a melting pot of Middle Eastern artists, designers, and talented artisans—one that we cannot support enough. Starting the online platform as fans of the art world, they soon realized their support for like-minded, passionate dreamers is limitless, and what started as a simple website to showcase art has grown into a meaningful business that sheds light on the hidden gems in the Middle East.
What inspired you ladies to create Ananasa.com?
When we moved to Dubai 2 years ago, Zaina tried to exhibit her paintings in galleries and found it rather difficuilt. As an aspiring artist she found many obstacles including logisitcs, marketing and capital requirements that made it very difficult. Thus, the decision to create a website for Zaina to showcase her work came into play. After meeting many aspiring artists, crafters and designers, like Zaina, who need a chance to show beautiful work, we started Ananasa. An online space where any handcrafter, designer, or artist in the Middle East gets a chance to display and sell their products with an international reach.
More importantly, why the name, Ananasa?
We always giggle when asked this question, simply because in many languages Ananasa means pineapple, so people assume we are pineapple farmers. In reality, the name itself comes from Ana in Arabic which means “I”, and Nas means “people” and for us each artisan is for the people and the people support the artisan.
What’s your favorite part about your jobs?
What really inspires us the most is meeting all the wonderful Ananasa store owners. Each and every artisan on Ananasa has a beautiful touching story to share, we get to hear their passion and love for what they do. That makes us know that what we are doing with Ananasa is important and much needed.
What have you learned so far since you’ve started Ananasa?
The beauty with startups is you keep learning everyday about the industry, your business and yourself; it never stops. The biggest lesson is to see through your beliefs and dreams. Coming from an Arab background we often hear things like art would never put bread on the table or that it can never get a sustainable income. We think that you get to live life once, and you deserve to wake up everyday loving what you do with absoloute passion.
How does the ordering process work? What if I am ordering from more than one vendor, do I receive all my items in one shipment or multiple shipments?
Simply if you like something, add it to your cart and you pay online securely with Paypal, Credit Cards or CashU. The item arrives at your doorstep 3-5 days later. If in a single order you ordered multiple items they will arrive in multiple shipments, each with a unique and distinct packaging put together by the store owner.
Do you believe that more can be done to support budding, Middle Eastern talent?
We once met an architecture student who believed she “wasn’t really a painter” and her pieces “won’t sell.” After we saw her work we were determined to put her on Ananasa, and we are so glad we did. Her first sale encouraged her to do a lot more. Middle Eastern talent is prominentaly present, discovering it and shedding light on it is where Ananasa comes in, but ultimatley our buyers are the ones that really support this community by buying from our sellers.
The opportunities seem endless! What’s your greater vision for Ananasa.com?
We see Ananasa as a global brand, we ship and market internationally, and our vision is to have a handmade item from Ananasa placed in homes around the world.
If I wanted to open a ‘store’, how would that work? Are all applications accepted, or are there some rules we need to follow?
Typically the artists and crafters contact us and we talk to them via skype, only to stir conversation and see the dedication behind their work. Ananasa is made for the people, so our team takes care of quality assurance on the site, yet we don’t like to say “No” to artists. Oftentimes, if we feel that their pictures, for instance, could be improved, we guide them on how to do it. We like to build a community of dedicated artisans with as little obstacles as possible.
Visit ananasa.com to shop the region’s talents, or email [email protected] to see how you can instantly start your own ananasa shop. Ananasa is also on Facebook: ananasamiddleeast Twitter, @_Ananasa and Pinterest @ananasadotcom.