Rawan and Abdullah AlMousherji are looking to redefine your typical experience at the grocers, bringing to Kuwait the crème de la crème of fine food stores, The East India Company. From the swanky streets of London’s Mayfair, to Phase III of The Avenues, the unique gourmet store invites us to explore Great Britain’s remarkable heritage.
If you dozed off during history class, let’s refresh your memory. The East India Company was the first importer of tea to Britain, evidently becoming highly instrumental in popularizing the tea movement on a global scale! Memory refreshed? If not, then let’s take it back to 1600, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when merchant adventurers were drawn to the lure and promise of the East. Traveling to India, Burma, Malaya, Java, Indo-China and onwards, the company brought home treasures of every kind and, most especially, wonderful new foods and drinks – herbs, spices, teas, coffees, chocolates and succulent fruits made into chutneys and preserves of every kind.
Continuing this heritage in our modern day and age, the company’s range includes the most exotic coffees, thirty-one blends to be specific, such as the Red Dragon Mocha Java, St.Helena Green Tipped Bourbon and Jamaican Blue Mountain, the oldest known coffee in the world. The range also includes fine tea, chocolate, biscuits, jams and marmalades, mustards, luxury hampers and accessories. Rawan and Abdullah talk to us more about the store:
Why would you call yourself foodies?
Abdullah: Why not? Personally I have an appetite and taste that can’t be easily satisfied.
Rawan: It’s simple: I enjoy delicious food. I love trying new and exotic dishes and I truly appreciate it when I’m treated to taste high quality foods.
When did you realize you wanted to enter the food industry?
Abdullah: It wasn’t something expected at the beginning, but as a business-oriented person monitoring the food sector’s high performance, I always considered being a part of this business.
Rawan: The food industry has always been an industry of interest to us as a family; we’ve had our experience and connections, so it’s rather an easy step, thankfully.
Why did you choose the East India Company?
Abdullah: It’s a reputable name that has roots all the way back to the 17th century, a unique brand approach with a variety of product selections, and last, but not least, due to the quality of products.
Rawan: We chose the East India Company because we knew there was a strategic gap in the market. Initially, we wanted to start from scratch with a similar idea, but after research we found a better brand with historical significance and a prominent brand.
What are some of your favorite products from the range?
Abdullah: Silver cloud white tea, Bombay tea, 12 spices biscuits, and strawberry enrobed white chocolate.
Rawan: Assam and Ceylon, being the strongest two teas of the tea range, as well as the mixture of Black Peppercorn Biscuit with the Orange Marmalade.
Is this your first endeavor in business?
Abdullah: I would say it’s my first big endeavor! I’ve been a part of smaller business projects but not as exciting and big as this one. A franchise always has a different experience in all ways.
Rawan: For me, it’s my first job, so yes it is my first endeavor.
What are some of the challenges you are facing as young entrepreneurs?
Abdullah: Building the right team, whereby it is difficult to attract talent into a new franchise that does not have the global support that the big brands do. Another major challenge is governmental procedures from customs to almost all ministries in processing all business operations.
Rawan: That would be working in accordance to the planned schedule. There are always external forces that cause delays, including government and customs.
Any advice to fellow youngsters wishing to start their own business?
Abdullah: Be patient and keep doing what you believe is right.
Rawan: If you have the will always remember that it’s a single step and once you take it, everything else will come easily and smoothly.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Abdullah: A serial entrepreneur who contributes to his country and society.
Rawan: I see myself as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the region.
Give that special afternoon teatime the glitz it truly deserves, and head to The East India Company boutique at The Avenues, Phase III, North Mall High Street. Please call 2220 0741 for more information, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @EICFineFoodsKW.