Where creativity and tradition meet

Manta & Rebozo is a Mexican initiative that promotes the creative, economic, and social freedom of indigenous artisan women in Mexico. Its mission is to preserve the traditions of dress and accessory making in small villages by creating a for profit trademark that supports the sale of their products under fair trade standards. We were thrilled to meet Manta & Rebozo at 100% Handcrafted online competition. They reveal to us in this interview how they managed to bring colors of Mexico to Dubai.

The 100% Handcrafted Online Competition is powered by Melltoo, a mobile marketplace that allows artisans and handcrafters to sell on mobile and to share their passion with a larger audience.

Question 1

By working hard and being passionate for my dream which is to start my own business, shared with my role as a full-time Mom and helping the needy in my country… all these things together

Question 2

Try and try is the key to success, never give up.

Question 3

Lack of appreciation of the handcraft and the amazing work of the artisan; that it’s not just work, they are expressing their world on their masterpieces.

montage 2 copie

Question 4

Yes we are working on it. Our goal is to share the colors and culture of Mexico with the Middle East.

Question 5

Exposure! Any sort of exposure of work of my amazing artisans is a plus for the artisans.

Question 6

I would just like to explain who we are. Manta & Rebozo celebrates the beauty of Mexican handcrafts by finding harmonic balance between traditional and contemporary. We manage a wide range of products including unique and pretty, baby/children/adult garments, accessories and silver jewellery. All products are made by groups of Mexican artisans who aim at conserving and strengthening their traditional artisan techniques.

Question 7


Vote for Manta and Robozo

Where can we find Manta & Rebozo?

Website : http://www.mantarebozo.com

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/MantaRebozo

From 20th May until 19th June we can find Manta & Rebozo at Dubai Festival City – Mezzanine Level – Ikea side Everyday from 10am to 10pm


[Tweet “Spread the good news when it comes to you!”]

The Incredible Crafty Dust

Hana’a Bou Nasr Ltayf is a crafty mom of twin toddlers. She holds degrees in Architecture, Philosophy, History of Art and Business. Before her start-up ‘Crafty Dust’, she had a career in construction and industrial manufacturing. Today she specializes in turning creative craft ideas into professionally designed decorative objects, gifts, and souvenirs. We were thrilled to meet her through a 100% Handcrafted online competition. She reveals to us in this interview how she decided to take her hobby to the next level.

The 100% Handcrafted Online Competition is powered by Melltoo, a mobile marketplace that allows artisans and handcrafters to sell on mobile and to share their passion with a larger audience.

Question 1

I’ve been crafty as far back as I can remember, making greeting cards & surprise gifts for my parents and siblings from scraps of paper, used up tissue rolls and empty match boxes. I owe most of it to my mom’s genes, for she is quite the artist and by far the craftiest person I know.

As an Architecture student I secretly preferred designing objects to designing buildings; and although my professional career took off in construction and industrial manufacturing, I always longed to make things with my hands.

When my children arrived almost 3 years ago, I took a break from work to be a full-time mom. And with the little time I had in between the feeds, the diaper changes, and the night wakings, I thought seriously about starting my own professional crafts business. I had the technical know-how and manufacturing network to make it happen, and working from home provided me with the flexibility to work around my children’s schedule.

So when my children finally started nursery school, I randomly decided to make greeting cards for personal use. Upon suggestion from my brother, who thought my work looked good enough to sell, I did my research on the greeting card industry, sent out some emails with pictures… and to my delight, got my first order from an international bookstore chain within a few days! That was 6 months ago, and that’s how Crafty Dust began – with a purchase order for cards.

Since then, one thing has led to another and my product line is evolving as I continue to experiment, explore, and chase opportunities that come my way.

MelltooMarket crafty dust 2

Question 2

Starting a crafts business doesn’t need a lot of money. It has a low barrier to entry because of the relatively low investment required and anyone can do it from the comfort of their own home. Nowadays there are various online platforms as well as physical markets that facilitate selling handmade crafts. However, things get tricky when you decide you want to increase your sales volume and turn your love for crafts into a registered, serious, full-time business. Unless you have the funds to set up your own shop and are willing to take the risk single-handedly, the better option would be to sell your products through existing retail stores and online platforms that already have the traffic. (Expect to be up against some harsh contract terms if you choose this option). But other ways to make money from crafts do exist: some through teaching, some by selling only the design, and others by publishing articles or books about it. Overall, hard work and hardships are expected like in the starting of any new business no matter what the industry.

Question 3

My first challenge as a Handcrafter is understanding that although the handcrafted design process is a personal one, the end product is to be sold to other people. Therefore it’s really about them and what they need and value; and not so much about what the designer thinks or believes is valuable.

My second challenge is accepting that many products will not sell or gain interest. It may take a while before one may become a success or a best-seller, so until then it’s all trial and error.

My third challenge is to find the right venues with the audience that is willing to buy my creations. Given the diverse population in the UAE, targeting the right community is not always easy.

Question 4

This is the first time such an opportunity has come my way, so I would definitely like to try it out. You never know… M-commerce could become the next best way to sell given how the concept of buying and selling has evolved over the recent years from the physical to the virtual store.

Question 5

I think Melltoo can give my business more exposure and visibility, which is crucial for my start-up.

Question 6

The most interesting and important creations (in any field) I think, are discovered by accident – when trying to do one thing leads to another and you persevere along the way.

Question 7

design mot de la fin-3

‘Thank You’… for your interest and for taking the time to read about me, my thoughts, and my business.

Vote for Crafty DUST-12

Where can we find Crafty Dust ?

Website : http://craftydust.webs.com

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/craftydust

IDEYNA – Handmade Marketplace : http://www.ideyna.com/shop/crafty-dust.html

ARTE – Artisans of the Emirates : http://www.arte.ae (ARTE)

The Artisans of the Emirates are based in Dubai and run Art & Craft markets (every 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Friday of every month) featuring exclusive, locally handmade products.

And coming soon on Melltoo…


[Tweet “Spread the good news when it comes to you!”]

What does she hide in her bag?

Patty Gay is a French/Filipino woman born in the Philippines. She is interested in painting on canvas and porcelain, travel, interior design, cooking and entertaining. She is the creator of DROP-IT Bag Organizer. We were thrilled to meet her through the 100% Handcrafted online competition. She reveals to us in this interview what she dropped in her bag. Here’s the story of how the idea of a handmade bag organizer came about in February 2009.

Patty question 1

Passion! This comes as a result if you engage in something that you genuinely love. Since the beginning I’ve always been very fascinated with colors, forms, texture and the fun of combining these elements to create something that is truly meaningful. The first time I participated in arts and crafts exhibitions was in early 2000, where I sold ‘bits and bobs’ and some random creations, ranging from decorated gift baskets, hand-painted porcelains, jewelry, door signs, etc. In 2009 out of sheer frustration of always forgetting something every time I’d switch bags, I designed and stitched a bag organizer with lots of pockets for my mobile phone, pens, driving license, make-up purse, i-pad, wallet, keys, etc. The organizer went inside my regular handbag and when I’d change bags I simply moved the organizer. It worked! Friends and family loved the idea so I decided to introduce the product at ARTE where it became an instant success. ‘DROP-IT’ became a registered brand in 2010. To this date we continue to create and develop quality products that make sense. For as long as our clients say, ‘it’s a Good Idea’ we know we matter.

Patty question 2

Be original, do not copy. Take inspirations from people you admire and the things that attract you but let your true creative spirit come to life. This is the only way to sustainability. Persevere. It took me years of hard work, trials and errors, before finally coming up with products that made sense to both men and women. Above all, value your clients and fellow artisans. True satisfaction is when you create something and people actually appreciate your work, otherwise you miss the purpose.


Patty question 3

As a regular artisan you are pretty much a one-man-show. You are the designer, tailor, merchandiser, accounts, sales person, everything rolled into one! Sometimes it’s hard to switch to ‘production’ when you are on creative mode. Nowadays, markets are saturated with so many ‘weekend jewellery designers’. I am not completely in the jewelry segment so it’s less of a concern for me, however I speak on behalf of talented designers I know who suffer because of the emergence of copy cats. Markets usually take place on weekends. When you have a husband who travels frequently, a daughter who goes to school, you always look forward to spending the weekends relaxing together as a family. If you sign up for 2 markets, that’s 2 weekends gone.

Patty question 4

Yes. This seems to be the way forward.

Patty question 5

Why? Melltoo offers a very smart way of communicating to my clients. Melltoo is helpful for both buyers and sellers. Because it’s mobile phone-base, it’s quick and efficient. My clients can reach me when they need to – anytime, anywhere. It’s simply amazing! It’s like managing my own retail shop. And it’s FREE!

Patty question 6

Keep life balance, it’s the key to happiness.

Patty question 7

As we all know, technology is evolving at an amazing speed and we are living a fast-paced existence. We should find time to take a pause and appreciate the wonderful things around us. It’s easy to get trapped with all the high-tech gadgets and advanced applications but just like most things in life – consume in moderation.


Where can we find Patty ?

Website : http://www.goodideasdubai.com

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/patty.gay109?ref=hl

Melltoo Market : http://www.melltoo.com

Keep calm and type #goodideas on melltoo and you will find Patty’s M-Store

ARTE – Artisans of the Emirates : http://www.arte.ae (ARTE)

The Artisans of the Emirates are based in Dubai and run bi-monthly Art & Craft markets which feature exclusive, locally handmade products.

VOTE FOR PATTY By Liking this page


[Tweet “Spread the good news when it comes to you!”]

What the press says about Melltoo

Why registering as a startup in Dubai is getting easier

by Nina Curley, April 6, 2014


Lately, we often hear startups from Casablanca to Cairo asking us how they can get a foothold in Dubai, the market with the region’s highest smartphone penetration rate and largest e-commerce market.

read more : http://www.wamda.com/2014/04/dubai-s-in5-incubator-quietly-expanding-options-for-entrepreneurs-in-the-uae



Looking for a New Way to Buy & Sell

by Expat Echo Dubai, April, 2014

Bandeau Melltoo Beta Launch Event

When asked to describe what Melltoo is, Khaled Elsayed, an early adopter, replied: “Dubizzle on steroids”. Buying and selling is social, quicker, and easier on this mobile app for iOS and Androids. The key is the built-in instant messaging platform that allows buyers and sellers to communicate. No calls, no mails, just chat to buy and sell.

read more : http://www.expatechodubai.com/new-to-dubai/looking-for-a-new-way-to-buy-sell-in-dubai/#more-246283



Mideast Startup Accelerator Picks First

Batch of Entrepreneurs

by Rory Jone, Marsh 2, 2014


A new startup accelerator program in the Middle East has picked its first batch of entrepreneurs that will receive an injection of cash and mentorship.

Three startups, in varying stages of growth, will each receive $20,000 of seed investment to help develop their businesses and leverage the network of Saudi Telecom and its digital media company Intigral.

read more : http://blogs.wsj.com/middleeast/2014/03/02/saudi-telecoms-startup-accelerator-picks-first-batch-of-entrepreneurs/