Tell us about yourself and your background, how you got started in business/entrepreneurship and what is it that you do?
In 2020, I ventured into the world of entrepreneurship, launching Drink Dry – the first and only non-alcoholic drinks marketplace in the GCC. My entrance into the world of business was somewhat unconventional. Despite having no prior business experience or background in the drinks industry, the journey has been marked by tremendous growth and success. As a mother of three with a passion for health and an active lifestyle, I found inspiration in catering to the evolving preferences of consumers seeking healthier alternatives.
What inspired you to found Drink Dry?
The inspiration for starting Drink Dry came from the realization that the beverage market in the Middle East lacked a dedicated space for non-alcoholic alternatives. As an advocate for all things health and fitness, I saw an opportunity to contribute to the well-being of individuals by providing a diverse range of non-alcoholic drinks. This gap in the market fuelled my determination to create a platform that resonated with health-conscious consumers and those looking to moderate their drinking. I was convinced that there was a significant audience of consumers that no one was tapping into at that time.
At what point did you experience an ‘aha’ moment when you realised you were on to something, and Drink Dry was going to be a successful business?
I have had many ‘aha’ moments occur in the last 4 years as we witnessed the rapid growth of Drink Dry and its acceptance in the market. Feedback from our customers, coupled with the increasing demand for our curated selection of non-alcoholic beverages, affirmed that we were addressing a genuine need. But the first and probably most notable one was only three weeks into our soft launch – we estimated that we had around 6 months of stock, however only three weeks into our operations and having spent an absolute zero on marketing, we had sold out and were now flying in the stock to meet the consumer demand. This validation marked a turning point, solidifying our belief that Drink Dry was not just a business but a movement toward healthier lifestyle choices.
What has been your biggest challenge in establishing your business in the region?
Establishing Drink Dry in the Middle East for sure came with its set of challenges. The most significant hurdle was breaking into an industry without prior experience. However, our commitment to understanding consumer preferences, market research, and building a dedicated team allowed us to overcome these challenges. The diverse nature of the region also required us to adapt our offerings to cater to the unique tastes and preferences of each country – UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
You founded Drink Dry in 2020 and have continued to grow the business successfully, what qualities/actions do you believe are integral to building a company for longevity?
The key qualities integral to building a company for longevity, especially in the dynamic market of non-alcoholic beverages, include innovation, adaptability, and a relentless focus on customer satisfaction. By staying attuned to market trends, embracing challenges, and maintaining a customer-centric approach, Drink Dry has been able to position itself as a lasting presence in the industry. It is my role as the CEO of the business to always be a few steps ahead of the competition as well as to have a really in-depth knowledge of what is happening in our market segment globally.
What advice would you offer other founders looking at relocating or expanding into the Middle East market?
For founders looking to relocate or expand into the Middle East market, my advice would be to conduct thorough market research and understand the cultural nuances of each country. Building strong relationships with local partners, regulatory compliance, and tailoring your offerings to meet the specific demands of the region are essential. It’s crucial to approach the expansion with flexibility and a genuine commitment to understanding and respecting the diverse markets within the Middle East.
What does a day in the life of the CEO of Drink Dry look like?
My typical day as the CEO of Drink Dry involves overseeing the daily operations, collaborating with the team, and staying abreast of industry trends. However, I have to admit that I have witnessed a shift recently since we have onboarded new people into our team. I am starting to let go of the day to day challenges and starting to focus on the more strategic developments of the business. It is important to note that balancing the responsibilities of motherhood with the demands of a growing business also requires meticulous planning. I have created a really strong support network around me to help me succeed in both roles – from the support I have at home to the exceptional team who do their job brilliantly at Drink Dry.
What is the goal for Drink Dry over the next 3-5 years?
Over the next 3-5 years, I want to see Drink Dry strengthen its position as the premier non-alcoholic drinks marketplace in the Middle East as well as the chosen supplier for our retail and hospitality partners. The strategic objectives include expanding into new markets, introducing innovative products, and fostering collaborations with both local and international brands. The focus remains on providing customers with an even more diverse, enticing, and health-conscious range of non-alcoholic alternatives and remaining that one stop shop for all alcohol free drinks needs.
What is next for you?
Personally, my journey is closely linked with the continued success and growth of Drink Dry. I am dedicated to steering the company toward new opportunities and exploring avenues for further innovation within the non-alcoholic beverage sector.
How can readers find out more about yourself and Drink Dry?
Readers interested in learning more about myself and Drink Dry can visit our e-store (www.drinkdrystore.com) for information on our products, mission, and company updates. Additionally, our social media channels, including Instagram and LinkedIn, offer insights into our journey, events, and the latest happenings at Drink Dry.