Formally known as The Little Majlis, The Saffron Souk is being hailed by us as the ETSY of the Middle East. Whether you are looking for a unique gift for a loved one or you’d like to treat yourself or your home to something new and a little different, The Saffron Souk online marketplace offers an extensive product range, and the best part? All of the items are locally produced meaning you are supporting small businesses in the region whilst being able to purchase something creative and different to the norm.
From homegrown fashion, wedding gifts, homeware, and jewellery, to products for men and little ones, saffronsouk.com has something for everyone. Today, we interview Shaan Qasim of The Saffron Souk, to learn more about the site and what it offers.
Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to launch The Saffron Souk?
Hi everyone, my name is Shaan Qasim and I am the founder of The Saffron Souk, a wonderful online community, full of creative entrepreneurs and smart shoppers. Whether you are looking for clothing, jewellery, unique gift options or interiors and art for your home, you can be sure to find all of that and so much more.
I’m a self-confessed passionate maker myself and supporting the small business community is something that I hold very close to my heart. I started The Saffron Souk to allow and help the creative community in the region really flourish and gain global recognition.
More than just a marketplace, you can connect, interact and shop from a host of independent small businesses who all share a love for creativity and beautiful things. With shipping available worldwide too, The Saffron Souk gives a platform to all of the individual sellers across the GCC and allows customers from all over the world to discover and shop a truly curated marketplace.
In my spare time, I enjoy embroidery, sewing as well as spending time with my adorable grandson!
Do the crafters and vendors on your website require a trade license?
Licensing is the responsibility of our sellers who should ensure that they operate within the laws of the country.
Have you seen a category or item on your website becoming popular during the current pandemic?
Initially we saw growth in home fitness products like saffronsouk.com/makigym and children toys saffronsouk.com/baby-and-child/toys/ more than any other which was expected given that people were at home with their children.
Going into the summer, resort wear gained momentum again because people didn’t travel and were staying here and going on staycations.
How can crafters and small businesses work with you? Talk us through the process?
We have deliberately kept the process very easy for small businesses. All they have to do is fill in the application on saffronsouk.com/seller-application. The most important thing is for them to attach pictures of their products or share their social handles so that we can see what they want to sell – it’s all about the visuals. Our team will then review the application within a week and when approved they will be notified via email with instructions how to set up their online shop.
Even though our platform doesn’t require any knowledge of technology and is super easy to navigate, all sellers can schedule an appointment with our Sellers Success team to help them to set up their store, review their listings. The team will also share the best practices to grow online sales.
All of our sellers also benefit from our advanced digital marketing integration; once they correctly list products on The Saffron Souk, their products will be displayed in our ads on Google and Facebook.
We know you must be careful of bias, but do you have any favourites on the website? 😉
Personally I have passion for the arts so I always like to check the art collection on our marketplace but it really gives me joy when I see a new talented maker open a shop on The Saffron Souk.
Lastly, what is next for the Saffron Souk?
We’ve had a busy start to the year: we have just partnered with Eureeca for a global fund-raising campaign. You will also start seeing some of The Saffron Souk’s sellers in one of the Tier 1 retailers in the region. And we plan to continue to grow in the GCC and Levant region; I am very excited to see shops from Lebanon opening on The Saffron Souk.
On a more granular level, we have added a few amazing features that will allow our sellers to easily start their Facebook and Instagram shops and manage and synchronize their catalogues from their accounts on The Saffron Souk.