Mumzworld founder says every day is a balancing act

Mona Ataya reveals how she juggles the three roles in her life: entrepreneur, wife and mother

Mona Ataya, the founder of Mumzworld, an online store that sells mother, baby and child products. Silvia Razgova / The National
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You don't disclose the amount of capital you raise. Why is that?

It’s irrelevant. You raise as much money as you need to get you to the next milestone. If I raised US$100 million on day one and then spent it all - that does not make mine a better business, it makes mine a stupid business. Remember, every time you raise money you are diluted. We are entrepreneurs not employees and as entrepreneurs you want to be masters of your destiny and that’s why the more you raise, the more you are diluted. That’s when entrepreneurs say: 'Why should I do this? Why should I work 22 hours a day, 365 days a year?' if you don’t have vested interest.

Are you still working 22 hours a day?

I work all the time but I signed up for that. I’m also a mother and a wife and I signed up for that too, so I need to juggle. Every day is a balance. Today I have a meeting after this interview but at 4pm my son has his squad match until 7pm so I’m going to be there by hook or by crook. Every day is a balancing act - it’s a personal choice.

What new skills have you learnt running Mumzworld?

I’m much stronger and have more grit than I realised and nothing fazes me. I’ve also learnt that every problem has a solution and that when you do things for the right reason good things happen.

What about the timing of your business launch - did you get it right?

We were right on time. We incorporated in August 2011 and launched in October that year. I’m not sure many other eCommerce businesses can launch in two months. We had two months of 24/7 non-stop because we wanted to be the first, we wanted to be the pioneers and we wanted to set the standards.


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Who are your competitors?

We consider there to be two types of competitors – the super-smart strategic player that identifies a need gap and says: 'I’m going to address that need.' So look at the brick and mortar stores, whether that’s Babyshop or Mamas and Papas that cater to a particular type of customer; we respect and admire businesses like that. Then you have the copycat competitors. These guys launch with no value proposition that is unique, no USP and they basically copy the leader and they usually try to compete on price. The problem with them is that they are short-lived; since Mumzworld launched there have been four and only one exists today.

What advice would you offer an entrepreneur entering the eCommerce space?

They need to identify a USP, that they can really create a business that solves a consumer pain point. There’s no sense in copying someone else; if they identify a real consumer pain point and they have the resources, the skills and the people to address that, then they should do it.

What your drivers for growth?

Regional expansion is a big driver of growth along with mobile and customer centricity - optimising our user experience to make sure we deliver faster and better. The customer experience is absolutely imperative; taking it to the next level is a big driver  because if you deliver on a customer that is loyal properly then you will get the customer to come back again and again.