What do you do with greeting cards: trash them, recycle them or store (some of) them because they’re too special? Some cards are special indeed; either because the sender is someone you love or the card itself is unique and meaningful, as though a sentiment has come alive. Speaking of which, just last week was when I discovered a startup from Jordan specializing in custom online greeting cards, not run-of-the-mill by any standard. Whether it’s for kids’ birthdays or a graduation or the Holiday Seasons, they have distinctive cards for every occasion.
Yislamoo was launched in late 2011 as a family-owned business in Amman, Jordan. Within a matter of time, they grew from selling at 3 outlets to 57, thus enabling them to expand operations globally. At the moment, they are stocked in over 50 outlets around the world, from large department stores to little boutiques. As per statistics, most of their sales happen in the UK, US & UAE and on their website which is equipped to handle International shipping and delivery.
Rasha Hamdan, the managing partner and backbone behind Yislamoo goes on to share her journey with us.
First things first, what’s your story?
Not too many people know, but besides being the Managing Partner at Yislamoo, I’m a mother to a handsome young man who is now in college, a music worshipper and at one point was very serious about becoming a kickboxing champion too!
When was Yislamoo born and the idea behind it?
Pre-Yislamoo, I was and still am a visual narrator, working for high-profile clients in Jordan on branding, visual communication and advertising projects. I recall my clients mentioning to me that the New Year greeting cards I designed and sent out were the only thing they would retain from the corporate gift storm received around that time of year.
As cliché as it sounds, I’ve always wanted to do something different and independently. Also, having a soft spot for Arabic as a language (especially in its contemporary form and how it evolved) has helped. When I realized that the market was flooded with greeting cards that were in English, not in Arabic; Yislmaoo was born as a home-based office in 2011 as a medium to offer people a genuine way to celebrate life and important occasions, in their own language and their own skin.
More recently, it has evolved to more gift ideas in the form of personalized wall art. Our nursery art prints are a huge hit as a baby shower gift, especially since they have a Middle Eastern flavor to them.
What does Yislamoo mean?
Yislamoo” is an elaborate way of saying thank you (shukran) in Arabic. It translates to a prayer: may you be safe from harm.
What are your product offerings? What makes Yislamoo unique?
- Greeting cards (Arabic and due to popular demand, our best sellers are now available in English as well)
- Wall Art
- Personalized Nursery Art Prints
Yislamoo is not only a reflection of the Arabic culture but also a celebration of it. It is a channel of social expression for everyone that speaks this language.
We are the most comprehensive provider of Arabic language products all over the Middle East. Besides, in an attempt to being sustainable, we print our greeting cards either as postcards or smaller sizes (reducing paper consumption by half), and use acid-free paper in addition to e-cards for those who choose to go completely paper-less.
Where all does Yislamoo have a presence? Is there an option for International shipping? Where do you ship from?
Our online store ships worldwide; although we’ve recently moved base to Dubai on account of the tremendous potential here. Our orders are delivered via our strategic partner Aramex, both domestically and internationally within 3-7 business days.
At the time of checkout, international shipping costs are calculated based on the items purchased and shipping destination.
What is your team strength? Are you personally involved in the designing and creative aspect of the company?
So far, I have been working with a network of talented freelancers, from artists to illustrators to web developers hailing from Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. I am personally involved and so is my circle of close friends and family. As a focus group, they have been an immense help in the decision-making process.
Where do you see the company in a couple of years from now? Do you intend to launch additional products in the future? Expansion plans?
Being a family-run business, we are always on the lookout for strategic partners that could genuinely add value to the brand. However, in terms of specifics, I’m not in favor of talking aloud these days!
Why do you consider yourself a geek?
I am not a self-proclaimed geek, I’m a geek elect :-). Can’t remember who it was, I mean the first person who said: You’re such a geek!
Get in touch with Yislamoo:
- Phone on +971 54 493 9014, working hours are from 09:00 to 17:00 Sunday to Thursday.
- Email on firstname.lastname@example.org, expecting a response within 24 business hours.