Fuad Abdul Rahma is a hands-on kind of business owner who says he is sometimes at his new chocolate factory until midnight, inspecting whether the mixture is turned the right way under the right temperature.
He launched Colours Touch, a fashion and cosmetics company a little more than a year ago, and now he is preparing to expand his business with offerings of chocolates and dates. Mr Abdul Rahma discusses plans for his new line, Chocolaty, and a namesake store that is set to open in Dubai soon.
Why did you expand your existing business to include chocolates and dates?
In Emirati and GCC homes, [high-quality] dates are a must, especially during Ramadan. We start the day and break the fast with dates. The timing of the business expansion was to coincide with Ramadan. Chocolaty is an extension of my fashion and cosmetics businesses, [catering] to women who are also the ones to welcome guests with dates and chocolates.
But the chocolate and date industries here are competitive. How do you plan to stand out in the crowd and draw business?
Chocolaty is a local brand. It will come made in the UAE. The dates will be local and from Saudi Arabia. Our chocolate fillings will come from France and Belgium, but [the final product will be] made in our factory in the UAE. The dates will be sold as plain, with nuts, such as hazelnuts, cashew nuts … and with chocolates. We will stand apart in quality. We choose premium dates that are fresh directly from the farm.
What are your expansion plans for the Chocolaty brand?
This brand will run in two ways: retail points and corporate business. Within a month, we plan to open a retail store in Jumeirah. Corporates will buy for parties, ministries and hotels, especially dates and dates with nuts. We are targeting hotels, airlines, [the] luxury [sector] and hope to be in coffee shops in Europe by beginning of 2013. We also plan to export dates.
What would your daily production volume be?
Daily production would be 200 kilograms of chocolates and chocolates with dates.
How many chefs are you employing at present?
We have three chefs: one from Egypt, one from Lebanon and another from Morocco. Each of them is a specialist in their area of chocolate production. We are looking for one more chef.
How will you get the word out?
The chocolate industry is big; there is so much competition. We went to the Taste of Dubai exhibition and got feedback through the exhibition. We are also approaching government departments [to supply their events]. Later, we will have advertisements and roadshows in malls.
* Sananda Sahoo
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