x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

My UAE: Shamma Al Taheri creates treasure from trash with Scrap_Shop

A profile of the Scrap_Shop co-founder Shamma Al Taheri.

Shamma Al Taheri shows off products from Scrap_Shop, at her home in Al Qusais, Dubai. Razan Alzayani / The National
Shamma Al Taheri shows off products from Scrap_Shop, at her home in Al Qusais, Dubai. Razan Alzayani / The National

Turning anything into something is what Shamma Al Taheri enjoys doing.

The 21-year-old Emirati, along with five others – Amal Ahmed, Mahra, Mariam Al Hashemi, ­Haleema and Alia, all in their early 20s – started an idea to turn scrap into art and decorations.

“What is left over from paper – be it wrapping or printed, like newspaper or magazines, boxes, stickers – we reuse and redesign them into beautiful pieces,” says Al Taheri. “Depending on what order we get, we make it unique and sometimes with an Emirati art and heritage touch.”

Through the Instagram account Scrap_Shop, customers can see a range of designs for special events, such as pre-wedding parties, baby showers and graduations. From table sets and bottle covers to balloons and small trinkets like booklets and candles wrapped in their colourful collage-like designs, the entire reception room can be covered.

The online store was one of the Top 100 ideas during the 2013 Young Entrepreneur Competition in Dubai.

“Anything that you are about to throw, we will take it and use it and make it into something beautiful,” says the Zayed University student, who is studying media. “Our message: we can create something from nothing, and it takes imagination.”

Since childhood, Al Taheri has enjoyed spending her holiday time learning handicrafts, such as sewing, ceramics and glass-painting.

“I like putting things together. I also feel we lack real training in handicrafts, something we should aspire to do more of locally.”

Mainly working from home, the team of young women hope for a real shop one day.

“More and more people want things designed and made by Emiratis,” Al Taheri says. “So we work with other Emirati start-ups and companies so the customer gets the full Emirati experience.”

Favourite brand character?

Hello Kitty and I especially like their spa in Town Centre [Jumeirah], Dubai. I wish I had this as child to go to be pampered.

Favourite pastime?

I like to walk about in the early morning and browse through shops and souqs for new ideas for designs.

Favourite movie/TV series?

I like drama and I don’t like action films. I liked the Turkish soap opera Fatima, which has an interesting storyline and very dramatic twists in the story.

Favourite cartoons?

I love Despicable Me, both the first and second. I especially love the Minions. They are hilarious. I have a cover for my Samsung phone with them on it. I also like dubbed Japanese animation. Their storylines always have depth and drama.

Favourite books?

I like to read novels in Arabic. I like writings by Ahlam Mosteghanemi, as it is realistic and dramatic. She is an Algerian writer who has been called “the world’s best-known Arabophone woman novelist”. And from the Emirati writers I like Abdullah Al Nuaimi, who wrote Espresso, which taps into the latest trends today.

Favourite luxury brand?

I adore Dior. I like their bags, the style of their stores themselves with their white and light pink touch. Just very classy.

Favourite motto?

Think outside the box.

Favourite colour?


Favourite perfume?

Dior, any of their lines.

Favourite car?

Mercedes. My father collects classic Mercedes, since 1980. They look like trendy boxes. I prefer the new styles, especially the convertible Mercedes.


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