Because of her passion for self-employment, and her determination to go into a freelance work experience, in addition to her desire to learn real business skills to apply some of the aspects she studied, Alaa decided to leave her excellent job and turn to Entrepreneurship
“I left an excellent job that I had always worked to achieve in the most prestigious and prestigious bodies” Alaa says.
Alaa bin Mishaan; Founder of “Tostick” Bakery and Café sought to founding her project and work to develop it from personal savings… In the following interview, Alaa tells the rest of the details related to her project and her vision in the field of business.
• How do you define yourself?
Alaa Fahd bin Mishaan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s in Business Administration and a mother of four young women.
• What caught your eye in the world of entrepreneurship?
I wanted to go through the experience, and learn real business skills to apply some of the aspects I studied, in addition to encouraging the state for citizens to open their businesses.
• How did the idea of “Tostick” come about?
It is the idea of a home product that I sold through the Instagram application, and after its great success, I wanted it to become a real bakery.
The goal was to focus on selling to the owners of cafes and businesses headquarters, but by chance, the plan was suddenly changed to comply with the municipality’s instructions, the reception of customers in the bakery was opened; This is the reason why Tostick products are widely accessible to everyone.
• Where did you get the funding?
The financing was from my savings from my job during the last 5 working years; I had no desire to take any loans or aid from anyone; So that I don’t take on more responsibilities.
• What is the biggest challenge you faced in your working life?
The challenge was leaving my excellent job to devote myself to the bakery and its needs.
• As for your bakery, how did you deal with the Corona crisis… and what is your plan for the risks?
Unfortunately, the Corona pandemic surprised us with the beginning of the bakery’s launch, and it was a harsh lesson; and at the same time a starting point for Tostick (which I liken to a little boat) to prove and bypass this (storm) safely.
Thanks to financial control, rapid response to circumstances, prioritization, and last but not least, commitment and benefiting from the instructions and support of the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Commerce, we were able to come back stronger and better than before.
• What is the special service provided by “Tostick” and makes it unique for customers?
I think what distinguishes “Tostick” is quality and innovation, we at “Tostick” work daily on these two elements, in addition to developing customer service.
• Tell us about the secret of your success?
I think the secret of success is hard work, persistence, and for the entrepreneur to embrace and love his work; To be able to continue and bear the pressures of self-employment, as well as choosing a work team that supports and dedicates itself and its effort to the success of your project.
• What should be considered before setting up a new bakery and café?
Many and manifold matters, determined by the region and the target group; But I will list the three most important things from my point of view:
First: consulting experts in the field; To know the secrets and problems of the activity before starting it, and I also advise that the entrepreneur works for a while in the same field before making a decision.
Second: product study; It is a good product and knowledge of its details that determine your target segment, customer reach, and your profit.
Third: Financial control and periodic review of expenditures and revenues; To find and fix any bugs periodically.
• Have you considered expanding through the franchise or any other method?
Yes, but it was very difficult to make such decisions during the past difficult period; currently, we intend to open a new branch at the beginning of 2022.
• What is the most important marketing tool for bakeries and cafes?
Word of mouth is the customer’s experiences and talks about them to others.
This is followed by the presence of activity on social networking applications in an effective and renewable manner, in line with seasons and events. And last but not least, the presence of the product on delivery apps; introduces new customers to your product in an effortless way.
• How do you find the Kingdom’s support for women entrepreneurs?
Support is fair between male and female entrepreneurs. There is no discrimination or preference for female entrepreneurs.
The support is represented in employment support for females, in addition to an initiative to recover most of the government fees that are paid and others.
• What are your plans?
I aspire, with God’s grace and blessing, to open two branches in 2022, and to expand the supply to other cities in the Kingdom, knowing that we are currently supplying our products to cities such as Tabuk, Al Jawf, and Taif.
• What do you advise female entrepreneurs?
I advise them not to be afraid of going through the experience and to be aware that self-employment will go through difficult stages that are often frustrating; but with persistence, development, and flexibility, it can be overcome.