Rooted in tradition, fishing gear business is now hooked on social media

40 per cent of fishing-equipment customers place orders on Instagram, Emirati businessman says

Abu Dhabi: An Emirati businessman who hails from a community of fisherman says tradition and technology have helped him prosper in his fishing equipment business in Dubai.

Rooted in tradition, the business is now casting a wide net on social media, Omar Al Muhairbi, 38, told Gulf News on Wednesday.

He started the business 12 years ago, based on his traditional links with the fishing community.

“Now, 40 per cent of the business is coming through Instagram,” said Al Muhairbi, whose shop’s Instagram account has more than 4,000 followers.

“They [followers] are my regular customers, mostly from Dubai and the Northern Emirates. As soon as I post a new product on Instagram, they place their order and we deliver it the next day by courier, for an additional Dh30,” he said in an interview at his stall in the Abu Dhabi Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex) in the capital.

He said Dh30 courier charge is a saving for customers who otherwise have to shell out more money on fuel, time and effort to drive down to his shop in Umm Suqeim 2.

“I chose Instagram because it is more popular among Emiratis and other Gulf nationals, than other social media platforms,” Al Muhairbi said.

The five-day event at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) will run until Saturday. Al Muhairbi’s stall is set up at the pavilion of Khalifa Fund and Dubai SME, the government organisations that support Emirati businesses.

Baiting business

Earlier, when a new product arrived from China, he used to inform his fishermen relatives and friends, who would spread the news in the community.

“Now, I take the product to sea on my fishing boat, try it out myself and shoot its and pictures and video. If I am satisfied with the product’s performance, I post it on Instagram and then the orders start coming,” he said.

Still, he believes his passion about his tradition is his strength. “I am proud of this tradition. My father and grandfather were fishermen. As a child, I used to enjoy fishing trips with them,” Al Muhairbi said. “I still go out on my fishing boat at least once a week, which gives me an opportunity to try new products,” he said. “If your business is your passion, it is easy to do it,” added Al Muhairbi, who does both wholesale and retail business, sourcing his products from China and developing his own brands.

The five-day exhibition, the largest event of its kind in the field of hunting, equestrian and heritage preservation, celebrates this year the centennial of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Adihex, featuring local, regional and international exhibitors, offers different events, including sporting, cultural and heritage activities. The event also boasts heritage workshops and many other activities including land and marine sports, besides live performances such as beauty shows and live shows for horses, K9 dogs, birds and falcons.

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