Our Interview with Tarek Halabi, Founder of Youmah.com

I personally strive to use healthy and organic products for my children.  One of my favorite places to shop is on Youmah.  I have always wanted to know more about the company and it’s founders, Carla & Tarek.  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask them a few questions.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and what you were doing before starting Youmah?

Tarek: My wife and I come from different backgrounds, since graduating from Purdue University, Carla spent the last 11 years in the marketing field in the US, Jordan and UAE. She is also a self-proclaimed foodie and loves to write about her passion for food on her blog Memoirs of a Taste Bud as well as other publications, she also occasionally presents on T.V. I studied agriculture however I’ve worked in banking most of my life. My career has come full circle now as my roots for having a natural approach about organic farming, foods and life in general have brought me back to this vertical.

What motivated you to create Youmah? And what was the inspiration behind the name?

Tarek: Youmah.com was launched late last year. As health enthusiasts ourselves, we were planning for our first child and were simultaneously trying to find a resource where we could look for and buy safe, nontoxic products for our family, that said were weren’t able to find a reliable source. We did discover great websites that sell baby products but none specialized in natural, organic products, which was very important to us. From there we decided to create a convenient platform for busy mothers to spare them the long hours and hassle of product research.

Regarding the name, it was really important for us to stay true to our roots, being Arabs ourselves. Youmah literally means “mother” in Arabic, it harkens back to a time when natural solutions were inherently the answer, a time when mothers bathed their children in soap made of local olive oil, a time when foods sourced from the family garden and were chemical free by default. So for us the name Youmah felt a natural fit which also aligned with the brands ethos perfectly.

We heard you are expecting your first child soon.  What products will baby Youmah be using?

Tarek: For baby- To be fair, we’ll need to see how our baby girl reacts to various products and brands however we do have several favorites in mind which we’ve already stocked up on.

As you may know newborn baby skin is 5 times thinner than adults, so using a wide range of organic and 100% natural skin care products from brands like Four Cow Farm baby wash & lotion and Tiddley Pom massage oil will save us hours of pain demo skin condition like nappy rashes or eczema.

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Organic textiles like bedding, blankets and clothes, this is especially important given that 80% of the worlds pesticides are used on cotton.

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Two products come to mind when we think about diapering. First, are natural wood and unbleached diapers like Seventh Generation or Naty diapers to reduce nappy rash incidents while also being good for the environment in conjunction with Water Wipes. Additionally, we have already placed a Tommee Tippee Sangenic Diaper Disposal in our nursery, it provides a very convenient diaper disposal system for 30 days at a time without any odor.

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For feeding we’ll be using Dr. Brown’s bottles to start which mimic the mothers natural breast and are a favorite among moms, especially for colic children.

For mother- Ensuring we have a good quality breast pump with high endurance, for faster pumping and milk storage has been really important to us. We’ve selected the Medela Double Breast Pump which is very convenient for busy or working mothers.

In addition, Carla has been religiously using Neal’s Yard Mother’s Balm at night and Four Cow Far Mother Salve during day throughout her pregnancy for preventing severe stretch marks and keeping belly moisturized at all times.

Your startup is still relatively new, however you have seen great success.  Do you have any tips for other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Tarek: Only venture into opening your own company if you will to commit 110% of your time, energy and talent into it. Also, its key to listen to inner voice and ignore all nay sayers out there especially the ones inside your head.

Do you have plans to expand Youmah to other parts of the world?

Tarek: Absolutely, it is part of the long term plan however we’ve decided at this stage to focus on UAE market as to perfect our service and product proportion so we can stay focused. We are the only brand in this vertical who provide a 6 month return policy because of our confidence in our well researched products and providing free delivery even if your order is 1 AED in value.
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What is your favorite book?
Tarek: I am a bookworm so it’s hard to choose just one but if had to choose one from the last five books I’ve read, I would have to say Moonwalking with Einstein, a story of an average young reporter writing about the world’s smartest person only to find himself participating in the USA Memory Championship and winning it from his first attempt. I found it really inspiring and enjoyed the techniques on enhancing memorization. He covers the scientific basis of memory creation and historical attitudes towards memory.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or not, who would it be and why?

Tarek: My family, it may sound quite humble but I would want to have lunch with the whole family including extended family like uncles and cousins. This is my happy place, having a hearty meal somewhere safe where you’re not judged, a safe space where you can only learn and be inspired. If i was to invite anyone to this lunch i would choose an alien from another planet, someone with a fresh new perspective we are not used to.

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Thank you Tarek for the interview!

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