So you must be wondering what Feesheh means, literally it means plug in Arabic and the founders of this new Jordanian startup named it Feesheh as a play on words in Arabic which would be very difficult to explain, so I’ll just move on.
Feesheh is an Oasis 500 company incubated on Feb. 1, 2012. Its the first of its kind in the region, they provide musical instruments at competitive prices and are looking to create a community of artists that will no longer have to suffer to find instruments they need.
The key people at Feesheh are:
- Nur Alfayez, Co-Founder & CEO
- Fahed Farraj, Co-founder & COO
So how they came up with the idea is actually quite straight forward, they saw a problem and wanted to solve it. As you can see from the images above both of the founders are musicians, “we had to go through a great deal of pain to look for instruments, they were either expensive or not available in the local markets so we ended up getting them online from overseas suppliers which also wasn’t hassle free, we had to face issues such taxes, clearing customs and of course the long wait to get our instruments.” Explained Fahed.
“We also found examples of people who were dealing instruments unofficially, so there clearly was a market for it in Jordan.” Explained Nur. Apparently people would smuggle in instruments and sell them to people who needed them.
At the momemt the startup is focusing on the Jordanian market, but they are planning to expand regionally. And I don’t see why not, they have an understanding of what people go through to buy instruments in the region and there’s nobody else doing what they’re doing. So I think this idea has great potential. Another thing I realized is the amount of work they were putting in, I met with them last Saturday (which is the weekend in Jordan, well pretty much everywhere except Saudi I think) and I asked them if they usually worked on weekends, to which it was obvious that the concept of working hours was no longer part of their vocabulary, they were working non stop to get the job done.
As they were explaining their services I wanted to know how they managed to solve the problem, if they had difficulties finding affordable instruments, then how were they selling them? Apparently they are partnering up with international, regional and local suppliers to provide all instrument and equipment. And they have plans to have their own inventory in future – pretty impressive, right?
I must admit, I was pretty skeptical about their business model when I first spoke to Nur at AmmanTT and quite honestly I was basing my judgment on absolutely nothing other than a gut feeling. But I was proved wrong, “sales are actually pretty good, and much more than we expected.” explained Nur and according to her I wasn’t the first person that doubted their business plan, in fact the majority of the people they speak to feel the same way. (What do you know persistance and believing in what you do eventually pay off!)
I was interested in knowing what items were selling the most on the website, and no surprise it was guitars, ouds and small accessories such as strings. Now since they sell directly online they must be paying a percentage fee per transaction so I asked them whether or not its worth it to sell smaller items such as strings and so on, to which Fahed replied “The point is not money, I can’t give you a guitar and not strings. We want to create a one stop shop for music and for the community”.
The longer the meeting went on the more impressed I was with the team, they were very energetic and optimistic. “We wanted to go live quickly, we had the website up and running in three weeks from our incubation date” Said Nur, they also added a used instrument listing page on the website, they realize it’s not as great as it can be however right now users have the ability to list their own instruments, improvements for this feature are being worked on. Which is, I think the way to go, don’t waste time by perfecting something, but perfect it as you go.
As for their marketing efforts, they initially had focused on online and social networks just like all the other startups I’ve been talking with lately, but they have also been busy visiting a lot of concerts, shows and events giving away flyers and talking to the crowd. They are also working closely with the local bands to help spread the word, in the coming weeks they are running a radio campaign on Play FM which was offered to them for free as an effort by Play to support Jordanian startups, also the ad was done by a famous local band in Jordan called autostrad.
“Online ads are working, but you need to know how to do it, testing with different formats and call to actions. We found that offer ads preformed the best especially if they were good offers. But even if we don’t run ads traffic is still coming. Most of it is from Jordan now.” Said Fahed.
I asked them if they had any advice they would offer people who would want to start up something, Nur pounced right away and said “You have to take risks! you have to leave your job and give your idea the time it deserves, you have to be serious.” She continued saying “Our experience with Oasis 500 was really good, it provided connections, sound advice and exposure. It wasn’t the fund it self but more of the value you get.”
“To quote MarkaVIP’s Ahmed Khatib, Go big or go home! you have to give it your all to get big. Plus the atmosphere of people connecting each other at Oasis was very helpful, we wouldn’t have pulled it of without them.” Added Fahed.
They gave an example of Oasis’ value, when they first decided to enroll they were going in with an idea that was completely different, and after much guidance and mentorship the idea they came in with changed so many times that currently Feesheh.com barely resembles it.
Another point they wanted to make sure entrepreneurs in the MENA region were aware of is that the funding is there, if people have an idea they recommend them to go for it, “If you have an idea, just go for it. If you knock on doors people will answer. When you don’t have options you will settle, but once you know that there are a lot of options available you will not be limited.” Explained Nur.
What do you think of feesheh, is it something you would use? If you have any comments or feedback please let us know. Or you can signup to receive our newsletter to remain updated with the latest venture news from the MENA.