By Sahrish Ali
Nehal Alomari, founder of Papermoon Giftwrapping Company, created a trend of gift giving that adds a different meaning to the concept.
The concept was born out of necessity. Gift giving had always been the norm in their family. However, Alomari noticed that they weren’t being presented in an appropriately elegant way, which killed the whole idea of giving. This inspired the idea of Papermoon.
Papermoon turns 25 this month. Alomari speaks about the memories that come from such a long history. “The memories that matter most are the simple ones: our first shop, the first few transactions, the first night we stayed up to count the sales and then my husband proudly announcing the SR 300 achievement.”
Alomari reminisces about how she and her husband would do last-minute preparations in their one-room warehouse pricing, counting and cleaning products. Her two boys would be running around, excited about all the chaos and sometimes actually helping out.
Finally, she adoringly recalls the time when their eldest stood as a proud salesman for a week and served customers. So many little memories that really make Papermoon what it is: a place for a group of strangers who are now family to serve many other families.
With every new venture there are roadblocks. Alomari mentions the obstacles she faced in the making of Papermoon as mere bumps. “At that time, believe it or not, I never looked at them as obstacles. Perhaps I was too focused on giving my project wings and that motivated me to cut down any obstacles that wouldn’t let it soar.”
Every society has its own limitations on its people. “My society did put a few limitations on me, but not to the extent that it hindered my chances of success. Of course, if it weren’t for my husband’s full support, I couldn’t have done it.”
There are nine Papermoon branches between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. “For the longest time, Papermoon was like a strong young horse with its bridle in my hands; with me holding it in place while I cared for it and groomed it.”
Alomari expressed future
plans of serving a larger number of customers and offering products that would satisfy all tastes and needs.
Papermoon has been involved in community betterment for a long time. At Papermoon, all celebrations and promotions are planned with at least one charity organization in mind. CSR is a relatively new venture and they started theirs a couple of years ago with a similar open empowering approach.
Papermoon always encouraged local artists by opening doors of collaboration through their Local Designers program or through occasional custom gift giving promotions. This helps them pave their paths into the real market.
They were part of Faisal Sheraiff’s @outlanders on several occasions. At the opening of their flagship store in Bahrain they held an event where invited guests chose a pre-assigned gift for a cancer patient child, self-wrapped it and had it delivered completely anonymously. Papermoon is also the official sponsor of an initiative called @alsoroor_, which is basically making someone happy all year long.
Alomari offers some golden advice for those looking to start their own ventures:
1. Before you start a business ask yourself, why? Any sort of business requires commitment. If you are in it for the wrong reasons, you are setting yourself to fail and you might eventually lose your investment.
2. Choose something you’re passionate about. Do not choose because it sells well. How can you manage and develop your business if you do not understand it inside out?
3. Innovate, do not imitate. Do it if it’s your passion, but do it your way.
4. A clean business with clean dealings will be heaven for all your staff, investment and customers. Make yours an art of really serving the consumer and serve to the best of your ability. It all pays off in the end.
On Sacrifice and Priorities
Alomari realized the importance of making the right choices from the start. “At the time of creating Papermoon I had two boys and my daughter arrived a couple of years later. The priorities were clear as day for me; family comes first. I deliberately chose to stay within a manageable limit without affecting my priorities.” There were of course long work hours at times and occasional business trips away from home.
Alomari works fulltime at her office in Bahrain. She mentions how fortunate she is to have a wonderful team by her side. She expresses how they work all day, but never without fun and happiness all around.
It is truly a magical world that Alomari has created at Papermoon.