Nearly 40% of Ekotribe’s customers hail from the neighboring Emirate, Abu Dhabi, but the store’s recent expansion into the ground floor of Dubai’s Mercato mall reveals a slight shift in the glitzy city’s green leanings. There are only scattered venues to satisfy a thirst for eco-living in Dubai, apart from a few restaurants such as Baker & Spice, but Anu Agarwal’s success as owner of one of the Emirate’s first environmentally-friendly stores suggests that demand is growing. And she has what it takes to satiate.
Anu’s life trajectory – so eloquently narrated by The National – is an increasingly frequent “coming-of-climate-awareness-age” story. Formerly a systems analyst for General Motors, she and her husband quit the race to create their own web development firm. Then in 2008, Anu became tapped into the environmental crisis but could not make the necessary changes.
She then attended the Opportunity Green tradeshow in California, where she discovered a world of products that the UAE knew nothing of. That is when she set about to develop her own store. And in just a few short years, she has experienced tremendous success.
In addition to her online store: TheGreenEcoStore.com, Ekotribe has just expanded into Dubai’s Mercato mall, where 400 different eco-friendly products are on offer. She and her husband pumped nearly $30,000 into stock and have a few employees.
Deliveries are available throughout the United Arab Emirates, but Anu says that western expatriates are the main buyers. However, the “educated Arab lady” is becoming increasingly aware. The couple have plans to expand into Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Lebanon, and Qatar and to get supermarkets to get on board.
Originally from New-Delhi, Anu expresses surprise at her own success, and claims that products such as the reusable coffee cup that she presents to her local barista originally drew some surprise. But now, she says, “they get it.”
:: The National
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image via Jaime Puebla/The National