Abdullah Interviews Fatema Al-Kulaib
One of my favorite things to do is to highlight those that work low key, real hard and are extremely dedicated all the way to you guys hoping you may be inspired, moved or – maybe – enlightened.
Today, we hear many stories about how the ministries are making it extremely hard for business owners to get approvals, licenses and permissions to do things. Still, there are those who know how to say NO to all that depressing energy and actually find a way through to get a big-vibrant-gigantic YES !
The beautiful and highly addictive smile owner, Fatema Al-Kulaib, is one of those people for sure.
I first met her when I went into Salad Creation – became a constant costumer – I pass by every now and then, I see a woman sitting on a table, busy with paper work, files and stuff. I knew she was the owner. I introduced myself to her, she was as cool as a breeze, shared lots of things on how this business started, what went on here and there. I felt home, i felt like family and im talking to my big sister. Thats beyond awesome.
While she was talking to me – i could not help but notice that – just like any story – ups and downs appear, I loved how she kept on a big smile even on the not so bright bit and pieces of our conversation. I knew she had what it takes to be a successful business owner.
I guess this description from the Official Salad Creation website sums up what this joint is all about – for those who have not yet been fortunate enough to give it a go – grab a bite on this: “What could be more “Fresh and Fabulous” than a healthful meal in an exciting, welcoming environment? At Salad Creations, our goal is to provide an incredible selection of foods that appeals to everyone. Along with our menu of nutritious and tasty choices, we invite guests to “create their own” meals with the assistance of enthusiastic and service-focused “salad chefs”. There are also soups and wraps. Amazing stuff, I tried’em myself.
A very open, kind and sincere Fatema will share a bit of her story with you – READ ON !
Please introduce yourself to everyone !
My name is Fatema Abdulaziz Al-Kulaib. Graduated from Bentley College with a bachelors in Finance in 2001. Previous work experience: Kuwait Investment Authority training program and then worked in Global Investment House as an Assistant Vice President, Business Development for 5 years. Now, I am a Managing Partner for Salad Creations, Kuwait.
What inspired you to tap into who you are now ?
When I was visiting the states, I went into Salad Creations in Florida and fell in love with the idea. I realized that people are becoming more health conscious (myself being one of them); gyms opening everywhere, diet centers, dietitian clinics and now, more than ever, healthy restaurants. I realized the bottom line was that consumers were no longer willing to eat whatever is easiest or cheapest. Better educated, these customers are searching for fresh, unprocessed, healthy foods. Salad Creations is a fusion where healthy foods can also be extremely delicious.
Plus we are a salad-eating family. Salad is a must at our table.
What differs you from the rest of the competition out there?
Salad Creations is about making salads that people can’t make at home.
At Salad Creations, we always purchase the highest quality of foods, shipped from countries such as the USA, UK, Italy, and Switzerland. We never compromise our quality.
As well, our “Create Your Own Salad” allows the guests to enjoy salads catered to their specific tastes. With more than 40 ingredients which includes farm-fresh vegetables, fruits, cheeses, sliced meats and 16 + types of dressings… the possibilities are endless. You would be surprised how tasteful salads can be at Salad Creations.
We also offer a variety of Featured Salads, which include classic salads like Chicken Caesar to exotic salads like the Chinese Chopstick Salad; comes with teriyaki chicken, mandarin oranges, and finished off with our special Spicy Asian Peanut dressing.
Can you please tell us about your new branch in 360 mall, expectation/atmosphere/why 360 ?
Our first branch is in Baitak Tower, located in the heart of the city, serves mostly businesses. With successful outcomes, we are excited to see how Salad Creations would serve a different type of consumer. Therefore, what better place than a mall, and not any mall, but 360 MALL! 360 MALL has high end shopping, a movie theatre with an IMAX, and many dining options, drawing in all kinds of people; from families to tourists to expatriates.
We have been open for a couple of weeks now, and Salad Creations is surpassing our expectations, getting many positive reviews from our guests; they are loving the option of creating their own salad!
What were the difficulties you faced and how did you overcome them ?
Finding a location and hiring qualified staff are major obstacles. Rent prices are ridiculously high, even in this economy. Real estate owners rather have empty shops than lower rent! You must be patient and never give up. It took us over a year to find our first location.
It has been difficult at first to find qualified staff in Kuwait. Since we couldn’t bring people from outside Kuwait (sho’oun doesn’t issue visas), we had to go through a lot of staff turnover until we found qualified staff.
Your support system ?
My partner and brother, Ahmed Al Kulaib and I have a support system in place. We back each other. But of course I couldn’t have done it without the additional support of my parents and husband. They have been supporting me since day one and I thank them for that. Without them we would not be where we are today.
What I love about our community is that family and friends support you all the way… whether by ordering, showing up for support, sending out menus, etc… just wanted to thank them all for their support.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now ?
Opening Salad Creations across the Middle East… spreading the love of chopped fresh salads to all!
Throw something for p0ach readers!
Venturing into your own business can be difficult but you have to take that chance… there’s a huge pool of talented Kuwaitis out there, go for it…