Today’s world is seeing a surge of women leaders emerging across various industries, breaking gender stereotypes and paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse future. These women leaders inspire many with their vision, dedication, and passion for positively impacting their respective fields.
One such inspiring woman leader in the daycare and playschools industry is Alia Al Nabooda. Alia founded Fiafia, a unique and fun space for kids, born out of her desire to create a safe and enjoyable environment for her children. Her vision, passion, and commitment to creating a community where children and adults can socialize, learn and grow in a safe and clean space are genuinely inspiring. Additionally, her innovative approach and entrepreneurial spirit have set a benchmark in the industry, making her a trailblazer and role model for aspiring women leaders.
The Origin Story of Alia Al Nabooda
Alia Al Nabooda grew up in a business family, overhearing business discussions during dinner parties. While sitting beneath her father’s desk in his office, she frequently overheard successful business dealings. Alia Al Nabooda felt naturally motivated and wished to contribute to the family business as she came from a prominent family business history.
After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, Alia Al Nabooda used her skills in 2009 by assisting the family business. As a result, she became an active decision-maker on the boards of the companies affiliated with the Family Owned Diversified Business Group – Khalifa Juma Al Nabooda Group in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In 2015, she also took on a new role as a partner at Acumen Advertising DMCC, and Alia Al Nabooda and her partner began developing Voucherskout.
In 2019, Fiafia was born out of the desire of a frustrated mother who wanted an entertaining space where her kids could go and have fun while she could watch them under her caring eye and relax, work, or meet up with friends. Alia Al Nabooda wanted a mini-community that was safe and clean and where her kids could socialize, engage in activities, play, and enjoy their time. Since Alia Al Nabooda couldn’t find the right place, she created it.
A Heartfelt Concept
Fiafia is a play area and cafe where kids can have fun and adults can rest. It caters to children aged 12 and under, and its motto is that kids come to have fun while adults come to rest. The cafe & play area does not consider children as its primary customers; adults also accompany them. Using a mix of colors and abstract lines to promote thinking beyond the box, the Brand logo is created to inspire fun, colorfulness, joy, and happiness.
The cafe & play area strives to be a community center for kids to have fun while parents rest. Catering one of the best and most elaborate birthday parties and events, set up, décor, and execution is one of Fiafia’s highlights of services. Customers rated it as the finest spot for toddler and child birthday celebrations. Fiafia has extensive experience in event planning as well as event execution.
The Fiafia crew is dedicated to making thrilling new memories with youngsters. The cafe & play area assures that children will return back with daily activities and games in a constantly changing setting and scheduled courses. It organizes themed events throughout the year that engage and excite their curiosity and provides opportunities for children to participate in camps and celebrate their customized parties and camps.
Parents can sit in a pleasant café and visit with friends, read a book, or catch up on work while enjoying delicious meals, snacks, and hot brewed beverages from the best quality and freshest ingredients. On the premises, there is also a special cuisine for children. The crew safeguards the children’s safety and well-being while encouraging imagination and socializing.
Initial challenges – Triggering Point – Way to Success
Fiafia, like any new business, encountered early obstacles, such as establishing a brand name and attracting clients to the cafe & play area. Fortunately, Fiafia accomplished this while maintaining the faith of the majority of its customers. Another problem was ensuring all staff members were thoroughly trained to interact with all youngsters.
This includes any special child on the autism spectrum or with sensory overload concerns and the ability to meet their specialized demands. The team creates activities and games for children of all ages to keep them interested. “Every day brings new problems, but as a team, we are certain that we can overcome them.” Alia Al Nabooda insists.
Fiafia’s first branch opened immediately before Covid 19. Social gatherings and birthdays were strictly restricted, as was the strict execution of social separation. As a result, the cafe & play area was only operating at half its usual capacity. There was also a prevalent societal ethos of staying at home until required. As soon as the restrictions were lifted, the Fiafia began to witness a large influx of individuals looking to socialize and have a good time. Because the original branch couldn’t handle the demand, the cafe & play area opened its second branch.
Alia Al Nabooda feels the company’s long-term success is due to the quality provided by the brand name. “When we as a team do anything, whether it’s playing with the kids at our premises, planning the perfect birthday party, or being invited to an event, we all put our hearts and souls into creating the best experience,” Alia Al Nabooda says. Simply put, it’s the team’s dedication and hard work.”
Services & Features
The Fiafia’s notion is quite unusual. It is one of the first of its kind in the Middle East, with a soft play area and many activities for children to enjoy. In addition, parents can eat and relax in our comfortable dining room. According to one customer, the cafe’s selling point is the services and facilities. Its key advantage is a staff of fun professionals who ensure every youngster has a good time.
The cafe & play area believes in catering to the entire family. It intends to extend into tweens and adolescents, establishing a safe environment. It is where family members of various ages and interests can enjoy its facilities and spend the day (and hopefully not want to leave). The team believes in community and creating a place where families can get away from the stresses of work and school and have fun and be happy.
Fiafia’s services include:
1. Birthday Party Package
The Birthday Party Package is designed for hassle-free and memorable celebrations for kids. The package includes access to the soft play area, a 2-hour duration, and a delicious kids’ meal with drinks. Additionally, it provides a cake table setup, a party entertainer and host who will organize two games or arts & crafts activities, and a sound system for music and announcements. Helium balloons, e-invites, and party setup are included to ensure the party runs smoothly.
2. Drop-off service
The drop-off service offers supervised playtime for children aged five and above at a rate of 110 aed for four hours. Various indoor and outdoor games are provided to keep children entertained and engaged. Trained staff is available to organize group activities and facilitate playtime.
3. Arts and Crafts
The arts and crafts activities are offered to promote creativity and self-expression in children. Trained staff guides children through various projects such as painting, drawing, sculpting, and collage making. Children are encouraged to work on their projects to express themselves in their unique way.
4. Salon Services
The salon offers haircuts for children of different ages at reasonable prices. The salon also offers a special package for kids’ first haircuts, which includes a certificate, pictures, and attached hair.
5. Outdoor Event Package
The Outdoor Event Package is perfect for memorable outdoor events. The package includes customizable balloon decorations such as arches, pillars, balloon bouquets, confetti balloons with helium, balloon baskets, customized balloon setups, LED balloons, letter/number foil balloons, and balloon drops. Puff & Stuff Balloon Surprise is also available for an element of surprise and excitement.
Some of the fascinating features of Fiafia Cafe & Play Area are:
- The cafe & play area’s soft play area is approximately 120 square meters, allowing children to enjoy playing with its various features, such as obstacles, activities, and slides.
- During their stay, the staff interacts with the children by performing and playing various games and activities.
Entrepreneurship Journey & Beliefs
According to Alia, an entrepreneur is a visionary, and as such, their primary job is the ability to turn their ideas into reality and make them visible to the rest of the world. Being a leader is one of an entrepreneur’s primary tasks. Alia Al Nabooda believes that a leader does not simply tell others what to do but also listens, communicates, and is aware of the people that follow them.
A leader earns loyalty and trust and confidently accepts responsibility for their actions. Following her values, Alia Al Nabooda creates riches and chances for herself and the team, community, and economy. Alia Al Nabooda believes that entrepreneurs should help and mentor one another.
“With every business you become involved in, you gain an abundance of knowledge,” Alia Al Nabooda says, “So on a personal level, it is the gratification of being presented with an issue and knowing how to conquer it.”
The primary success of Fiafia, according to her, is a word on Pacific islands such as Samoa and Tonga with multiple meanings such as “festival,” “get-together,” or “happy.” These words have been successfully converted into the cafe & play area’s business strategy, which includes cheerful, enjoyable experts, children, and adults.
Fiafia has effectively developed a respectable brand reputation from the ground up, with delighted customers and business partners consistently returning. Big developers approached it to join their communities or malls because they believe in the brand’s excellence. Nevertheless, the cafe & play area experiences consistent growth quarter after quarter.
Alia Al Nabooda considers Fiafia staff to be like family. “We are there for one another and spread knowledge and experience,” Alia Al Nabooda says. The cafe’s organizational structure is more organic than standard hierarchical. Workers of all levels can openly discuss any difficulties and share their thoughts. The cafe & play area commemorates significant occasions such as birthdays, births, achievements, and yearly celebratory dinners or retreats to commemorate success.
Fiafia stresses an employee’s natural growth through providing third-party training, discussing career choices, and encouraging and supporting individuals to reach their goals. Also, the café offers initiatives such as “learn to drive,” which benefit both the employee and the cafe. The program aims to assist employees financially in obtaining their driver’s licenses.
Numerous promotions have inspired everyone to become branch managers or business developers inside the cafe. This intimacy and open-door approach instills a sense of importance in each individual and fosters loyalty to the cafe. Alia Al Nabooda is proud of her team and believes it is special because each member was hand-picked for their passion and talent. According to her, they are the true Fiafia brand.
Advice to the budding entrepreneurs
“Nothing is impossible, and if you believe enough in your idea, you can produce it,” Alia Al Nabooda advises aspiring entrepreneurs. Alia Al Nabooda continues that there will be bumps, but one must remain strong and patient.
Expect the good, the bad, and the ugly, and be ready for them. “Don’t give up if one door closes; find another door to knock on,” she advises. Surround yourself with individuals that inspire and support you and your aspirations.”
“Fiafia is a play area and cafe with a motto of – kids come to have fun while adults come to rest.”