Mehreen Omar and Muna Mustafa are the entrepreneurs behind SupperClub, a premium membership platform Image Credit: Supplied

Mehreen Omar and Muna Mustafa are the entrepreneurs behind SupperClub, a premium membership platform offering discounted luxury dining and leisure experiences for a single subscription fee.

Spotting a gap in the market when they worked together at a renowned online marketplace, Mehreen and Muna not only took a leap of faith to establish a start-up, but also self-funded the entire venture.

Now expanding across the GCC, the two female entrepreneurs, each a mother of three, are taking care of a growing business alongside growing families.

Mehreen discusses their journey, walking the tightrope between business and family life, and the challenges and triumphs they have encountered along the way.

What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?

After spending years in the corporate world, Muna and I started feeling this itch to do something more, something of our own. We realized that our working styles just clicked, and we shared this burning vision for our own venture. It wasn't about escaping the corporate grind; in the corporate world we learned invaluable lessons, understood market dynamics, and honed our skills, but jumping into the whirlwind of entrepreneurship was about embracing the freedom to build something from the ground up, an idea we believed in.

Why did you decide that self-funding was the right route for you and what were the challenges?

Self-funding gave us the flexibility to execute our ideas without external pressures to pivot or scale prematurely. However, it meant being resourceful and prudent with every penny. Overcoming the challenge of limited resources required careful planning, being disciplined and strategic decision-making, which ultimately empowered us to build SupperClub Middle East on our own terms.

How have you balanced starting a business with family and other responsibilities in your life?

Navigating entrepreneurship alongside family life feels a bit like walking a tightrope, especially with three kids each. Muna and I totally get the struggle and know first-hand how crucial it is to strike that perfect balance between work and family time. We're big believers in effective time management, setting clear boundaries, and soaking up every precious moment with family. Personally, when I'm hanging out with my kids, I make a conscious effort to put my phone aside and just be present with them. One trick that's really worked wonders for us is establishing set working hours and prioritizing tasks for the day, then blocking out dedicated time for each on our calendars.

How have the personal and professional challenges differed between the corporate and start-up worlds?

In the corporate world, challenges often revolved around navigating hierarchical structures and corporate politics. Transitioning to the start-up realm introduced a different set of challenges, including uncertainty, resource constraints, and the need for rapid adaptation. However, the sense of ownership and the opportunity for creative freedom outweighed these challenges.

Did you ever have any doubts or become demotivated? How did you overcome that?

Absolutely, there were moments when doubts crept in, especially in the early days when every decision felt like a. gamble, it was daunting. But those tough times taught us valuable lessons and made us stronger. Instead of letting setbacks define us, we chose to see them as opportunities for growth. It wasn't always easy but having an incredible support network by our side and staying laser-focused on our long-term vision kept us going, even when things seemed bleak. It's those challenging moments that ultimately shaped us and drove us forward on this journey.

Mehreen Omer
Muna Mustafa

What characteristics do you think have led to your success?

In addition to adaptability and resilience, I believe our ability to cultivate meaningful relationships and build strong partnerships in this hyper-competitive industry has been fundamental to our success. And of course, unwavering faith in our vision for SupperClub about sticking to our niche, which helped us differentiate ourselves from other players in the market.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Despite being a young company (SupperClub is just over 3 years old) in a saturated market with a number of well-established lifestyle membership platforms, we have managed to carve a niche in the industry. We attribute this to our strategic selection of partners, which includes the finest names in the luxury hospitality and F&B segment, extending beyond the UAE to the entire Middle East. What makes this accomplishment even more significant is that we achieved it as a bootstrapped start-up with a lean team. We take pride in our journey, navigating challenges and intense competition, and we're excited about how far we've come.

Muna Mustafa
Mehreen Omar

Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?

Looking back, one thing we would have done differently is to delegate responsibilities more effectively and earlier on in our journey. As entrepreneurs, it's easy to fall into the trap of trying to do everything ourselves but learning to trust and empower others is essential for sustainable growth. By delegating tasks and building a strong team sooner, we could have alleviated some of the pressures and accelerated our progress.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

For aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those considering self-funding, here's my take: dive into the journey wholeheartedly, ready to tackle whatever comes your way. It's all about resilience, determination, and sticking to your guns. Surround yourself with a solid support network, get advice from strong mentors, and never give up. Plan meticulously, know your market inside out, and be quick to adapt. Believe in yourself and stay driven by your passion and purpose – it's what keeps you going when things get tough. Sure, it's a bumpy ride, but the rewards would be worth it.