Fan of novelty items now owns collectibles business: Canadian-Iranian expat Hassan Tamimi shows how. Image Credit: Supplied

"When I wanted my siblings to help me with my school projects or assignments, I would pay them for it," said Hassan Tamimi, 25, as he light-heartedly recalled the growing years that helped him learn good money practices.

Tamimi, a Canadian national of Iranian origin and a third-generation Dubai businessman, acquired hands-on business experience from his high school days. He attributes this to his family legacy of entrepreneurship that began with his grandfather starting a business in 1982 in Dubai.

In Tamimi's childhood, he would earn money doing menial jobs of fixing broken items or running errands for his family to get money from his parents. He learned these initial entrepreneurship lessons from his family, which helped him hone the negotiation skills that he now uses every day at work.

"At an early age, we were taught the value of hard work and learned the importance of earning, saving, and investing. Even if now I make Dh1 or Dh1 million, I understood that it should be earned through my hard work alone and spent only where needed."

"This taught me to become a strategic thinker and a good decision maker when doing business. Even today, I take my family's advice when I make business decisions as I respect their experience and value to the company."

How did your entrepreneurship journey begin?

Tamimi's entrepreneurship journey started during his high school days at a young age of 17. This is when he learned his first lessons of being an entrepreneur and realised his potential, creativity, passion, and drive to become a business owner.

"In high school, I recall working on a water bottle project that I had handled from its inception to its selling stage. Eventually, I could sell my idea and prototype to an Australian company.”

After being born in Toronto, Canada, where he had completed his middle school, Tamimi then followed his mother to come and stay in Dubai. He wanted to live with his father as he was the youngest of all siblings.

Tamimi has been a fan of collectables since he was a child. He attributes this passion as his inspiration to expand his father's novelty store business throughout the UAE.

"My father had novelty acquired a business in 2014 through a family friend who knew of someone selling the brand. Luckily, the acquisition expense was covered by my father since I was only still in high school at that time."

"The brand was into novelties and vintage items in a prime Dubai location. We saw the potential of transforming this boutique into a hub for those passionate about collectables, figurines, gaming, and comics."

Tamimi's entrepreneurship journey started during his high school days at a young age of 17.

Tamimi shares two entrepreneur tips from his business experience

Entrepreneur Tip #1: Study your business’ industry trends to have first-mover advantage.

Tamimi stated that setting up a business in collectables and novelty items requires a passion for the things you want to sell. He said, "Be updated about key industry trends so that your brand can have and maintain the first-mover advantage within its target audience."

"It is vital to find something unique to sell; those other businesses don't have. It is essential to network with people in the respective target markets to learn about their demographic changes to tweak your product plans. This way, you become a speciality shop, in which people know you by. I have derived my learning experiences from several businesses, people, customers, and suppliers through my entrepreneurial journey thus far."

"Growing up in Dubai, I have learned that this country is the land of opportunities, where you work with people of all backgrounds, nationalities, races, and businesses. With its thriving economy, its passion for innovation and the governments’ support to people who would like to start a business, I was able to explore my potential as an entrepreneur."

Entrepreneur tip #2: Maintain enough funds to manage business’ teething-stage problems

Tamimi added that when you are brave enough to venture into setting up your own business, make sure you have enough capital to weather out the initial teething stages of your business setup. "Do not fall into the trap of you or your business having to shoulder the liabilities. Understandably, a company would take time to establish itself and mature to break even, so your aim should be to try and recover your invested capital from growing your business."

"I follow the rule of never having unnecessary liabilities (financial or non-financial), so anything I wanted to endeavour in I would ensure that I was staying within my budget."

Tamimi said, "I need to be consistent and humble in my work; directing my energy to what matters is vital. There will be many forms of distractions, energy-drainers, people of negativity, but stay focused to achieve the goals. Spend on things you need and not on things you want, and think twice before making any investments. Recently, I have had a keen interest in gold, stocks and properties, so I have started investing in them."

Tamimi shares five general mantras he follows in his life and business:
1. Establish a routine and manage your time. Limit your time to everything from watching television, spending time on a task, even the small things, and dedicate time to complete them.

2. Sleep early, exercise and eat healthily to be full of energy to live and work each day.

3. Read a book. It develops your mindset in the shortest amount of time. Never underestimate the power of wisdom present in the books.

4. Find a way around. There is always a solution to every problem in life. Don't ever give excuses. For example, if you aren't making enough money, find another way to make money.

5. Seek learning from the cradle to your last breath; learn something new every day. Gain knowledge by travelling, reading and networking with people.