If you're a Lebanese expat living abroad, you know it can be difficult to send gifts to loved ones back home.
This is because local businesses seldom offer online services or options to pay for products over the internet. However, a recently launched startup is here to shake things up.
The brainchild of two Lebanese expats, Adnan Ammache and Farah Ali Hassan, Presentail allows you to pick a gift from tens of local businesses and then get it delivered anywhere in Lebanon.
Speaking to StepFeed, Ammache told us more about the vision behind their online business and where they see it in the next few years.
On the vision behind Presentail
In a statement to StepFeed, Presentail's co-founder Adnan Ammache told us more about the startup and how it all started.
"Presentail is making it easy for Lebanese, abroad and local, to celebrate the important occasions with friends and family. Through a sleek website, users can send flowers, chocolate, gifts, and more from Lebanon's favorite brands such as Better From Scratch, PopCity, Socrate, and Zeina Sweets," he said.
When asked to share the story and inspiration behind their brand, he explained:
"The majority of Lebanon's business owners do not sell online; which is why we are exploring innovative ways to grow our e-commerce culture. We surveyed 100 Lebanon-based business owners and realized that the most common reason why they do not sell online: Lebanese do not buy online. As expats, Farah and I couldn't relate with this as a problem; which is why we are focused on changing the status quo."
On making it super easy for anyone to get a gift delivered in Lebanon
As part of our interview with Ammache, he shared the process that aims at making picking and sending a gift to someone based in Lebanon super easy and flexible.
"We currently have eight categories of products: chocolates, cake, flowers, popsicles, Arabic sweets, baby [new born], and homeware. Every time a user places an order we dispatch a driver to pick up the product. Each order is delivered with a handwritten note," he explained.
"We have a panel of judges that score every potential vendor and gift. We are looking at five aspects: quality, price, founder's vision, innovation, and purpose. All our gifts are tested for durability, carbon footprint, and sustainability," he added.
When asked why the name Presentail was chosen for the e-business, the young entrepreneur said:
"My co-founder Farah spent eight weeks studying gifting and the impact gifts have on society. It is a personal experience that requires thought and care. Her philosophy is inspired by Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point. Presentail = Gifts + Story Telling. We believe sorry telling is a critical element of gifting."
On plans for the website's future
We asked Ammache where he and Kassem want to see their business in the next five years and to that, he said:
"In five years from now, Presentail will be the leading e-commerce website in the Middle East. Flowers, Chocolate, Gifts and more are just the beginning. Our ambitious plan is to enable all of Lebanon's business owners to sell online; which, we can achieve with your help. Whenever possible try to buy from the small business owner."
"We currently have conversations with accelerator and venture capitalists to better understand how to scale," he added.
On inspiring young Arab entrepreneurs
Presentail's launch took perseverance and hard work on part of its founders, who had to overcome several obstacles to go online.
"The greatest challenge we faced before the launch is finding a secure, efficient, and reliable payment gateway. Lebanon's credit card infrastructure is outdated and unreliable. It is also expensive for the small business owner. We reached out to credit card processors in the US and adopted advanced software focused on security," Ammache told us.
When asked to share a message with young Arabs planning to launch their own businesses, he said:
"Hustle. Hustle. Hustle. Farah and I believe everyone should have a side shuffle (even if you have a full time job). A side shuffle isn't necessarily a problem you are trying to solve, but it could be. A side shuffle is a project individuals embrace during their free time, where they learn a new skill such as coding or design. Everyone should have a side shuffle and when the time is right it will enable you to launch your business quickly."