Dubai Madame x MOTION
THE VOICE OF AN ENTREPRENEUR: TALKING TO… Amelie Hua!
The sixth… I started very young. I dealt with a lot of failures that also helped me learn a lot within different fields.
How long have you been in Dubai?
For 5 years.
Tell us about your business in a few lines…
MOTION is the first indoor cycling studio in the Emirates, inspired by Soul Cycle (US) and Dynamo (Paris). A unique concept that revamps classic spinning by working on the emotions, the mind and the body at the same time. We ride for 45 minutes in the dark with candles, to the rhythm of the music and with motivational speeches. It’s like therapy!
Have you always dreamed of being an entrepreneur?
Always. I first tried at 14! My father, who was also an entrepreneur, inspired me and passed on this desire to take on the challenges of creating a business. I love jumping into new adventures and I never imagined my life any other way.
I don’t think we decide one day to be an entrepreneur; either we are or we’re not. But there are entrepreneurial souls who never follow through and, on the other hand, people who are not business-minded and who start anyway.
What caused you to take the plunge?
What has always pushed me is the need to create. I like the infinite possibilities of creation that come with being an entrepreneur, whether in the process of setting up a new project or in managing daily challenges. It’s so stimulating!
So there wasn’t really a defining moment as such, because I’ve never worked for anyone other than myself (apart from my finance internships). I learned everything through my different experiences and of course from my studies.
Why did you choose Dubai to set up your business (or to export your concept)?
At the time, there were no cycling studios in Dubai and I already had a small network there, so I thought why not embark on a new adventure abroad! I liked the city, its energy, and the opportunities it presented. There is this exuberance that makes you want to settle there.
What are the challenges/difficulties/benefits of doing business in Dubai?
As in any unfamiliar territory, it is always a real challenge to create your start-up. We were robbed by both the person setting up our company and the person doing the building work (who turned out to be his son – but I only found that out months later!).
It’s also a completely different culture. We had to adapt the service of our studio and our marketing strategy to the rules of the region because we have a mainly local clientele. It’s a market that likes what’s new and trendy, and the difficulty comes not from setting up a project but in making it stick over time by transforming a fad into a lasting culture.
We also had to face extremely strong competition. Here, new ideas that are successful are easily copied. More than a dozen studios have opened with similar concepts set up by our clients or by former instructors that we had trained.
The fact of being exempt from taxes, the administration process (everything is simple, accessible and documented), the flexibility of the work, the initial competition, which is not as strong because there is so much variety here, are real factors that help to start a business in Dubai.
What is your source of motivation every day?
The positive impact we have on the lives of our clients and seeing how what we do can change a life is a real source of inspiration. We receive daily messages from clients who thank us for giving them the strength and motivation to face their life challenges.
Looking back, what would you do differently?
Well-structured contracts with my instructors because they have all set up the same business as me!
Did you have any help getting started?
My investor who always believed in me despite difficult beginnings, my friends who were the first to come to classes when the room was empty, the clients and a loyal team who are still there today!
What two pieces of advice would you give to the future entrepreneur who reads this?
Have a real reason behind your business that is not motivated only by the financial aspect or by reasons such as ” I want to be my own boss” or “I want to have flexibility” because there will be difficult times and only a real passion for what you do will be able to keep you going!
Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be businesses that will copy you, but the difference is in the execution and not in the idea. Always act according to the vision you have for your project, because this vision is unique, and don’t let it be affected by the competition.
And two good hangouts?
· Around the Block, my favorite café where I work every day!
· 3 Fils, for lunch by the water.
Plans for the future?
We are going to open in France this year and are working on developing a franchise model abroad.
A LITTLE INSIGHT
Morning person or night owl? Morning person.
Coffee and a croissant or a healthy breakfast? Coffee and a croissant.
Extreme sports or meditation? Meditation.
Dress and sandals or suit and heels? Jeans and sneakers.
A chilled weekend or out partying? Chilled weekend.
Thank you for giving entrepreneurs a platform to express themselves and inspire others on this path!