Jordanian clothing store Jobedu spotlights Arab pop culture

Tamer Al Masri and Michael Makdah launched an experiment of developing a creative Arab brand

Leen Hajjar
Leen Hajjar - Special to Al Arabiya English
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With a concept deeply rooted in Arab culture, “Jobedu” is a unique, ultra chic t-shirt store based in Jordan’s capital, Amman. Founded in 2007, Jobedu curates the works of Arab designers on various products including t-shirts, hoodies, posters, and other accessories. It strives to empower creative self-expression by providing designers with a medium to produce their work, commonly depicting Arab pop culture images and slogans. Since its launch, Jobedu has grown significantly and is continuously aiming to further expand across the globe.

In 2007, high-school friends and Jobedu co-founders, Tamer Al Masri and Michael Makdah wanted to experiment with developing a creative, Arab brand. They began with producing six funny slogans on 600 t-shirts, and sold them at a Friday market in Amman. After receiving an impressive public reception, Al Masri and Makdah were determined to expand their idea. “What we set out to do was to attempt to create an energetic brand that is relevant to Arab culture and seeks to be creative in everything it does,” Co-founder Al Masri said.

During the founding of the company, the Jobedu team searched for inspiration to help them create an ideal business model. “We decided that with our resources and our mission, the most suitable business model should come from the masters of resourcefulness in the face of adversity: the Bedouins. Bedouins are natural-born entrepreneurs. Kings of startups. Survivors of the first degree,” Al Masri said. With the Bedouins’ values as a source of inspiration, Jobedu has achieved remarkable success, opening stores in different parts of Amman and selling their products internationally.

In 2011, the company expanded beyond their original retail stores by establishing a successful online store. In 2015, online sales accounted for five percent of total sales, and orders increased from five per week to ten to fifteen each week. Since 2013, Jobedu products have been sold through Virgin Megastores in the United Arab Emirates and the shopping website, “Namshi,” adding further international exposure to their brand. The company also sells to the United States, North Africa, and Europe.

In 2010, Jobedu became involved in the region’s alternative music scene by producing albums, supporting musicians, printing their merchandise, and selling their music. This year, Jobedu is broadening its corporation with the media industry by establishing the “Jobedu Film Shop” at the Royal Film Commission in Amman. Through this partnership, twenty percent of all sales from the Film Shop will support Jordanian films, in hopes of helping expand the Jordanian film industry.

Speaking with Jobedu’s Marketing Manager, Shiam Kheetan, she said: “I was sixteen when I first heard about the brand and I instantly became a huge fan. During my second year of university, I began working in the sales team at the store, which was an awesome experience for me, I got to learn a lot about the artistic scene in Jordan, and the business in general, and I got to be part of an amazing, hardworking, and fun team. Jobedu’s passion is towards arts and the desire to create an Arab creative brand that gives space to all kinds of talents to express themselves, and to take our pop culture to an international level.”

ياسمين الجميلة من جوبدو عبدون! #جوبدو

A photo posted by Jobedu (@jobedu) on

Kheetan added: “With time, our brand has expanded outside of Jordan and gained popularity in many different countries, in fact, the very first online order was from Australia! We also get to know many non-Jordanian customers through the activities we participate in outside of Jordan, such as sponsoring the Dubai International Film Festival in 2014 and 2015. I have hope that Jobedu will have many branches across Jordan, the region, and the world in the near future. I can see Jobedu becoming more recognized as a lifestyle brand, and more involved in music, fashion, travelling, and the film industry.”

Jobedu’s determination to create a sustainable brand that embodies Middle Eastern culture has earned the company great success. The team’s passion and creativity combined with the brand’s unique appeal will without a doubt further expand Jobedu towards an even larger international market.

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