The best locally-owned shops in Abu Dhabi

13 homegrown and local stores you should support in the capital

1 Beauty products by Herbal Essentials
This UAE-born brand uses ancient beauty wisdom to inform the creation of its products for a modern consumer. There’s a focus on the all-natural, chemical- and cruelty-free blends, with Himalayan spring water and ingredients used in Ayurvedic practices. Some of their best-sellers include the cucumber and rosewater skin toner, an aloe vera and honey hydra gel, plus a papaya and honey face mask. Prepare for your skin to look healthier and smoother than it’s ever done before.

2 Children’s products at Nest For Kids

There are plenty of shopping gems for the adults among us, but what about the little ones? Head to home-grown shop Nest For Kids for the answer. Clothing, footwear, toys and furniture for newborns, toddlers and kids up to age eight have a home in the brand’s two beautiful and welcoming stores – one in Abu Dhabi Mall and another in Bawadi Mall, Al Ain. There are plenty of internationally renowned brands stocked here, such as clothes from top designers like Rachel Riley (you’ll find Britain’s Prince George in her gear) and Marie Chantal (a go-to for Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian), but there’s also UAE representation. That includes MISK Nursery, an Emirates-born interiors company producing a stunning series of curved cribs with mother-of-pearl inlay.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-11pm. Abu Dhabi Mall, Al Zahiyah, (02 644 9919). Other location: Bawadi Mall, Al Ain (03 784 8897).

3 Local designers at Project Warehouse by Festember
Championing local brands is this pop-up market, which debuted in 2015 and attracted more than 6,000 visitors per day. The last one was hosted at Mushrif Park in December 2016 and highlighted vendors such as Dubai’s s*uce and local department store TRYANO, as well as foodie favourites like No. FiftySeven Boutique Café and Culinary Boutique. This year, from Thursday June 1 to Sunday 4, check out Project Warehouse by Festember, a Ramadan edition of the market, which will be held indoors at Warehouse421. You’ll get to see new art installations, rifle through outfits by local fashion designers, tuck into grub from the capital, and enjoy majlis entertainment from an array of performers.
For more information visit or see @festembr on Instagram.

4 Farm-fresh produce at Mawasim

The UAE’s leading farm and fresh produce supplier, Mawasim, has its Abu Dhabi supermarket home in a cosy, converted villa in Mushrif. It has a farm-store feel, with wooden-clad walls and soft lighting, plus shelves and shelves of shiny fruit and vegetables that have been grown right here, in the desert, on its 53 hectares of farmland. Find bananas, mangoes, kale, olive oils and balsamic vinegars on tap, plus a range of organic and natural household products, and plenty more besides. You can also book in with the in-house nutritionist if you need a little dietary guidance.
Open daily 9am-10pm. 6 Street 71, Mushrif, (02 554 4038).

5 Food and crafts at Ripe Market
When Becky Balderstone realised she couldn’t source seasonal, organic and local fresh produce boxes in the UAE, she decided it was time to launch Ripe. Since then, it’s become one of the go-to stores and markets for fruit and vegetables in the country. Here in Abu Dhabi, you’ll find weekly markets at Umm Al Emarat Park (when the weather is cooler), jones the grocer at Al Raha Gardens and The Collection at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island. Peruse the fresh produce, but also tea, local raw honey, gluten-free items and even stalls from arts, crafts and fashion vendors. You can also have a bite to eat from one of the live cooking stations, the aromas wafting from which are likely to snare even the most hardened of dieters. An afternoon here is one of our favourite things to do.
Various locations and timings throughout the year. Visit

6 Funky Emirati products on
Local, regional and international brands are stocked on this home-grown online store and it features hundreds of bang-on-trend products, from clothing and accessories for men and women to beauty items and sports equipment. It’s a one-stop shop that offers a great delivery service across the UAE and the rest of the Gulf. One of our favourite UAE-based brands on there is FMM by Fatma AlMulla, a pop culture label that fuses Western fashion with Emirati culture and uses common slang phrases used by Khaleejis. Chips Oman pin, anyone? How about a Rainbow milk pouch? You’ll be glad to know that throughout Ramadan, the site will be offering 15 percent discounts, too.

7 Furniture from THE One
Ever since the first store launched in Abu Dhabi back in 1996, THE One has expanded to offer its quirky, coveted furniture across nine countries in the region. Every season the team launches a new collection of unique furniture and accessories that’s all designed in-house and is good value. It’s not just about general lines for the home now, either. There’s also THE One Junior, which offers a range of small-scale versions of the adult-sized pieces to deck out the little one’s room, as well as FUSION by THE One, a selection of higher-end, limited-edition and bolder products that are either edgy or theatrical. Then there’s THE One Basics – a bargain hunter’s haven. To make your humble abode stand out from the crowd, then we suggest checking any of them out. And remember, it all started here first!
Open daily 10am-10pm. Main showroom: Abu Dhabi Mall, Al Zahiyah, (02 644 9889).

8 Gluten-free foods at Tawa Bakery
Best known as a café offering entirely gluten-free food, created in a 100 percent gluten-free kitchen, Tawa Bakery is, of course, also a bakery producing fresh, home-made bread to take away with you. You can also pick up some other gourmet, celiac-friendly products, such as balsamic vinegar, pasta and risotto. Or, you know, take a seat and enjoy something from the à la carte menu, which features more than 50 dishes to try, from breakfast plates to burgers and build-your-own pastas. The team started with a mission to show how eating gluten-free didn’t mean having to sacrifice on taste and quality, and, in our opinion, they’ve done a very good job.
Open daily 8am-11pm. Al Muneera Beach Plaza, Al Muneera, (02 556 6900).

9 One-off pieces at Mosaique

You can’t help but fall in love with Mosaique Boutique in Nation Towers. The range of quirky items, from designers around the world, is certainly eye-catching. Colourful chairs, elegant candles and lush lights – it’s just a sample of what you’ll find in this treasure trove of a store, alongside fashion, jewellery and even great coffee table books. It was opened in 2014 by Abu Dhabi-based expat Lama Qaddumi-Shahin, who has a background in interior design and saw a gap in the capital’s market for unique items for the home. Much of what she stocks is limited edition and, in some cases, the designers are exclusive to Mosaique in Abu Dhabi. This includes brands as far-flung as Thailand, but plenty closer to home throughout the wider Middle East and, of course, the UAE.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Nation Galleria, Corniche Road, (02 665 5144).

10 Outdoors equipment in Adventure HQ

Are you the nature-loving sporty type? Then Adventure HQ is the perfect place for you. A one-stop shop for all your outdoorsy needs, the home-grown store boasts two branches in Abu Dhabi, at Dalma Mall and Yas Mall. From sturdy footwear to the latest fishing rods, and all sorts of camping merchandise, it doesn’t matter what activity floats your boat (they sell kayaks, too), you’ll find it here. And, while we’re on the subject (and while it’s too hot outside to exercise these adventurous whims of yours), you can also head to its 20,000 square-foot Adventure Zone in Dalma Mall, which features an indoor skate park, pump track, trampoline park, boulder wall AND cable climb. Meanwhile, in Yas Mall, there are ropes courses and a zip line, too. The adventure doesn’t have to stop just because it’s sweltering outside...
Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Dalma Mall, Musaffah, (02 445 6995). Other location: Yas Mall (02 565 0996).

11 Pre-loved fashion on Shedd
Okay, so this one won’t necessarily see you buying locally made items, but it’s a home-grown concept that we love all the same. In 2015, Alex Hutley and Tariq Zabian, two former dubizzle employees, launched an app for bargain hunters that allows you to buy and sell pre-loved fashion. It’s super-simple to use, whether you’re in the market for some new threads, or just trying to spring clean your wardrobe. And if you’re selling something that’s more than Dhs50 then you’re eligible for their Pay & Ship system, which means there’s no need to meet anyone in person – payment goes straight to your bank account, and even pick-up and delivery is handled by Shedd. See? Simple.
Free on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

12 Superfood juices at The Raw Place

We’ve featured fruit, vegetables, honey and even gluten-free bread, so what about juices and superfoods? That’s where The Raw Place comes in. Its four stores in the capital carry an extensive line-up of cold-pressed juices that are all completely raw – naturally – and 100 percent organic. Everything is made in-house with absolutely no additives and featuring a range of great ingredients, including matcha, goji berries and plant-based protein powders. You can also buy the individual ingredients to whip up some superfood specials of your own, and you’ll find healthy savoury and sweet food to order, too.
Open Sat-Thu 7am-11pm, Fri 8am-11pm. The World Trade Center, Al Markaziyah (02 633 4677). Other locations: ADNOC (02 707 1883), Al Muneera Beach Plaza (02 444 6618), Peak Fitness (02 443 3566).

13 Art from Highlife Abu Dhabi
Artist and graphic designer Clare Napper had been living in Dubai for nine years before she quit her full-time job to create her now successful vintage-style posters that poke fun at various aspects of the city’s “high life”. She also launched an awesome Abu Dhabi line just last year that highlights a number of experiences in the capital. Find brilliant artwork for your walls, featuring the likes of Emirates Palace, the Corniche, The Club and the mangroves. They’re a great talking point at home, or would make for a thoughtful souvenir for any visiting guests you might have.

In numbers

Online shopping in the UAE

The amount in billions, in US$ (that’s Dhs36.7 billion), that e-commerce is expected to be valued at by 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan.

PayPal reports say mobile shopping makes up for 24 percent of overall online spending in the UAE. 57 percent of shoppers here buy using their phone.

A study by Network International found that 34 percent of UAE residents make online purchases between one and five times a week.

Dubai-based was reportedly sold for US$650 million (Dhs2.4 billion) to, the world’s largest online retailer.

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