Eggs & Soldiers is a Dubai-based store and online shopping platform stocking international and locally-sourced baby, child and family-focused lifestyle products offering “A More Natural Way.” Set up by lifelong UAE resident and mother-of-four, Sofi Chabowski in 2014, Eggs & Soldiers proudly researches and personally tests the world’s most eco and baby-friendly diapers, carriers, furniture, feeding, bathing, teething and playtime equipment and accessories and more.
We had a chat with Sofi Chabowski, Founder, Eggs & Soldiers and eggsnsoldiers.com about her views on the organic landscape in the region.
What natural/organic products do you import into the Middle East?
Lots! Eggs & Soldiers began with cloth diapers, which I was keen to use, but could not find in the UAE, when I first became a mother six years ago. We’ve expanded our range significantly since launching in 2014, and now stock natural and organic mattresses, bedding, babywearing carriers and slings, amber jewellery, bamboo tableware, stainless steel food containers, nursing pads and accessories, natural rubber toys, mats and pacifiers – and plenty more!
Can you tell me about the demand for organic products in the region? What is the latest trend that you see in organic products?
I think there was a big hype around ‘going organic’ a few years ago, and with that we saw a lot of brands emerge, offering overpriced and questionably ‘organic’ products. The buzz then died down, and I think interest did a bit too, but a lot of people were prompted to further investigate what they were buying. Now people look not only for organic, but also natural or clean products, rather than just buying into the big name brands that claim to be organic. In essence, people are much more aware.
Why should people go organic according to you?
There are a scary number of chemicals and pesticides used in unnatural products. These toxins can not only have negative health effects for us, the end user, but the conditions of the farmers who grow the raw materials, often in third world countries, is appalling. Cancers, birth defects, and early death are extraordinarily high in these areas, thanks to the chemicals workers are exposed to without proper safety regulations. For the end user, allergies, eczema and skin sensitivities are just a few of the conditions that are far more common with the use of non-organic products.
Where do you import your products from, and how much of a role does certification play in your decision? What are your main challenges in sourcing?
We import from all over the world. Some are international brands that source their materials or finished products from other countries; others are direct form the source itself. If I’m going to advertise a product as organic, I want to know it is, and be confident in the information I relay to my customers. I wouldn’t advertise a product as organic if it contained one organic ingredient, and the rest were chemicals! The main challenge in sourcing is transparency. ‘Organic’ carries a higher price tag, and sadly the term is used loosely by so many in the industry.
From where and/or what products would you like to source more?
Going into details of every ingredient of a product takes A LOT of time and effort. At Eggs & Soldiers, we mostly stock outside brands: we don’t produce many own-branded items. By stocking other brands, I investigate their research and dedication to their products and ingredients, rather than checking each ingredient personally. You can quickly tell from a brands transparency and the information they disclose and market, as to how dedicated they are to their product, and its core values. Ultimately, we are largely dealing with products that will be used on or for our most precious possessions – our children ¬– and that motivates me to make sure I do my research!
Have you visited the Middle East Organic Natural Products Expo before?
I haven’t, but will this year!
Eggs & Soldiers is located on the Ground Floor of Times Square Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Information on Eggs & Soldiers and its products can be viewed and purchased online at eggsnsoldiers.com, with delivery available throughout the Middle East.
Interviewed by Menaka Ramakrishnan, Buyer Manager