By Muhammad Riaz UsmanThe She Factor
Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
In April 2017, Hiba Balfaqih, co-founder of The Smash Room, was going through a very difficult time in her life.
Her grandmother, who was her best friend, passed away and she couldn’t cope with her loss. She tried the traditional methods of therapy but they just weren’t cutting it. One day she decided to do something different, she took old junk to the backyard and smashed it to bits and that made her feel massively better.
Right then Hiba, a qualified psychologist, realized the need for a therapeutic and safe space in the marketplace for customers to relieve tension and frustration by destroying things. She teamed up with her best friend Ibrahim Abudyak and brought The Smash Room to life.
“The world can be more tolerant and acceptable — The Smash Room is born on these values. The Smash Room always wants people to practice true tolerance, where they aren’t judged or stopped from feeling their true, unfiltered emotions or living life their own way. The Smash Room is fostering an environment that focuses on helping, giving to and supporting others with no judgements,” Hiba explains.
The entrepreneur believes the room helps others find an alternative way to deal with stress.
“The Smash Room is an alternative way to release stress, anger and any frustrations. Anger, like all emotions, exists for a specific purpose. [Anger] is a signal that something is fundamentally wrong and we need to address it.
Our customers leave happy, invigorated, sometimes even elated, but definitely transformed and free from whatever was troubling them. This is a healthy way to let anger out and it’s not hurting anybody,” she adds.
Championing sustainability and in a bid to reduce e-waste, all items used at The Smash Room are sourced from junkyards and are also sent for recycling after use. In line with these values, The Smash Room has also helps the refugees, in partnership with Melltoo and Emirates Red Crescent.
Attributing her success to a positive attitude Hiba says, anyone can remain positive when things are going well. “It is your ability to look for the good in every situation, especially the bad, and that start moving forward in life. This is a decision that I make every day,” she says.
After experiencing a successful year in the UAE, The Smash Room founders feel that this idea will also be a big hit in other parts of the Mena region; the team has already devised plans of expanding through franchising and other means within their radius.
Hiba, who has studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which is the use of inner dialogue to influence positive thinking and behaviour. She used her knowledge to launch The Startup Factory — a “one-stop-shop for all your business needs”. It focused on helping the average person get all the knowledge and support they need to start a business.
“For every client The Startup Factory takes on, we create a tailored plan suited for their specific and special situation and personality. I’m not interested in creating a one-size-fits-all guidebook to businesses, because that does not reap real results. Another business is igniting mindsets, which is a coaching and holistic therapy business that helps people rediscover themselves and ignite their inner happiness,” she adds.
Hiba also urges young entrepreneurs to be patient and focused to achieve success.
“Remember to nurture your mind, body and soul. All three are important and taking care of yourself before your business is a critical aspect of success. Focus on yourself, develop yourself, nurture yourself, and as a result, your business will also grow.”