Qout Market, Kuwait’s first artisanal farmers market, is a much awaited seasonal event in Kuwait. The ever increasing hordes of people at the market, year after year, is a true testament to the household name that Qout Market has become here. From 15 vendors when they first started in 2013 to a 120 vendors within 3 months, the co-founders were amazed with the overwhelming positive response that they got. Since then, Qout Market has only continued to grow in popularity and size.

As their payment partner since the early days, we are excited to feature Qout Market as our business of the month for January.

Not only has Qout Market managed to create a flourishing community of the local businesses in Kuwait, it has also become a place for people to come together and have an amazing day out while discovering the latest that Kuwait has to offer.

So we sat with the lovely co-founders of the market, Noaf Hussein and Budour AlQasser, to talk about what this entire experience has been like for them and how Tap has enabled them and their vendors to accept payments seamlessly with our different products.

What was your inspiration behind setting up Qout market?

We started Qout in 2013 when we saw a lack of markets in our community. We wanted to bring people together and bring to the spotlight a lot of the small (home) business within Kuwait that didn’t have a venue to showcase their products at. We also, honestly, just wanted a nice day out where people can hang out and enjoy themselves. We see a lot of these Saturday or weekend markets in Europe and US and we felt like we needed that in Kuwait as well.

What were some of the challenges you faced initially?

When we first started, this was meant to be a very small and simple idea. We started the first Qout Market with only 15 vendors and we couldn’t imagine (at that point) how big it was going to be. We didn’t think anyone would show up other than our friends and family!

But then we were completely blown away by the amount of people that showed up at our very first market and the amount of amazing, positive feedback we got. This is what pushed us to move forward and grow bigger. Some of the challenges we experienced at the beginning was trying to get these vendors and trying to get people to understand the concept of markets. A lot of people didn’t believe that there were fruits and vegetables grown within Kuwait so getting these farms involved was a bit of a challenge as well. We also managed to change people’s perspectives on Kuwaiti’s and locals as always getting someone else to sell for them since we had local vendors who made and sold it themselves. We challenged that notion!

What kind of businesses do you look for to exhibit at Qout market?

What we look for in a vendor in Qout Market is a lot more than what they sell. It’s also their spirit, what they add to the market as a whole because a lot of times people will apply but they won’t see the whole picture like we do. We see how everyone fits together, how it forms the dynamic, how it forms the customer experience and we put ourselves in the shoes of someone coming to Qout. You want someone who is very excited to be there, who know their product well, who IS their product. People are at the centre of what we do. When people say “oh wow, look at what Qout has become?”, I always tell them we built it from the people up, not the market down. So everything about the person and the individual, we care about and we hand place with care and forethought. Everything they do and say and contribute to the atmosphere of Qout and is important to us.

How did Tap help simplify the payment process for your market business model?

Tap has made collecting payments tremendously easy. We use almost all the products they have on offer: goSell, goCollect and goTap. We use goSell, the payment gateway, on our website for vendors to pay and confirm their participation in the market and goCollect is used to send individual invoices to the vendors for any outstanding payments. goTap, on the other hand, allows us to offer all our vendors POS devices for short term rentals to collect payments on the day of the market. This way our market-goers can just pay without worrying about carrying enough cash at the market!

What are your thoughts on the entrepreneurial scene in Kuwait?

It’s been really interesting to watch the arc of businesses and the entrepreneurial scene. What strikes me most, watching it from a Qout perspective and the other things I do, is that there are so many obstacles, so many frustrations and so many barriers to success, that it’s remarkable how strong and how versatile they are and how nothing will break them. So I think there’s no place like Kuwait when it comes to these things because, arguably, we have the hardest hurdles. Besides bureaucracy, competition is also really high in such a small market. Everyone’s watching and it puts a lot of pressure on you. So I feel like considering all that factors, the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and dynamic and at the forefront of the cutting edge in Kuwait.

What’s next for Qout market?

We honestly could not envision being here when we first started. We had no idea where we’d end up. We thought it was going to be something small and cute and it’s turned out to be something so much bigger than that. We didn’t even know the full potential of our own platform and that’s the interesting part about when you create something and send it out to the world. It interacts with the community and it turns into what it needs to be, with time. You interact with your surrounding, you interact with people, with policy, with all of this. So everybody knows we’re trying to make change in our community in more ways than one. Our future is just hopefully to continue being relevant for the time we’re in and in our seventh year, I can’t even believe it’s our seventh year, I can’t say we know what’s in the future. What I do know is that we will figure it out as we go along and hopefully forever remain relevant and necessary for the local community.

The next market is this Saturday, on the 11th of January, at Abraj Park. For more details about the market, visit their website or their Instagram account.