ARTE’s Success Stories

The Camel Soap Factory’s Journey with ARTE

Five years ago, traveling through Australia, my husband and I came across a little treasure of a place called The Natural Olive Oil Soap Factory. Set in the Western Aussie bush, it had a retail outlet and factory where visitors could see the soap being made, and buy locally made products and produce. I came home with a dream for Dubai!

My first steps were to learn to make soap. Not much in my background in payments software had prepared me for this. I found a course in London and met my soap mentor and guide, Melinda Coss, without whom the factory might not have happened as quickly. Paying somebody every month certainly focus’s the mind.

Next was learning how to make soap with camel milk. There are not too many books on the subject. I thought I would attend two school fairs that Christmas. I never made it to the second one after we sold all our stock at the first.

That’s when I decided I needed to dream a little bigger and faster.

But I realized that moving into bigger and different markets meant that I was going to need a license. Initially I was allowed to manufacture from home under a trading license but as we got bigger I needed to get a full industrial license. We now have a factory situated in the heart of Dubai and export across the globe.

Without Arte, it would have been impossible for me to get the business off the ground.

Selling at ARTE, The Makers Market helped me refine my product and learn more about our wonderful customers who buy our soaps. It allowed me to gather market intelligence, work out what sold and what didn’t. It allowed me to start to build cash to invest in growing the business. And most of all I made the most wonderful friends among the other ARTE vendors. Friends who have left the UAE, and now sell our soaps as distributors in other parts of the world.

Thank you ARTE, we are deeply grateful.

Stevie Lomass is the founder and creator of The Camel Soap Factory in Dubai.

If you are an artist or artisan that makes handmade items in the UAE and would like more information about becoming a vendor at the ARTE Markets, contact us via email – or read our section Book a Table for more information.

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Food for thought: ARTE’s 2015 markets offer two vegan bakers.

ARTE’s first market for 2015 is fast approaching: Friday 9th January at Times Square Center. Join us to make a fresh start to the New Year with pure handmade arts and crafts by our local vendors. Be it to refresh the decorating in your home, updating your personal fashion style or entertaining your family for the afternoon, pass by to meet some friendly faces and inspect the creative force which is ARTE.



January is always a time for reflection and revision. Many people are considering healthier lifestyle choices, especially after the indulgences of the festive season. ARTE is fortunate to have two vendors offering vegan food products, including gluten and sugar free options.


Raw Love Vegan

Evelin at Raw Love Vegan hails from Estonia and turned vegetarian 5 years ago at the encouragement of her daughter. She explains raw vegan food as “excluding all animal products and all foods cooked above 48°C (118 °F) when the enzymes start to degrade”. The difference between raw vegan and vegetarian food is that vegetarianism also excludes all animal products including honey and eggs, but food can be cooked, fried, steamed or baked. Evelin believes “we are what we eat and that everything starts with our choices of the way we think, eat and behave and always finding excuses not eating healthy, train or thinking positively”. She loves the amazing, light feeling after her raw vegan meals and boasts to the benefits of a clearer skin, easy digestion and having more energy.

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To start your new day in a new way, Evelin suggests this breakfast recipe for Morning “Nana” Ice-cream:

Morning ‘’nana’’ ice-cream with homemade muesli, gluten free, sugar free & dairy free

Morning ‘’nana’’ ice-cream with homemade muesli, gluten free, sugar free & dairy free

Morning ‘’nana’’ ice-cream with homemade muesli, gluten free, sugar free & dairy free.

Preparation time: 10 min


2 cups of rolled oats

½ cup of dried figs

½ cup of dates

½ cup of hazelnuts / almonds / peanuts – choose which one you like

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbs cacao

Pinch of Pink Himalayans salt

Cut figs into smaller pieces. Blend the nuts in the high speed mixer. Add all other ingredients. You can add more cinnamon, cacao or nutmeg as per your own taste or any other dried fruit. Instead of figs you can use raisins and different kind of nuts. Store in an airtight container in fridge up to 7 days.

‘’Nana’’ Ice-Cream

2 frozen bananas

2 cups of frozen blueberries or raspberries.

In case using raspberries add couple of dates into the mixture to make it sweeter, or use maple / agave syrup. Mix all items together in blender, until it becomes creamy texture. Serve immediately with the raw homemade muesli.


Images courtesy of Evelin at Raw Love Vegan. Follow her on Facebook for regular posts, pictures and yummy recipes.


Lecia & Vivian Desserts

British cook Lecia, from the duo Lecia & Vivian, prepares her desserts raw, which means that “all the uncooked ingredients hold on to their nutritional value as the good stuff is not cooked out by conventional methods”. By only using natural ingredients like nuts, dates, coconut, cacao powder, dried fruit, maple syrup, coconut nectar, fresh fruit and vegetables, Lecia proclaims “you’ll be eating a delicious tasting dessert while putting all kinds of perky nutritional vitamins and minerals in your body”.

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Just because you made a resolution to be healthy, does not mean you can’t still have a little treat too! Here is a wonderfully healthy recipe for a vegan Apple Crumble dessert courtesy of Lecia & Vivian:

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Makes 6 individual medium size ramekins (3.5” diameter)


6 large apples peeled and cored

8 dates

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp maple syrup (coconut nectar) Add more if you have a sweet tooth

Pinch salt

Crumble topping:

1 cup walnuts

¼ cup dates (stoned, chopped and packed down)

¼ cup raisins (golden or dark)

½ cup shredded coconut

1/3 cup buckinis (soaked and dehydrated buckwheat – can be swapped with chopped almonds instead)

¼ tsp vanilla extract


Pulse 4 of the apples in a processor into small chunks and transfer to a bowl. Process the remaining 2 apples in a blender with the dates, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt until it’s like apple sauce. Mix both of these together in a bowl and divide mixture between the ramekins. Mix all the crumble ingredients together into a crumbly but moist texture. If using almonds instead of buckinis make sure to process the almonds first into small pieces then add rest of crumble ingredients. If you want the crumble to press together then add small amount of water (1-2 tsp) towards the end of the blending. Spread over top of the fillings and chill in the fridge covered in cling film. Will keep for 2 days in the fridge or 4 weeks in the freezer. Defrost before eating.


Images courtesy of Lecia from Lecia & Vivian. Follow them on Facebook for more great healthy choices.


Did you make a resolution to do more exercise too? Put on your walking shoes and clock up some exercise miles on your personal activity tracking devices and have a great excuse to browse around the market twice to be sure not to miss anything.


ARTE kicks off 2015 with the markets at Time Square Center on the 9th , followed by the 23rd of January.

ARTE will be at Al Hamra Mall, RAK on January 16th, 12-7pm.

You can find location maps here.

Click here to sign up for ARTE by visiting out website and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more updates and images.


Finally, enjoy one of our new ARTE logos showcasing some of our amazing arts & crafts…

ARTE mosaic logo 3


Meet some more ARTE culinary artisans featured in previous posts:

Have an Indulgent New Year!

The psychology of themed cakes by SUGARology

It’s a cakewalk right here at ARTE

Well addicted to Well Preserved




Happy New Year – ARTE 2015 is here!

The ARTE team is recuperated after a short hiatus, eager and ready for 2015.

Welcome back to the management and the volunteer crew who remain the backbone of our venture. Warm greetings go out to our ARTE followers to whom we are grateful for their continued support. And we are looking forward to seeing the Artisans of the Emirates again at the first ARTE market of the year at Times Square Center on the 9th of January 2015, followed by ARTE in Al Hamra Mall in RaK on 16th January.  We wish all of you a creative, exciting, innovative and prosperous year at the ARTE markets. Working together, we can make 2015 the best year yet!

ARTE continues with the promise of providing quality handmade art and crafts at convenient locations around the UAE for everyone. We shall uphold our decree of Handmade in the UAE and our principle of “We Make what We Sell”. ARTE will continue to provide our vendors, customers and the public with information via our social media sites. At this stage we are happy and pleased to confirm the calendar dates for Time Square Center, Dubai and Al Hamra Mall, RAK, and we are still reviewing our continued participation in 2015 at Arabian Center, Mirdif.

It is from everyone’s dedication that we can announce, with joy and pride in our hearts, the constantly improving yearly statistics:

  •  The ARTE subscribers list keeps growing steadily. In 2014, we had 711 enquiries of which 347 new vendors came to being. We are delighted to have a total of 4,900 vendors in our artisan’s database.
  • We now have 17.800 genuine Facebook followers, an increase of around 5,000 from the end of 2013. We will continue to post photos of the ARTE markets, and promote our vendors and their exciting products during the year.
  • Our Twitter account has 1,619 followers and Instagram has 1,464. Click the links and sign yourself up and follow us to receive more photos and updates. 
  • The ARTE blog has 8,948 followers with 36,110 views to date. Reaching across the world, ARTE is now followed in 114 countries, with the UAE, USA and India at the top of the list. Click “Follow” on our blog to receive the blog posts directly to your inbox.
  • The largest ARTE market to date was on 12th December with 228 vendors in Times Square Center, Dubai. We trust that in 2015 the art and craft products at ARTE will continue the strong trend of being awesome and unique and that the market will break our previous records by far. Here are a few photos of the popular Christmas season market.
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Images courtesy of @AlexNes- GreenMoments Photography. See our Facebook page for the full album.

2015 Markets dates 

The dates have been announced for the ARTE markets in Times Square Center, Dubai and Al Hamra mall, Ras Al Khaimah (location maps). And here are the posters for the January 2015 markets.

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Special September – We are in great anticipation for ARTE ‘s birthday in September 2015! More details will be revealed in due course.

Keep ARTE in mind when making your New Year’s resolutions for 2015: be creative, original, imaginative and dream big! We look forward to seeing what new creations you can bring to ARTE this year.

Visit to see how you can be part of our markets.

Related posts:

Start the Year with Handcrafted goodness at ARTE

Preparing for 2015 – ARTE reveals new bookmarks, new dates!

Preparing for 2015 – ARTE reveals new bookmarks, new dates!

As 2014 comes to a close, we, at ARTE have many things to be grateful for. Our ever busy and committed core team of ARTE press officers, bloggers, administrators, and social media experts would like to take this opportunity to thank all our artisans who have been with us, serving up quality handmade treats to our customers. We thank the customers who have graced us with their presence and have regularly purchases our quality products made with our own hands and a pure heart and mind; thus supporting our handmade pledge.

2014 in review

We have also come a long way in terms of expanding our horizons in the UAE. While our popular Dubai Festival City Market was cancelled just before the summer, ARTE expanded into Mirdif’s Arabian Centre and made RAK Al Hamra Mall a permanent location for handcrafts. ARTE also happens twice a month at Times Square Centre. We even were part of the Winter Fun Fest at the Green Community. Yes, we have far-reaching impact on those that crave a bit of something handmade right here in the UAE.

ARTE Markets 2015 dates announced

The ARTE 2015 bookmarks are in! The ARTE management have locked down the dates for the full year of 2015 at Times Square Center, Dubai and Al Hamra Mall, Ras Al Khaimah. Beautifully combined with snazzy snapshots of the awesome ARTE artisans’ products, our bookmarks announce the 2015 dates. Bookings are open; be sure to book early to avoid disappointment.

The making of the 2015 bookmarks

We want to share the ‘bookmark making’ fun we had, so take a behind-the-scenes look at the photo shoot for the new bookmarks. ARTE’s core team scouted the ARTE markets for a variety of products from various vendors and spent an enjoyable morning playing with toys, trying on accessories and indulging in freshly made cupcakes – quality control is crucial after all. From there, the process continued to the ‘final selection committee’: the graphic designer and ARTE management. While we wish we could feature all our talented artisans, we thank the selected vendors for participating and hope to inspire everyone to create their best work in 2015 and beyond.

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The history behind the bookmark

First conceptualized in 2005 when ARTE was founded, the logo and designs developed over the years with input from various graphic designers. The idea of the bookmark came from the commitment ARTE management made to promote the markets and its vendors.  The bookmark is compact, portable and useful. Here are a few images of the bookmark’s evolution, and if you want to delve further and see how far we have come, click on the links below and you will know!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year and lots of handmade love and luck come your way.

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New ARTE Bookmarks for 2013

ARTE bookmarks in weird and wonderful places – Tracey Marshall

ARTE bookmarks in weird and wonderful places – Eva’s CATS

ARTE bookmarks in Weird and Wonderful Places – Fruitbowl Workshops

ARTE Bookmarks in weird and wonderful places – Paras Creations

Featured Artisan – Glass engraving by Suzan Gathoni

A Dubai resident for six years, Kenyan artist Suzan Gathoni specializes in glass engraving. Trained in Kenya with a British Master Glass Engraver and a member of the Guild of Glass Engravers, Gathoni is now a freelance artist participating in the ARTE markets.


Gathoni specializes in the technique of intaglio engraving, which she explains is the art of hand sculpting a three-dimensional design on to a glass surface, creating a negative image. As the light falls and plays on the deeply carved designs, the image appears as though it is in relief.


Gathoni's glass engravings

Gathoni’s glass engravings


Safety precautions are vital to the engraving process as the glass dust is dangerous to inhale. Gathoni advises “using water during the process as engraving should not be done on dry glass. The work area should be kept humid at all times, preventing the glass dust to dry.”


Gathoni at work

Gathoni at work


Nature and culture are Gathoni’s biggest inspirations. Her work regularly features wild animals from her native Africa. Liking Dubai and its people and cultures more each year, she feels motivated to expand her horizons, which is why you will see local UAE designs incorporated into her engravings.


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With both locals and expats buying her works, Gathoni believes ARTE has given her good exposure, saying that “It is amazing how Dubai people love handmade things.”

Follow her Facebook page and visit her table at this weekend, Saturday 20th December, at the ARTE market in the Arabian Center, Mirdif. Click here for the location map.


Images courtesy of Suzan Ghatoni.


New ARTE Bookmarks for 2013

The best part of the ARTE Souk is that you have three choices: You can take part in either the souk at Dubai Festival City (First Friday of every month) or the souk at Times Square Centre (Second friday of every month). Or both!

Introducing the new ARTE Bookmarks for 2013. What do you think of the more simplistic approach to the design?


The above bookmark is for the Times Square Centre souks (note the orange). Please print them and distribute to your friends and those interested in buying locally handcrafted pieces of art and craft.


The above bookmark is for the Dubai Festival City souks (note the blue). Please print them and distribute to your friends and those interested in buying locally handcrafted pieces of art and craft.
See you there!

Have a hUmorki day

Aneta Dersley narrates how hUmorki (notice the capital U) starts with her daughter Amelia and her different moods. She takes the chance to make stuffed toys that also look sad or angry, something so unusually in stuffed toys.

At kindergarten Amelia couldn’t find any toys to play with. So Aneta came up with the idea to start sewing stuffed toys which encaptured various moods and various creatures that the world has probably never seen in such form.

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Amelia is the rigorous tester of all the handmade hUmorki toys by taking them on her own adventures in daily living, whether that be in her messy bedroom or on picnics. She has also named many of the toys, such as rabbit Jenny, Bobby, Peli and more.

Aneta feels inspired to create new hUmorki characters thanks to the people who appreciate the work done and the moods that the toys feature that resonate with the people’s hearts.

Visit hUmorki on facebook.

Meet our Soap-er Heroes

Handcrafted soap is a blend of both science and art. Whatever your needs, ARTE Markets features a number of soapmakers who offer natural chemical-free beauty & grooming options in a wide array of colours, scents, shapes, sizes and formulations designed for serious skin care. We asked a few of our regular soap-er heroes to share some secret skincare tips.

PAN Soaps by Nada Vukasovic

As one of the first soapmakers to join the ARTE fraternity, Nada Vukasovic is now fondly known at the ‘Papaya Lady’  – thanks to the amazing results reaped by customers who have regularly used her Papaya & Mango Papaya Soaps.


Why should we choose natural handmade soap?

Nada explains, “Long ago soap companies began removing glycerin and other great natural soap ingredients to increase profits. This required the need to add other less “skin-friendly” chemicals. (Just try reading the ingredients label on your store purchased bar of soap.) This process made “soap” more detergent than true soap. We believe that nature, in its purest form, contains everything the skin needs to be radiant and healthy. We use only fresh natural ingredients in our original recipes. Our handmade products are made of pure organic ingredients. That is why our first choices are products from reliable local and international sources. Not only will you love the feel, you’ll find that true soap lasts MUCH longer than other ‘soap’.”

Nada recommends Papaya Soap


“This soap bar is enriched with almond oil and fresh papaya juice. This soap is good for redness, acne, reduces and heals acne faster, reduces dark spots and gives a lighter tone to your skin. It is an all natural hand made soap free of artificial preservatives, colours and fragrances. It is miracle soap, our best one!”

Colibri Natural Beauty Care by Victoria Molnar

Victoria is one of the most recent soapmaker to join ARTE. It was her passion for solving health problem the way nature intended that she decided to create toxin-free, gentle & natural beauty products to make the skin feel soft and smooth while helping to retain it`s natural moisture.


Why should we choose natural handmade soap?

Victoria explains, “Our skin is our largest organ and it will most definitely respond to the toxins we ingest from chemically overloaded commercially manufactured beauty care products. Our skin is not only the largest organ but the thinnest as well, which in turn, makes it the most permeable. What you put on your skin will be directly absorbed into your bloodstream and affect your health dramatically. My products heal and nourish and leave skin feeling smooth, soft, supple and looking great.”

Victoria recommends Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Body Butter


“Lavender and tea tree oil are a power couple when it comes to healing problem, acne-prone, oily, and aging skin. Lavender oil is the one of the gentlest essential oils making it great to use for children and on sensitive skin. Combined with tea tree oil, they heal, protect and soothe the skin, regenerate and restore elasticity. Both these oils are antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing. For skin problems like acne, eczema, dermatitis, and insect bites, this clean and fresh smelling body butter can be your best friend. No chemicals. No preservatives. No artificial colors. No fragrances.”

Desert Rose Handmade Soaps by Firuza Wragg

Firuza’s began creating bars of soap for a fun project to do with her children, but soon got addicted to the soapmaking process. When her recipes began building a demand, she jumped into the deep end and started my own business – that recently debuted at ARTE.


Why should we choose natural handmade soap?

Firuza says, “Commercial soap manufacturers make it a practice to remove the glycerine that is produced during the saponification (soap-making) process. The glycerine is a highly profitable substance, often sold to other companies who use it to make lotions and moisturizers, which your skin, now dried out from the harsh detergent ‘soap,’ desperately needs. On the other hand, my handmade soaps are made with all natural ingredients which premium natural vegetable and essential oils. There is no water or filler. This makes for a very dense, longer lasting bar of soap. It feels as good in your hand as it does on your skin.”

Firuza recommends Beer & Coconut Milk Gourmet Soap


“Seabuckthorn seed oil and fruit oil contain healing and softening fatty acids that nourish and replenish the skin. These oils improve skin conditions as rosacea, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis; heal burns and reduce the associated pain; shrink small capillaries, even skin tone, reduce the effects of sun damage and provide minor UV protection. 100% Vegan, 100% Natural. Free of artificial colours.”


Have a Handmade Halloween!

Our ARTE Artisans have been very busy creating Halloween themed handmade products. From fun decorations to toys and delicious treats, each piece will help you stand out at your upcoming Halloween party.

Crochet Zombies and Pumpkins by Komeropuoti – Little Craft Shop

Pumpkin Toffee by Toffee Princess

Halloween inspired Crystal Tree by Sahar’s Luxury Handicrafts

Halloween inspired Cat-Shaped Decorative Cushions by Eva’s Cats

Stuffed toys by Natalia Sukhanova

Halloween Inspired Miniature Sculptures by Orange Jar

Halloween Bunting by Bright & Beautiful ME

Trick or Treat Buckets by Bright & Beautiful ME

Halloween inspired Cupcakes by Farah Nausheen Arshad & Sana Ayesha Arshad

Little boys set by In The Sand Pit

Polymer Clay Earrings by Mojeperle

Skull Cork Stoppers by Colin Roberts from 2RGalleries

Ways to Go Green! (Recycled Gift Ideas & More)

Our ARTE Markets are an invaluable resource for visitors to discover a wide variety of beautifully locally crafted items for the home. Among others, ARTE also welcomes a variety of locally-based artisans, who are committed to using sustainable, eco-friendly practices.

Here are a few green gift ideas for any occasion, – hand produced by ARTE Artisans, who have put their skills and love into making the products.

Scrabble tile cuff links by Theresa Tsui

Old zippers transformed into attractive rings

Old zippers transformed into attractive hairbands

Sock monkeys by Sandustar Socks Toys

Sock monkeys by Sandustar Socks Toys

Upcycled driftwood candle holders by Kariba Arts

Hand painted bottles by Artmitul

Hand stamped old spoons 

Old CDs transformed into Candle Holders by Pretty Dezines

Fabric scraps transformed into reusable envelopes

Sale of Second-Hand Books in support of Feline Friends