Julia Jaeckle, Co-Founder & CEO, Creative971 | Shopifyplus partner
The Gulf Entrepreneur is featuring Julia Jaeckle as one of the 10 Most Accomplished Women Entrepreneurs from Dubai Excelling in Entrepreneurship in 2023. We want to tell her story to more people with the intention to inspire the upcoming entrepreneurs and bolster the entrepreneurial spirit of the region.
This feature will talk about her entrepreneurial journey: challenges, failures and successes, leadership approach, and the values that she brings to the market through your company. We are encouraged by her leadership and we will continue to support her for future success through the various programs of The Gulf Entrepreneur.
Interview with Julia Jaeckle
- Can you share your journey from graduating in finance to becoming a prominent women entrepreneur in the E-Commerce industry? How has your educational background influenced your entrepreneurial career?
After graduating in finance in Germany, I had the opportunity to move to Dubai in 2011, a decision I’ve never regretted. Initially, I worked with Emaar Properties for a few years and refined my sales and business developmental skills. In 2016, I ventured out of Emaar Properties to co-found Creative971, an E-Commerce agency, alongside my brother Nico.
Our journey has been a genuine entrepreneurial rollercoaster, filled with highs and lows. Fortunately, we complement each other’s strengths in various aspects of the business. Nico for example has a very strong technical background, while I excel in areas such as finance, HR, and overall agency management.
I believe my educational background played a supporting role in my entrepreneurial career, providing me with a better understanding of economics and financials. However, the primary drivers of our success have undoubtedly been my attention to detail and strive for excellence and surely Nico’s technical expertise, our collective soft skills, and our unwavering determination in the business.
- What unique challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, and how have you overcome them?
You know, that’s an interesting question. Let me share this: back in mid-2016, the number of women entrepreneurs in the UAE, especially in the tech field where I specialize, was much smaller compared to today. Starting out back then was riskier and tougher, but I firmly embraced the “Just do it” mindset, much like Nike’s famous slogan.
Having said that, being one of the few women in tech in the UAE had its perks. I felt genuinely welcomed wherever I went, whether dealing with clients or business partners. It was like a breath of fresh air. What we initially thought might be a “challenge” turned into an advantage, a valuable lesson in staying true to oneself and never giving up.
Over time, more organizations began spotlighting the stories of “Women in tech,” which not only supported me but also strengthened my position in the E-Commerce Agency market.
- What advantages do you see in Creative971’s dedication to serving only the UAE and GCC markets in the E-Commerce industry?
Quality and delivering top-notch services and websites are at the core of our philosophy. Our niche focus in the region revolves around supporting businesses tackling unique regional challenges, while growing our expertise as leading Shopify Experts in the region. This is what constantly drives us forward.
As we witness a growing demand for expert services that truly grasp the pain points of businesses in the UAE and GCC, we’re expanding our footprint to not only meet these requirements but to truly take every step based on feedback. We excel in understanding the complexities of retailer expectations within this region, which sets us apart.
It’s important to note that our reach extends beyond the UAE and GCC; we have a substantial client base across the wider Middle East, Europe, and Asia. While our primary focus has been the UAE and GCC, we have deep ties to our home ground in Germany as well.
Nonetheless, Nico and I are enhance readability, so we always will maintain a special connection with clients in the Germany/DACH region.
- You mentioned a “never give up mentality.” How has this mindset played a role in your leadership as a female entrepreneur in the E-Commerce sector?
My driving forces have always been self-belief, resilience and my family, which are the engines that fuel my “never give up” mentality. Sometimes it’s not about winning or losing, it reminds me of this famous quote “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” This for me just sums it up as it’s a simple yet profound reflection of life’s challenges.
The key to greatness is practice. When we were born, we couldn’t walk, talk or ride a bicycle or let alone drive a car. But we kept at it, persisting and never giving up on developing these skills. That’s where the magic happens – by consistently showing up and putting in the effort. This principle holds especially true for leaders in the E-Commerce field.
It’s one thing to talk about it, but a whole different thing to apply these principles and as you can see, this mindset certainly has paid off for me!
- How do you maintain and foster an entrepreneurial mindset within your team and company culture at Creative971?
At Creative971 we’ve always fostered a sense of family among our employees. There’s nothing more detrimental than a team that doesn’t align with the businesses overall vision, so we made sure to be transparent by sharing our company goals and visions, ensuring that our team can identify with them and align their growth plans within Creative971 accordingly and make sure the team could identify themselves and their growth plans with it.
Moreover, I strongly believe that it’s the little things that matter the most – small gestures of appreciation, words of praise, financial incentives including both bonuses where applicable and even larger scale programs such as ESOP’s (Employee Share Option Programs). Making our team feel heard and seen and allowing their growth journey according to their strengths. Nico and I have found this to be the most effective as we always feel, once our team is connected to the entrepreneurial mindset, we all work better as a team and that’s what matters most to us.
- What is your long-term vision for Creative971 as an entrepreneurial endeavor in the ever-evolving E-Commerce landscape?
Nico and I are very much in synch and harmony when it comes to shaping the long-term vision for Creative971. Our shared goal is clear: to be the absolute best in the business, delivering best of class Shopify E-Commerce Websites within the EMEA region. It’s key for us to truly listen to our clients and their daily challenges when it comes to running their E-Commerce business on Shopify or Shopify Plus. We set on a feedback matrix and understand the complexities. Once we understand the challenges, we set forth a strategy and path that helps our clients to excel.
To achieve this, we recognize the importance of staying agile and maintaining close communication with our clients. In the ever-evolving landscape of E-Commerce, this approach keeps us on the right path and enables us to effectively address their evolving needs and concerns.
- As a successful entrepreneur, what legacy or inspiration would you like to leave for others who aspire to thrive in the E-Commerce sector?
I want to stress that for any entrepreneur aiming to create a thriving, impactful business, certain traits are essential: high agility, innovation, a self-starter mentality, and resilience. These qualities remain fundamental, whether you’re in the E-Commerce sector or any other field. I see them as the building blocks for setting yourself up for success.
Specifically, regarding the E-Commerce sector, I’d like to convey the message that every E-Commerce venture requires a solid business plan and offline connections to truly prosper. Omnichannel sounds simple, but simple doesn’t mean easy. It’s crucial to begin on a professional and strategic note, ensuring that you position both yourself and your product with the right tone from day one. And, as a final piece of advice: never lose that determination!