When Apple invited me to do a live podcast in their Dubai Mall store for International Women’s Day, I immediately thought of bringing Sharene and Morrad on the show. I love that this couple defies numerous stereotypes, and that their values seemed aligned with those of Apple: innovation and execution.
This husband and wife team have together started and sold multiple businesses from the US to Dubai to Malaysia… All while raising 6 children.
Sharene Lee is a Singaporean Chinese who I KNOW is always smiling under her niqab. She had founded and sold 2 businesses in Los Angeles and Paris before her 25th birthday. Morrad Irsane is French Algerian. Having been raised in a family of 13 children, buying and selling second-hand has always been a way of life; so much so that Morrad’s illiterate mother built a thriving business on this trade, and eventually was able to afford a 13-bedroom house in Algeria. Inspired by his mother’s entrepreneurship journey, Morrad modeled their latest business venture on his mother’s – but made it digital. In 2014, Sharene and Morrad cofounded Melltoo, a secondhand e-commerce platform that connects buyers and sellers and focuses on a triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.
We discussed a variety of things: from Morrad’s hand-me-downs to his mother’s entrepreneurial success. I asked about the couple’s coffee shop in a dodgy part of Los Angeles, how they furnished it for free and used the Los Angeles Police Dept as a marketing tool! We talked about exiting businesses at the right price. I asked about their large family and I loved Sharene’s tip that the best tool for a better life is “lower expectations”! Finally, the pair disagreed on entrepreneurship, whether it is a learned skill or something you are born with. What do you think?
If you would like to learn more, please head to the Melltoo website.
This episode was recorded live in the Dubai Mall Apple Store as a Today @ Apple event, so you may hear babies, mobile phones or sound chops from time to time! A huge thank you to Lubna, Rob and the Apple team for hosting us.