- How did you get into the family business?
After I completed my graduation in commerce, I joined Lucky Textile Mills. It was a great challenge to learn as I started from the grass root level and acquired the knowledge and skills over my first few years. It has been an interesting learning journey which only made me better over the passage of time. The business began to flourish and focus and attention on the intricate details was my passion. Then the big picture evolved and I had to steer this ship all the way despite the stormy waters we did face. Allah has been kind and the family business is growing sustainably.
- How would you describe yourself in a few words?
I have always been a keen learner and always ambitious. My interest developed in creating opportunities for the people I work with and this has greatly impacted my people in a positive manner bringing us closer and making a family environment. They judge me as straight forward person and often comment that I am pragmatic. My every decision is based on logical reasoning and practicality which allows me to be focused and to the point. As a leader, I am a good listener, a great motivator and good at praising and bringing out the best in people. Rewarding my people well and appreciating them is an intrinsic ingredient to our collective growth and way forward. I learnt the art of delegation and things got even better. Life is a way lot better if you say yes rather than no because I learnt to walk by not following rules but by falling over.
- The success story of the Tabba family is known to all, how would you delineate your success journey, starting from Lucky Textile Mills Limited to Lucky Entertainment (Private) Limited?
I have been visiting Lucky Textile Mills daily for the past several years and each decision taken by me is with the consensus of my core team. This has benefitted the company in many ways and has moved towards the betterment for all. I firmly believe that leaders turn vision into ideas and ideas into action. I do not like creating followers, I prefer to invest my time and resources and build more leaders by inspiring others that eventually benefit the core and the wholesomeness of the companies I lead. The overwhelming success of ONEDERLAND is just another seed that has germinated magnificently. I am proud of what my teams and the leadership has achieved.
With over two decades with LUCKY TEXTILE MILLS and with when LuckyOne Mall was on the horizon, we wanted to do something more magnificent than a cinema. It was then when I brought in likeminded people and the idea of Onederland evolved. I invested in my team and the results are before everyone. I ensured my team went to the world’s best family entertainment centers that are actually in USA and UAE. We selected the world’s best entertainment companies , manufacturers and designers and with my team in place we simply moved forward. We accelerated and there was no looking back. The journey itself was a great experience curve for us but with no compromise, I am very happy and my team are proud to lead Onederland that has set a benchmark in the family entertainment industry and has become a novelty and a unique value addition to our destination mall – LuckyOne.
- Give us a brief introduction of Onederland and where did it originate from?
As I have just mentioned above, the idea was a collective decision. Our group philosophy has always been to diversify our investment portfolio and thrive to become the market leaders and give healthy competition. Coming into the retail entertainment sector was a tricky decision as opening a mall in this area and creating a brand for entertainment was even more trickier. An investment in a few trips overseas and we knew our way forward. Cinemas are mushrooming everywhere. But world class quality, international standard family entertainment of the type and style we wished to do is actually absent in Pakistan. Yes, such entertainment does exist but not of the tone, style, variety and standards we have at Onederland.
I tell all my friends that Onederland is simply a joy ride all the way. The awesomeness is spread out over 45,000 square feet on two levels. It is already talk of the town as the entertainment caters to almost all ages. Yes, I must mention, as we all get older, the child in us does come out time and again, so I say to my team, jump in and enjoy the rides! I must say that the decision for Onederland as I see it today was the best decision and the journey has been fascinating!
- How did you come up with the idea of bringing this venture to Pakistan?
As I am also on the Board of Directors of Lucky Landmark (Private) Limited, the holding company for LuckyOne Mall, I simply thought of what can do better than cinemas. It was a collective decision and we moved forward. In any mega shopping mall around the world, key drivers to footfall attraction are, a good retail mix, ample parking space, food court and a Family Entertainment Centre (FEC). We had to fill in the entertainment part. We met several people and made some international trips for the research and development. We came across international associations like International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) that are the leading body in the amusement /entertainment industry globally. After doing this extensive research we decided to secure the best in the industry and formulated our own team and started the ball rolling. I enjoy theme parks myself and visited many across the globe, my observation and experience supported by the vision to bring the best available rides and games to Pakistan was put into action.
- What kind of response did you receive from the launch of Onederland?
A very overwhelming and promising response! Level -1 of Onederland opened along with LuckyOne Mall on the 6th of May 2017 which has received an overwhelming response with hundreds of thousands of people enjoying ‘screams of happiness’ and sheer thrills day after day. Since, the opening we have authentic figures from our system and over a million customers have come to Onederland with their families. The level two is an adult oriented fun-zone catering to the entertainment starved Karachi-ites and we launched it for the public on Saturday 24th February, 2018. Initially, our plan was to open both levels together, however, the construction and fit-outs for level 2 took longer time than anticipated. We had to abide by the timelines of our European installers so things indeed got late, but I assure you, it was worth the wait! We have made a remarkable achievement in just one year of successful business operations and the journey has been onederful for us and our customers!
- How safe are the rides, do you have certain security measures or policies?
Safety and security of our guests is a top priority. My technical team makes sure through preventive maintenance that each ride is safe to ride through preventive maintenance check lists. Every ride we have bought is from world class European manufacturers. These manufacturers have strict compliance for their factories and equipment used in manufacturing rides. Every single part is certified as per EU certification standards.
Safety of rides is a top feature for all of these manufacturers. Every single ride is tested and it completes it’s test cycles at the factory before it is shipped to the destination for installation. Their own experts were flown in and rides were installed professionally and tested by them and handed over. Their technical teams trained our local Onederland team and imparted with the technical and operations rules for all the rides. So, it is a complete cycle and we have strict compliance with proper standard operating procedures in place to maintain every ride at Onederland at all times.
I am confident that the rides installed at Onederland are safe and secure for all. Even my kids and family members often visit and enjoy these rides. We remain focused to deliver international standards along with service excellence at all times.
- Do you believe it’s safe to have a theme park on the third floor of a mall?
Throughout the process of ordering the rides, the manufacturer have shared the dynamic and dead loads of the rides which are then shared with the structural engineer consultant. After getting calculations vetted from the structural engineer consultant, only then the rides order were placed. Every single step was calculated and vetted by expert engineers and consultants before entering into the order process. There is absolutely no issue of having our rides on the third level of LuckyOne Mall.
- What are your future prospects?
Entertainment business in Pakistan is encouraging and we are looking to expand within the city as well as taking the brand into other cities of Pakistan. I have the right team anything is possible!
- How do you balance your professional and personal life?
I empower my team and ensure they deliver. I have expectations that can be met and at times exceeded. Systems and procedures are in place to ensure Onederland operates almost on auto pilot. Onederland has its own leadership and they run the entire business unit with formal reporting in place. So, is the case with all our group companies.
- How do you perceive Onederland to be different from competition?
I am a thorough believer in healthy competition as this approach makes me proactive and challenging. My perception is very straight, I believe in results and figures which drives my perception. I am getting 80% repeat guest ratio and 90% satisfied guests experience. We have capitalized on our first mover’s advantage and have turned challenges into opportunities. We are unique as none other than Onederland offers such a brilliant entertainment mix and customer service excellence in Pakistan. I am proud to say that we are compared to entertainment centers in Dubai and USA.
- Any message for our readers and your customers at ONEDERLAND?
First of all, I am thankful to all the guests who have visited Onederland and have supported us in our first year of business. I am also thankful to all the contractors, suppliers, consultants and manufacturers who have helped us in building this magnificent facility. There’s no magic formula for a great corporate culture. The key is to treat your team the way you would like to be treated.
My team and I worked hard to ensure we provide the best family entertainment experience at Onederland. By maintaining professional ethos in our day to day dealings and focusing on service excellence we will gain more market share and delight more customers every day. So if you are in a similar industry, make sure you are giving away smiles and great memorable experiences and you are sure to be remembered and spoken about.
We at Onederland have gone where no man has gone before, I am sure this sounds familiar! We have new frontiers to explore and new thrilling experiences to share with you. Our facility is your facility, enjoy the ride, as you never know, we may just pop up in your neighborhood and call you for a thrill ride!