Patrick Harrington interviews Abdul-Hamid Ebrahim Spokesman for Qibla Cola
What is the meaning of the term Qibla?
The term ‘Qibla’ (pronounced as ‘Kibla’ in English) — is an Arabic word that means direction.
When was Qibla Cola launched?
The company was established in January 2003 and launched in the market with Qibla Cola regular and diet on 4th February 2003.
What led you to launch Qibla Cola?
The realisation that people are increasingly becoming frustrated at the unjust foreign policy of the United states and the US brands that support the government and therefore want to be able to vote with their wallets by exerting their spending power to make their voice heard.
Why do you think that a simple boycott of US brands is not enough?
Boycotting US brands is a positive step, however for real change much more needs to be done including having alternative products across the board on all levels and for the third world become politically, economically and intellectually independent.
What has been the reaction of Coca-Cola and Pepsi?
It is our policy not to comment on any other company directly.
How developed is your distribution network geographically?
We have appointed distributors who are independent companies in different areas of the UK; they in turn sell to indpendent retailers.
What are the principal geographical domestic markets for qibla?
Principal domestic markets in the UK are the major cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford, etc.
What are the principal overseas markets for Qibla?
The principal overseas markets are the large countries in the Muslim world such as the ASEAN region including Indonesia and Malaysia; South East Asia including Pakistan, India and Bangladesh; Middle East including Egypt, Turkey, UAE, etc.
Are you attempting to get your product into any chain stores?
In time we may discuss with chain stores, supermarkets, etc… this will be on a case by case basis.
Do you have any plans for vending machines?
In time we plan to have vending machines, etc.
What is your current level of sales?
We sold one million cola bottles alone in the UK in the first 2 months, and we expect the sales to be one million cola bottles a month from now on. This is excluding the other products that have only recently been launched.
If a shopowner was reading this and wanted to become a distributor how would he or she go about it?
If someone wants to become a distributor – they should contact the head office via email, or telephone and speak to the Sales department.
What is the range? What kind of can, pack and bottle sizes are available?
Qibla Cola :
1.5 Litre bottles, 500ml bottles and 300ml cans of the already popular carbonated cola drink.
Light and delicious lemon-lime carbonated cocktail, which is available at moment in 500ml bottles.
Qibla Fantasy :
A bright and sparkly carbonated drink, in Orange and Mango flavours; currently in 500ml bottles.
Qibla Spring Water :
Premium, refreshing natural spring water; at present in 500ml bottles.
How and where have you advertised your products?
We have advertised our products via posters in shops and flyers, in future we will be advertising in the ethnic media.
You are appealing not just to Muslims but to others who oppose US colonialism. How do you intend to target this market?
We provide soft drinks for all people of conscience. We make this clear in our marketing as well as mentioning on our products that 10% of all our profits go towards world causes.
You donate 10 per cent of profits to charity. How much has so far been donated and which schemes have benefited?
We have only been established as a business for a few months and therefore are not yet making a profit, although we have operationally broken even. We expect to start making profits potentially in 6 months time. Therefore it is difficult to estimate the amount that will be donated to charity — we hope that this will be significant.
Have any non-Islamic charities benefited and if not would you consider widening the base of charities to include ones which were non-Islamic but in tune with your ethical ideas?
We will donate to multiple charities and have a policy of utilising local chairites in the countries we enter. These will include Muslim and non-Muslim charities alike.
Have you done any research about the type of person who buys Qibla and why?
Our research indicates the type of person who buys Qibla is people who want to make a statement by their spending power; this includes, housewives, youth and professionals.
Have you any message to Third Way readers as to how and why they should support your product?
I would say to all readers that they should consider where their money is transferred to when they purchase the major US brands…. do they want their money to go to brands that are known to support the US government and consequently unjust policies?
telephone : 01332 371001
fax : 01332 294700
mobile : 07074 192403