WAASTAA is an app created by creative agency YERV, which is an abbreviation of the names of the two founders, Yasmine, who has a background in fine arts, and Eriko, who has a background in business. The two women met in Dubai, connected instantly, and ended up working together to create WAASTAA. It initially began as an Instagram platform in order to create a buzz before launching as an app. As a phone application based in three cities: New York, London and Dubai, it allows creatives from different areas of the world to showcase their work and connect with people across the globe.
This is the first phase of WAASTAA, with more phases to come, including more professions, videos, a cultural guide, group chat, and e-commerce– selected maker’s products will be available for purchase through the app. We spoke to Yasmine to find out more about the visual tool.
Who founded WAASTAA?
YERV is a creative agency, founded by two females from Bahrain and Japan. WAASTAA is part of the YERV vision for changing the way makers interact with the world.
How did you come up with the idea of WAASTAA?
We wanted to create a visual tool to help build a thriving community around the makers of the world. WAASTAA is more than a directory; it is a way for anyone around the world to feel the joy of discovery, to deeply appreciate the craftsmanship of some of the world's most creative minds, and to reach through the screen and actually engage with them.
We saw the tremendous potential that technology gave us, but our goal with WAASTAA was to make the technology invisible; to let the makers shine and let the human element flourish.
That's why WAASTAA lets you search for makers –whether they're in your hometown or halfway around the globe – open a conversation with them as if they're in your living room, and stay informed of cultural events happening near you in order to reinforce your place in a community that allows for endless discovery and boundless potential for creativity and collaboration.
What is the meaning behind the name “WAASTAA?”
WAASTAA means connections in Arabic, and we wanted to shine a positive light on the word that we have used growing up in the Middle East. We wanted to reshape how people think of their connection to the world around them and we believe connections can only grow when they are shared.Through the WAASTAA app, we are sharing our passion for helping connect people by building a global community around creativity and arts. Everyone contributes in a community, and that means everyone benefits too. We wanted to create a platform to facilitate that.
Through the WAASTAA app, we are sharing our passion for helping connect people by building a global community around creativity and arts. Everyone contributes in a community, and that means everyone benefits too. We wanted to create a platform to facilitate that.
Who handpicks the recognized creative members that are featured and how are they chosen?
We built an international board of creatives, ambassadors, and curators to handpick the makers. The board members represent every continent. Eriko and I are curators of the app and we are also handpicking talents from around the world.
What types of people can sign up and display their portfolios on WAASTAA?
WAASTAA brings you into the global community of makers that inspire us all, whether they are illustrators, chefs, or anything in between. WAASTAA celebrates those that use their hands to create. Some of the professions who are already part of our community include: architects, illustrators, painters, sculptors, carpenters, jewelers, musicians/DJs, gastronomers, and product, furniture, motion graphics, 3D and fashion designers.
What does WAASTAA allow you to do?
WAASTAA allows you to search through a carefully curated collection of makers based on their profession and location. You can also 'WAASTAA’ the creatives you want to follow, who will then be WAASTAA'd by you; the people who admire their craftsmanship. You can create your own visual directory by starring a maker’s work to add to your favorites, as well as, chat directly with them just to say hello, express your appreciation, or even collaborate with them on a project. You can also group chat when you really want to bring together a one-of-a-kind creation through seamless collaboration with makers from around the world. You can even get notifications for WAASTAA events from the creatives you love: pop-ups, open portfolio nights, networking events, or kitchen takeovers by the chefs near you.
What are your experiences so far with the app?
Developing WAASTAA has been tremendously rewarding. One great takeaway so far has been the tremendous importance of design when creating a community tool. It's easy to rush through the design phase once you have a great idea, but really thinking deeply about the tool you are creating and how people will use it makes all the difference. Our greatest success with WAASTAA has nothing to do with technology. Our greatest success has been witnessing the beauty of community. Helping people and seeing them turn around to help others is the greatest reward; it's why WAASTAA was created.
If you want to submit your portfolio or recommend to join WAASTAA’s community, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more through their website.