Like any artist passionately following updates on the release of products based on their favorite characters like Disney and superheroes of Marvel; a group of youth closely watched the release and designs of these products, perhaps dreaming of producing similar successful products that carried a regional touch directed to a global audience. But that was not their ultimate goal until then.
Abdulla Al Sharhan used the name 'SOCOOOL' at random for the first time in 2002 by registering on an internet forum called Al Wasn forums where members signed off their names in the footer of their posts. Abdulla's posts were signed off by a cartoon character with 'SOCOOOL' written on it.
Soon, requests started pouring in from the rest of the members of the forum asking for similar signatures using cartoon characters like his. After Al Sharhan's works became widely popular on the forum, some members suggested that he should have his works published. Indeed, several local publications corresponded with him to use his talent.
The name 'SOCOOOL' then appeared for the first time in the beginning of 2003, in the comic strips that Al Sharhan created for Emarati newspaper "Al Khaleej" with the title of "Baraha" and signed off his comics with the 'SOCOOOL' logo.It was then seen again in the same year in a weekly publication called "Al Qafilah" published by Saudi Aramco.
After Al Sharhan graduated from the university, he stopped publishing comics and settled for a typical office job; however, during that period he collected all his published comics, launched it on a website and called it SOCOOOL Comics in 2005. The website was a source of inspiration to thousands of children and young adults in the Gulf region. Then with the help of a number of friends and initial funding from the Khalifa Fund to support projects; he was able to transform it to a fully functional company that created media content for children. Towards the end of 2008, the company was named "Ajyaal" and became the leading Emarati company that specialized in the field of media content creation for children.
At the beginning of 2009, Al Sharhan managed to run the new born company when he was able to obtain another funding for the production of the first Emirati cartoon series for children titled "Hamdoon" which broadcasted for the first time in 2012 on Abu Dhabi Media channels.
In 2012, Ajyaal Media - the parent company of 'SOCOOOL' retail chain - signed a contract with the Ministry of Interior to produce a children's magazine on their behalf titled "Atfal 999"
The core idea of Al Sharhan and his partners was to look for a sustainable source to ensure continuation of production of various comic series, animated movies, cartoons and games since it was impossible to keep a cartoon content intact if it was directly sponsored or funded by institutions and companies. The idea was to find a direct source of income from the consumer to continue funding of animated productions.
Here the idea of 'SOCOOOL' gifts shop was born. Its purpose was to provide locally crafted products that suited the sophisticated taste of its consumer. However, the financial and logistical challenges prevented from filling the shop with local products only. Hence, the initial strategy for the first few years was to bring in products and gifts from East Asian culture such as Japan and South Korea especially because the SOCOOOL products closely matched those kind of products and was preferred by the consumers.
The first branch of SOCOOOL gifts shop opened in 2014 in Dalma Mall in Abu Dhabi as 'Paper House' before it was changed to SOCOOOL Gifts towards the end of 2015. In early 2016, the second branch opened in Al Dhait - the birthplace of Al Sharhan - in Ras Al Khaimah
We aspire for 'SOCOOOL' chain to be the ultimate destination for gifts and stationery with designs inspired by the local culture, and from the Gulf to the world. SOCOOOL's profits will not just stop at further expanding the retail chain, but will also enable us to continue to entertain and inspire you with different cartoon productions such as Hamdoon and others, and that we will be able to deliver the popular culture of the Gulf to the rest of the world.
Our staff includes prominent crew of professional, multi talented and experienced Arab and Emirati youth. The team has 25 years of integrated experience in the development of animated characters, media production and creative development.