Day in the life: Business in full bloom for Dubai florist
Priya Jelly is the founder of Maison Des Fleurs – a floral design company in Dubai. Although Ms Jelly established the company only last August, Maison Des Fleurs already has a cult following, with the likes of Khloe Kardashian sharing photos of the company’s flower arrangements on Instagram. The company provides floral arrangements for weddings, private parties, offices, hotels and palaces. The Singaporean Ms Jelly, 31, who studied marketing and visual merchandising in the US before moving to the UAE in 2006, lives in Motor City with her husband.
I wake up, put my phone on and check my emails. I then drink water, followed by a carrot and ginger juice. Breakfast is usually oats, yogurt and some fruit.
I usually leave the house. My office, which is also in Motor City, is only five minutes away from where we live, which means it is a short commute. The first thing I do is sit with accounts to go through sales for the previous day. I then work with the design team on our website. We have just launched a new pay online function for the site; we have not even announced it on social media yet, but still we’ve been getting five to six online orders a day, which is a good response.
Later this year we’re opening a second branch of Maison Des Fleurs in Dubai, so I’m working on the design of the new shop with my design team. I want our clients to feel special from the minute they walk in to enjoy the whole experience while they’re with us. When I worked with various retail companies in the US, I quickly learnt that no matter what the circumstances, the customer is always right. I find this isn’t the case in a lot of places in the UAE, but we follow a US customer service ethos. If a client is coming in to buy a Dh700 box of flowers, he or she needs to be made to feel special, which is why we don’t have any ready-made bouquets. We want to keep it very personal, and we want our arrangements to be tailor-made to each individual.
I head home for lunch to make something quick to eat like a salad. Sometimes I’ll also be out and about for meetings with friends or clients. Out of all the events we do, I love weddings the most as it’s the happiest day in someone else’s life. But one of my all-time favourite events we worked on was an anniversary in Monaco. The venue was stunning, and the flowers – light orchids and peonies – looked phenomenal in the setting. My day-to-day schedule has never been fixed, and every day something new comes up. Some days I’ll also be checking out new hotels that we could do business with.
I head to the boutique and spend a few hours checking in with the team to see how operations are running. Our head florist, Fabrice Vallez, knows how to handle everything, from the logistics of getting the flowers into the country, to how to design arrangements for an event. We provide flower arrangements for events pretty much every day. Sometimes I’ll go to supervise the set-up, sometimes my head florist will go; we always split the work. We also have an events manager who oversees everything to ensure flowers are delivered and arranged the way we intended.
I go to Physique 57 for a workout. The classes I attend are a combination of body sculpting, yoga and Pilates. Overall I’m a healthy person; I try not to overeat or to eat junk food, and I don’t drink soda. I work out to tone my body and it also helps me relax. I prefer classes to the gym – I once had a gym membership and I never went.
If I don’t have an event to attend, I’ll head home and cook a meal for my husband; we usually have grilled fish or chicken with a salad. I only get to see my husband at night, so we like to make sure we eat together. I love cooking, I find it very therapeutic. One of the cuisines I enjoy cooking the most is Chinese – I always make it way healthier than a takeaway version. Before I go to bed, I go through my emails. This is when I’ll do some research into what’s new in the floral design industry. I dedicate an hour to this and by midnight maximum I like to be asleep.
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