“I have candles, pictures and flowers on my nightstand,” said Khloe Kardashian in an interview with The Huffington Post. Her love of flowers turned out to be a stroke of luck for Maison des Fleurs, a Dubai-based flower design company. When the US reality star reposted a picture of a Maison des Fleurs flower box on Instagram, millions of people all over the world liked it. “Khloe Kardashian gave us the best publicity we could ever imagine,” says Priya Jelly, co-founder of Maison des Fleurs, during VERTIGO Luxury Magazine’s interview in her flagship store in Dubai’s Design District. The company was known in the United Arab Emirates, but not internationally. Thanks to Khloe, fame came overnight. “International magazines started to write about us, while bloggers and influencers posted pictures of our flower boxes,” says Priya.
The Indian-born entrepreneur and her Belgian husband founded Maison des Fleurs three years ago. “We were no newcomers,” explains Priya. “We had been delivering flowers for weddings and events for quite some time. But we wanted to enter the flower retail market with flowers in boxes, a product other companies didn’t have in the Middle East. I had seen them in Paris and thought they might be a success in Dubai, a city that loves luxury and the perfect presentation.”
SPECIAL ROSES STAY IN BLOOM FOR ONE TO THREE YEARS
Maison des Fleurs offers four types of flowers: fresh flowers, long life roses, orchids and silk flowers. I was amazed to discover that their long life roses from Ecuador stay in bloom for one to three years, provided they are not exposed to direct sunlight or excessive moisture. These special roses need no water. Dubai’s arid climate is not suitable for floricultre. Therefore, Maison des Fleurs imports flowers from Ecuador, Kenia, Colombia, Holland and Japan.
During my visit to their Dubai flagship store, black flower boxes with Arab calligraphy caught my attention. “Are these special Ramadan boxes?” I ask. “Yes, we created an exclusive box in collaboration with French-Tunisian calligraphy artist el Seed,” says Priya. Happiness comes to those who believe in it, is written on the box. The co-founder points out that 50 per cent of the revenue will be donated to the Al Jalila Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes medical education and research in the UAE.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EMIRATI AND EXPATS
80 per cent of Maison des Fleurs’ clients are Emirati, 20 per cent expats. Do they have different preferences when it comes to flowers? “No,” says Priya. “The choice of flowers depends on the client’s personality, not on his nationality. The young Emirati are well-travelled and appreciate the flower design of prestigious European hotels like the Georges V or the Plaza Athénée in Paris.”
When I ask the entrepreneur if she also has flowers at home, she laughs out loud and says: “Yes, I have a lot of orchids in my house, especially when I invite people over for dinner. My husband offers me flowers every week. But even before I started to work in the flower business, I used to have flowers at home. Indians are very fond of Jasmine.”
MAISON DES FLEURS CANDLES AND CHOCOLATES
Priya and her husband do not rest on their laurels. They have the intention to add new products to their floral design collections: scented candles and chocolates. “We want to sell everything in our own shops. Our clients will have the possibility to buy several special gifts for themselves or their families and friends,” says Priya enthusiastically. “We’ve been working on the candles for eight months, because we wanted to create our own signature smell.”
(Above) Khloe Kardashian loves to post pictures of flowers on Instagram. When she posted the picture of the white Maison des Fleurs box and the pink roses (top left), she sent her brother Rob the message “Love your body”. Rob Kardashian was battling depression over his weight gain. Millions of people liked Khloe’s Instagram post and bloggers and influencers started to get interested in Maison des Fleurs. For Priya Jelly, the post was a stroke of luck. She says: “Khloe Kardashian gave us the best publicity.”
Discover the world of Maison des Fleurs in Dubai
Maison des Fleurs locations in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar
Photos: Courtesy of Maison des Fleurs and Khloe Kardashian
“KHLOE KARDASHIAN GAVE US THE BEST PUBLICITY” is part of a series of exclusive articles on business women in Dubai published by VERTIGO Luxury Magazine.