Owner of Maison Des Fleurs
Priya Jelly is not just a budding florist, she’s the founder of Dubai based Maison Des Fleurs, a full scale floral design company giving new meaning to the word luxury. Specializing in weddings, corporate and other bespoke events, Priya has seen MDF blossom into a successful floral brand. But what inspired her to grow her blooming business and what challenges do the delicate stems present?
Please introduce yourself to our readers:
My name is Priya and I started Maison Des Fleurs around four years ago. We have worked hard to expand Maison Des Fleurs, offering top-notch services, working on various special occasions and creating beautiful boxes (and soon our delicious chocolates!) Being based in Dubai opens many opportunities and Maison Des Fleurs has had many come its way to expand and cross market borders, doing business in Europe, Asia and the U.S. We aim to take the brand from Dubai and make it global.
Tell us about your education:
I have my degree in Fashion and Visual Merchandising from the University of Texas in Arlington. I’ve also done specialization in Business and Administration.
To date, what has been your career highlight?
It would definitely be starting Maison Des Fleurs. We started all out, offering all services in the UAE including luxury flower deliveries in a tailor-made signature box, weddings, glamorous private parties, weekly floral installations for offices, hotels, residences and palaces. Starting any business is a daunting task and requires a lot of hard work and consistency.
When and how did you move to Dubai?
I moved to Dubai around twelve years ago. This is a city where anything is possible, which is how we came to start a desert floral company that delivers flower arrangements everywhere and to everyone. Dubai has been the leader in on-going growth with mega projects such as the Dubai Water Canal, Dubai Opera House and rising trillion-dollar island city districts and waterfront developments. It’s amazing to see the results of the effort that is put in to the country and its Rulers who have been leading as true and inspiring entrepreneurs.
How and when did you get started in the floral industry?
We have only been open for four years, as I mentioned, but we did start with proper research. We discovered there was a lack of niche in the floral industry, even though the region in which we reside has a high potential of growth in luxurious markets. This is when Maison Des Fleurs was launched in Dubai. The demand for luxury products and services has continuously been on the rise. This proves that there is a growth in income levels and customers who are ready to invest in good quality and luxury. These are the potential customers of the luxury market, who are a contributing factor in the growth of this industry.
What attracted you to the flower business?
We knew the floral market was vast but it was missing that benchmark; that product that had everyone talking about it. Once I was inspired to create the box, I knew what I wanted to do. The box is actually inspired by a box of hats! We are also known for the French inspired design and almost historic, authentic creations. It’s the beauty of this style that just ensured we had to get into the market and execute our plans.
How did you develop your signature style?
Maison Des Fleurs is loved for its modern style with roots in French design that embraces bright colours and seasonal flowers. We believe in quality and luxury. The customers’ emotions are translated into their unique arrangements. It’s truly amazing to feel the happiness from our customers.
When was Maison Des Fleurs established and where is the flagship store?
We established Maison Des Fleurs in 2013 and the first branch was in Jumeirah. The flagship store recently opened in Al Ain, a grand 1700 sq ft boutique. The store is the first to introduce a new look to our modern French design. With blacks and golds ruling the interiors, the classic French know-how of creating romantic, whimsical floral creations using peaceful orchids, stunning roses and playful mix of colours in our signature black and white boxes will remain the same.
How many stores do you have in UAE today and how many in the region?
We have five in the UAE – Dubai Design District, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai Etihad Mall, Abu Dhabi Town Centre and Al Ain. Also, soon in Sharjah and Dubai Mall. Elsewhere in the region, we have three; in Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, and soon in Beirut.
How big is the Floral market in GCC region?
We have had a great time working with an amazing team to expand the brand quickly across the Middle East and Europe, opening branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Oman, Monaco, Beirut and now in Al Ain. The floral market is very rewarding and yet very smart.
What are some of the services offered by Maison Des Fleurs?
We create customized flower arrangements for our clients, luxury flower deliveries in the MDF signature box, weddings, glamorous private parties, weekly floral installations for offices, hotels, residences and palaces.
Who are your main customers – home buyers or corporate clients?
It actually depends on the season. Although we have very loyal customers who love their unique customized box and regularly purchase this for their home and office/gifting, we also have seasonal demands for events and weddings. Corporate clients, just like home buyers, are very dedicated and we have government orders pretty often. People love giving gifts and showing their appreciation, especially in a country like UAE, that is known for its hospitality. I think this is why we are very happy to bring something for every customer.
What are some of the top reasons people buy flowers for?
Home décor, gifting, wedding décor and just because they love the MDF experience. Truly, we strive to give the customers a real treat and some of our most loyal customers are in love with the floral arrangements!
What is the biggest challenge facing the floral industry in general and in this region?
Definitely there are some challenges that most people in the industry will relate to. The logistics and the general operations of a business that deals with such delicate products should be taken care of very well. Everything about flowers is based of their freshness and we work really hard on managing our time and resources well in a way that our flowers are only the best. Another important thing to keep in mind is the seasons, and how customers want everything customized and very precise. Sometimes they have a notion or an image of how they want a certain venue to look and it’s our job to translate it into reality. We do have a lot of expectations and sure, flowers in general are pretty, but it takes a lot more to create a unique concept each time and make it come alive.
What’s your favourite flower and why?
I like how flowers are able to convey our emotions. Different flowers have different meanings for every person and they add that special touch for all the occasions that we celebrate. Personally, I loved our coloured long life roses that we arranged in a stunning arrangement showcasing the UAE’s flag. We displayed this at the boutiques recently for the UAE National Day and I know our customers loved it too!
Where do you look for inspiration?
Working with flowers has taught me that me that life has its ups and downs – thorns if you will – but it’s beautiful all the same. You have to have hope; as long as you have hope you can handle whatever life throws at you.
What are some of your favourite local spots?
I do prefer a quiet night at home cooking dinner, which is very therapeutic for me. Sometimes I do go to my favourite food spots in Dubai – La Petite Maison and La Cantine du Fabourg for their good music and food.
How does social media affect your business? How do you interact with it?
Social media is so important these days. People usually check out social media before making any purchases for any products. When it comes to flowers, customers love their bouquets. At MDF, we love customers showing us their wedding décor and the surprises they receive from loved ones. It’s always nice to create a beautiful space on social media and we believe in only that!
If you could travel to any one destination, floral-wise, where would you go?
I would definitely visit Japan. My bucket list destination is Japan to see the sakura (cherry blossoms) because usually at that time of year (March) I am swamped and can never get away from work. I haven’t been to the tulip fields in Amsterdam, but that’s on my bucket list too.