Ebraheem Al Samadi – Interview
Q1: Tell us about yourself, what you do and what you represent?
Ebraheem Al Samadi: I am Kuwaiti American entrepreneur and businessman, born in Kuwait and raised in Florida from the age of two. I suppose I became somewhat of an entrepreneur from the age of 14 when I launched my very first business out of my mother’s Florida apartment selling off-season clothing and items on eBay. It was a stint which actually earned him one of eBay’s coveted “1000 Power Sellers” awards, I was quite proud of that as a young teenager! I do reflect on the experience as an invaluable learning curve as it really helped me develop an understanding of brand awareness, sales strategies and how to visually package products for customer appeal. I appealed to the Senator of Florida to fast track my secondary studies and allow me to earn my High School Diploma in the ninth grade, before joining the full-time workforce at the age of 16.
I worked as a lifeguard and salesman by day and visual merchandiser by night, and the 80 hour weeks allowed me to financially support my newly single mother and young sister whilst saving enough liquid capital to invest in my first company, EHA LLC, at the age of 17. The structure of EHA LLC allowed me to import products from California and China to sell in Florida’s specialty retail market, via kiosks and RMUs (merchandising units). I moved to Dubai in 2010 founding Forever Rose and Al Samadi Group, continuing to growing its retail portfolio and expanding business interests across the Middle East, with Dubai as the operational hub.
I am motivated to bring something new to the world which serves an unmet need or desire. I love being creative, coming up with original ideas and stand strongly by business ethics, because your name is everything. I also preach treating your employees well and with the utmost respect. They are the face of your company and the way they are treated by senior management has a trickle down effect. Employees who are happy, healthy and secure will bring a positive attitude to the workplace and not only treat each other with that same respect but will impart this feel good sense of positivity upon your customers and clients, and in turn, help to create a more loyal and engaged customer base.
Q2: What is the idea behind Forever Rose and what inspired you to start it as a business?
Ebraheem Al Samadi: The idea was, in fact, an existing events company based in London, and when I first came across the Forever Rose I was just blown away. We decided to purchase the concept as we saw great potential to launch in in the Middle East as a luxury gifting company, turning it into an incredible retail experience which ignites the senses. Our Forever Roses are grown on our partner farms in Ecuador, a country located on the equator in South America. Because of the volcanic mountains, the soil in the surrounding fields has been greatly enriched with nutrients that promote optimal growth if the roses, which grow up to five times larger than the standard rose and develop significantly thicker petals than any other blooms available on the market.
The Forever Rose was originally “discovered” by Ecuadorian farmers and growers whilst trying to find alternatives to the roses life capacity. From there they worked very hard to establish a unique natural enhancer which could treat the roses and further preserve the longevity of their natural beauty and poise, allowing them to stand the test of time. Without the need for water or sunlight, these outstanding roses retain their striking natural beauty forever when protected in the glass dome.
Q3: Tell us more about your collaboration with Disney?
Ebraheem Al Samadi: This is an incredibly exciting collaboration for Forever Rose. We teamed up with Disney earlier this year to support the highly anticipated live-action release of Beauty and the Beast, which showcased in cinemas in March 2017. At the heart of the collaboration sits Forever Rose’s signature “Bella Rose”, a natural rose that lives forever which bears striking resemblance to the film’s iconic “Enchanted Rose”, a spell-bound flower inside a glass dome which within its power, holds the fate of the Beast. As a company we are deeply passionate about creating a sense of enchantment and awe through all of our products; our brand identity is rooted in romance and magic. Disney, which is an iconic name many of us have grown up with, has continued to enchant our lives with the power of its inimitable storytelling, which like our Forever Roses, stand the test of time.
Q4: What do flowers mean to you? And how would you define the art of flowers? And what is your favorite flower?
Ebraheem Al Samadi: To me, flowers are just beautiful, inspirational and uplifting. I have always loved flowers since tending to the garden with my mother as a young child and learning about all the different varieties and how to care for them. I love that no matter what, they will always manage to put a smile on your face. And I love seeing their effect on customers in the same way. Ultimately, Forever Rose is about creating loving memories which stand the test of time. We are inspired every day by being part of our clients’ important moments in life, and we focus first and foremost on being a brand which cultivates love, joy, and peace.
Q5: As a business what makes you different from your competitors?
Ebraheem Al Samadi: I avoid that train of thinking, the word “competitors”, we are all here bringing our unique thing to the market and I don’t focus on what other florists are doing. The number one most important thing we stand for within the company is respect. Only when we respect one another are we able to effectively work with each other. This respect also extends to our clients, and this encapsulates giving them the best possible service, being honest with them, doing quality control, striving to keep our standard at the highest level, always working hard towards a positive future and doing our very best for the brand on a daily basis. On a more tangible level, we are committed to only selling the very highest quality of Triple A grade roses and will never compromise on quality or design for any of our products. We also hold the patent in over 150 countries for the classic “Bella Rose” design, which is our signature product.
Only when we respect one another are we able to effectively work with each other. This respect also extends to our clients, and this encapsulates giving them the best possible service, being honest with them, doing quality control, striving to keep our standard at the highest level, always working hard towards a positive future and doing our very best for the brand on a daily basis.
Q6: UAE has a hot and humid climate, what advice would you like to give our readers on preserving flowers to last longer?
Ebraheem Al Samadi: Keep them in a cool place, away from the direct stream of the air-conditioning, change the water daily and add a flower preserving formula to the water. We sell a fantastic product called “flower food”, which helps to maximise the lifespan of your fresh flowers when you add to the water. Our fresh market roses also last longer than the standard rose due to their superior quality and shipping procedures. We import our fresh flowers from Europe directly to our warehouse with new shipments arriving every 24 hours, as opposed to having already been refrigerated for a week and purchased at the local markets here in the UAE. Of course, a great way to enjoy your flowers for longer is to consider investing in Forever Roses as opposed to market roses, as they will last for many years without the need to water or sunlight, whilst still retaining their natural poise and beauty.
Q7: Flowers adds instant color and life to any space, what tips would you share with our readers to make the most of the florals in the home?
Ebraheem Al Samadi: We are definitely seeing a distinct trend in many of the lighter colors and pastel palettes at the moment. The Middle Eastern market is usually keen on darker, richer colors, however, lighter tones are definitely seeing a high rise in popularity this season, partially also due to the approach of summer and desire to create a feeling of “fresh” and “light”.
A desire for white arrangements is also a trend we’re seeing emerge in terms of everyday purchases, be that in the form of white hydrangeas, peonies and/or roses. Embellishing the home with abundant arrangements of market fresh flowers is a great way to create a feeling of outdoors in the home, specifically our Carry Me Bouquets of custom arrangements are very popular for this reason.
I definitely also recommend using a lot of greenery. You don’t necessarily need to bring large plants inside the home, the effect of “green” can be achieved through the display of different botanicals which are able to live fresh inside for three to four weeks. All you need in addition to this is a couple of roses or another of your favorite flower variety distributed throughout the green arrangement, which can really brighten up a room and create a sense of bringing the outdoors in. It’s a lovely way to inject freshness and a sense of “lush” to the bedroom or living room.
Q8: Where can people find Forever Rose in Dubai?
Ebraheem Al Samadi: Our current locations are as follows…
The Mansion by Forever Rose located on the ground level of Emirates French Hospital Building, Abu Dhabi Corniche
The Sales Counter by Forever Rose located at the ground level in front of Swarovski in YAS Island
Galleria by Forever Rose in level II of Galleria Mall near Leopold’s of London in Al Maraya Island
The Sales Counter by Forever Rose in Al-Ain Mall 1st floor in front of Hind aloud shop, Al-Ain City
The Sales Counter by Forever Rose in Mercato Mall, 1st floor, Jumeirah, Dubai
The Sales Counter by Forever Rose in The Dubai Mall, Ground level in front of Tag Heuer
The City by Forever Rose located in City Walk’s newest phase on Al Mustaqbal street
Dumo located in Alhazm project. opening soon in Doha, Qatar
The Sales Counter by Forever Rose, Kuwait, in 360 Mall ground level between Burberry and Gucci