From a very young age, it was clear Ebraheem Al Samadi was destined for success in the world of business. An entrepreneur from the age of 14, Ebraheem launched his very first business out of his mother’s Florida apartment selling off-season clothing and items on eBay, a stint which eventually earned him one of eBay’s coveted “1000 Power Sellers” awards. He reflects on the experience as an invaluable learning curve, further developing his understanding of brand awareness, sales strategies and how to visually package products for customer appeal.
After successfully appealing to the Senator of Florida to fast track his secondary studies and allow him to earn his High School Diploma in the ninth grade, Ebraheem joined the full time workforce at the age of 16. Working as a lifeguard and salesman by day and visual merchandiser by night, 80 hour weeks allowed Ebraheem to financially support his newly single mother and young sister whilst saving enough liquid capital to invest in his first company, EHA LLC, at the age of 17. The structure of EHA LLC allowed Ebraheem to import products from California and China to sell in Florida’s speciality retail market, via kiosks and RMUs (merchandising units).
Ebraheem moved to Dubai in 2010 founding Al Samadi Group and growing its retail portfolio. He soon merged the company with the family’s hospitality business to form two divisions of Al Samadi Group and expand business interests across the Middle East, with Dubai as the operational hub. Today Al Samadi Group stands as a testament to the family vision, as the company energetically pursues new opportunities wherever they arise. Al Samadi comprises two business divisions; retail and hospitality. With brands, products and successful business models sourced from the USA, Canada and Europe, the company portfolio is diverse and continuing to expand.
When reflecting upon his “rollercoaster of success”, Ebraheem says most of his creative business ideas have come to him whist he’s sleeping; “I wake up in the morning and I immediately write them down.” He is passionate about finding new ways of being different and says remaining creative has allowed him to consistently offer new concepts and products which haven’t been seen on the market before. Ebraheem’s driving force has long been the desire to fully support his family, as well as striving to ensure he creates an environment which first and foremost promotes happiness amongst employees and colleagues. He also believes the cultural exposure garnered by global travel is another major inspiration for innovation in businesses and a key opportunity to source products and concepts with the potential to thrive in the UAE. By taking successful business models and proven products and applying local knowledge, Ebraheem now treats the UAE to the best the world has to offer.
Forever Rose cements the notion of everlasting love for those passionate about romance and luxury. Founded in London, England’s capital in 1999 and launched in the UAE in 2014, Forever Rose has emerged as a purveyor of the world’s finest roses, first developing a name amongst high society for its luxurious floral artistry and customized arrangements at Harrods and throughout the royal palaces of Europe. Forever Rose’s strong reputation amongst the royal families of Belgium and the UK soon triggered demand from discerning clients in the Middle East who sought the very best in both quality and luxury.
Following the launch of its flagship boutique on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, Forever Rose quickly expanded opening five locations across the UAE, with a further two more stores to open in 2016, including a notable standalone at City Walk, Dubai in April.
What does your average day look like?
My average day is typically full of meetings. I meet various potential clients and I spend time with my employees daily to discuss progress and opportunities within our concept shops. I love to hear their feedback because the only way to improve our business is to ensure we are listening to our customers, making note of their requests, complaints and general feedback. Our employees are our eyes and ears. I love hearing everything about what people have to say about our brands and concepts, it is very important to me.
What top five items comprise your desktop arsenal? Why?
On my desk you will mostly find new designs and stacks of artwork created by our graphics department which I review and ensure all concepts sit within our brand’s design criteria.
What is one desktop item you just cannot live without?
Without a doubt I will say I can’t live without Instagram. For me it’s a fantastic platform which allows me to see so many different ideas, gather inspiration and watch what everyone is doing without having to leave my desk. Another very important tool on my desk is of course is Google. Google allows us all to find the information we need from our desktop at the click of a button!
Is there a ‘must-have’ flower for the year?
The “must have” flower of the season is absolutely the Bella Rose. This is a stunning rose protected under a glass dome which will last forever, and as such becomes an enduring part of your life. When you rise in the morning and see the Bella rose on your nightstand, you look at it and smile, and it sets the tone for a good day ahead. As they say in arabic “”sabah al ward”, which means “good morning flowers”. I believe a day started with flowers is wonderful. Then, right before you turn off your lamp at night, you will see that same rose and benefit from it’s positive energy, so your day essentially begins and ends with the Bella Rose. Another must have is one of our gorgeous desk items. For example, we offer a stunning large rose consisting of the four national pride colours of the UAE flag. And it you’re an expat missing home, we do a range of different country colours to celebrate your heritage, which acts as a wonderful conversation starter as well! For dining table arrangements, we create other exquisite arrangements which become a part of your life and you will cherish and enjoy forever.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration would be Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. I admire him for his ambition, his strong willpower his leadership skills, and the fact he has taken the UAE into an exciting new direction. I am also inspired by Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and of course the late President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, without whom the vision for this country would not have been realised. I’ve learned a lot from these ruling family members, and am inspired by the different ways they approach problem solving; culturally sensitive and yet extremely fair.
What is your favorite spot in Dubai?
I love the Four Seasons Hotel & Resort in Jumeirah. I think it’s the perfect inner-city sanctuary, uncrowded and well thought out down to every detail. It’s a peaceful resort in the middle of the Dubai which transports you to a far away place. I love everything about it from its fantastic restaurants to its interior decor and beautiful grounds. I think it’s a wonderful little getaway that we can enjoy when leading such a busy city life.