In conversation with Forever Rose's Ebraheem Al Samadi
Meet Ebraheem Al Samadi, the CEO of Forever Rose, one of the world's most unique concepts ever created by nature. Not only is his luxury line of roses changing the market, but his first-ever store in Abu Dhabi was designed by the same minds as the retail creators of Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Christian Louboutin. Now Buro 24/7 Middle East speaks to the Emirati about how his nose for the fragrant business endeavor stemmed from gardening with his mother and why roses are the new collectable...
Where did the idea for the Forever Rose come from?
Forever Rose started in London in 1999. Here an entrepreneur used to travel the world and always bring back wonderful gifts for his fiancé. She adored roses! However, of course they died and she always expressed great sadness about it. So he made a point of searching for alternatives during his travels. During a visit to Ecuador he encountered these incredible long-living roses (now known as the Forever Rose) and he brought some back to London to gift his fiancé, who feel in love with these remarkable blooms. She considered them a "miracle".
Later on, he decided to turn the Ecuadorian Forever Roses into a business venture in Europe. He began importing them to contract to many of the royal palaces of Europe. They were in high demand amongst royal families because of their exquisite beauty, longevity and the fact that they didn't give off bacteria, which could put kings and queens at risk of serious illness.
A few years later, we bought his concept and turned Forever Rose into a retail masterpiece here in the Middle East. It's one of the most unique concepts in the world.
Why is Ecuador the ultimate rose sanctuary?
Ecuador is renowned globally for the quality of its soil, which is perfect for growing roses. Because it's located on the equator and situated in close proximity to the volcanic mountains, the soil is rich in minerals and provides the perfect climate and growing conditions to create the world's finest and most durable roses.
Roses play such a symbolic role to the home. Do you remember growing up with flowers in the house or garden?
Yes, I do remember growing up in the land of Florida. We had a beautiful garden at the entrance of our house, and my mother used to grow many different plants and flowers throughout the year. For me when you say flowers, all I can remember is my mother and the way she used to garden; the attention and care she would pay to growing and experimenting with many different varieties. Sometimes she used to grow small plants like tomato trees, depending on the season, so for us it became a household activity from a young age.
We're told that a Forever Rose is forever because not one that has been created has died yet. How do you do it? And when was the first one created?
The first Forever Rose was created in 1999 when the farmers in Ecuador established the "secret" enhancer, which they applied to the roses. It was a breakthrough in the flower market when this phenomenon first emerged.
Your retail space is also pretty special too. You had the same interior designer who worked on concepts for Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Christian Louboutin. What sets your store apart? What can we expect when we walk inside?
What sets our stores apart is the fact that it is first Ever florist design that revolves entirely around luxury. Elements of the design include a red carpet, a council table with a mirror at the entrance, similar to what you would find in the home and a dining table where you can sit down and await your order.
For us, it's about connecting to people. How we treat guests in our stores is the same hospitality you would receive entering any home here in the Middle East.
You have an array of colours. Tell us about them...
We have around 21 different colour variations of roses and about 50 different varieties of roses. We have also just launched our "Forever Seasons" range, which are our Dutch flowers. In terms of colour, everyone knows that red means romance, pink is usually for a newborn baby girl; teenage girls are also obsessed with this colour. Light colours such as yellow, white or peach are usually for the hospital, as they tend to mean "get well". There's also the black rose. Many people ask us what the significance is. Some people just love the colour, others buy it as a break-up to end of relationship kind of rose.
Being in the Middle East so many of us invest in flowers on a weekly basis. Do you think the Forever Rose is set to revolutionise that process?
Absolutely! We have fresh garden roses, which last for a minimum of 10 days to two weeks. However, the beautiful thing about Forever Rose is that if you have a surface in your house where you've always wanted to display roses, no matter what time of the year it is, Forever Rose can bless you with that. You can travel and come home to that rose, you can wake up each morning and see that same rose, it becomes apart of your daily routine. Keeping the same rose isn't about monotony; it's about becoming attached to that rose, like your favourite watch or wall painting. It is a natural piece of art that will stay with you and be admired by anyone who enters your home.