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A week in the life of… Dana Ashkar, founder of CAHO Chocolatier

A week in the life of… Dana Ashkar, founder of CAHO Chocolatier

Dana Ashkar balances family and work, working on a tight schedule

Sunday

It’s 6.30am, time to get my daughter ready for school. My husband drops her off while I feed our newborn. Today is a busy day as we are finalising the order of CAHO’s new design boxes. By 3.30pm I have managed to finish everything with the supplier, and will receive sample boxes ahead of Wednesday’s photo shoot. At 6pm I head to the mall to pick up my outfit for an upcoming summit. I still have time for a quality control check on some orders for Al Ain and Sharjah, and by 8.20pm I’m back home and ready to put my daughter to bed before replying to pending emails. At 11pm I go through the questions that will be asked during the Summit, finishing up at 12.30am, ready to sleep.

Monday

Today is my mother’s birthday, so I pass by the flower shop to pick up some lilies – her favourite – and a triple chocolate cake. We all love chocolate in this family. I make sure my laptop is with me, so I can finish some work and follow up with production. We all gather at night to celebrate as a family, which is a true blessing.

Tuesday

My baby wakes me up earlier than my daily alarm so I’m out of bed at 5.50am for his first bottle feed. Today we receive the new design boxes. We’re excited to see them and prepare for the photo shoot tomorrow. We have lots of inquiries for gift boxes and I’m afraid we might be behind schedule. The boxes arrive at 11.30am. They’re absolutely gorgeous, and my first thought is that I’m so glad I agreed to the rebranding. A few follow up emails are sent out, I’m all set for tomorrow. I can’t wait to sit with my kids in the evening.

Wednesday

It’s 6.45am and I’m up and excited for the photo shoot. My daughter is dropped to school, and I head to my mum’s house as she will look after our baby. I then go over to the CAHO boutique in Silicon Oasis, where I pick up a few things that might come in handy during the shoot. The boutique is all set for the shoot; gift boxes, ribbons, and chocolate. I’m feeling grateful and blessed. Product shots, done. Lifestyle shots, done. It’s a wrap. I’m home and happy that my daughter is still awake. I read to her and we both go to bed at 9pm.

Thursday

I wake up at 6.45am, feed my newborn and prepare my daughter for school. We’re launching new chocolate products by September this year, so today I’ll be sitting with the chef to brainstorm on the flavours, offerings, and ranges to be introduced. At 1.30pm I pick my daughter up from school as she finishes one hour earlier that the rest of the week on Thursdays. I feel so hungry after my meeting with the chef – I’m definitely skipping lunch and going for dessert.

Friday

It’s the weekend, yet I’m up again at 6.30am as my baby wants to feed. There’s no rush in preparing my coffee, I sit back and enjoy it outdoors while checking the website performance and conversion rates of our online ordering site, cahochocolate.com. In the afternoon I go grocery shopping as my friend is coming from Lebanon tonight and I’m hosting a small BBQ dinner for her and the family. The BBQ finishes late; it’s 2.30am and I’m very ready for bed.

Saturday

I go back to sleep after the usual 6.30am feed. We stayed up late last night and I have to rest. My daughter wakes me up at 10am and we all enjoy a homemade breakfast. We finish some home learning that is due next week. She has a French day theme at school next week that requires a costume, so we head to the mall to sort this out. However, I ended up ordering online as weekend busy malls are not something I can handle today. We spend the afternoon at home together before dinner at 7pm and my daughter’s bedtime at 8pm. We then watch a Netflix series and head to sleep at 10pm.

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