A week in the life of...Jelena Bin Drai - Gulf Business
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A week in the life of…Jelena Bin Drai

A week in the life of…Jelena Bin Drai

Businesswoman and fashion designer Jelena Bin Drai reveals her packed schedule.


It’s the start of a new week and I can’t believe the weekend flew by so fast I’m anticipating a really busy week ahead – as a mother, a wife and a businesswoman I usually have a very full diary. My alarm goes off early this morning and I start the day with my two children – taking one to school and one to Asya’s nursery in Palm Jumeirah. Since I don’t have any shoots or interviews scheduled today, I promise to pick them both up later in the afternoon. I love visiting the nursery. As the owner, it puts a smile on my face to see the happy kids and parents. After all, my main philosophy when I opened it was to provide the best place for children to learn and play.


I love to be hands-on with all my businesses and I try to dedicate two hours to each of my companies per day. Today I plan on stopping by my salons, Vanilla and Chocolate, to catch up with the management teams. I’m lucky to own a salon that I can visit whenever I need a mini get-away from my hectic schedule – I especially swear by the hamman to
get perfectly soft, smooth skin. Being a mother and an entrepreneur is not an easy task but I wouldn’t change it for the world and I think it’s important for a busy person like me to still find time to relax and pamper herself. Giving yourself a little treat every now and then is good for the soul.


The view of the Palm Beach from my atelier is so beautiful today. I love being here whenever inspiration strikes, as while I often do a lot of research for a new collection at home, I am at my most creative when surrounded by fabrics and mood boards. It’s a little chaotic around here at the moment since we are all busy getting ready for the Jelena by Jelena AW15/16 collection. I’m proud of my team as they have the same work ethic as I do. I completely trust them. It’s important to surround yourself with a solid workforce.


After a day spent meeting the managers for my other companies – AL DAS Medical Clinic and gourmet grocery Milk & Honey – I can’t wait to spend the night with a few of my lovely friends. Although I usually prefer to spend my spare time at home with my family, it’s nice to occasionally catch up with my closest pals too. Tonight, we will be heading out to Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa to enjoy dinner at the delicious seafood restaurant Flooka.


Today I have a photo-shoot, which is always a nostalgic experience as I have been modelling since my teenage years. Modelling will always be a part of who I am. The staff at Vanilla do my hair and make-up for the shoot – such a huge perk of owning my own beauty salon. I arrive at the location arranged for the shoot an hour later after grabbing some lunch, which I rarely do because I always make it a point to spend lunch with my family. I have done so for the last 12 years. The shoot finishes a bit late and it’s definitely time to head home now. I miss the kids.


I’m glad it’s Friday I can spend the whole day with my family and my husband.

I treat our kids to a picnic at our farm outside of Dubai. We spend the day enjoying the wildlife. Going back to nature is always an amazing experience for the whole family and a great way to relax after a busy week. In the evening, I work through some emails and I use the time to analyse, review and schedule business plans.


I have been invited to speak at a conference for women entrepreneurs today. It’s such an honour for me to attend an event like this, as I’m able to meet and socialise with a lot of interesting people. Whenever I am asked about what makes me successful as a female entrepreneur, I always look back at my journey and the realisations I’ve had along the way. Being a businesswoman to me means believing in yourself – believe in your own ability and you’ll be surprised at the amazing things that you can do.


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