Posing amid sunflower stalks and giant pink proteas, it’s as if Zoya Sakr beckons you to join her in the garden to revel in its fragrant air. Sakr’s new homegrown brand, The Flower Society, is a sense-memory experience. This is a garden cultivated for the luxury and style of Dubai, inspired by her roots in Lebanon. “I believe flowers bring life to a house; they bring joy, and they have a soul,” she says.
Raised in Byblos, Sakr’s identity was shaped by her Lebanese father, a physician and art collector, and Russian mother. They immersed her in an environment that revered the area’s rich natural beauty as vital to life as art and tended with love. “My mom’s garden was always full of roses and peonies,” she fondly recalls about her home and summers spent in Russia. “I like to reflect luxury in everything,” she adds about her signature bouquet style. “But at the same time, I don’t like it when there are too many colors and it’s too crowded. That’s why we are about grand gestures of love and big bouquets, but in a simple, minimalist way not to disturb the eye.”
The Flower Society’s ethos is for art lovers and art connoisseurs. “I created this atelier to be a hub for all art lovers to come here, or to have exhibitions,” she says. The atelier is also where Sakr will host artists to design custom vases exclusive for The Flower Society. “I want you to own a vase from me that will give soul to your salon, and that you can decorate every week with beautiful flowers,” she shares. Sakr is also excited to reveal the collection of The Flower Society’s collaboration with Lebanese designer and artist Nada Debs. In curating artists for future collaborations, Sakr seeks superior craftsmanship and contemporary designs that are relevant to the region and brand.
Since coming to Dubai in 2006, Sakr has prospered in the emirate’s fertile grounds for entrepreneurship. “It’s the trust of people that I’ve worked with; they know that whenever I do something, I do it right,” she says. Cartier, with which she has a long-standing relationship, was her first client, selecting The Flower Society for the Cartier Women’s Pavilion in collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai. The Flower Society will be bustling over the coming months, with Expo 2020 Dubai, the 50th anniversary of the UAE, and the upcoming festive seasons. It is only a matter of time until The Flower Society branches out regionally to Riyadh, Cairo, Kuwait, and Qatar. “This is part of my plan, to see the design that I’ve created, replicated and opened across different cities,” she nods.
Ever loyal to her heritage and concerned with Lebanon’s humanitarian needs, Sakr has connected with associations and suppliers in Lebanon to help facilitate the growth of flowers and plants there that can then be shipped to Dubai. “I want this to be a homegrown brand that will go global out of Dubai,” she says. “But at the same time, being Lebanese and seeing what’s happening in Lebanon, I will put all my resources to pay back to my home country as well.”
With a diverse academic and professional background, ranging from studying business at Harvard, as well as psychology and politics earlier in her academic life, to becoming a media maven and producer, Sakr brings a 360-degrees view to her endeavors. “Being high on knowledge is priceless,” she says. “I can help a lot of other women entrepreneurs to grow and to have the energy and courage to build something.” The Flower Society is an especially meaningful achievement for her, since she developed it independently “from scratch,” as something her children can be proud of and continue. “I believe you can materialize your thoughts and your inner soul,” she says with conviction. “You study everything in Harvard on paper, but there is something that comes into you that makes you believe, you’ll make it happen, you’ll succeed. I know I can do it well.”
The Flower Society and Nada Debs
The Flower Society’s first artist collaboration is with Levantine designer Nada Debs. The result is contemporary vases featuring a hand-drawn silhouette of The Flower Society’s logo, with mother-of-pearl inlay. Other vases feature pleated mother-of-pearl and brushed stainless steel that speak to the relationship between the industrial and the natural. A third vase celebrates geometry with a custom pattern in tin inlay and stained veneer marquetry, with stretched hexagons that can plug into one another to create a custom floral arrangement pattern. Just add water and blooms.