Welcome to the Emirates Woman weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
This week we chat with Coral Chung, Founder & CEO of Senreve. The idea for the luxury brand came about when Chung herself was working in corporate and struggled to find the perfect versatile handbag for all occasions, which led her to launch Senreve in 2015. In the last seven years, the brand has become hugely popular the globe over, with Senreve pieces even spotted on a wide range of celebrities.
Chung discusses with us what the inspiration was behind Senreve and plans for the future of the brand.
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What was your favourite subject at school?
In primary school, I really loved science and math, especially geometry. However, my absolute favourite subject at university was art history. I had a brilliant professional who really inspired me.
What was your first job?
My first job was with Bain & Company based in Hong Kong, but I travelled all over the world working with different companies, especially in the consumer sector.
Can you talk us through the inspiration behind your brand?
Senreve stands for the combination of “sense” and “dream” and represents a modern multifaceted woman who loves luxurious quality and unique design combined with versatility. We are inspired by empowering her from day to night with products that can be her daily companion. Our brand values include innovation, empowerment, sustainability, wit, and elegance. Our vision is to keep her organized, secure, and ready to take on any challenge!
What are the key elements of your role?
As Founder & CEO of Senreve, my main focus is to drive the overall vision and strategy of the brand. I also focus a lot on our products and work closely with our team in Italy. I also work closely with our board of directors and our investors. I love building our culture, team and growing international presence. I have to be focused on the bigger picture but manage through daily challenges as well. Every day is different, and I’m always energized by what’s ahead.
Talk us through your daily routine.
My days are usually packed with meetings from morning to night because I am navigating many time zones! I try to start the day with a short meditation and wind down at night with a bath. I am also a mother of two, a nine-year-old and a little baby! So I try to spend some quality time with them every day. I am also starting to travel, going to NYC and LA and hopefully will be back in Europe and Dubai again soon.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
Every entrepreneurial journey is unique. Mine has been very fulfilling, but also full of challenges because it’s tricky to juggle everything at the same time. I think it’s helpful to go into the experience with eyes wide open, so that you’re not surprised or discouraged when bumps in the road come up.
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What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Take advice with a grain of salt!! Everyone has opinions on things, and actually it’s more important to follow your gut instincts than being distracted by the perspectives of others.
And what is the worst?
In the early days of Senreve, I got a lot of advice from people who doubted my ability to start this company. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to them!
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
We’ve had many challenges with the pandemic causing a big Italy shutdown, and we continue to need to be flexible with navigating the dynamic environment.
What are the future plans for your brand?
We’re excited about growing internationally, especially in Dubai and the Middle East. We’re also doing bigger partnerships and growing our store footprint. Our latest innovation is creating a plant-based leather bag that is just as beautiful and luxurious as animal leather products. The new best-selling Cadence bag has been introduced in five new brilliant colours with this high tech and sustainable material that we’re really proud of.
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