Welcome to the Emirates Man weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businessmen 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 Mohammed Alhouri and Sanad Ibrahim, co-founders of Events by MOD. The company aptly called the above is a dynamic, young, contemporary business on the lips of every bride, socialite, disruptor and VIP in the region. It is both a representation of the style evolution of the company’s predominantly GCC-based audience and a statement in luxurious minimalism.

From bespoke floral arrangements to exquisite designs for events, this events company ensures each client is carefully understood before bringing their vision to life.

With a discerning eye for style paired with an undeniable talent and a cult following, the brand has developed a name for itself in the region. As the brand has levelled up with its contemporary designs over the years, Emirates Man speaks to the duo to understand their entrepreneurial journey.

What was your favourite subject at school?

MA: Art. Art class was by far one of my favourite subjects. It gave me the opportunity to dream and as a child it allowed me to express what I was feeling creatively.

SI: There was no specific favourite but I quite enjoyed mathematics, physics and later on electronics. The math we’re taught in secondary school is typically different as you advance, but I quite enjoyed both.

Events by MOD designs

What was your first job?

MA: Back home in Turkey, when school was out for the summer I would work as a florist- for no pay just the experience of being able to express myself creatively. Flowers were an artistic outlet, which now ofcourse, has lead to the creation of MOD CONCEPT.

SI: I completed my Higher Diploma in engineering, before receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in project management. During this time I received a scholarship opportunity from DP WORLD, and ultimately was interviewed for a role in a supervisory capacity. And, so it came to be that my first job was as an engineer supervisor trainee for crane maintenance but I’ve been with them for fourteen years ( and counting) and now work as a senior manager in fleet management, alongside my work with Mohammad.

What brought you to Dubai?

MA: Passion, the future… when I was younger everything I saw on television regarding Dubai signalled the future. It became a beacon for me, it represented the opportunity for new challenges, growth and limitless possibilities. So, one week after completing my military service I booked a ticket here, and the rest is history.

Events by MOD cofounders

What inspired you to enter the events and floral space and launch Events by MOD?

MA: Four years ago I was unemployed and I was scrolling through Instagram and happened across the work of a famous event company in Dubai. When I saw their work, I was amazed, and I told my friend if I had the same budget, I could do it bigger and better. My friends laughed at the time, but I told them to watch and it would happen. I believe in the power of the mind to help us attain anything and everything. I believed internally, that I really could do it. Similarly, I shared my thoughts with my good friend Sanad expressing how I envisioned myself starting something of my own, about taking a risk. I said, why not? My grandmother always taught me that you have to see yourself living the life that you want, and when you do that, the entire universe conspires to make it happen. Until that moment, my world was about flowers and then it became about so much more. I wrote a five year plan, meticulously listed down goals and targets, and started small doing small private orders and setups and well, here we are a few years later with several of them achieved and many more to come.

SI: Mohammed and I would have these brief conversations about starting a business for several months and after a time we decided to start a business from home. From the moment we launched we saw the potential, and when we got a request to do a wedding for a friend – we dove right in and succeeded. It is at that moment and through that opportunity and experience, that we realized we needed to open an official company catering to the luxury event scene, providing creating solutions that weren’t or aren’t available.

Events by MOD

Talk us through the inspiration of your pieces.

MA: More than a wedding designer or an expert in floral artistry I’ve always loved the magic of interior design and architecture. Architects like Zaha Hadid for example, have been profoundly inspiring to me and similarly, new designers in that space tend to inspire me. For flowers, MOD CONCEPT creates waitlist-only blooms that are bespoke to the client while adhering to the MOD codes.

SI: The creative aspects of the business are those that I trust Mohammad with.

What are the key elements of your role?

MA: Creatively, every element of our work is representative of the brand and as such everything creative falls under my purview. Most often small details can make or break an event and I’m incredibly detail oriented. Similarly, the way I approach my role is to understand that there is nothing greater than the power of the imagination. What I bring to the table is the ability to envision an event from initial idea to sketch to completion, and then make it all come to life with our talented team. Every detail possesses the MOD touch.

SI: Everything that falls outside of the design realm is within my purview. Naturally, me and Mohammad jointly discuss the business forecast and areas we can improve. However, anything regarding financials, human resources, management, etc are all key elements of my role as a co-founder and business owner.

Talk us through your daily routine.

MA: I’m a very early person. I get up typically around 4:30-5:00 AM, and switch off my phone. It’s the best time to be inspired so I skim through design books, read about new designers, sketch and more. Along with a lot of coffee, followed by breakfast. Then I pop over to the office, quite frequently I’m there at the same time as my team or earlier which can vary between 8:30-9:00 AM. I leave the office to head to the gym for an hour and then return back to tackle the rest of the workday. The event industry never sleeps, but of course prioritising one’s mental and physical health is key. It’s events so most times we don’t work a traditional work week.

SI: I go to my day job which is usually between 6:30am to 3:30pm. I then pass by the MOD office for two hours, followed by the gym. In the late evening, I sit down with Mohammad to discuss day-to-day operations and I’m at home 9:30 pm with my family as a priority. It’s about sustaining a healthy balance.

Events by MOD arrangements

What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?

MA: Have a proper plan. The plan should be a minimum of three to five. years. If by the third month, you didn’t reach the target then you need to change the plan because something isn’t working.

SI: I was very afraid before officially launching the business on the scale that we did, primarily because I have several familial responsibilities and taking a risk wasn’t ideal. But, when I saw that there was a one percent chance of success, through our at-home business model, I saw the chances of that risk greatly reduced thereby making it a calculated risk. And I suppose the lesson is that take a risk- but make it a calculated one.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

MA: The best advice would have to be that creativity can never be taught, learned or bought it is inbuilt, and it can be fostered but never truly replicated. So, don’t worry about someone else’s success, focus on staying true to yours and building on it.

SI: My family has always allowed me the freedom to determine the trajectory of my life. And with that mindset, the best advice was from my father who said ‘ whatever you do or choose in life, you are the one that will bear the consequences or the fruits of those choices – so choose wisely.’

And what is the worst?

MA: There have been plenty, but it was something along the lines of ‘don’t try to reach a point that you cannot’ essentially saying don’t bother trying because you won’t succeed.

SI: The worst advice I’ve been given is to not challenge myself. Because, if you have a talent, you owe it to yourself to challenge yourself and explore it.

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

MA: While we’ve moved past it now, the biggest challenge was the onset of COVID and the pandemic. Because I invested in the business and launched it during COVID. As a result, navigating through inquiries, meeting client requests and justifying our cost of production were exteremely challenging. But, ultimately it solidified our presence in the market, built our name, and taught us how resilient we truly are.

SI: COVID. It was the biggest challenge because we didn’t know which way the winds would blow but we focused on one challenge at a time, and to be fair it was a great time for opportunity. Who knows, perhaps if we entered the market at a different stage things would have panned out differently. You have to strike when the opportunity is right.

Events by MOD flowers

What are the future plans for your brand?

MA: MOD Interiors? The growth of MOD CONCEPT? That’s between me and the five-year plan.

SI: As Mohammad said, several exciting new things are in the pipeline. But, as a business and (from my perspective specifically) it’s about staying consistent in terms of quality while tackling the bigger challenges and projects that come our way. As of now, our goal is to stay consistent.

For more information visit @eventsbymod and @m0dconcept on Instagram. 

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Images: Supplied