A day in the life: Real passion for fashion for Dubai-born boutique founder

Financial consultant turned fashion entrepreneur Rohini Gehani says she has the perfect balance between her career and managing a young family.

Rivaage owner and founder Rohini Gehani inside her store on the ground floor of Sunset Mall in Jumeirah. Lee Hoagland / The National
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Andrea Anastasiou

Rohini Gehani is the chief executive and founder of Rivaage, a multi-brand chain of boutiques in the GCC that showcases a selection of established and up-and-coming designers. Before a career in fashion, the 34-year-old was a financial consultant at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. She has a degree in finance from the London School of Economics and her background has been instrumental in complementing her love for fashion. Ms Gehani, whose family is originally from India, was born in Dubai and continues to live in the emirate in Al Barsha with her husband and two sons.


Everyone in our house typically wakes up at around 6.30am. I like to make sure we get quality time together, so having breakfast in the morning with my husband and kids is essential. We enjoy eating healthy food and are grateful to have delicious home-made meals made by our amazing cook. After breakfast I help my boys get dressed. My husband, Vivek Gehani, and I usually do school drop-offs. My elder son, Rajveer, who is eight, goes to the American School of Dubai, and my younger son, Viraaj, aged three, attends Home Grown Nursery. Fortunately, both their schools are amazing and they really enjoy where they are.


Post-school run, I have my morning workout, which on average takes an hour. I would have to say this is the most important part of my day. This is the one hour where I make sure I am not distracted by anything and I don’t look at my phone. I work out at home; I have a personal trainer who comes.


I work from the office in Business Bay and get all my tasks done for the day. This includes going through emails, scheduling admin meetings with my team, or other meetings. From time to time I plan out strategic meetings to create a set-out strategy for the next couple of months. Also occasionally I like to do surprise store runs to check that all is running as it is meant to be; we have two in Dubai, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Doha. The business started with my passion for fashion. My background in finance helps in the business side of things, as it is the backbone of any company.


My younger son is ready to be picked up. I really enjoy school runs as they keep me connected to what my boys are up to in their classes, how they are doing academically, as well as other important aspects such as who they are friends with, what they have learnt in the day.


I have business meetings scheduled for this time and meet different people – either a designer or brand, PR or mall management.


My younger son finishes school and I drive over to pick him up.


I plan out some activities with the kids. We usually stay at home and spend quality time together. I am very blessed to be able to balance both my work and personal life; I can sit with my kids while I catch up on emails. Being self-employed gives me the flexibility to work from anywhere, and thank goodness for my iPhone – it helps me get a lot done throughout the day wherever I am.


After the kids relax following a long day at school, I sit down with them and help with any homework they have and briefly go over the material they studied to keep it fresh in their minds. Once that’s done, we pack their bags and make sure they are ready and prepared for the next school day.


My husband comes back from work and we sit down together and enjoy our meal as a family. These times of the day are very special as we get to catch up on each other’s days and it keeps us connected as a family.


Once the kids are in bed, my husband and I go out for a casual social catch-up with friends. Living in one of the busiest cities, there is no shortage of events and glamorous nights out, which I enjoy as well. I prefer not to attend events just for business; I think I have passed that stage. Being outdoors in the evenings is one of our favourite things to do.


It’s time to call it a night.


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