Day in the life: bridal website founder’s hectic routine
Rhiannon Downie is the founder of the Dubai-based wedding inspiration website www.brideclubme.com. The 33-year-old Briton, who moved to the UAE in 2008 to work in media sales, came up with the idea for Bride Club ME when she became engaged in 2012 and had a barrage of questions she needed answering. After researching the UAE bridal market, she saw a gap for an interactive website. Two-and- a-half years later, Bride Club ME is now one of the region’s leading online wedding inspiration sites.
I am not the sort of person to jump out of bed at 6am, do my workout and get juicing to kick-start my day (although I wish I were). Nope, I am the sort of person who hates the mornings but pushes myself to get up and get going. I wake at around 8am, jump in the shower, throw on some sweats and prepare myself a large black coffee, usually accompanied with a bowl of porridge and a drizzle of my favourite honey.
I spend the next few hours monitoring all my business social media accounts, website stats and sifting through a mountain of emails. Once I have checked and answered all emails of relevance, I then crack on with my “to do” list from the previous day. I always write “to do” lists as they keep me sane and organised. I then start editing and preparing draft features for the week ahead and end my morning publishing a daily feature on the site.
I change into suitable attire for my early afternoon meetings and/or projects. The nature of my work and business means that every day brings new adventures. My early afternoons are usually reserved for meetings, which can take place anywhere from a beautiful hotel to a bridal boutique to a coffee shop in The Dubai Mall.
I’ll sometimes be collecting items for the styled shoots that we feature on the website or I may be speaking at a wedding event. In between meetings, shoots or speaking sessions, I constantly check my emails and social media accounts.
I often receive emails from brides asking for general advice. Once, a lady from Texas was planning a renewal of vows surprise for her soldier husband, who was stopping over in Dubai for a few days. The lady was extremely stressed planning it all from Texas so she emailed me; I ended up speaking to her on the phone at 3am and rallying up all the vendors (most of whom were listed on my website) to help make her dream come true.
I come home from my meetings, take a quick shower, whack on some music and spend a little downtime with my two boys (my cats Ali Baba and Paws). Once I have had a rest, I am then back to answering emails and making phone calls. I set up my weekly calendar and strategise various marketing projects, in addition to updating listings on the site and writing client proposals. I am multitasking at maximum capacity during these hours.
Unless I am attending an industry or networking event, this is the time I try to dedicate to just being “normal”. My husband and I will have dinner together, usually something quick and healthy such as steamed vegetables and salmon. I love cooking, but leave the more adventurous dishes to the weekend. We will then watch one of our favourite TV series such as The Good Wife or Person of Interest. Our two cats are usually snuggling with us at this point.
At this time I am either pottering around the flat doing some home decor projects or cleaning. Sometimes the hubby and I will pop down to our local shisha joint for a sweet Moroccan tea with both our with laptops in tow, and I will carry on writing features and editing, in between stalking global wedding blogs and Pinterest accounts for wedding trends and inspiration. Workaholic, I know. Hopefully this will change soon.
My husband and I are night owls, so we will come home, play with the cats, sit on the balcony (when it’s not too hot) and discuss life in general.
During the weekends, I often attend wedding exhibitions and events. However, when things are quiet I love to catch up with friends over lunch. When the weather is cooler, we often take trips outside of Dubai and do a spot of camping and star-gazing in Oman and Ras Al Khaimah. I’m also obsessed with astronomy.
By midnight it’s lights out ready for another fast paced day ahead.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter
Published: October 25, 2014 04:00 AM