A while back, we were invited into the home of French expatriate Julie Leblan, a mother of three and one of the hardest working entrepreneurs we know. Julie is the founder of Dubai-based gift registry website MyList.ae.
Previously a finance solicitor, Julie set up MyList.ae after struggling to find a way for her friends and family in Europe to send her baby shower gifts. Remembering how she used a registry for wedding gifts back home, she could not find one here and decided to launch MyList.ae. In addition to having a tonne of fabulous partner stores, we adore the selection of homeware gifts available on MyList,ae, which Julie works hard to promote on behalf of her partner stores. Today, we share our interview with Julie and learn all about her personal home décor style.
What is MyList.ae and how does the site apply to home décor/interior lovers?
Mylist.ae is the first and leading online gift registry in the Middle East. Launched in 2012, it now offers an impressive list of more than 75 partner stores in the UAE only and have recently expanded to KSA and Egypt. It is an online platform that makes gift-giving easier for people living in the Middle East. We have a unique catalogue of more than 10,000 products, mainly for home and decoration.
Our extensive range of beautiful home stores (Marina Home Interiors, Tanagra, Galeries Lafayette The Dubai Mall, Tavola, Robinsons, Bloomingdales Home, The Den, Home & Soul, The Carpet Centre) will allow any interior-lover to create a wish list for any special occasion (house-warming, birthday party, etc). Our team suggests gift ideas and ways to decorate your home. We also participate in styled photo shoots and collaborate with interior design magazines to suggest new ideas for your house.
Do you have any items in your own home that can be found on MyList.ae?
Yes of course! My house is a mix of furniture and home décor from Paris, where I am originally from, our travels around the world and my shopping in Dubai since I arrived five years ago. My sofas are from Marina Home; our KitchenAid mixer is from Tavola; and our linens are from Galeries Lafayette and Robinsons.
Most of our gorgeous home accessories are from O’de Rose, an amazing little boutique with an Arabian twist next to my house in Umm Suqeim and owned by my friend Nadine.
We hear you enjoy entertaining at home – tell us about the tableware in your home?
Our beautiful fine-china dinner set from Bernardaud can be found at Tanagra. In grey colours with silver filaments and lizard skin interlocking Cordoval honeycombs, it’s a mix of tradition, modernity and exoticism.
This dinner set was the centrepiece of our wedding registry when I got married seven years ago.
I am very happy to have chosen Bernardaud as this famous French brand is part of our national history and represents the exceptional savoir-faire in France. From a practical point of view, I loved the fact that you can order piece-by-piece in case you break something.
We also have some stunning pieces from Christofle, such as the Vertigo silver tray we use when we have guests. This is what I love about French tableware brands: the blend of tradition and modernity.
Tell us about your personal sense of home interior style.
I have decorated my house in a way that means we’re all comfortable when we’re at home. Our living space looks nice, but it’s not a museum and is adapted to family life. There are also small details everywhere of our travels, family history and the things we like most. It makes me happy.
My passion for reading is well represented as I have a shelf of books in every room! It’s something I want to teach my kids.
You have three gorgeous children – how do you balance your work, home and personal life?
I don’t! (laughs). Being an entrepreneur and a mother of three very active kids is quite demanding and results in chaotic situations sometimes. But the key is to not take yourself too seriously and handle each situation one after the other.
For me, succeeding in my career is essential as I need this challenge in order to feel fulfilled. Fortunately, I have strong support from my husband and family.
What’s your most beloved item at home?
I am really attached to the items I inherited from my grandparents when they passed away. The last gift my grandmother gave me was a candleholder with a small angel.
I also like very much our Mr and Mrs Chairs, which stand at the entrance of our house and can be added to a wedding registry on MyList.ae.
How did you find the process of decorating and creating a home in a rented villa?
I found it much easier than in Paris because Dubai offers so many services (such as curtain companies, carpenters) and it was very affordable compared to Europe. In 2010, when we arrived, I was really amazed by the fact that you can find so many brands and options.
I miss the hunt for antiques that you can do so easily in Paris. Although, of course, I’ve found some quirky places in Sharjah and Deira. :-)
Lastly, what’s next for MyList.ae?
So many exciting things! We have recently launched our customer service call centre offering assistance to customers 7 days a week from 10 am to 10 PM. We have also expanded into Saudi Arabia and Egypt to offer the same services to brides and mothers to be across the region.
Thank you so much for letting us into your home, Julie! – Disclaimer: This feature was written 4 years ago and Julie has since moved home.