Danielle is one of our Sassiest Mamas 2016…
We’re always amazed by the entrepreneurial spirit of the mamas we meet in Dubai – and Danielle is no exception. With a flourishing foodie business that started in her kitchen when her littlest was a newborn and that now delivers healthy delicious salads across Dubai in the form of ‘The Salad Jar’, Danielle saw an opportunity and worked hard to make her vision come to life. Mama to Julia, aged 10 and Amira, aged 3, Danielle understands the importance of a great support team when it comes to balancing motherhood and a career.
Tell us about your business and why you started it.
The Salad Jar started 2 years ago from my home kitchen. A good friend of mine suggested that I put my quinoa salad in a jar for my husband to take to work for lunch. He was hooked straight away and suggested I start a salad company. After doing some research we found a huge gap in the local market for healthy and convenient lunch options. 2 years later, here we are with a commercial kitchen delivering our salads throughout Dubai.
What kind of cake would you order for your birthday?
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.
If we handed you a concert ticket, whom would you wish it were for?
Tragically Hip… A Canadian band that I grew up with. I feel very fortunate to have seen them perform this summer for their last ever tour. It was a very emotional experience as the lead singer has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Our entire country rallied together to celebrate his life. I would love to see them one more time!!
What colour do you wear the most?
Black, grey and white
When did you last cry?
Leaving Vancouver this summer… I hate goodbyes
What’s the best thing you can cook?
Lasagna… and I can make a really great salad!
Where do you get your hair done?
Pastels Salon, The Ritz – Carlton JBR… Anthony is the best!!!!
What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
For my personal life it would have to be my family. Creating my 2 loving little girlies. They are both amazing little kind spirits. It was a very big deal for us to leave Canada and I feel extremely proud of far we have come and how much of a positive impact it has had on us. It takes a lot to leave your home country and raise your children away from family.
As for career… The Salad Jar! Starting it at home by myself and growing it into where it is now with a team of 20 people. Very exciting times!
As a child what did you dream of being when you ‘grew up’?!
I always wanted to be a veterinarian.
If you had 3 wishes what would they be?
For my daughters to achieve personal success
Good health for my family
What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
Having a great sense of humour, being vibrant, outgoing & courageous.
Tell us about a typical day?
5.30am wake up, out the door by 5.50am to go to the gym, back home by 7.00am to wake kids and get ready for the day. Leave house at 8am for school drops. I arrive at the kitchen by 8.40am. The kitchen crew gets started at 6.20am and is well under way with the prep when I arrive. Our first deliveries leave the kitchen by 9.10am. From that point on it’s a full on day. A lot happens in a short window of time. By 3pm we have finished all deliveries and the prep for the next day has already commenced. I have a great team – their dedication & hard work allows me to balance my work & private life. I pick up my girls by 3.45pm and then it’s usually after school activities or home for play-time. I do have to sneak a few calls in, but my main attention will be for the girls. We eat dinner together every night and then get ready for bed. By 8.00pm everyone is sleeping and I catch up on some emails. I usually am asleep by 10.30pm. I love my sleep and it’s the only way I can fully function every day.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
To enjoy the ride!! Be present and always trust your gut feeling.
What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
The Beach!! The pool!! And anything outside… We love hanging out in our garden and relaxing on the weekends.
What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, or something fellow mamas should know about?
For the kids: The Sharjah Wild Life Reserve – a great place to educate children on wildlife and the local eco-system. Kids can roam around freely in the air-conditioned space and really get up close to many locally found reptiles, snakes, fish species and other animals. A little bit of a drive but never over-crowded. Perfect for an afternoon or weekend-excursion.
For the mums: Ever hired a movie projector and set it up in someone’s back yard? We had one of the best night’s watching classics with friends under the stars with homemade popcorn. No fancy cinema or high heels needed!
If you were on an island and could bring only 3 things (family not included) what would they be?
iPod or drink… Can I have 4 please!
Describe your style?
Casual: modern & uncluttered with a trendy edge.
Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done?
My 3 year old is saying a lot of funny things right now but I think my current favorite is her reference to her sister Julia as “My Dulia”
How do you juggle work and family?
I am very clear on my priorities and know my limits. That said, I am flexible and open to change and am able to adapt to changing circumstances, both at home & work.
I have a really great team at The Salad Jar. Everyone at the kitchen is clear on their roles & what’s expected from them. They know their joint efforts form part of the success of The Salad Jar. So when I leave the kitchen, I know I leave it in good hands and can dedicate myself to the girls. I believe to succeed you need to surround yourself with people who support you.
A huge thank you to Monica Chindalia for the beautiful pictures of Danielle and her girls.
To book a photoshoot visit facebook/monicachindaliaphotography