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In Person: Jan Semotam

We caught up with Jan after a very busy week in Dubai and had a chat about the personal and professional journey of Ebony and Co Dubai's Sales Director, looking at the increasing presence and significance of handcrafted wide plank wooden floors in the evolving landscape of Dubai's design scene. It is here where Ebony and Co made its physical debut at Downtown Design Dubai.

Who is Jan Semotam?

I’m first and foremost a dad and a husband, while I am also the Sales Director of Ebony and Co Dubai. My journey into the world of design began through my work with Lasvit crystal chandeliers, where I ran the Moscow office for eight years. It was during this time that I first met and befriended the team at Ebony and Co. Life has a way of surprising us, and after a chance meeting at Downtown Design last year, we realised the potential of collaborating. Now, we're back at the show as one team, and I am super excited about it.

Why did you choose to join Ebony and Co in Dubai?

Dubai is the new centre of the world. The city's vision and its commitment to providing an exciting, comfortable, and safe environment make it an ideal place for families. I've lived more than half of my life away from home, and Dubai's internationality, coupled with its safety, drew me in. It's a place where you can work from cafes without worrying about your belongings, and that sense of security extends to our homes. Dubai is attracting the best and brightest from around the world, and it's a thrilling place to be.

What’s the vibe in Dubai, and who’s joining the party?

Dubai is a melting pot of cultures, with around 90% of the population being foreigners. This diversity creates a unique atmosphere of mutual help and advice. Many come here for more than just short-term experiences, seeking to make Dubai their permanent home. This shift in mindset means people are no longer simply investing in real estate but they are buying their homes, and that's where Ebony and Co steps in. A wooden floor is not a necessity; it's a desire for comfort, warmth, and happiness, turning a house into a home.

Why is Ebony and Co setting roots in the Middle East, and why now?

With Dubai becoming the new epicentre, the timing for Ebony and Co in the Middle East is perfect. As people move here for more than just holidays or work, there's a growing desire for permanent residence. Traditional perceptions of using stone for flooring are changing as interior climate control improves. Our wide plank floors offer a natural and warm alternative. We're here full-time to collaborate with interior designers and architects, helping clients build their dream homes.

In the world of premium designs, why are relationships crucial?

Because selling a premium product isn't about emails; it's about connections. We are not just retailers; we are partners in crafting bespoke experiences. Ebony and Co doesn’t do stock; we tailor each project with the finest timber, ensuring quality, sustainability, and ethical sourcing. Dubai loves excellence, and our smooth, clean floors in lighter tones are hitting the right chords. Premium products are also very much about emotions, you cannot feel them on a computer screen. Our clients want to touch our samples, step on them, see them in different light conditions, smell them. That’s when a personal and in-person relationship is crucial.

Looking back, how did you enjoy Downtown Design and the debut of Ebony and Co there?

Downtown Design is more than a tradeshow; it's a celebration of creativity. This year, it really raised the bar with the quality of exhibitors and their imagination and inventiveness in showcasing their products and services. It was an absolute joy to attend and browse through the show. This year’s Design Week reportedly attracted around 130 thousand visitors, which really demonstrates its quality. As an exhibitor, we showcased our handcrafted wide plank wooden floors in their most pure way, showing the craftsmanship behind our products and the immense potential they can have. The overwhelmingly positive feedback, kind words, and a number of interested professionals and homeowners means that we probably did it right!

"Ebony and Co's presence at Downtown Design is a testament to our commitment to delivering excellence in design. And we are already very excited about ideas and plans for our participation next year. Stay tuned!"