Fuelled by a desire to work abroad, Kriz Huang moved to Dubai five years ago from his native Singapore. After initially working in sales for a furniture company, he became assistant sales manager at Candylicious in The Dubai Mall in 2011. The 29-year-old, now a cluster manager at the store, lives on his own in Dubai International Financial Centre.
I start my day drinking coffee and eating breakfast, which is typically nothing more than some toast – I prefer eating light first thing. I leave my apartment at around 9am and walk to work, as Dubai Mall isn’t far from where I live.
At work, I head to my small office within Candylicious to check my emails. Then I tour the store, making sure everything is ready ahead of opening at 10am. I ensure display items are full and that our live candy making machines are ready.
The store opens and I reply to emails in my office. I then have meetings with my operations manager to discuss various business projects. I use this time to also engage other departments such as marketing, buying, IT and HR. We’re currently putting together a calendar of marketing activities. Our in-store activities are designed to appeal to everyone, from kids to mothers and fathers, as we aim for fun for all ages. My favourite marketing event so far was Christmas Day 2014. We had Santa Claus in the store as well as a big set-up on our stage. The staff were wearing Christmas hats, and we had loads of activities on.
I grab a bite to eat for lunch – usually some food from Waitrose or something from the food court – and eat it at my desk.
After lunch I spend time in the store, speaking to the staff to see if anyone needs assistance. Part of my role is to coach my employees, which is something I find particularly fulfilling. My team consists of 70 members, and we have people of many different nationalities. As we spend more time with our colleagues than our families, I consider my team family members, and I do my best to help them grow within the business. I’m also involved in recruitment. To work at Candylicious you need to be young, fun and energetic. You also should know how to dance – or at least have rhythm – as our staff members are required to dance every day in the store. Some of our dances are called Choco Latte and Gummy Bear, and we have a choreographer that teaches our staff the moves.
A major part of my job is obtaining more business, so in the afternoon I have meetings with prospective corporate clients. We collaborate with various types of businesses, such as hotels, who are on the look-out for special pop-up stands for their events. One of the main services we offer is Spun Live Candy – our team makes fresh lollipops and hard rock candies while customers watch, and we can customise the candy.
I walk around the mall to get a general feel for the current footfall. As part of my own work analysis, I like to go to other stores, such as Waitrose, to see what items they’re currently selling. This helps me with our own product range, as I’m able to give feedback to my buying department regarding prices and any new, interesting items that I’ve seen in the market. The team sources our products from all around the world, and they are always striving to find something unique and not available elsewhere in the UAE. I do this market analysis two to three times a week, and sometimes visit different malls as well.
Back at my desk I wrap up any outstanding admin. I’m a tidy person, so I don’t like my desk to be messy. I only have my laptop and my phones there, as I spend most of my time outside of the office.
During the week, I leave work at 6pm but on the weekends it’s a midday start and I stay until midnight when we close. After work, I go shopping in the mall. I then have dinner; as I’m usually alone, I like to dine out at Social House as I enjoy sitting near the Dubai Fountain. I love their nasi goreng; I cannot find Singaporean dishes in Dubai, so this is the closest thing. I miss so many dishes from home, like my mum’s chicken rice. I try to visit family at least once a year to stave off any homesickness.
At home I relax by watching my favourite Korean and Singaporean drama TV shows. I then have a bath and am asleep before 10pm. I go to bed so early because I have to wake up by 8am – I need a lot of sleep.
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