In Greek mythology, Doro was the son of Hellen and Orseide who founded the ancient Dorian tribe. His name is thought to be from the Ancient Greek word doron, which means “I give” or “gift”.
When CarrieAnne Chew and her husband were in Brunei, she discovered their landlady had left them a potted succulent as a welcome gift. Charmed by her first encounter with the easy-to-care-for plant, Chew treasured this souvenir of their stay that signified warmth and thoughtfulness. It was only natural, then, that when the couple established their gifting business in 2017, they named it Dóro and offered succulents as their first product.
Since then, their potted plants have been the source of twofold joy, first brightening the day of the lucky recipient and then enlivening workspaces and homes. Dóro markets its succulent arrangements as expressions of your most profound emotions, which you may find difficult to say in words.
Minimal maintenance ensures this is the gift that keeps on giving, too, continuing to share its message of love long after its delivery.
“Succulents make great gifts; it’s nice to have something lush and living in a sterile environment such as an office,” says Chew. “We offer them in a variety of styles, including bouquets. I even carried a succulent bouquet when I walked down the aisle at my wedding and later transplanted it into a pot as a keepsake.”
In themselves, the hardy leaves paint a pretty picture, from plump and matte to angular and glossy, but it is the planters that distinguish the brand’s offerings from those of its rivals. The Dóro Life, for instance, sits in a hefty, round, cement planter; and the Dóro Treeó is a harmonious triptych of natural wood — white oak, beech and rose wood — in varying configurations. The handmade Dóro Gem plays on the natural grain and texture of solid teak within its elegant proportions.
The selection of succulents that occupy these beautiful homes depends on the stock available, as Chew handpicks them during her twice- or thrice-weekly trips to partner nurseries. “We can’t just fill in an order sheet and request that the nursery fulfil it,” she says. “We have to go to them at night, when deliveries come in, and work around the available selection. We even have quirky accents such as dwarf pineapples, which are unique and well liked.”
Presentation and delivery are factored into the price range of RM88 to RM338. “We asked ourselves what the most luxurious package we’ve had the pleasure of holding was, and the first thing that came to mind was Apple’s phone packaging. That inspired how we designed ours,” she continues. Much thought goes into preparing the premium white-and-gold boxes, from the soft paper that hides the plant to the ribbon securing the entire ensemble. Hand delivery in most of the Klang Valley and Kuala Lumpur is complimentary, with a flat rate of RM35 charged for locations in the outer areas of Selangor.
Dóro’s plants are favoured as housewarming and corporate gifts, as well as presents that say “Congratulations”, “Thinking of you” or “I love you”. The brand is expanding its line to include select houseplants, which need more frequent watering (every few days rather than every couple of weeks) and far less sunlight than succulents. It is also exploring a way for recipients to assemble their succulent and pot it themselves for a hands-on experience.
Having spent part of her childhood in an orphanage, Chew plans to use Dóro as a platform to empower those in similar circumstances or who might have difficulty finding opportunities elsewhere, with a chance to show their capabilities. “I handle the business side and she handles the save-the-world part,” jokes her husband and business partner, who prefers to keep a low profile.
“It’s a nice feeling, knowing that we are connecting people through plants,” says Chew. “And any space looks better with a touch of green.”
After all, whether on a busy desk or in a quiet corner, a green and enduring reminder of a loved one or special occasion soothes both eye and soul.
This article first appeared in issue No. 94, Winter 2019 of Haven.