Five Minutes With… Geoffrey Nejman, Co-founder M.Micallef

French perfumer M.Micallef is looking to expand across the region having launched in Dubai last year, says Nejman

How has the business fared since launching in Dubai last year?

When we launched our boutique last year, it was after establishing our brand presence in the region for well over a decade. Up until this point, customers could buy M.Micallef in Paris Gallery but they often asked us when we were going to open our own stand-alone boutique in Dubai. We have a very loyal client base and we always listen to feedback. Since launching the boutique in Grosvenor House we have gained the close access to M.Micallef customers that we love. Everyday, we have the platform to engage with them on a personal level, in a beautifully intimate environment. Our boutique has become the home for our creative energy, allowing us to interact with people who are as passionate about perfumery as we are.

What have been the challenges of bringing your brand to the Middle East?

The niche luxury perfume industry can pose a challenge for some. Thankfully, we keep M.Micallef timeless. There can be the impulse to mold the brand according to market trends, but we believe in our concept. Nearly two decades after founding Parfums M.Micallef, we’re proud to say commercial brands are looking to us for inspiration.

Have you adjusted any of your products to cater to the local market?

We never launch a specific perfume for only one part of the world; all of our fragrances – apart from a few limited editions – can be found in any of the 900 luxury stores that sell M.Micallef. However, we have definitely created some of our lines to suit specific regions and some of those fragrances were purely dedicated to the Middle East, especially the ones that mix Aoud and French notes, such as Royal Rose Aoud, Aoud, Aoud Gourmet and Emir. In addition, we sometimes sell a very small number of limited edition bottles in our boutique, which arrive from our production team in Grasse. In commemoration of the opening of our first stand-alone boutique in the UAE, we also unveiled a special bottle adorned with a crystal falcon head. The falcon is a symbol of luxury and represents majesty, grace and pride – all qualities that fit the rich cultural and traditional growth of the UAE.

What new ingredients are you looking at?

My wife Martine and I draw inspiration from our frequent travels. Our lab stores hundreds of ingredients and with persistence and passion, we’re able to create addictive, one of a kind scents. It’s not always a matter of the newest ingredient but how to master those we already love. I can personally spend months blending scents in new interesting ways. For me, that’s the most enjoyable aspect.

What is Micallef’s strategy in the region going forward?

We will be opening more boutiques across the region and we’re very excited about expanding our boutique concept. It has worked really well and we want to enter parts of the GCC we aren’t yet supplying.

How is the brand looking to expand in the UAE and GCC?

People have been incredibly responsive to our boutique and expressed interest in our expansion plans. Every month we receive enquiries from customers in places like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, asking where they can buy M.Micallef. Over the next three years we‘re planning to open several more across the region and we’re excited to announce our second launch in the UAE will be in Burjuman very shortly.