Saturday, 10 October 2015  -  26 Dhul-Hijjah 1436 H
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Introducing Mohammed Ne’emah — The Alchemist



Mariam Nihal
Saudi Gazette


It is a Middle East favorite. If you haven’t seen the Ne’emah range, head to Sephora and take a look at the best selling perfumes in the region. Born and brought up in Kuwait, Mohammed Ne’emah has taken forth the legacy of perfumery to the next level. In an exclusive interview with Saudi Gazette, he talks about pursuing the art of oud perfumery, managing his brand and evolving with it. At the age of 17, he started selling the fragrance in a small shop in Kuwait while pursuing his education. With the experience and inherited advantage, he created a signature scent that soon became the bestseller across the region and resonated more with the Arab youth. “I aspire to take Ne’emah international and make it historical. I hope that the brand becomes an inheriting legend, with stand-alone boutiques in various locations globally,” he said. Ne’emah will soon be known for more than just fragrances. From essential oils to bath products and gift sets, there is a lot more coming your way.

SG: What’s the first fragrance you can recall that convinced you to get into this business. Did it start as a hobby or how did you make it an entrepreneurial choice?

MN: When I was a child, my parents had a huge collection of perfumes, which were meant for special occasions, and there was one particular scent that my mother wore with hints of vanilla and musk, which held a special place in my heart. The very first perfume that I created- ‘Laya’ carried the same notes of musk and vanilla, and is now Ne’emah’s best selling fragrance.

Perfumery started as a hobby for me, not a business. I tried experimenting with a few ingredients to create a perfume, which became hugely popular among family and friends. From there on, I realized that perfumery was a field that was meant for me.

Tell us about your range of perfumes and how you get inspired to create new ones.

MN: Ne’emah is an olfactory journey of expression and creativity, capturing moments and bottling them as scents. My inspiration is endless and finds its source in the world that I like to explore, and the many different people I meet. To me, every place has it’s own scent, and every single person his own olfactory character. I sense and capture everything that I can from my visits world over, and keep it alive in my memory. Every one of my creations is based on my life, and my personal experiences.

SG: What do you think defines Ne’emah fragrances- what’s your signature?

MN: I spend a lot of my time travelling and handpicking raw materials and ingredients for my fragrances myself. I add a personal touch to each fragrance that I make and every bottle that I design. I only believe in making Eau de parfum, because fragrances are meant to be long lasting. At Ne’emah, we do not offer Eau de toilette or Eau de Cologne. We make long lasting Oud-based perfumes that are rich and leave you smelling fresh for a long time.

SG: Does your heritage play a part in forming new fragrances for the brand?

MN: Certainly! Growing up in a family that has been involved in perfumery for three generations has had a big influence on my life and career. My grand father was the first perfumer in our family and all my interest and skill in perfumery comes from him. I try to keep the flavors of the Orient alive in every new fragrance that I create.

How does Kuwait influence you as a creator?

MN: We all know that the Middle East is traditionally known for its love for perfumes. Trade in scents has been huge in the Arabic culture for over a decade now and living in the region has shaped my career.

SG: What is your personal favorite? And what do you recommend for men and women for Eid?

MN: My current fragrance is ‘Jadis,’ a unisex fragrance that takes you on a nostalgic journey to discover the luxuries of the Victorian era. The softness of rose and orange blossom intertwined with citrus and sweet smelling vanilla conveys the scent of a white satin cloth draped on a perfumed Victorian woman – possibly the most exquisite thing that I have ever smelled.

Chateau Rouge for women and Ne’emah Pour Homme for men are perfect fragrances for Eid. Chateau Rouge tells the story of a free spirited princess, through a vibrant floral scent made of contrasts and nuances, while Ne’emah Pour Homme is a citrus scent packed with energy, perfect for the summer heat.

Tell us about the art of being a connoisseur in this trade.

The most important quality that makes someone worthy of being a good perfumer is a good sense of smell. Being a dreamer helps you understand different smells, different tastes, and different aromas. Two perfumes may smell very similar to a layman, but to a perfumer, each perfume has it’s own distinct scent. It takes great passion to understand the field and stay loyal to the art of perfumery.

How does it feel to be the best-seller at Sephora for your signature brand and how do you level or rise above the competition?

MN: The feeling is one that I cannot explain. From selling my fragrances at a small shop in Kuwait to retailing at 32 stores across 10 countries, the journey has been incredible.

Every new fragrance that I create is a challenge. I have to outdo my own capabilities and bring out the very best to survive in the market. My family is my biggest strength and their enormous support constantly challenges me to outdo my own capabilities and be better than the best.


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