Fragrance specialist Roja Dove discusses how he has built his perfumes business...
What do you do?
I am the managing director of my namesake brand Roja Parfums, which creates luxury fragrances and candles. I founded it in 2011 and today my products are sold in my standalone Mayfair boutique, Harrods and Selfridges.
We have a presence in more than 50 countries. Revenues are up this year — having put my life savings into bottles, boxes and caps, I am pleased to say that this risk has paid off.
What was your biggest break?
I took a gamble when I left my studies to accept a job at French perfumery house Guerlain. After setting up my own firm, the biggest break was when I was able to open my own shop within Harrods. It brought my name a level of global recognition.
Actually when we launched the brand in Harrods, I had been given a figure of how many products to make that should last for six months. We sold out in a matter of weeks. Customers were fighting on the shop floor over who would buy the last tester bottle.
We had to push production and were literally finishing products ourselves and carrying whatever was made that day into the store to meet the customer demand.
What do you enjoy?
I am very proud whenever I have the opportunity to represent my country in my role as an ambassador for the Great Britain campaign, which promotes our country as a thriving place to visit, study and conduct business.
What don’t you enjoy?
I’m not a fan of Excel spreadsheets. I left working for a large corporation [Guerlain] after 20 years to start my own firm.
I am definitely a creative mind and not a corporate type of person.
How’s your work-life balance?
I live in Brighton with my partner of 44 years, Peter, who is understanding of the work I have to put in.
Some days I might work 18 hours and another I might work eight or 10. It is what it is.
Any tips for those starting out?
Generally, I don’t listen to other people too much. Everybody has an opinion, very few take the risk to achieve and to do and to create.