Who: Marie-Lise Bischoff, creator of the perfume brand Nejma. Marie-Lise has created a female-centric brand with Nejma, which is inspired by a magical, Arabic fairy-story of seven daughters, who each create a scent which reminds them of their mother.
The brand has nurtured the young, award winning perfumer Alice Lavenat who Marie-Lise recruited early in her career after she’d won the World Perfume Congress 2014 Young Perfumer of the Year competition. The seven new Extrait perfumes are all Alice’s creations. Exclusive to Harrods, the Extraits compliment the Heritage collection’s original seven oud-based eau de parfums and can be worn alongside, or totally independent of them. They offer a new take on each of the original scents, at a more intense concentration.
Nejma No3 has always been my favourite with its floral harmony of ylang-ylang, cardamom, bitter orange, Bulgarian rose and hibiscus. The new No3 Extrait combines these same ingredients with notes of dark leather and candied fruit on a deeply woody base. It takes the fragrance to a whole new level of sophistication and I absolutely love it! It makes me feel free and wonderful.
When I apply perfume I spray it all over, on my body but also on my clothes. I like people to be able to smell my fragrance. I used to watch my mother apply her perfumes, I loved the way she smelled and I learned everything from her.
Fragrance allows people to dream, makes them feel better, helps them to feel free. In the world that we live in that can only be a good thing!
It’s hard to know if having my own fragrance house makes me think differently about scent because I’ve always experienced fragrance in a different way from other people. When I was a flight attendant people always knew when I was on their flight because of the vanilla I wore! Everyone always asked me what I was wearing – I loved it and so did they.
Running your own fragrance house can be pretty challenging. My reason for starting the Nejma house in the first place was that I found that fragrances just didn’t smell strongly enough for me. I wanted something that I could really smell and now I have the freedom to do that. I have lots of fragrances I haven’t made yet. The next one that we are working on is an amazing tuberose.
I like to think of our Nejma customers like bees being drawn to flowers. As they ‘fly’ through the fragrance hall they are drawn to our scents.