Abdulla Ajmal

Congratulations on your nomination for the 2022 Global Travel Retail Awards in the Best Fragrance Product category! How important is R&D for the growth of a legacy brand such as Ajmal Perfumes?

Thank you. The nomination was all thanks to the wonderful efforts by our team in furthering the reach of the brand. For Ajmal, our state-of-the-heart fragrances have always emerged from the core of our R&D being state-of-the-art. We have a comprehensive R&D wing at our 200,000 sq.ft. factory in Dubai. This has the latest equipment and highly trained personnel that trial and test all the ingredients that go into making our perfumes.

We are one of the first companies in the GCC to work closely with local bodies such as ESMA to create viable and effective quality standards. Our R&D wing has also been at the forefront of many patented techniques. This includes reducing the process of inoculation time in an agarwood tree from the usual 25/30 years to just 10 years. Indeed, our R&D has been our cornerstone as a legacy brand.

By the nature of the market, perfumes and fragrances thrives on convention and legacy offerings. In this regard, how critical is out-of-the-box thinking and strategy to court new growth avenues for your brand?

You are right in stating that legacy brands thrive on legacy offerings. Sure, Ajmal is renowned for its oriental perfumery excellence, but over time we have garnered the expertise to become a complete fragrance house. Our Western Fragrance range has kept evolving to keep in tune with changing consumer preferences, ensuring Ajmal always stayed ahead of the times.

We have evolved our range into our popular Signature Collections, our En Vogue range of Western Fragrances, and even launched our Luxury Code range – Purely Orient – across Europe. Ajmal’s vision is to be a Global Essence – a Farm to Fragrance Brand that is now available in 50 plus countries, across more than 300 showrooms. We are also engaging a lot more with younger audiences, with perfumes catering to the millennials and GenZ.

You have a strong online presence. Elaborate on the brand’s e-commerce strategy while sharing your expansion plans for the next decade.

Ajmal was one of the first perfumery brands in the region to embrace a comprehensive e-commerce strategy with the launch of (which has now been consolidated as We laid the foundations of our e-commerce platform more than a decade ago and invested in a large e-commerce facility in Dubai from where we make our online order deliveries to the GCC and across the globe.

We have also invested heavily in digital marketing, advertising, social media and influencers to drive the push for our online portal. Ajmal believes in e-commerce being integrated, scalable and customised – to provide the best-in-class customer shopping experience through our website and app. To that extent, as our vision extends to becoming a global essence, we believe our e-commerce forays and gearing up to become an omnichannel brand will continue to meet demand in newer markets from new-age customers.

As an industry visionary helming a legacy brand, share a couple of tips for young entrepreneurs hoping to make forays into the fragrances sector in the coming years.

My grandfather, the Late Haji Ajmal Ali who founded Ajmal Perfumes in 1951, had an incredible personal journey as a farmer to a perfumer. His values, his determination, his vision, and more importantly, his care for people, the community and humanity are what have been instilled across us all at Ajmal.

As someone who has been closely associated with every aspect of perfumery from the time I joined the family business, I have three important tips to share for young and aspiring perfumery entrepreneurs. Firstly, be humble and patient. Second, be creative and mindful in your journey. And three, be super passionate and driven, every day. Leave the rest to the Almighty.