Abdulla Ajmal, CEO, Ajmal Perfumes

By the ‘90s and 2000s, fragrance marketing had transformed. The well-traveled, globally-aware consumer sought depth over celebrity endorsements. This yearning harked back to earlier decades when fragrances were the highlight, marking the dawn of niche perfumery. Authentic niche fragrances are about limited availability — traditionally in no more than 40 doors in a country. Yet, times are changing, and we now see the rise of the commercial niche. Abdulla Ajmal, CEO, Ajmal Perfumes, says, “Key differentiators of niche fragrances are their focus on the scent, limited availability, unique packaging, and targeting discerning, passionate fragrance enthusiasts.”

Evolving with the fragrance industry

The world of perfumery is ever-evolving. New raw materials and aroma chemicals emerge daily, increasing fragrance complexity and the demand for novelty. Gone are the days when perfumers had 3-5 years to craft a scent—now, it might be a matter of weeks. Mainstream fragrances often limit innovation, but niche perfumery thrives on presenting the offbeat. This space can be unpredictable—either a massive hit or miss. At Ajmal, our retail roots give us an intimate market pulse. We also conduct regular consumer research and have deep ties with perfumery houses, keeping us informed on industry trends.

Niche doesn’t strictly equate to personalized olfactory experiences — it’s about a differentiated consumer journey: our brand, an epitome of mono retail, crafts for our loyal clientele. How we communicate, market, and distribute is strategic. For instance, some offerings might be exclusively online. The niche consumer is discerning. Beyond the scent, they seek a brand’s story and ethos, ensuring an alignment of values.

Sustainability in Ajmal Perfumes’ DNA

Ajmal Perfumes’ journey with sustainability began long before it became a buzzword, says Abdulla. “Originally a farmer, my grandfather initiated an afforestation programme in 1979, recognising our duty to nature. To my knowledge, Ajmal is the only farm to fragrance brand globally. We cultivate our raw materials, some proprietary ones, giving us a unique edge. Sustainability is in Ajmal’s DNA. Currently, 60 per cent of our factory operates sustainably, with plans to recycle water internally. We’ve also launched products with recycled plastic components and are exploring recycled glass options. For Ajmal, sustainability isn’t a trend - it’s a tradition.