The Legacy Of Roja Dove
U.K.-based entrepreneur crafts haute fragrance for the MENA bespoke client.
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Before you sit down with the elegant and well-spoken Roja Dove, think about where you might have seen his highly sought after creations. Just prior to his recent Middle East tour, I had the pleasure of experiencing a fine Roja Dove scent at one of the best hotels in the GCC during my stay there for a conference: the Rosewood Abu Dhabi's executive suite was fitted out with ancillaries like the Roja Dove Vetiver Shower Gel, the Body Milk, and the Bar Soap. I'd also seen Dove's collected works at Paris Gallery, as part of an ornate instillation. This month, just in time for holiday shopping, saw the House launch a dedicated Roja Dove boutique at No. 51 Burlington Arcade in London, England, while here in the Middle East, his products are available at the best retailers region-wide.
What you can count on during a conversation with this entrepreneur is an interesting analysis of the luxury consumer and the luxury industry as a whole. Over the course of his career and the now-global growth of his eponymous venture, Dove has worked with the best and brightest of luxury and then taken that considerable sector expertise and put it to very good use- for his own legacy brand. "Whether I'm in Dubai or Paris or New York, the selection of fragrance was more or less the same, and there was no choice. I think at this moment in time, there's a huge backlash in the industry. I think many of the big brands are suddenly starting to be seen as very ordinary because they are so readily available, and I think that the Internet has altered retail globally and those products are sold [online] very much based on price. We have a new wave occurring in perfumery and now, without question, we're starting to see creativity [injected] back into the equation, so you have a lot of smaller brands -and that doesn't mean they are good- but it does mean there is choice. When I made the decision to launch commercial perfumery, in addition to my bespoke, it was due to seeing the plethora of clients who demanded something different."
Echoing the opinion of many luxury sector professionals, Dove agrees that being everywhere and catering to everyone isn't a luxury sentiment. So those seeking a personal expression of taste gravitate to Dove's work, and they're willing to spend to convey their preferences, be it through a bespoke fragrance, a good tailored suit or the latest high-end vehicle made to client specifications. "I have two distinct client types; they aren't mutually exclusive but primarily it is two demographic segments: first, an ultra-rich consumer who understands what quality is and who really is looking for something very unusual and driven by legitimacy and authenticity. My second client segment, who I absolutely adore, isn't necessarily very wealthy, and maybe just love what I make, and have to bust the bank a bit to buy my perfumes."
Part of this entrepreneur's strategy is the taste education of clients via direct training of his sales staff- and that in itself is quite rare. Master perfumers generally don't travel country to country explaining the motivations behind note selection or composition- instead, a rather impersonal product knowledge kit is sent out to those consumer-facing brand representatives. If you think about companies across sectors, whenever the founder is directly engaged in the training and promotion of respective products and services, it is often one of the most effective methods of market penetration.
And perhaps, Roja Dove's hands-on approach to his conveying the deep sentiment behind his business, and the exacting developmental process behind his collections, is something most entrepreneurs need to put to work, regardless of what type of client you are aiming to onboard.
EDITOR'S PICK: HOLIDAY GIFTING BY ROJA DOVE
Roja Dove's sublime selection comes outfitted for the luxury fan. The bottles, crystal presented with etched typography in an original font developed for the brand, are embellished with gold screen-printed accents (a delicate process that takes three days to complete). Once you get past the collection's pristine packing, you'll be captivated by the arresting fragrance.
FOR HIM Roja Dove Danger Pour Homme with notes of lavender, vetiver, and musk
FOR HER Roja Dove Innuendo with notes of jasmine, sandalwood, and rose