Oud majestic is an Arabian perfume store owned by Chika Acholonu who holds a master’s in Public Health form the United States and was equally a research associate in Virginia before deciding to set up a fragrance bar that boosts of all sorts of Arabian perfumes.
Oud Majestic recognizes the Beauty industry as a billion dollars industry and is proud to be a part of it not only by selling perfumes and space scenting machines but also in being a distributor for several other Beauty companies. We sat with the owner to understand how she came to be the premier store for Arabian perfumes and scents.
Ibiene: How did you first get involved with the perfume business.
Chika of Oud Majestic: I have always loved perfumes; particularly those of Arabian & oriental origin. I fell in love with these fragrances from my first visit to Dubai about 10 years ago. I was mesmerized by the rich exotic aromas that filled the air each time an Arabian woman walked by! I bought several bottles of perfume oils and I enjoyed mixing different scents to create a unique fragrance. I thought to myself at the time that I could sell them well in my boutique (Ruby & Pink), and I was right! People loved them! So on each vacation trip to Dubai, I would buy at least a hundred bottles of oud perfumes and I’d sell them all off in no time! Although, it was on a small scale at the time, I believe that was the beginning of my first venture into the perfume business.
Ibiene: What was your first impression of the perfume industry in Nigeria?
Chika of Oud Majestic: By the time I decided to develop a business out of my passion for Oud fragrances, I had never really consciously analysed the perfume business in Nigeria. I could see that there were fragrance companies that distributed western designer perfumes. Some of these companies had been in business for over 20years. I was impressed by the quality of their products and the way they represented the international brands. There were also many distributors of designer perfume copies.
I became aware that there was a huge gap in the market ( it was either expensive designer perfumes or the cheap copy). Understandably, people would want to use designer perfume brands they are familiar with.
During the few years I first ventured into the perfume business, I became aware of the growing demand for perfumes that were different; luxury yet affordable fragrances that made one feel they had on a unique signature scent. Many people travelled to the Middle East and loved the fragrances from that part of the world but these products were not available in the Nigerian market. I could see we had huge market for perfumes in Nigeria, and I felt that the growing demand for these fragrances could create profitable business opportunities.
So, Oud majestic was launched in March 2016! Our aim was to bring the luxury of the Oud scent to this part of the world. In this regard, I can say Oud Majestic is a pioneer in the perfume & cosmetic industry in Nigeria! I believe Oud majestic is the first in Nigeria to offer a wide range of OUD based fragrances EXCLUSIVELY.
In 2017, We launched an advertising campaign to create awareness for our brand and products. The campaign received rave reviews, and the positive response to our brand and products has gone way beyond our expectations! We are encouraged by the fact that people are embracing these products and constantly asking for more.
This month, we are launching our third retail outlet, an online store, and wholesale distribution of mid-range fragrances.
Ibiene: What do you find most challenging about owning a business such as yours?
Chika of Oud Majestic: The perfumery business is a very lucrative and profitable business globally! It is however, very capital intensive. It is difficult to get major financing from our banks especially in these recent times. Most financial institutions are more willing to fund indigenous businesses with ‘made in Nigeria ‘ products….and that’s understandable. We also have the high foreign exchange rate and importation issues.
Being relatively new to the industry, there’s really no blue print on how best to distribute our unique products. We are learning as we go along. We are encouraged by the growing demand for our products, so we remain dedicated to offering the best quality and variety of AUTHENTIC fragrances.
Oud perfumes have become increasingly popular worldwide! The fragrance industry in the Middle Eastern part of the world has done a marvelous job in increasing the global appeal for their unique scents. Hence, the reason almost all the designer perfume houses now have a wide range of Oud products. The increase in demand both here and internationally has also led to inflow of cheap, fake alternatives into the market. This gives rise to the market share battle!
We start to get comparisons between prices of our products and the cheaper products in the market. We realize this problem comes with the territory but we remain dedicated to building a strong trusted brand! It is important to let the buying population know that we are constantly expanding our product range and reinventing our brand while maintaining the high standards of the international brands we represent . Quality and authenticity will NEVER be compromised at Oud Majestic!
Ibiene: What’s the best/worst thing to happen since you started with OudMajestic?
Chika of Oud Majestic: It’s a great to start a business/brand and receive positive feedback and countless enquiries about our products from people across the country. It’s extremely rewarding for clients to walk into our stores and express genuine appreciation for what they consider a unique and innovative brand.
The worst thing was the foreign exchange rate sky rocketed a couple of months after Oud Majestic launched. The rate has since remained relatively stable, although still high. We could sell our products much cheaper and reach a wider range of people if the rate was much lower. We keep working to make our products more affordable through our franchise deals with fragrance manufacturers.
Ibiene: What do you wish other people knew about your business and selling perfumes?
Chika of OudMajestic: I do think it requires genuine passion for fragrances to be able to source the best products worldwide. Our priority will always be to offer the best quality products at competitive prices.
We also offer a wide range of Niche perfumes, bespoke fragrance gifts for corporate gifting and special events, personalized signature scents and SPACE Scenting solutions for homes and offices.
Ibiene: Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working?
Chika of OudMajestic: To promote our growing brand, we have had to work with PR companies, social media influencers, bloggers, magazine editors, TV personalities, celebrities ( couple of which are now oud majestic brand ambassadors),. We have also partnered with corporate organizations as well as other industry brand’s as sponsors for shows, exhibitions, and charity giveaways. We have met many industry enthusiasts and established many mutually beneficial relationships while working on our growing business.
Ibiene: When your friends/family find out that you own a perfume business, what do they say or ask?
Chika of Oud Majestic: A lot of people have asked (in awe) how I got the idea to start this business! “How did you decide to build a real business out of this passion??” They have all been super supportive. For the most part, they have all encouraged me to stay on this path as they can see the potential for immense growth. The passion I have for what I do is palpable, and my dedication to work, unstoppable!
Ibiene: What was most surprising to you about selling perfumes when you started?
Chika of Oud Majestic: This might sound crazy but people tend to think that the more expensive a perfume is, the better it is. I also find that a perfume is more likely to sell at higher price than at a lower one! Sometimes clients walk into our stores and ask to see the more ‘affordable’ products. When we are trying to sell the relatively cheaper range of perfumes to them, they immediately start asking questions…..”is it good”? “Will it last”? “Why is it so cheap”? (Laughter).
To accommodate the demands of our perfume lovers, we do feel it’s necessary to have the “cheap and cheerful range, mid range, and the more expensive range of products.
We find that most clients do not necessarily appreciate the cheaper products with ‘cheerful’ prices ( lol). Honestly, we have a hard time with pricing the cheaper products because of this.
Ibiene: Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to own a perfume business?
Chika of Oud Majestic: Just before Oud Majestic was launched, I was at a point where I was looking to reinvent my business . I wanted to embark on something more challenging, and most especially I wanted to start a business that will outlive me. All I kept thinking about was to start a perfumery. The thought practically consumed me.
The economy was in a recession at the time, businesses were closing down around me. It seemed scary to start something new! I could have been discouraged if I had discussed my plans. I was certain I needed to give it a shot. I prayed about it, made the decision and never looked back.
Ibiene: What might someone be surprised to know about you?
Chika of OudMajestic: People are usually surprised to find out how old I am. I guess I can take that as a compliment (laughs).
I am friendly but at the same time a LONE ranger (laughs). I love my ‘Alone’ time so much! !
I can cook for Africa (lol)…..something I got from my mum who’s a fantastic cook! A business woman herself, I also believe I inherited my enterprising spirit from her.
I have been in business for over 12 years; first with Ruby & Pink, a fashion retail & Lifestyle company which I still run with the Perfumery. People who have only known me in recent years may be surprised to find out I have an educational background in the sciences!
My first degree was a B.sc in Physiology & Neurobiology from the university of Maryland, USA.
A masters degree (M.P.H) in Public health from the George Washington university, USA. I worked for about 2 years in corporate America before I returned to Nigeria in 2002.
I always had a burning desire for as long as I can remember to be a business person.
I am extremely thankful for the privilege of my educational background; in addition to this, my parents instilled in us the value of discipline and great work ethics.
Everything I learned, as well as my experiences (both positive & negative) through the business years have all contributed to what I do today and how I work for our growing brand!
You can find Oud Majestic at Lekki Phase 1 and at MMA2 airport Ikeja (arrival)