The Business Award 2016: Roja Dove
Introducing Roja Dove, master perfumer, Harrods’ fragrance curator and recipient of the 2016 Winq Business Award, presented by Nancy Dell’Olio at our 2016 awards luncheon, supported by United Airlines.
The UK’s only master perfumer, Roja Dove is part-showman, part-alchemist and all heart. A character whose flamboyance is matched only by his olfactory senses, he is as attuned to the world around him as if enjoying a sixth sense. It’s led him to build an extraordinary business, an eponymous fragrance house that five years from launch sells through 145 outlets in 36 countries. The first of those, the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie at Harrods, remains the most successful launch in the store’s history, but more recently came Roja’s own boutique in London’s exclusive Burlington Arcade, just celebrating its first birthday. This is the smell of success.
Roja on moments of respite:
“I never tire of the view from the train journey that takes me from Brighton to Victoria Station in London, even though I’ve travelled this route a thousand times in my working career. The breathtaking landscape of the Sussex Downs in winter pervades me, and for a split second I forget everything. Every email. Every unfinished perfume. Every odour. I just stare out of the window, losing myself in my own thoughts and admiration of nature’s beauty.”
Roja on his success at Harrods:
“When we launched Roja Parfums in the Harrods Black Hall Perfumery in July 2011, I could never have anticipated that it would become the most successful launch in Harrods’ history. We now sell in 145 outlets in 36 countries. For me, what this says is that if you have a belief in something and you don’t compromise what you’re doing, then you, David, can defeat Goliath.”
Roja on the unexpected side-effects of scent:
“The really interesting thing about creating a bespoke fragrance is that you have no idea how people are going to react. They’ll suddenly smell something, and a memory comes crashing into their minds. It really takes them by surprise. People say it’s like going to see a shrink. It’s an unintended side-effect: without meaning to, I’m making them think about things, memories of people and places, that they would have sworn they had forgotten.”
Congratulations to Roja Dove, the winner of the 2016 Winq Business Award! Pick up your copy of Winq Winter 2016, out now, to read the full five-page feature, along with all the other interviews with our Men of the Year.