“Whatever you give, God will give you more.”
The sea whispers its call on the wild winds. It asks for those with the blood of explorers in their veins to come and experience its beauty, its wildness, its truth. For Ahmed Mohammed Al-Refai, the ocean is the source of freshness and vitality. All his loveliest memories involve time spent on the beach, in the sea, the thrill of water-skiing on open waters, the risk of it all and the timeless allure of wave and salt and sand.
His love of deep blue waters is the inspiration behind his business. As the founder of ASAMA Fragrances, Al-Refai mixes perfumes that combine salt breezes with delicate blossoms opening on the wind, seashells and storms, the leather and wood of a ship vessel or a port town. The perfumes do more than please the senses – they please the soul. They are scents that tell stories; and as Al-Refai likes to quip, ‘My nose is my vessel!’
How does one make it as a perfume businessman? ‘I like to smell a lot!’ Al-Refai jokes as he expounds upon his favourite hobbies. But in all seriousness, for Al-Refai life and business must be rooted in respect and commitment, first to Allah, then to family and friends, and of course, to every customer. ‘God blesses anyone who does good for others’.
The fragrance industry is competitive and ever-changing, but Al-Refai doesn’t fear falling behind. The key to success, he believes, is innovating new ways to make the customer happy – but to do it faster than the latest trends! ‘It’s both simple and complicated!’ says Al-Refai. His good humor and expansive personality may be the product of his very loving and supportive family, but may also have arisen from a mantra he repeats to himself which is, ‘If you have yet to reach a goal or did not get something you desired, it’s because God is preparing for you something better, inshAllah.’ This motto pushes him to always drive forward and keep going, trusting that growth and success are not destinations to arrive at, but lifelong journeys to enjoy.
Like the waves that roll ever, endlessly on, so do the dreams of man beat always on the shores of his heart. The greatest barrier to realizing your dreams, Al-Refai warns is only this: ‘Being your own worst enemy’. With these wise words, he reminds us that while respect and commitment must be given to others, whether at home or in business, they are also the greatest gift we can give ourselves.