Geoffrey Nejman and Martine Micallef

Comfortably perched on the stools in the private room of La Moda at Plaza Indonesia,  begin sharing with us their extraordinary journey in the world of scents that started in 1996.

Being the banker of the two, Geoffrey remembers his days as a salesman, while Martine, an artist and designer at heart, would bask in her own sunshine designing extravagant perfume bottles, some of which are adorned with Swarovski crystals.

“I never, in a million years, thought that we would reach where we are today,” says Geoffrey. “Especially when I recall the days when I used to carry perfume bottles in a bag and try to sell them door to door.”

Martine Micallef

Tall, elegant and poised, Martine is the exact opposite. A woman who is packed full of positive energy, she tells us that she was sure they’d see great success in their shared journey, even if it would take some time. And she was right: 19 years later, M.Micallef is currently sold in more than 60 countries with approximately 900 selling points throughout the world, including Glow in Plaza Indonesia.

And they’ve not slowed down. “The aim and goal for the next 20 years is to create as many stand-alone boutiques as possible all over the world,” Geoffrey says.

With heavy competition among perfume retailers in France, Geoffrey was driven to start his own perfume business. With a positive support system in the form of his wife, Geoffrey decided to initially create recognition within the industry in Germany, his motherland. And thereafter, success followed.

“I remember being in the office one fine day when I got a phone call from someone in the Middle East asking if they could represent M.Micallef in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I turned to look at Martine and said, ‘We’re a brand!’,” he exclaims.

Akowa Bottle by M.Micallef

Each of the perfume lines from M.Micallef carries a distinctive storyline, similar to the one narrated by the Akowa line, the recently launched men’s fragrance, named after an African tribe. While on their African adventure, the couple noticed that the women of that tribe used to regularly rinse their face with a particular ingredient, leaving an intense fragrance used to lure the men of the village. 

“With much convincing, luck and good timing, we were able to get a sample of this ‘secret ingredient’ and bring it back to our laboratories in France,” says Martine. “We were seeing a high demand among men’s fragrances, so we used that secret ingredient to invent something entirely new.”