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INTERVIEW: Mohammed Ne’emah



When dreaming of a talent, dancing, singing, writing, and sports all come to mind. But Mohammed Ne’emah was born with a seriously underrated gift – an exceptional sense of smell. The Kuwait-born perfumer is the founder of eponymous perfume brand, Ne’emah, which has been building a reputation for smoldering scents since 1997.

ShortList spoke to Mohammed about his mum’s perfume, moving to the UAE, and his range of 40 fragrances for men and women available exclusively at Sephora.

How did you become a perfumer?
I tried experimenting with a few ingredients to create a perfume, which became hugely popular among family and friends. I was 17 then, when I realised that I could be the third generation pursuing the art of perfumery in my family. I was more keen on becoming a pilot; perfumery started as a hobby for me, not a business. A bit like my parents and grandparents, who made it at home, it was never a business for them.

Where did you get your nose for it?
It started as a hobby for me. My parents had a huge collection of perfumes, meant for special occasions such as weddings, festivals, and other important events. I could recognise and distinguish one scent from another and I remember them vividly. The very first fragrance that I created carried the same notes as the perfume my mother wore, which is my best selling perfume to date.

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Can you tell us a little about your inspirations?
My inspiration is endless and finds its source in the world that I like to explore, and the many different people I meet. To me, every place has its own scent, and every single person his own olfactory character. I sense and capture everything that I can from my visits world over, and keep it alive in my memory to create beautiful fragrances.

You are originally from Kuwait, but now live between Kuwait and Dubai, can you tell us when you moved here and what promoted your move?
In 1999, when Ne’emah was two years old, I was receiving numerous orders from my customers in the UAE. That’s when I realised that Dubai was a great market for Ne’emah and I decided to stock Ne’emah at Sephora stores in Dubai.

How would you spend a typical weekend here?
Sun, sand, the sea and great food is all I need. I spend most of my weekends in Dubai wakeboarding at Rixos on the Palm, spending time with my family (I barely see them during the week!), and enjoying some good food. If you’re a foodie, there’s no better place to live in than Dubai! There’s so much to do in this multi-cultural city and so many interesting people to meet.

Who is your ultimate designer?
My all-time favorite designer has got to be Tom Ford. He has designed for some of my favorite brands including Gucci, YSL and of course Tom Ford itself. The quality of everything he lays his hands on, including perfumes, is exceptional. He revolutionised the world of fashion and beauty, and to me, he is a true inspiration!

Tell us about your range of perfumes?
Ne’emah fragrances are tailored for the world and the modern times. Every one of my 40 unique creations is based on my life, and my personal experiences. I travel the world, meet new people, and capture my emotions and experiences in bottles that I send out to the world as fragrances.

If you had to pick one perfume to wear that is not made by you, what would it be? 
Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior is a great one.

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