by Kelly Linch (WorldLifestyle.com) | September 2015
When an interview with Norwegian- born perfumer, Geir Ness came to my attention, I had to reply. Ness is the creator of Laila, a delightful scent made up of fresh herbs and wildflowers. Dubbed “the essence of Norway,” it also happens to be my mom’s absolute favorite perfume. Naturally, I was intrigued.
When Ness was just starting out, he moved to Los Angeles in the hopes of making it as an actor. One day, Ness put on a $5 suit, recycled a red carpet found in the trash, and found a local photographer who could not afford film for his camera. He then convinced students from his acting class to help stage a publicity stunt at Nordstrom, and pretend he was a Norwegian celebrity.
The stunt worked, and the department store ordered 1000 bottles of Laila, thinking the supplies would last three months. Instead, Laila sold out within one hour, and had a wait list of 50 people.
Since then, the entrepreneur has found success through a passion for his business, an understanding of long-term success, asking for help when it’s needed and a willingness to keep learning.
WorldLifestyle: Laila was inspired by your own mother. What scents did you combine to make this perfume in her likeness?
Geir Ness: Laila is a combination of fresh herbs and wild flowers. The scent comes from the mountains of Norway where my mom took me when I was a child. I wanted to create a scent that reminded me of my childhood and my mom, so that’s why I named it after her, Laila.
WL: How did your scent end up in Epcot Center?
GN: Since Epcot is represented by many countries around the world, they wanted a scent that represented Norway. Laila was the perfect fit to smell the beautiful air of Norway. People call Laila, “Norway in a Bottle.”
WL: Norway is known as an absolutely stunning country. Do you have any tips for visitors?
GN: Visit the capital of Norway, Oslo, for a few days and experience the history and culture of Viking Nation. Go and see the amazing sculpture park, visit the Viking museum and our new Opera house. I recommend that you take a train to Flam. It’s a beautiful village with stunning mountains and incredible landscapes.
From there take a ferry and explore the breath-taking fjords, and travel to the city of Bergen.
While you are on the ferry, you will be surrounded by enormous, amazing and nature crafted mountains on both sides. You will feel that you are in a real-life post card of Norway.
WL: Lots of people these days are looking to start their own business, but realize the struggle involved. What’s your advice to these aspiring entrepreneurs?
GN: First figure out what you don’t like, and discover your true passion. It is important that you are really passionate about what you are going to start, and make sure you do your homework. Work hard, stay positive and never give up. It is important to surround yourself with positive people and don’t listen to negativity. I personally think it is helpful to have a good mentor to guide you, and support you in every aspect.
WL: Do you have any secrets to keeping fit?
GN: Never look at a menu when you go out to eat. Ask for a healthy dish with protein and low carbs. Ask your waiter and discuss what he would recommend and keep in mind to eat lots of protein, and stay away from salt and sugar. Get lots of sleep and drink a lot of water. Consume alcohol in moderation, since it dehydrates your body.
WL: How do you start and end your day?
GN: First thought: I am thankful to have another day to be alive, and to have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. To continue what I do, I nourish my body by drinking a glass of water and eating a banana every morning.
When I go to bed, I write down the one thing I did to make a difference in someone’s life that day, and how thankful I am to be healthy and in good spirit. My goal and mission is to try to make a difference every day and make the world a happier place.
Laila is available at Nordstrom an at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center in Orlando, FL