Five Minutes With… Marc Chaya

We catch up with the co-founder and CEO of Maison Francis Kurkdjian


Marc Chaya.

What inspired you swap the corporate world for fragrance?

I was working at Ernst & Young in Paris where I had a fast track career, acquiring key skills in finance, general management, marketing and strategy. I was made partner in less than 10 years, yet I knew something was missing - creativity.

What sets Maison Francis Kurkdjian apart from others?

We are a contemporary fragrance house eponymous of one of the most celebrated perfumers of our time. Having an in- house star perfumer makes a significant difference as our marketing is at the service of a genuine artistic and creative vision.  This is very rare in the industry, as usually perfumers are working in the dark at the service of a marketing message.

Your product offering goes beyond fragrance

In addition to our fragrances, we offer a complete territory of beauty products such as hair mists, body oils, body lotions, creams and hand cream, as well as lifestyle products such as a Limoges ceramic handmade scented candles collection and a luxury artisan scented leather collection exclusively available at our Paris boutiques.

Do you create scents specifically for the Middle East market?

We have no specific scents for the Middle East, but we noticed Baccarat Rouge 540, Amyris, Grand Soir and our Oud collection have found a great audience in this region. It is worth highlighting that our Oud collection was not worked within the Middle-Eastern style. It has been worked in a very French way. The idea was not to compete with local perfumers who master composing with oud, but to express what a French perfumer can do with this unique ingredient.

Do you have any new product launches in the pipeline?

Our latest launch, a duo of eaux de parfum named Gentle Fluidity. Francis (Kurkdjian) wanted to meet the challenge of composing two different eaux de parfum with the same notes: juniper berries, nutmeg, coriander, musks, ambery woods and vanilla. The Gentle Fluidity duo offers two distinct olfactory silhouettes, for her or for him. Although these two eaux de parfum feature the same ingredients, they offer two utterly different signatures.

What would you say is your most innovative product?

Our mission in the world of fragrances is to open new paths. Francis and I have decided to have a new approach to the world of fragrances by doing things that no one else is doing in the industry, like launching an infused laundry detergent. Francis also worked on scented leather collection of cardholders that are made into remarkable materials: exotic hides (Mississippi alligator from America), lamb and calf leathers.

Are consumers in the Middle East more experimental with fragrance?

I can safely say Middle East consumers are fragrance connoisseurs due to a long history and culture of wearing perfume. Many create their own by mixing western and oriental perfumes. It takes a lot of knowledge about perfume to be able to do so!

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