â€‹From Dubai to White Plains via medical school hospital rotations in Connecticut isn’t necessarily the most common route for an entrepreneur in the fragrance industry. But that’s how Mushmoom Khan journeyed to her current role as co-owner and CEO of Estevia Parfum, which is based in White Plains. Khan originated the brand in Dubai (where she grew up), with parent company Al Wara Perfumes, which for years has served premium fragrance brands with design and bottling expertise. The perfume’s niche is “affordable luxury,” according to Khan.
She spoke with us about her transition into business, and Estevia’s evolution.
Mushmoom Khan, CEO of Estevia Parfum, a purfume company based in White Plains.
So how did you end up in White Plains from Dubai?
MK: I grew up in Dubai, and came to the United States as part of my medical training. I did my rotations in hospitals in Connecticut and New York while attending the International University of Health Sciences. When I decided to move to the states on a more permanent basis, I ended up in Stamford since I had spent time in Westport during my education in Connecticut. We were lucky enough to find offices in Westchester, which is a really convenient location for us.
How did you decide to go from pursuing a medical degree to entering the fragrance industry?
MK: I have been closely involved in business from a very young age. My father was an entrepreneur, and thus, business has become a monumental part of my life. I worked closely with him through his other business ventures, which inevitably lead to my role at Estevia as co-owner and CEO. We have a long history with the perfume industry: 10 years ago, we started our fragrance line in Dubai and made it available to the Middle Eastern market. After spending time in the United States, however, I realized that there was a “luxury gap” in beauty and perfume products. I saw the need for a truly luxurious fragrance collection without the hefty price tag. So, while I did not entirely give up medicine (I am currently completing exams for entering into a medical residency program here in the states) I found that I had the time and means to focus my efforts on launching the company in the United States.
What was the motivation for starting Estevia Parfum, and how did you go about developing the fragrance?
MK: My motivation for Estevia Parfum came with knowing how women desire luxurious, quality scents but can scarcely find any that aren’t overpriced. I didn’t feel that the “middle market” scents in the industry lived up to the needs of the consumer, and I thought there must be an innovative way to make luxury available at an attainable price point. My father and I worked closely together to come up with a fragrance collection, paying close attention to every detail. From the bottle, to the box, to the base notes and oils in the fragrances, we developed every aspect of the line in order to conceive something that would cover a broad range of needs and demographics.
Who is the typical Estevia consumer?
MK: One of our goals with Estevia Parfum was to create a product line that had something for everyone. With products aimed for both men and women, in both mature and more youthful scents, it’s possible for everyone to find a signature scent that suits their personality. The common thread is the quality and durability; the fragrances have impressive staying power, particularly when compared with others in the industry.
So what’s next?
MK: We plan to add more fragrances to the line. Right now we are in a market testing phase, where we are closely monitoring what the customers are responding well to, so we can determine what sort of scents are most popular. We also plan to broaden our horizons geographically, with our eyes on the UK and Europe, as well as South America.