Shaping the dream

Rupkatha Bhowmick

Our young entrepreneur for the month is Saudi national Malik Shehab, who along with his German friend Ronny Froehlich set up an online beauty business called Golden Scent in Saudi Arabia.

Ever since their university days they had the urge to set up a business together. Four years ago, they gave shape to their dream by launching Golden Scent. The goal was to offer easy access to premium perfume and beauty products in the Kingdom.

Cut to the present, in 2018; the brand has acquired a leadership position in KSA’s e-commerce landscape.  The co-founders, taking a long-term vision of the business, were keen to expand further. That saw Golden Scent raising Series A funding. Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures backed the investment along with Equitrust, the investment arm of Choueiri Group, Wamda Capital and Raed Ventures, the investment arm of Almajdoui Holding.

“We self-funded the business initially, using our savings. As Golden Scent started gaining traction, we started talking to financial investors in KSA. But at that time it was difficult to convince investors to put their money in the e-commerce business,” recounts Shahab. “We travelled to Europe to pitch the idea and received seed investment from a German individual. That gave us a push to expand into Dubai with an office. The business started growing, and we were able to break even within the first year of receiving the seed investment. To scale up the business further and expand, we undertook the Series A funding, last December.”

The business started with perfumes, as the name implies. “Majority of our products are fragrance-oriented. But we didn’t want to see Golden Scent as an online perfume brand only. It had to go beyond perfumes and include everything under beauty, such as make-up and skincare. Currently, we have over 100 brands on Golden Scent. Together we have undertaken several successful campaigns to broaden our reach while spreading awareness about our brand partners,” Shehab shares.

Read the full story in our June edition.