It’s part of her passion to venture into a new challenging world to diversify the business. Nasreen Zamir has combined art and design to introduce fragrance as her new venture. Her brainchild Jonaki Fragrance, she hopes, will shape its distinct character and contribute to Bangladeshi lifestyle. Nasreen shares her journey to the world of perfumery with Ziaul Karim and Alvia Zaman Shristy.
Having completed interiors for star hotels, corporate and multinational offices, banks, and exclusive residences, Nasreen Zamir was eager to utilise her expertise in designing interiors, furniture, products, graphics, and textile designs in introducing fragrance.
Born and raised in Chattogram surrounded by nature’s beauty, she recalls the sight of an endless garden glistening at night with the light of thousands of fireflies to be one of her fondest memories. She is grateful to her father Muhammad Delwar Hossain, a recipient of Ekushey Padak for his contribution to social work, for instilling love for mother nature in her. Fragrant flowers like gondhoraaj, rojoni gandha, beili, sheuli and dolonchapa decorated their garden round the year. This is where she learnt to distinguish between the scents of a range of flowers. Jonaki in a way is her ode to her parents as well as the natural beauty of Bangladesh.
Muse behind the magic
For over two and a half decades, Nasreen had been busy designing interiors when she came across her muse one fine day in 2017. Having entertained the thought of widening her vision and introducing a new line of products, she quickly jumped onto the idea while in conversation with a friend from Paris who said that she had a gifted nose when it came to fragrances. French brands like Chanel and Dior acted as a strong muse for her. Hence began the journey to producing her own line of fragrant concoctions.
The birth of Jonaki
The Jonaki, or fireflies in English, reside near forests, bushes, rivers and hills in Bangladesh. They are independent creatures that emit their own light at night. Self-reliant and freedom-oriented in nature, it catches the attention of many including poets. Rabindranath Tagore wrote: Oh Jonaki/ You’ve made your life complete with your own light/ In the dark evenings in the middle of the woods you are joyfully alive/ The strength you have inside yourself is your guide.
The joyful and enchanting nature of the fireflies resonated with Nasreen’s vision of producing scents that evoked youthfulness and freedom of self-expression so much so, that she named her brand – Jonaki.
Transpiring vision into reality
In 2017 Nasreen started her quest for producing refined perfumes. During the process, she flew back and forth to Singapore and Malaysia quite frequently where she took several courses with some of the finest and most renowned perfumers. She reached out to International Flavors and Fragrances – IFF, an American corporation with its headquarters in New York, founded in 1958 and having business in 44 countries. IFF was a guiding light in the world of fragrance manufacturing to Nasreen. In its laboratories located in Singapore, she discovered that like designing, she happened to be gifted in being able to tell quite a number of smells apart.
Nasreen also joined workshops and courses in Singapore to refine and develop the smell that she would, later on, brand as Jonaki. She finally decided on the 20+ different aromas to be used in Jonaki in 2018. Through 2018 and 2019 the final batches underwent various lab tests keeping sustainability and longevity in mind at Malaysia, in laboratories well-equipped with facilities to produce perfumes of the highest quality. The final product was launched in Bangladesh in February 2020 by Square Toiletries Limited.
Promising perfumes making an entrance into the Bangladeshi market
Earlier this year Nasreen Zamir brought out her line of five distinctive scents, namely: Oriental Jasmine, Citrus & Floral, Floral Fresh, Classic Aromatic and Woody & Musky. The first three cater to women and the other two are dedicated to men. She continues to work on two brand new scents along with designs for Jonaki themed textiles, home decor, and tableware that capture the very essence of the burst of happiness and energy that a firefly radiates.
Nasreen Zamir, a woman of many talents, has introduced to Bangladesh a global product that is expected to help express the freedom of one’s individuality, inspired and produced to offer tribute to the abundance of the natural beauty of the country. Being inspired by big brands, Chanel and Dior, she ensured that the products are of fine quality. Also, keeping the Bangladeshi market in mind, the pricing was kept affordable.
The products are manufactured at an eco-friendly environment and certain portions of the sales proceed are spent on preserving the natural beauty of Bangladesh that constantly inspires Nasreen and also to combat extinction of the fireflies that acted as a muse behind her very own brand.
Find out more about Jonaki and purchase online, visit: https://jonakifragrance.com/