From the sale of threads and buttons to the development of fragrances for the rich and famous, Alwyn Stephen has come a long way.
Some say it's a true story of wealth wealth: from humble beginnings, he is currently smiling in a social media profile alongside Kim Kardashian, flashing a peace sign.
"Kim K," as he calls her, and Paris Hilton and cricketer MS Dhoni are just some of the best known names Alwyn has worked with to bring personalized scents to the Middle East while attending events Laying friends on the shoulders of Paula Abdul and Indian actress Daisy Shah.
However, life is very different from the day he got up in 1985 in the United Arab Emirates with little more than a suitcase and a good command of English.
"I was 21 years old and my father used some of his contacts to get me a job in Dubai selling hosiery, threads and buttons for a local," says Indian Alwyn, who is married to an 11-year-old daughter is.
"He accepted me because I could read English text about the imported goods.
"I started selling, although I had no experience and earned only one month Dh800."
When a friend said jobs were available at the Al Tayer Group, Alwyn seized the opportunity, even though the only jobs offered were in the beauty department.
Although he did not know anything about the industry, his enthusiasm shone and he soon tripled his salary.
"I was lucky, worked hard and quickly became a brand manager for many North American perfumes, and I put one of Creed's first lines on the market," he says.
"I've worked on introducing fragrances like Jaguar, Benetton, Alfred Sung and Oscar de la Renta.
"There were very few shopping malls at the time, so it was very different than now."
In 1993, he traveled to the US, Canada and France to test and market the latest fragrances.
Two years later he was offered a role as General Manager at Rivoli Perfumes when the new look of celebrity perfumes began.
"I've worked with some really big brands like Hermes and La Prairie," says Alwyn.
"I introduced their new perfumes at major events in Dubai, Burj Al Arab and Jumeriah hotels.
"It was a magical time traveling, meeting designers and famous people."
Alwyn has now established himself in the perfume world and has made his greatest fortune so far to start his own distribution company.
A trip to the United States to meet old contacts linked him to Parlux Fragrances, an international company with a number of prominent personalities.
"I was associated with stars like Paris Hilton, Rhianna and Jessica Simpson," he says.
"At that time, celebrities contributed much to the success of fragrances.
"It became a target for many people, but the reality was that they had very little involvement in designing and creating a fragrance.
"But having a celebrity on board did everything I needed.
"Even Donald Trump had a scent, but it did not work very well."
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Alwyn spent time with Paris Hilton at a launch event for her latest fragrance and was pleasantly surprised that she was different from her public personality.
"Paris is very cute and certainly not arrogant, just a hard-working businesswoman," says Alwyn.
"When she started her fragrance, it was a difficult time as she collided with a private video of her being leaked.
"Everyone made fun of me and said I made a big mistake. I saw it as a challenge because her name was everywhere on the Internet.
"A month later, the sale increased and the sale started very well and demand increased."
In 2014 he launched the sixth fragrance by Kim Kardashian in Dubai. Another star who also "worked excellently with him," says Alwyn.
As the appeal of celebrity fragrances subsided, Alwyn took another risk to design and sell his own high-end fragrance.
After two years of hard work, he has developed and introduced a perfume trio under the name of Pierre Precieuse, which means gemstone in French.
They're not cheap for $ 200 a bottle – but Alwyn says he offers something not even the best fashion houses of Chanel and Hermes can match.
His perfumes are sold in nine countries and enjoy great popularity in Paris. A launch of a limited edition of $ 2,000 in a crystal and gold bottle in Harrods, London is planned shortly.
"The biggest change in consumer behavior has been loyalty as people no longer care for the same scent," he says.
"The influence of celebrities has declined in the last decade.
"Social media has led to it – if they make a mistake, everything is over very quickly and their brand is damaged.
"Fashion designers are less inclined to tie themselves to the big names, but I've found that if you take no chances in life, you'll never go ahead.
"Without risk, I would still sell buttons for Dh800 for a month."
Updated: March 14, 2019 5:49 pm