Imagine starting a business in a country in which you're not a citizen and have not mastered the language - starting a business in an industry you know nothing about - a place where you have no family, money or any contacts to help get you started at all.
Welcome to the amazing story of Geir Ness, a boy born in Oslo, Norway to a humble home and loving parents who taught him that the greatest gift anyone could offer in life is to love, care and share with those less fortunate. His mom taught him that you should never give up on your dreams, to stay focused on your goals, get a good education and with dedication and hard work you will succeed.
At young age he developed a passion and love for theater and film. With that in mind he decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. To make ends meet, he worked as a fragrance model at a major department store. His looks and accent caught the attention of the public, and he was constantly asked where he was from and what kind of fragrance was available in his homeland.
Realizing that Norway had no fragrance yet, he thought how cool would it be if he were the first Norwegian Fragrance designer and what a great way to honor his mom. His mom was always his inspiration and support and he decided that his first fragrance would be named after his mother, Laila. To show a deeper appreciation and love for her, he copied her signature and placed it on every bottle.
The odds of surviving were staggering; the odds of becoming successful were astronomical. But Geir Ness doesn't know the meaning of words like "no, can't and shouldn't."
Armed with a 5 suit, a red carpet found in the trash and a photographer who couldnt afford film for his camera, inviting his fellow students from the acting school to pretend to know him as the mega celebrity from Norway, Geir staged a publicity event at Nordstrom's, ultimately landing him his first order of 1000 bottles. Nordstrom's believed the order would last 3 months; instead Geir sold out in one hour and had a waiting list of 50 people
Today, Geir has not only surpassed his goals but also helps many people he encounters. Not only is he a successful fragrance designer, but Geir became a motivational speaker and speaks at schools and seminars throughout the USA and Europe to help others stay focused on the road to success.
In the words of Geir Ness..The American Dream can come true and it does not stop here, always more to come
Always remembering what his mother taught him, where he came from and his goal to help others, Geir donates both his time and money to a list of foundations such as the Los Angeles Aids Ride, Norwegian Cancer Society, Chicago's Children Medical Research Foundation, Susan G. Komen Foundation and just recently he joined the I am 4 Kids Foundation to help bring awareness to education and the importance that each child can achieve anything in life as long as they believe in themselves.
To add to his efforts, last year he teamed up with Norwegian Olympic Gold Medalist, Grete Waitz to run the New York Marathon in November of 2009. Since Grete was not able to run due to chemotherapy, Geir ran the marathon on her behalf to raise money for cancer patients. He ran the marathon in an amazing time of 4 hours, 28 minutes and raised close to 300,000 for the charity.
At the end of 2009 Geir released his first pocket book Letters from a Son to his Mother which he dedicated to his mom. After all these years she is still his biggest supporter and always keeps encouraging him to pursue his dreams and goals. The book not only shows his love, dedication and appreciation for his mom, but also that you need the love and support to be who you want to be. His pocket book is available online.
Today the Laila Perfume Company is featured in gift baskets for events such as the Tony Awards, the Grammy's, MTV Awards, Miss Universe, Miss Sport Football and the Euro-Vision Song Contest.
Geir continues his grueling travel schedule but had to reduce it to 285 days a year. With personal & television appearances throughout the United States, and since Laila Perfume is now one of the best selling specialty fragrances at Nordstrom's nationwide, high profile boutiques and one of the top selling fragrances at Disney's Walt Disney World Theme Park and Disney Cruise, most of his time is now spent at these locations.