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Movers & Shakers Interview with Marko Matijevic, CEO - Ninu Perfume

Published Date: 1/27/2021

Marko Matijevic, CEO of Ninu Perfume is a serial entrepreneur with numerous successful projects under his belt. Starting at age of 10 he was buying firecrackers at a company his dad used to work for, with a special employee discount and selling it to all his friends, earning him money for his first passion...cell phone. Little by little he came to owning 3 coffee shops and software company with some international clients such as Rimac, Gorenje, Telekom Slovenia, Luka Koper, Selectio, Sopharna, and one of the biggest banks in the world Deutsche Bank. His connections in previous business helped him establish this phenomenal team of experts in various fields for creating what once was said to be impossible. "Our work is driven by passion and determination to reinvent the industry." 


Vishal Sapru (VS), Co-Founder, Cognitio Research Inc. had an opportunity to conduct a Movers & Shakers interview with Marko Matijevic (MM), CEO, Ninu Perfume


VS: Can you provide a brief overview of the company including the vision behind its formation? 

MM: Ninu is an innovation that reimagines people's wellbeing and strives to revolutionize the perfume industry, by delivering the most advance and unique perfume experience in the world. Our vision is to become the leading technology company in the perfume industry making lives more vibrant, simple and enjoyable.


VS: Please, describe how you came about inventing smart perfume? How does it work?

MM: Ninu was inspired by people- neither of us is the same person every day. Yet, we all want to feel like ourselves wherever we go, whatever we do. We want to be the best version of ourselves. We saw how people used multiple perfumes, because neither of them smelled like them or they got bored of the same scent and wanted something different. Ninu understands that, so we set out on a journey, visiting major expos, most important names of the industry, and even perfume-making schools in Paris to make the idea come to life! We decided to make perfumes more playful, fun and personable. So, we can play with them, change when we feel different, and never get bored of the same scent. Also, the process of selection is fun, enjoyable and easy with Ninu. 

Ninu allows users to blend their own perfect perfume with the help of technology in the bottle, three different fragrance cartridges with basic scents and an AI assisted app. The user can select between different suggestions and tweak them by their preferences till they find their perfect fusion that fits them best. As the user will be using the app, the suggestions will become more and more in-tune with his preferences, needs and desires. Scents will become more of what he wants and more of what he needs in every day life- for all moods and occasions.

The goal is to create a new dimension to an existing routine that will be as simple and enjoyable as a morning coffee, tea, or exercise ritual. The user can mix perfume anywhere and anytime, to access his uniqueness and be suitable for every occasion. It is as easy as change of clothes, only more personal, as if the clothes were 'tailor made' for each individual.


VS: What are some of the likely challenges Ninu is expecting to face in the market and what strategy do you have in place to overcome it? 

MM: As any novelty or disruption it’s all about the adoption of the idea and getting used to it. Especially existing brands and market players aren’t comfortable with changing the way things are. The biggest challenge was and still is to find people that can think outside the box and aren’t limited by tradition, but encouraged by it and inspired by how things could be. The strategy that propels us forward is openness to new people, new ideas and the feedback we receive. Of course it’s also very important to be surrounded by people who understand that bigger vision and help you co-create it. 


VS: What is the unique value proposition of your product and its key competitive differentiators? 

MM: Our mission is to offer each individual a fragrance that is as changeable, adaptable and unique as himself. The goal is to provide an experience that grows with ones needs and supports him in personal expression as well as his psycho-physical wellbeing, while offering lifestyle freedom.

Ninu is a unique perfume for a unique you. It allows you to find your scent and play with it. It is simple and smart an AI-guided journey that will sweep you off your feet and take care of your every wish with just a few simple taps on your phone. You have full control over your scent. Too strong for work? Tone it down. Feeling excited? Add an exotic note. Ninu is always there, whether you want to boost your energy or find the perfect scent for a special event.


Even though extensive efforts were put into designing a premium perfume bottle and assembling the best of tech, this is really a secondary matter. The most important are the fragrances themselves. Only the best, 100% vegan, sustainably sourced ingredients were picked, with the wholesome procedure from beginning to end designed in France, dedicated to quality and a high percentage of perfume oils. This is why perfumes evolve beautifully on your skin. Are phthalate, paraben and sulphates free, so you can be carefree and confident.

Not to mention that they are formulated to seamlessly fuse and enhance each other to make you feel fresh and sexy all day long. 


VS: What is your strategy in regards to offering best value to customers for the price? What do you want the company to accomplish in next 3 years and how will you define success for Ninu?

MM: There’s no strategy, only democracy. ;) We’ll ask our customers for they’re feedback and finalize things accordingly. The plan is to include them in the development process as much as possible, so they’ll be able to tell what is it that they want. They are the ones who will have a final say at the colors, materials used, components and quality, which altogether determine the price at the end. They will be able to participate in those surveys by subscribing at our website where we’ll also be posting latest updates. 


VS: Is the product in development stage or have you begun production? How soon can customer expect to start buying Ninu perfumes?

MM: Ninu is in the final phases of development and we expect to begin production the latest by the end of fall this year. We’re very excited to announce that customers will be able to preorder Ninu from late March or early April on Kickstarter. The exact date is yet to be determined in the next two weeks, taking into account all parts of the development process.


VS: How many sprays/combination sprays does each unit have? Does the customer buy a new unit or are you planning to make the unit refillable?

MM: We’re still testing how many possibilities we can assure, but we can confidently say that there will be many to choose from- definitely a few thousands, but we’ll see if we can reach the dream of million scents. Lets leave this one as a surprise element for later.

The user won’t have to buy the new bottle as a whole, but only replenish the perfume vials inside. Those will be made from recycled glass and delivered to your door in eco-friendly sustainable boxes. 


VS: Could you elaborate on the acceptance or adoption of your product in the marketplace? Also, do you foresee the acceptance of your product to have influence (trend setter) on the overall direction of the market?

MM: The feedbacks are beyond amazing. Really far better than we could have expected. That really shows that people are more than ready for a product like Ninu. There’s a real gap in the current perfume market and the response just confirmed that.

There is always a strong impact left on the market when rules of the game change, of course. We don’t expect that everything will change, but we’ll definitely leave an imprint on the perfume industry by introducing a new way of indulging in perfume and overall wellbeing reimagined.


VS: Are there any unique features of your product that address unmet customer needs and competitors will be unable to replicate and replace?

MM: Of course- the main feature is customization, personalization and uniqueness. We believe that this is the future and all brands are already heading in that direction. Ninu is special in a way we deliver uniqueness, freedom and simplicity. That the part that is a bit harder to replicate.


VS: What are your marketing and product positioning strategies? Do you plan to form any strategic alliances and/or partnerships? How do you plan to build and strengthen the brand?

MM: Our mission is to give vibrant (and new dimensions) to peoples every day. The way you feel has a profound impact on your wellbeing and your attitude towards the world. We want people to face the world in their best skin. For that reason, we strive to empower. Everything we do is designed to give people that extra bounce in their step when they walk out the door. When you feel good, you perform good, you look good and you do good. With that, our mission is complete. We’re for every unique soul and individual out there who wants to be something more and experience something more.

Great strategic partnerships are of course always desired and we’re open for new collaborations. We’ll see what the future brings and we intend to be there and make the most of it.


VS: As a general conclusion, what do you think the future holds for your product?

MM: We’ve only begun and the doors are wide open, so let’s just say that great things lay ahead and we can’t wait to be a part of them. A part of the revolution and wellbeing reimagined.