At Because, it's been our mission to champion the brands that may have gone under the radar in the sea of stuff available to us. In light of what's been happening globally over the last few months, we've noticed this is needed now more than ever, and have been wondering how best to continue this. 

Hence the start of our latest feature, Pass the Platform, where we'll be sharing a selection of interviews who would have been picked by the interviewee prior, starting a thread and community of brands that are doing good within the fashion and beauty worlds. We hope this will bring attention to different voices that aren't always heard within these realms, as per our pledge to do better.

Nominated by POSTSCRIPT, next up is Maya Njie of her eponymous London-based fragrance brand, which has a niche following due to her genderless perfumes and scents that carry a whiff of nostalgia.

We spoke to Maya on how Maya Njie perfumes has grown as a brand and overcome the hardships brought in 2020.

Back in 2019, we featured you on Because as a niche fragrance brand to watch. Catch us up on how things have been going since?
I have been working on growing my team and finessing my production line. I have since launched in more stores, both UK based (Goodhood) and internationally in America (Tigerlily perfumery in San Fransisco) and Japan (Nose Shop Japan). I have also recently done a collaboration with L.A. based brand Scent Trunk and working towards other Maya Njie launches.

We love that the early beginnings of Maya Njie fragrances stem from your Swedish-Gambian heritage and a desire to bottle up memory and nostalgia. Do these aspects continue to be a main source of inspiration for you? What else or who else inspires you? 
My Swedish and African influences will always be there. I definitely look forward to exploring my African ones further though. I am also inspired by other places I have visited and also music I have heard, it can come from many different sources.

Switching gears a little, could you enlighten us on what it's like to work in the perfumery industry as a female entrepreneur and furthermore, POC? What kind of change, if any, would you like to see happen?
I work with a lot of women within the niche industry and they are all supportive of each other and there is a conscious effort there to bring attention to POC perfumers within the industry on different levels. I think there is a different pattern present within the larger company operations and we would like to see an active and ongoing shift there towards more inclusion. I hope and believe that it is happening.

It goes without saying that 2020 was a tumultuous year. What were some of the challenges you faced and how did you work through them?
It has been trickier to keep moving the business forward whilst also having my daughter at home from school and all that it brings. Possibly the most challenging thing has been to maintain the production line with less or no staff. I am an online-only business and don’t have a physical store which would have brought even bigger challenges like it has for so many stores.

Shop Maya Njie perfumes below:

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