For those of you who have ever visited Walt Disney World’s Norway Pavilion in Epcot Center, you know that the sweetest aroma to ever grace your nostrils exists within the walls of the country shop: the Puffin’s Roost. Disney fanatics immediately know that this scent belongs to the one and only Laila: the Essence of Norway, a perfume created by the entrepreneurial sensation himself: Geir Ness.
However, for those of you who might not be completely familiar with his story, allow me to enlighten you. Geir grew up in Oslo, Norway, learning the values of hard work, perseverance, and discipline from the woman whose name with which Geir branded his company: his mother. She instilled within him the power that he could do anything that he set his mind to. With dreams of becoming an actor, Geir moved to Los Angeles, California in the hopes of starting his career. To pay the bills, he worked as a fragrance model in a department store. He was a huge hit, what with his accent, blonde hair, blue eyes, and muscular physique. Often, customers asked him where he was from and what scents came from his home country. Geir realized that Norway was not known for any perfume, and determined that he would change that.
His inability to quit propelled him to the forefront of the cosmetics industry where his perfume is now featured in gift baskets at the Tony Awards, the Grammy’s, MTV Awards, Miss Universe, Miss Sport Football, and the Euro-Vision Song Contest. Of course, Laila is also featured in the Norway Pavilion in Epcot as well as on the Disney Cruise Line. Even though the Laila brand is now well-known and highly acclaimed, Geir remains feverishly dedicated and travels upwards of 285 days a year to promote his company.
His tale is certainly one worth listening to, and I can’t thank him enough for his willingness to speak to me about his life story. I hope that enjoy this exclusive interview with Mr. Geir Ness, the true essence of Norway.