Home Natural cosmetics The founders of Gabar explain how they created a perfume brand at the antipodes of the world

The founders of Gabar explain how they created a perfume brand at the antipodes of the world


Gabar debuted in 2021 with three fragrances inspired by the natural landscape of Myanmar. It was developed by Phway Su Aye and Su Zar Wain Hnin, two former investment bankers, originally from Myanmar.

“We wanted to introduce the world to Myanmar’s heritage and represent our culture. We thought perfume was actually the perfect way to do something like that,”says Ouch.

Starting a brand without formal training in perfumery was hard enough, but the duo had to do it separately. On top of that, they had to work with a perfumer who couldn’t travel and experience their home country.

Achieving this was a “testimony to the strength of the virtual era”,Aye said CosmeticDesign-Asia​. To help the perfumer better understand Myanmar, they sent him distinct objects of Burmese culture, such as the Thanaka.

Thanaka is Myanmar’s ancient beauty secret, a pale yellow paste said to protect skin from sun damage, free radicals and prevent signs of aging. “For centuries, the people of the country have used it as a daily morning ritual, and it is very ingrained in our culture,”​Hnin explained.

She also described the fragrance development process on the other side of the world. “It definitely took time and I’m thinking three different sampling cycles. I think it took three to four sampling cycles before we finally got to the perfect type of formulation for us and we were really, really excited about it.

Despite the geographic challenges, Aye said the couple really enjoyed the whole process.

“I think for us it was so natural. I think Suze and I loved the process of it all as it all unfolded. But I think a lot of people, maybe knowing what we were doing, might be confused or surprised that you’re launching a fragrance brand in the middle of the pandemic, and you have all these hurdles. How are you going to do it? But none of that has even struck us. I think that we were both consumed just doing that.

For more from Phway, Susan, and Gabar, check out our podcast above, or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and more.