By Monica Davis
When I first met Geir, I knew that he would become successful. He
has the ability to easily draw people into a conversation and a
personality that lights up a room. His road to success was not
Growing up in Norway with a father who was a ski instructor, Geir
learned to ski before he could walk. He became very involved in
other outdoor sports, but playing sports wasn't his only passion.
His interest in acting and Hollywood was heightened by photos of
Hollywood actors that his mom showed him.
As he discussed his childhood, I could tell he enjoyed play-acting
with his friends. He continued to act as a young adult and his
coach encouraged him to come to America to become more involved in
that field. He was delighted that his instructor believed in
Geir soon set his sights on Los Angeles, California, where he would
study acting on a student loan. Upon arriving, he quickly realized
what a challenge he would have because he had little money and
spoke very little English. So, how did he manage in fast-paced LA?
After purchasing a car for $600 and renting a modest apartment, his
next challenge was learning to speak English. He began watching
television and reading newspapers to facilitate learning English,
which greatly helped him as he continued acting. It was a
challenge, but one that taught him that you shouldn't give up, no
matter how tough the situation may seem.
Realizing he had to supplement his income, Geir accepted a job
offered by a friend to become a fragrance model. He had no idea
what that meant. His magnetic personality drew people to him and
they would often ask where he was from and whether Norway had
perfumers. That was the beginning of Geir's interest in learning
more about the perfume business. He began researching combinations
of fragrances that would reflect the beauty and essence of Norway,
something light and fresh. A friend was kind enough to lend him
money to help him start his business. While developing and
perfecting fragrances, he would often seek the opinion of others.
He believed that the best way to perfect his product would be to
obtain the opinion of potential customers.
Several years later, Laila and Geir, his line of perfumes and
colognes, were introduced. The process of developing Laila took
five years from conception to reality. Geir learned a lot about
himself during that time.
After years of development and testing, he had 1000 bottles of
Laila sitting in his apartment. His reaction, "What am I going to
do now; Where do I start?" Reality set in. Geir had no experience
selling a fragrance line and his money had run out. He
immediately began to contact department stores and quickly found
out that it was going to be an uphill battle. He was not a
celebrity and he had no experience in fragrance distribution.
Undeterred by the challenge, he began to think of ways to market
his fragrances. He contacted a major department store and though
they liked the product, he was told that he would never be
successful without money to distribute and market it.
Geir challenged the store to order 100 bottles and if they did not
sell, he would take them back after three months. It took six
months to get a meeting with store officials. They accepted the
Geir was scheduled to appear at the department store the day before
Mother's Day. Not knowing anything about the business, Geir's
creative thinking kicked in and he decided to market himself. He
went to a garage sale and purchased a five-dollar suit and a red
carpet. He contacted a photographer friend whose funds were so low
that he couldn't afford film for his camera. This didn't stop Geir.
When the store opened, the photographer pretended to snap
photographs and people began lining up, celebrities included. This
was Hollywood. People wanted to know more about this person and
what he was selling. Geir began signing autographs and selling
perfume. It was an exciting day for him. As he greeted customers,
he felt something biting him on the back but he continued without a
flinch. That day was a successful one for Geir. He sold every
bottle of fragrance and had a waiting list of 50 people.
Upon returning home after an exciting day, Geir discovered that his
suit had fleas in it. He was so poor that he could not afford to
have the suit dry cleaned. Still, it had been a glamorous
experience for him. His ability to think outside the box created a
whole new world of opportunities.
Geir believes that to become successful you have to believe in
yourself and your product 110 percent. You have to be willing to
make sacrifices, put in the extra hours and never let anyone
discourage you from accomplishing your goals. He knows how easy it
can be to give up but he chose not to do so.
I have spoken with many entrepreneurs and business people and the
advice has always been the same -- be willing to "hang in" there.
Don't give up after a few weeks or even months of trying. Keep
focusing on and working toward your goal. Before you know it, and
sometimes when you least expect it, things will begin to
Geir always had a great appreciation for his parents. His mother
Laila is his pride and joy. To show his appreciation for her
inspiration and encouragement he secretly copied her signature and
placed it on bottles of perfume. He gave his mother her first
bottle on Mother's Day. It was one of the best moments of her life
to learn that her son cared enough to use her name on his perfume
line. She had been his inspiration in the creation of the
As we chatted, he vividly remembered how his mother used to take
him for walks in the mountains. There he would see and smell wild
flowers growing in the fields. She has always been supportive of
him and his dreams. He created Laila out of love and respect for
his mother. Geir's dad was a businessman and he taught him how to
purchase and sell products and how to become successful. His dad
taught him to trust in himself and only in himself. "Never hand any
part of your business over to someone without some knowledge of
what's to be accomplished."
Having developed a potentially successful product, Geir found there
was little time to take acting jobs. However, his acting experience
was instrumental in helping him meet people and introduce his
product line. He's never regretted not continuing to act full time.
He continues to use the experience to market his products.
Sometimes life has a way of taking you down a beaten path.
Geir believes in a hands-on approach and personal touch when it
comes to his customers. He travels over 200 days out of the year to
promote his products. He wants his customers to know the person
behind the products, and he's found this to be a very successful
approach. He says that to maintain stamina he exercises regularly
and maintains a healthy diet, though it can be difficult when
traveling so much.
He also states that having inner happiness and peace is very
important to success. Geir's happiness and cheerful spirit are
contagious. I knew we were going to have a wonderful conversation
as soon as we began to chat.
We all experience set-backs and adversities in one form or another,
but we should not allow them to adversely affect our ability to
Geir's products are well known among the stars. A few years ago his
Laila product line was included in a gift bag at the Grammy Awards.
Now he has an extended line of Laila products, including perfume,
body lotion, deodorant, body bronzer and candles. His men's
collection also includes a parfum and deodorant.
Throughout his travels, Geir often contributes to charitable causes
and takes time to make public appearances to speak on the
importance of fitness and good health. He also finds time to speak
on the importance of dedication and being surrounded by
positive-thinking people. He encourages people to "focus on the
good things you have today. Appreciate them." Geir's experience
working with physically-challenged children has served him well. He
maintains an upbeat attitude and never-ending patience.
This article was published in the November/December 2006 issue of
Exceptional People Magazine.
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