Some of the WE business owners come from difficult, suppressive situations at home. AGBU’s training and support gives them the courage and confidence to break free from what may have seemed like a hopeless situation.
Written for AGBU Impact Magazine 2022 by Talia Jebejian Bouldoukian. Photos by Matthew Bender.
When looking for the next brand to add to his company’s expansive perfume portfolio, Vicken Arslanian says, “I look into specific fibers within the brand’s DNA; the uniqueness of the entity matters more than the product’s scent. We’re in the storytelling business, so brands with which different people can connect is what excites us.”
As the founder of the New Jersey-based Europerfumes—the leading U.S. distributor of luxury, artisanal fragrances and candles, Arslanian also seeks exciting and meaningful brands as the recipients of his personal philanthropy. So, the sparks flew when he discovered AGBU’s Women Entrepreneur (WE) Program in Armenia and Artsakh—a perfect match to his desire to support the business incubation and entrepreneurship space.
“When it comes to philanthropy, entrepreneurship is often overlooked. I believe in the empowerment obtained by financial freedom. Moreover, starting a business helps support families and communities; builds self-confidence; and has benefits that reach far beyond the business owner and are often generational,” remarks Arslanian.
His hard-earned success allows him to expand on his parents’ philosophy of “quiet giving,” as he liked to call their approach to various Armenian philanthropic causes. Arslanian has rebranded his approach as “impactful giving,” adding, “Gender and social equality advancements in the West are now critical to address and amplify in Armenia. Some of the WE business owners come from difficult, suppressive situations at home. AGBU’s training and support gives them the courage and confidence to break free from what may have seemed like a hopeless situation. This is what is most impactful to me.”
He and his wife Rosette D. Khorenian even took time during their trip to Armenia in 2019 to meet with some of the WE mini grant recipients. “I shared some of my failures in business and they really appreciated hearing that the path to success is not always a straight line. I was very impressed with their commitment to their individual businesses and how proud they were to build something to support their families and communities,” recalls Arslanian.
Arslanian spent his early childhood in Kuwait and moved to New Jersey at age eight. Speaking only Armenian when entering a foreign school, it was always his Armenian identity that made him feel comfortable and confident. “It’s like having invisible armor,” he says.
“Rosette and I have always seen how AGBU has played a central and critical role in driving forward the mission of philanthropy in the Armenian community. The organization also demonstrates an ultra-professional level of accountability, which is very important for me,” says Arslanian.
This article was featured in the 2022 release of AGBU Impact Magazine. For more information on AGBU EmpowerHer, click here.