If anyone knows about the finer things in life, it’s Nabila Khashoggi. Growing up, the daughter of Adnan Khashoggi—the Saudi arms dealer once said to be one of the richest men on the planet—Nabila had the world at her fingertips: Not many children have a billionaire father who names his 281-foot yacht (as seen in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again) after them. But despite a gilded upbringing, these days the former actress and cousin of the late Dodi Fayed has found herself inspired by a different aspect of her charmed childhood.
“It actually started with the bubble bath,” says Khashoggi, who is these days making a name for herself thanks to her Nabila K line of bath and body products. “When I was little, my father gave me these bubble baths, and there were just so many wonderful scents.”
Those scents came back to Khashoggi in recent years when she decided to recreate the bubble bath soaps of her childhood as gifts for members of her family. As the suds, which come in aromas including citrus fruit and fir trees, became a hot commodity among her relations, Khashoggi thought that perhaps there could be a market for her creations beyond just her family.
“We began maybe three years ago,” she says, “but I only started the company a year into it. People started saying they would buy my products, and that’s how it started. We’ve been doing alright with the bubble bath, and of course there are so many wonderful scents out there, so why not expand it into other products?”
Since starting her line, Khashoggi, also a published children’s book author, has introduced scented candles, moisturizers, shower gels and soap—this month, a rose-scented line of products will be released—and she’s had a seriously encouraging response. Nabila K cosmetics were included in the exclusive gift bag for this year’s Golden Globe awards and are carried at upscale beauty spots including Blo Blow Dry Bar and S’Criage Spa and Salon in tony Parkland, Florida.
To those who know Khashoggi, her success isn’t terribly surprising. “When I started this business, my nanny, who raised me since the age of two, reminded me that my favorite thing to do as a child was to [play with] bottles,” she says. “I used to spend hours in a fake chemist situation, creating things.”
While these days she works with a chemist and production team to create her products, Khashoggi still displays that sense of wonder at creating her potions. “At this point it’s just that I put so much into a new product and everything at this stage is so new,” she says. “I’m having an awful lot of fun, and it’s exciting doing something new; I’ve never done this before.”
Still, despite her impressive upbringing Khashoggi doesn’t take for granted that a childhood memory helped spark a second act as a budding cosmetics mogul. “The fact that other people like them and want to buy them,” she says of her products, “is just thrilling to me.”