MEA UAE Business Awards 2017

8 MEA MARKETS / UAE BUSINESS AWARDS 2017 , a constant basis, decisions that can take companies months to approve, take us no more than a few days. There is no task that we are too proud to do ourselves, as long as it is in the best interest of the company. For example, if we need to personally visit the ministries and inquire about some company documents then we go ourselves.” What truly makes the firm unique, as Nora is keen to emphasise, is its innovative approach to the beauty market. “Our concept is totally unique, which differentiates us from our competitors. First, we are one of the only exclusive beauty distribution companies. Many others are foremost massive beauty retailers, or simply retailers across multiple industries, such as clothing. We focus solely on beauty, and invest significantly on our training centre, operational efficiencies, marketing campaigns, and organic growth of the brand across the region and across all applicable retailers. “Secondly, we also focus on specialty niche brands. What we mean by that, is we place heavy weight on the criteria of what we believe it takes for a brand to translate successfully into the region – that includes: quality and growth. We focus on companies that specialize in a particular category, and therefore, have supreme quality in regards to what the market has to offer. Also, they are often young and still looking to grow as well as lead beauty trends. “Our distribution model varies across each brand – which, again, is part of the value-add we bring. Specific launch plans and strategies are laid out for each specific brand, and not generic molds. What we do is first look at the brand philosophy, as well as how the brand preforms in its’ home market. We look at the consumer dynamic and retailer’s they work with as well. We then translate that into the Middle Eastern market. Since regardless of the category, we do work with luxury and niche brands, and so we often end up working with some large retailers and a variety of boutiques. Once that’s been established, we then map out what market dynamic and consumer would the brand appeal to. We work closely with the brands themselves to make sure their philosophy and aesthetic is properly rolled out into the region. “Lastly, we are the consumers and users of the products we bring to market. We are three owners ranging from our 20s and 30s, and we know if we do not love it, then selling it to the region likely won’t work. We have to believe in what we promote and this makes a massive difference to our clients.” There are many trends in the beauty industry, and as this evolves Nora believes that staying ahead of these will remain of vital importance to her firm. “Personally, I would say the latest trend in skincare has been sheet masks. A lot of our inspiration and innovations in skincare has come from Asia. We have always admired how seriously they take care of their skin. “The latest trend in cosmetics has been a shift towards matte, highly pigmented liquid lipsticks. We believe that our products do just that. Lime Crime and Anastasia Beverly Hills offer natural, cruelty free products with color that has a strong pay off. Actually, both of the brands we represent are known as the very brands who set that trend. “Women in the Middle East are forever curious about the latest beauty secrets, formulas, and fixes - as I think women of all different cultures are. They have the ability to travel often and explore international markets and beauty regimens. As consumers ourselves, we too are constantly searching for what the answers are. “Arab women are largely interested in the cosmetic industry more-so than, skincare for example. Yet, slowly, that is changing as customers are more informed - as well as have access to quality products. In western markets cosmetics also dominates, but skincare still makes up a heavy portion. “Women in the region are also in tune with the latest trends, know what they want, and demand a quality that performs. Currently, the majority of people in this market veer towards matte, highly pigmented products including eyeshadows and lipsticks. They know what they want and they demand a product that performs. There are not many countries where you can walk the streets and see so many women nail-down how to contour, or eye-shadow blend. We are continually working to stay ahead of trends and remain at the forefront of emerging developments in order to ensure that we support our clients to the very best of our abilities and provide them with the advice and support they need.” Looking to the future, Nora is invigorated as she outlines the various developments that will help Apotheca to develop even further. “Moving forward, we are very excited to launch some of brands within the next year in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and other new territories. We always search for retailers in new territories whom share our same passion and commitment to the brands we represent. “Alongside this, we are also looking forward to working with our new brands that are launching soon! We will be launching Lime Crime across all Sephora store in the Middle East, and Cover FX in May 2017 across the region! You will soon be able to find some of our skincare and haircare brands, such as Sarah Chapman and Malin + Goetz, and Philip B at Bloomingdales Dubai and Kuwait! We are thrilled to increase these brand’s regional presence and have their products become accessible to consumers in the region. “Another key development is that we are also expanding our retail store in Kuwait as we speak and doubling it in size. Finally, we are eager for our website to launch by Summer 2017 which would feature our entire Apotheca portfolio.”