ZAPHIR REVELS IN THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS
The preference is personal, the appeal individual. Despite the challenges, Zaphir appears to have found its proverbial elixir. The aroma of accomplishments wafts through its corporate boardrooms as Laura Vera, the company's affable and genial Managing Director and Chief Perfumer with a nose for business growth is driving the brand along the whiff trail to greater successes.
Wearers are fastidious about fragrances, selective about scents and odour-power lies in the nose of the beholder. This is a world of individual preferences. As a wise wit once observed - the nose knows.
Based in the Catalonian capital Barcelona, Spain's international Chemarome Group, the renowned designer, developer and producer of a large range of essential oils, aromatic chemicals, essences and fragrances has got the mix right for the region. In a spin-off reminiscent of and reflecting the legacy of the Arab - Moorish influence in Spain's Andalusia region, the company created its subsidiary Zaphir in 2001 to cater specifically to the Arab markets of the Middle East and specifically the GCC peninsula. The company currently has offices and manufacturing facilities in a dozen countries worldwide.
Zaphir's love relationship with the region has a fairytale flavour. Managing Director and Chief Perfumer Laura Vera fell in love with Mukhallats (perfumed oils) and Bakhoors (scented chips) during a holiday trip in Dubai when she was just a teenager. Ever since she developed a keenness and proclivity for the region and cultivated a deep sensi-tivity for the region's fondness for Arabian perfumery products.
VAST ARRAY AND ASSORTMENT
"We hold a library of roughly 10,000 different scents ranging from industrial aro-matics such as home cleaners to the most sophisticated Mukhallats based on natural ood (scented wood). For the Oriental market our current catalogue comprises over 1,000 mukhallats, 500 bakhoors and few hundred bases such as rose reconstitutions and ood blends," affirms Laura.
The company currently manufactures mainly in three factories based in Barcelona, Jakarta (Indonesia) and Porto Alegre (Brazil). Zaphir sources its ingredients mainly from Europe for the chemicals and worldwide for the naturals. India is also a major source of natural distillations obviously, but has a small, select set of suppliers for essential oils in every continent.
The company also plans to commence production in the region. "Zaphir will commission its first manufacturing plant ever in Saudi Arabia in the next few years," reveals Laura Vera. As part of its expansion strategy, the brand also plans to potentially make for-ays into Iran in the foreseeable future.
Zaphir continues to stay Middle East-focused, being conceived from and for the region, according to Laura. The company's main markets are the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia is the biggest by volume and Kuwait is the biggest by revenue. UAE positions itself between these GCC member-nations. The company has also been operating in Yemen for over a decade now.
Presently, the regional market is clearly saturated in Laura's opinion. "The industry grew exponentially in the region for over a decade but since 2015 there appears to be a consolidation that we believe is healthy for the industry and only the best will survive and thrive," she states.
One of Zaphir's attributes is that the company fosters personal relationships and is customer oriented. "I personally travel to visit customers few times a year in the region. We customize products and work on a project-by-project basis and we seldom offer catalogue products used by someone else. As a corporation, we maintain and cherish the personal touch as our way to do business and engage with our customers," assures Laura Vera.
The brand also caters to the non-Arab expatriate segment in the region. "Many of our French style creations mixed with oriental touches are very popular among Indian and other Asian communities. Our French division Parfarome supplies this European scent through our retail network," she claims.
For perfume companies the Holy Grail is the sweet smell of success! Zaphir has made it to a top slot down the scented path in the Middle East with its premium perfumed offerings.