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LONDON — The Amouage fragrance house is celebrating its 25th anniversary by expanding its dominion.
This story first appeared in the May 16, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Founded in 1982 by Sayyid Hamad bin Hamoud Al-Busaid, a member of the Omani royal family, the company intends to broaden its international reach and increase its freestanding store count. The brand, which is still family owned, is to also continue a repositioning kicked off in November, which includes the introduction of new-look packaging, a fragrance masterbrand and a bath-and-body line, according to David Crickmore, chief executive officer and managing director of the brand. Such marketing moves, along with plans to increase its door count, are meant to widen Amouage’s exposure in global markets.
The firm will debut its first freestanding boutique outside of the Gulf region, in Moscow, in 2009, while two to three doors are also slated for the Gulf in the next 12 to 18 months. Amouage is already sold through department and specialty stores worldwide, including Bergdorf Goodman in the U.S. and Harrods in the U.K. Its strongest markets include the Gulf region, Russia, the Ukraine, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the U.K.
“My goal is to take Amouage from being an Omani fragrance house that sells internationally to an international brand that just happens to be from Oman,” said Crickmore.
That being said, Amouage’s heritage is intrinsically linked to the Sultanate of Oman. It was founded at the request of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said as a means to preserve the country’s fragrance-making traditions and to provide gifts for visiting dignitaries. Elements of the country’s culture are incorporated into the brand’s new packaging design. The bottle caps for the fragrances Jubilation 25 for women and Jubilation XXV for men, which were introduced last November to mark the brand’s quarter-century anniversary, for instance, are meant to resemble the dome of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman, and the hilt of a ceremonial dagger, respectively. Amouage’s logo also is reminiscent of the royal seal.
“It reminds people that we’re a royal brand,” said Crickmore.
By mid-2009, the Amouage’s 11 fragrances will be repackaged to incorporate the new design. Bath and body products were introduced last November, and a collection of candles and home scents were launched in March.
Amouage generates wholesale volume of 5 million pounds to 10 million pounds, or $9.98 million to $19.96 million at current exchange, annually, according to industry sources.
Crickmore said he plans to triple turnover by 2012.
Additional fragrances and a line of “attars,” or highly concentrated blends of essential oils, are also in the works and a collection of ultraluxurious scents is slated to bow in 2009. Such future projects will form part of a narrative, which plays on the Arabian tradition of storytelling, overseen by Christopher Chong, Amouage’s creative director. For the launch of the Jubilation masterbrand, for example, Amouage created a short film shown on its Internet site loosely inspired by the aria “Song to the Moon,” from Dvorak’s opera “Rusalka.”
Chong said, “It’s a modern version of a fairy-tale.”