An impeccably decorated parlour was nestled among booths advertising horse racing tracks and nutritional products for camels at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition.
Perfume retailer's sweet smell of success at Adihex
ABU DHABI // Nestled among the booths advertising horse racing tracks and nutritional products for camels at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition lay an impeccably decorated gold and burgundy parlour.
Just steps away from stalls offering hay, saddles and horse fences, the stand for the luxury Arabic perfume retailer Areej Al Ameerat stood out.
Designed to have an "antique feeling", the extravagant booth featured dark wood panelling, embellished gold mirrors and high-backed forest green leather chairs.
The exhibition stand, a miniature version of the retailer's two stores in Dubai and Al Ain, may have seemed out of place at the region's largest hunting and equestrian expo, but Areej Al Ameerat appealed to the same customer that Adihex attracted, the company's founder said.
Adihex began Wednesday and ended last night.
"As a luxury brand, we are always targeting VIPs, and this is the right place to be able to show people our brand and our business," said Ali Al Mulla, the perfume company's founder and general manager.
Areej Al Ameerat, a retailer with a research and development arm based in Al Ain, aims to become one of the nation's premiere perfume houses.
"Our fragrance is different," said Azhar Abdulaziz, a representative from Areej Al Ameerat. "Our products are for an audience that knows the difference between good and great. That is who we cater to, and that's why we have come to Adihex."
Mr Al Mulla said the tradition of using oudh - a fragrance made from heartwood resin - in the region also ties in with the exhibition's theme of promoting Emirati culture and heritage.
"Our grandfathers used oudh,"he said. "Our generation used it, and our sons will use it after us. This is very much a part of who we are."
Jamal Sayed, a salesman for the company, said Areej Al Ameerat used a rare kind of oudh and imported their products from Cambodia and India. The 12-year-old company's clientele was "either the elite or the royal family", Mr Sayed said.
One gram of the oudh Areej Al Ameerat uses sells for about Dh735. One tola - or 11.6 grams in weight - of the most expensive perfume the company offers, a product branded with the company's name and made from oudh from a rare Indian tree, sells for Dh7,500.
Each bottle is placed in a burgundy velvet bag embroidered with the company's logo, and customers can choose to purchase a matching burgundy perfume suitcase.
Areej Al Ameerat specialises in one-of-a-kind products, including blue oudh and pure agar oudh oil, which is undiluted. The company, which sells perfume to both men and women, hopes to expand beyond two stores to create a boutique brand.
At Adihex, response to the company's products was overwhelmingly positive, Mr Sayed said. A steady flow of visitors, mostly from the Gulf, stopped by the stand with the billowing incense smoke rising from it. "We already knew that VIPs and Arabs are interested in oudh, but we are opening ourselves to a lot of new customers," he said.
In addition to the oudh oils and perfume bottles, the stand also carried a collection of custom-made speciality boxes. Designed and manufactured by Royal Box, a sister company to Areej Al Ameerat, the suitcases were made with leather and expensive woods. Along with customised perfume boxes, Royal Box also creates gift boxes for weapons.
Mr Al Mulla said foot traffic was slower at Adihex this year than in previous years, but he expected to see an increase in clients after the expo ended.
"Our customers can trust us, and we are passionate and committed to our product," he said.