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Oman 2016 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to David Crickmore, CEO of Amouage, on innovations using social media and technology and how the current market looks.

David Crickmore
BIOGRAPHY
In July 2006, David Crickmore was appointed CEO of Amouage, an international luxury fragrance brand creating niche perfumes that are artistic masterpieces. Before this appointment, he led a number of leading brands, including the eponymous Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng and the eccentric men’s clothing and accessory brand, Duchamp. He has also held senior positions with Pringle and Nautica, and was schooled by several years working internationally for Alfred Dunhill, Daks and Harvey Nichols.

Can you provide a brief background of the evolution of Amouage, looking at its roots in Oman as well as the more recent developments that the brand has made?

Amouage was founded 33 years ago in Oman with the intention to take the brand to the international market. In order to achieve this, nine years ago, we completely repositioned the brand and designed an entirely new portfolio of products, as well as a new logo and packaging. We changed the marketing of the brand toward the international consumer. Amouage changed dramatically from when we started this repositioning. Today, we have an extensive and wonderful portfolio of sophisticated and complex fragrances, as well as other categories of product such as bath, home, and leather goods. Our Creative Director, Christopher Chong, is a renowned figure within the perfume world for his creative mastery to produce complex and unusual fragrances. Now, the brand is truly international and the benefit of this means it has grown significantly in only a short amount of time, to the point where Amouage is now one of the largest niche luxury fragrance brands in the world. All of our creative and product development happens in London. Around 60% of the fragrances are manufactured in Oman; however, the rest are made in Europe and in the UK in order to take advantage of EU trade tariffs. Our London office handles sales to Europe, including Russia North America, and South America, which have recently opened up as a market.

How has technology and social media impacted the brand?

Technology helps us to manufacture the right products at the right time. It also allows you to predict demand more effectively. In addition, it increases our productivity tremendously and reduces our stock wastage. Technology has enabled us to buy closer to the time of requirement, thereby allowing us to completely redesign our warehouse's logistical functions, both in London and Oman. Efficiency, therefore, has been increased and costs lowered. Technology allows us to examine creative ideas through our branding design much quicker and visualize ideas better before we press the button to go ahead. Technology also enables us to talk to our consumer on a more regularly basis. We can then update them on new launches and other initiatives. Social media is a double-edged sword; however, as there will always be people with negative criticisms, which is something we have to deal with in a professional manner; however, there is also praise. On top of this, when consumers write to a brand they expect an immediate response, and if they do not receive one it can cause them incredible frustration. To maintain a full social media platform, therefore, is a time consuming and expensive process, as it needs 24-hour staffing.

What are the major plans or targets you have for the brand in the coming years?

Our current growth strategy is through both retail and wholesale. We have just signed on for shops in Nizwa and Milan, and we will continue our search for the right retail sites across the key opinion forming cities in the world. In our wholesale business, we intend to identify sites within all quality third party accounts, so that the brand can be seen in its own environment and its message be recognized as much as possible. We have some excellent launches coming out in 2016, and we plan to build on the success we have achieved to date.