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Oman 2017 | TOURISM & LIFESTYLE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to David Crickmore, CEO of Amouage, on the importance of selective brand promotion, consistently high standards, and keeping one step ahead of the trends.

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 Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng and the 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.

What is Amouage's strategy to promote the brand within Oman and internationally?

The Oman market is where we have the highest level of consumer recognition and buy-in. We are a mature brand at 35 years old and are widely recognized in Oman. Therefore, our marketing strategy here is different from marketing in other countries, where we are still introducing consumers to our products. In Oman, along with advertising and features to support the launches, we promote through the use of product placement at key events where our focus customers are likely to be. We always make sure there are strategically placed interviews with our creative director each year, because in Oman it is all about continuing the story and selling the brand to consumers who have just joined our key target group. In some other markets internationally we are also well known, while in others we are still announcing our presence. The internationalization of the brand continues each year and we are no longer just an Omani brand, but a much bigger international brand that happens to be based in Oman.

How does Amouage maintain high standards for all the products in its portfolio, with most of the production happening outside of Oman?

The high-quality standards are exactly the same across all of our production. We have to police this carefully as only 60% of our fragrance is made in house in our own factory. The quality we expect in Oman is exactly the same as the product quality we would expect internationally. The only difference is that, with all the labor and salary changes in Oman, it is more profitable to manufacture our fragrances in the UK than in Oman. It is a significant financial commitment to continue manufacturing in Oman and we are restricted in not being able to hire the best people for jobs. In the long term it will be difficult to justify keep manufacturing here unless freedom of employment and the costs are improved.

What product launches are due to take place at Amouage in the upcoming year?

We have just launched a new collection of ostrich-print leather, which is doing well. We are about to launch another range of logo print, which is printed cotton with a calf leather trim. We launched a fine quality, silk scarf collection in June 2016, which will include a hijab size, as well as a normal large square size. We believe that the Amouage brand can stretch into textile accessory products as well as leather. If the scarf collection develops well and we see sales growing, then we may move into other accessory areas. I am in talks with licensees in Italy about an optical frame and sunglasses collection, for example. We also have several new fragrances being launched, including a new collection called The Secret Garden, which is mainly florals, but always with a twist. We have also launched our latest main line fragrances, Myths for man and woman, at the end of May 2016.

How does Amouage grow and adapt to the developing customer base and to changes in the overall retail industry in Oman?

The consumer is ever changing, particularly with the influence of the internet and social media. Consumers have so much information pumped into them all the time that their views, values, and fashion ideals are continually evolving. The moment we take our eye off the international consumer, we will lose our position in the market. It is my and our creative director's job to keep up with all aspects of new consumer trends and developments; however, we do not slavishly follow these. We always sing our own song and make sure we decide and do not let trends alone dictate our work.