UAE’s Ajmal Group expands into UK travel-retail

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

The prestigious new collection has launched into London's Heathrow Terminal 4 as part of the brand's expansion plans
The prestigious new collection has launched into London's Heathrow Terminal 4 as part of the brand's expansion plans

Related tags Fragrance Perfume Cosmetics UAE

Luxury Dubai-based fragrance company Ajmal Group has chosen the UK travel-retail market to launch its new collection. The CEO shared more about the move; how the UAE fragrance consumer differs to the European one; and how he has worked with leading perfumers to adapt to these needs...

Luxury fragrance business Ajmal Group, which is headquartered in Dubai, is taking on the UK travel-retail market by launching its latest collection into World Duty-Free at London’s Heathrow Terminal 4.

The third-generation family business takes a ‘farm to fragrance’ approach to its products – as a grower, manufacturer, and retailer. It has become a world-leading producer and supplier of rare and fine perfume ingredients, including oud and oud oil, and customises fragrances for royalty in its home market.

It’s the first time the business has launched outside of the UAE and CEO Abdulla Ajmal said that expanding through the travel-retail channel was a natural next step. 

“It's all about getting our perfumes closer to our customers, something that's been ingrained in our family since the beginning. My grandfather hailed from a small village in Assam, India and understood the importance of reaching out to new markets, so he moved to bring our fragrances to more people. Today, we are available in over 60+ countries across 1000+ sales points,” he explained.

“The travel-retail channel made sense when we considered how we could reach even more customers. Airports are bustling hubs filled with people from all walks of life, each with unique stories and experiences. We wanted to be there, offering them a piece of our own story through our fragrances,” he continued.

“Finding the perfect scent while on a journey is a special experience. It becomes intertwined with your memories, reminding you of the places you've been and the adventures you've had.”

The UK: a “strategic destination”

Most recently, the brand has developed Privé: an exclusive range of five perfume collections, each with three variants, that were created especially for the UK market.

The five collections: Kristaal, Galaxy, Gems, Royal, and Signature are expertly blended with over 20% pure concentrated oil. The bottles themselves are each designed to tell a unique story.

Ajmal said this move represents “a significant milestone” in the business’ international expansion strategy.

“The UK is a strategic destination for several reasons,” he shared. “Firstly, it boasts a sophisticated fragrance market and discerning consumers who appreciate luxury and innovation in perfumery.”

“Additionally, launching Ajmal Privé collection at World Duty-Free, Heathrow Terminal 4, provides us with a prestigious platform to showcase our Privé collection to travellers and consumers from around the world.”

“The UK's status as a global travel hub further amplifies the reach and visibility of our brand, allowing us to connect with a diverse audience of fragrance enthusiasts,” he continued.

UAE v UK fragrance market: the differences 

Under Ajmal’s leadership, the brand has diversified its offering to include body care and home fragrance and continues to grow.

He shared that its typical customer values quality, craftsmanship, and exclusivity. “They have a desire to make a statement through their scent, understand the art of scent layering and are adept at creating their signature trail,” he explained.

He also revealed some key expert insights on how the two markets differ.

“In the UAE, fragrance is more than just a scent; it's an integral part of our cultural fabric, deeply rooted in our traditions and identity,” he said.  “Our consumers appreciate bold, dramatic fragrances that make a statement and reflect the richness of our heritage. The brand’s UAE customers are connoisseurs of perfumery who value the finest ingredients and craftsmanship in their quest for the perfect fragrance.”

He continued: “On the other hand, European consumers tend to lean towards lighter, more subtle scents. They view fragrance as an expression and exploration, seeking blends that exude sophistication and elegance.”

However, he also noted that over the years, he has witnessed a significant shift in consumer preferences driven by globalisation and increased access to information.

“Regardless of geographical boundaries, there's a growing appreciation for quality and perfection in fragrances,” he said. “This evolution has inspired us at Ajmal Perfumes to blend our rich Eastern heritage with insights from Western sensibilities.”

He continued: “Through mentorship from esteemed perfumers like Jacques Chabert and collaborations with masters of the craft, such as Dominique Ropion and Alberto Morillas, I have gained valuable insights into both traditional and contemporary fragrance trends. This experience has enabled our brand to create scents that resonate with a global audience while staying true to our roots.”

“As we continue to navigate this ever-changing landscape, our commitment remains to craft fragrances that not only smell good but also leave a lasting impression, transcending borders and cultures,” he concluded.

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