Muhammad Hamudi Abdul Khalid, managing director of El-Hajj, said the Kuala Lumpur Halal cosmetics brand had been picked following a tender process.
“Based on our experience of providing products to pilgrims, we were invited by Malaysia Airlines to provide and supply amenity kits for both business and economy class travellers on the Amal by Malaysia Airlines service,” he told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
Formulated for a purpose
The co-branded kits will include a travel prayer mat, bottle with water that can be used for wudu, the Islamic ablution ritual, as well as some of El-Hajj’s cosmetics.
The brand, introduced in 2003, comprises personal care products that are permissible and formulated with the Arabian climate in mind.
Hamudi claims it is the first brand of its kind to target Hajj and Umrah travellers in particular, though he says his business has attracted competitors over the years.
Muslim pilgrims are not permitted to wear cosmetics that contain alcohol or have a fragrance. The hot climate of Mecca, which ranges from freezing cold to scorching hot, can also take its toll on the skin.
El-Hajj’s range consists of facial moisturiser and cleanser, hand and body lotion and facial UV cream, as well as heel and lip balm, antibacterial body wash and shampoo.
These are certified Halal by the Ministry of Islamic Development Malaysia, the heavyweight global Halal regulator, endorsed as safe for use by the health ministry and recognised as Shariah compliant by the Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation.
Not just skin care
On Tuesday, Malaysia Airlines announced Amal, a long-awaited service for pilgrims to Mecca on which pilgrims will be given the El-Hajj amenity kits.
Though he will not reveal the quantity of items under his contract with the airline, Hamudi points out that the A380 planes being used can seat over 400 passengers for daily flights.
“We are pleased with the confidence of a big organisation to be working with El-Hajj,” he said. “We are corporate partner to Tabung Hajji [the government’s pilgrims fund], and official vendor to Felda [Malaysia’s farmers programme], to lots of other big corporations. Malaysia Airlines is one of our customers.”
This experience of working with devout Muslims and pilgrims gave the brand an edge, he added.
“We don’t just sell skin care, we really know our customers, their behaviour, their needs. This is a growing market and there’s a lot of new products that can specifically cater for this group of consumers.
“There’s a big market from Indonesia that Malaysia can cater for too, from Aceh, from Padang. Also, Vision 2030 in Saudi estimates that more people are going to come for Hajj and Umrah, so you want to start now before you miss the boat.”