French firm Sozio expands into Indonesia to tap into halal fragrance opportunities
The firm first established itself in Asia 15 years ago with a manufacturing facility in Hong Kong. It has since opened sales offices and laboratories in SEA countries such as Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar.
“Our next step was to open a dedicated facility to serve efficiently markets of SEA thus being closer to our customers for project development and supply of fragrances,” said Julie Movsessian, director of marketing, Sozio.
Movsessian told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the company sees the region as one of its key growth drivers of the future.
“We expect sales in this region to reach 15% of global sales in the next three years and SEA will become a major destination of our R&D development as well,” she said.
The company’s strategy to achieve this goal is to invest in customer relationships and be more attentive to their demands.
“This strategy is done through local affiliates or local offices with extensive libraries and production facilities to quickly respond to their demands and also anticipate their next move. We always act as being flexible and proactive with customers in focus,” said Movsessian.
In particular, the company sees plenty of opportunities in Indonesia.
“Indonesia being the largest Muslim country in the world offers the greatest opportunity and is a natural choice in the implementation of our manufacturing facility. Its offers also a real possibility of improving direct sourcing of key raw materials since Indonesia is a major producer of natural spices and essential oils,” said Movsessian.
The new facility in Jakarta currently handles perfume dilution and will become a full-fledge state-of-the-art facility by 2021.
She noted that the facility will manufacture halal fragrances certified by Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) to cater to the Muslim population in the region.
“The Muslim population is receptive to fragrance materials and Indonesian consumers regularly use perfumed products, which is barely the case in other countries such as China due to cultural differences,” said Movsessian.
The firm has also identified China and Vietnam as key pillars of its future development.
“China because of its huge domestic market and Vietnam because of its young population increasing their lifestyle and quality of life,” said Movsessian.
While the company sees a lot of opportunities it also has to contend with a handful of obstacles such as regulation.
Movsessian explained that the fragrance industry has become stricter globally and fragrance companies need to comply with local regulations, such as the halal regulations in Indonesia.
However, she noted that the diversity of the region poses one of the biggest challenges to the company.
“A fragrance profile may be liked by a Chinese customer but disliked by an Indonesian one. Even within China you can find differences between South, East and North part of the country. This is a real challenge for the creative team to develop and select the most successful fragrances,” she said.
In order to overcome this, the company works with local people, the “experts of their market and country”, said Movsessian