Egypt is not only the cradle of a millenary civilization. According to archaeologists and historians, it was there that, thousands of years ago, perfume arose. And O Boticário, a company that makes perfumes and cosmetics, has just opened a store in the country of the pharaohs.
O Boticário is headquartered in the city of São José dos Pinhais, in the metropolitan region of Curitiba, capital of the southern Brazilian state of Paraná,
"The Middle East shows itself as a market with excellent potential for expansion of the cosmetics sector," declared Roberto Neves, the International Marketing manager at the company.
The establishment opened in the Egyptian capital, apart from presenting the brand to new consumers in the country, will be used as a central office for the distribution of products in the North and Northeast of Africa.
Neves prefers not to inform how much was invested in Cairo, but states that the new store opened in July is a sign that there is interest in the region. "We will soon have more news in the Middle East," he said.
Apart from Cairo, O Boticário has one store and 30 points of sale in Saudi Arabia (where they intend to open another two up to the end of 2005), 20 points of sale in the United Arab Emirates and 60 in Jordan.
Another route that the company has been following to increase sales in the Arab countries is distribution in perfume chains and setting up installations in department stores, with corners and exclusive areas.
The entry into the region was preceded by market studies. "Before opening our store in Riyadh, we tested the local market for two years. We identified the growth potential and established a partnership with a local investor. We are doing the same in other countries in the region and will soon have news in some countries," explained the manager. According to him, the female Arab consumers show preference for the lines of make-up.
On the foreign market, O Boticário currently has a total of 59 stores in 23 countries. The company's plan for internationalization has consumed around US$ 43 million in recent years.
In Brazil, the brand has 42 own stores. When adding the franchise stores, the total rises to 2,328 points of sale. Last year, company gross revenues reached around US$ 240 million, with the production of 55 million units.
Perfume Is Born
The relations of the Egyptians with fragrances began around four thousand years ago and, at its birth, had a strong religious component. They discovered that if an aromatic substance were soaked in oil, the oil would become scented.
The technique then started being used in the preparation of gifts for the gods, as the fragrance in the oil lasted more than incense.
But the preachers soon noticed that it would be possible to have profit with the preparation of perfume for men. They then began, little by little, to transform their temples into authentic perfume laboratories. The first clients were the pharaohs and important court members, but the use of perfume soon spread.
According to historians, the need for refreshing and scented essences became so fundamental that the first strike in the history of humanity, in around 1,330 b.C., was by the soldiers of pharaoh Seti I, and they simply stopped supplying him with aromatic ointments.
A little later, in 1,300 b.C., pharaoh Ramesses II had to face a rebellion by the workers of Thebes, who were furious with the small food and ointment rations.
Talented professors, the Egyptians spread their knowledge of perfumery to the Assyrians, Babylonians, Caldeans, Hebrews, Persians and Greek. Therefore, each culture developed its own variety of fragrances, according to the ingredients locally available.
Omar Nasser is from the Fiep, Federation of Industries of the State of Paraná.
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