Aromababy is an affordable and trusted luxury organic skincare brand from Australia, with product development based on research. We spoke to Charmaine Kilma, the exclusive GCC representative of Aromababy, about the opportunities in the Middle Eastern Organic Market.
What type of natural/organic products/services do you sell in the Middle East?
At Tots we pride ourselves on sourcing only high quality, unique products for our customers. When it comes to our award winning, natural and certified organic offerings, we are fortunate to have been selected as the exclusive GCC representative of Aromababy, an affordable and trusted luxury organic skincare brand from Australia, with product development based on research.
The Aromababy products we offer in the local market range from sun protection, a much needed item in anyone’s bag here in the sunny UAE, massage oils, bath, body and face washes, moisturising creams, shampoo and the all-important nappy change protection barrier balm.
Our products can be purchased individually or as gift bundles, making the perfect baby shower gift for a health conscious Mum-to-be and some of our products, such as the Pure Baby range, are suitable to be used from birth and are excellent for family members with sensitive skin.
In your opinion, how popular is the organic industry in the UAE and the Middle East?
People are increasingly more aware of Organic products and their benefits. I know a lot of people usually think about buying organic food, and I use an organic food delivery service myself for fruit and vegetables as it’s not only convenient for busy mums, but it really makes a difference in taste, which is important when preparing meals for the family.
Additionally, I’ve noticed the popularity of our Aromababy products increasing as people become more aware of what products they use on their skin. As a new mum, I was looking for a trusted not just organic, but certified organic and natural product range for my little one’s skincare and my research led me to the Australian Aromababy range. However regularly purchasing it from Australia became a challenge and this is where the ‘Tots’ business sprouted from as I wanted to make high quality, unique, trusted brands and products available to parents in the UAE and GCC.
The increasing popularity of the organic industry is also evident when you look at online shopping sites such as Mumzworld, which now offer shoppers the choice of products under an ‘organic’ category listing, and supermarkets offering increased lines of organic pre-packaged and fresh products throughout their stores.
Why, in your opinion, do people prefer buying organic nowadays?
I think people are very good at educating themselves and researching areas of their own interest, such as living a healthy lifestyle. In a community like the UAE, where people look to others for advice and support, word of mouth and sharing experiences with friends and family plays an important role, particularly when starting a family. We all know that babies are very sensitive to their environment and I think there is a lot of mistrust and uncertainty in what is being put in products – especially when some of the ingredients are so difficult to understand.
Babies and young children are especially susceptible to skin irritations and products that rely on natural and certified organic ingredients are seen as being the best you can possibly use to both prevent and treat such conditions. With Organic (especially certified organic) you have a level of certainty that what I’m eating or putting onto my skin is at least safe, won’t harm me and is good for my health.
How do you determine/discover the products to sell in this market?
Firstly, I look for products that I believe are high quality, useful, backed by research, unique and difficult to obtain locally and most importantly, meet the needs of people living in the UAE and GCC.
The environment we live in means that sun protection and skincare is really important given we spend a high proportion of our time in air-conditioned environments and are fortunate enough to see the sun shine most days. Additionally, we have a population that is generally well educated, likes quality products, enjoys an outdoor lifestyle and travels frequently, so consideration for customer needs is always a top priority when researching new products.
Furthermore, we look for complimentary products to our existing range whenever possible. For example, Tots is also the exclusive distributor of the Flybabee (recently rebranded CoziGo), sleep and sun cover. The Flybabee, also hailed the ‘Miracle Sleep Cover’ is a Universal Stroller Cover that helps babies and toddlers maintain their sleep routine on the go, provides high level protection from the Sun and as an added bonus, fits over airline bassinets to help babies sleep while travelling on airplanes. It is the perfect complement to the Aromababy Sunscreen and again, a perfect gift or purchase for families who enjoy travelling and getting out and about with their babies and toddlers.
How do you find the growth trend of this industry both here in the region as well as globally?
In my experience, research indicators are demonstrating a growing trend towards consumers choosing natural, organic and generally ‘clean’ products, where possible, both regionally and internationally. It’s also easy to see the trend to follow such lifestyle choices are popular with people on social media. Instagram accounts for example can be filled with images of clean, healthy lifestyles and buying organic plays a big part in that. The range of products being made available in both their traditional form and now their organic forms are on the rise and there is strong growth in the range, diversity and availability of products being demonstrated.
This is one reason it remains important for consumers to have access to information on what differentiates products labelled as ‘organic’, as there may be different standards applied to the terms ‘organic’ and ‘certified organic’ depending on where it comes from and how it is manufactured. That’s why at Tots, we ensure our products are sourced from countries with strict standards for both labelling and manufacturing these products and brands that adhere to exceeding those quality standards, such as Aromababy.
Interviewed by Menaka Ramakrishnan, Buyer Manager