Loewe, part of the LVMH group which owns leading perfume brands such as Dior, Givenchy, Guerlain and Kenzo, has just launched Loewe Solo Intense for men. This is the fourth scent introduced by Loewe in the past three years.
The perfume operation was launched by the Spanish luxury leather goods company of the same name in 1972. Juan Pedro Abeniacar Trolez, Chairman and CEO of Loewe, was in Dubai for the launch of the new perfume and Emirates Business caught up with him to learn more about the company’s plans for the region.
How would you evaluate the success of Loewe perfumes in the Middle East 20 years after the launch of your first scent here?
It has been great so far. Our growth has been steady and consistent. I can say that our development has speeded up in the last few years. The proof of this is that we have launched four new scents in the last three years and are included in the lists of the best five male and female brands in the market.
How has Loewe benefited from establishing its perfume brand first in the Middle East and then entering the luxury accessory market the reverse strategy to other parts of the world?
I was not part of the decision when Loewe launched as a perfume brand in the Middle East, though it was a well-known accessory brand in the West. But I can say that it has helped the brand establish itself as a name in terms of creating awareness and recognition. We established our presence as a luxury accessory brand riding on the wave of the success of our perfumes.
How serious is the competition you face from locally made fragrances in the region?
The competition is tough and getting tougher as more and more local brands hit the shelves. But this is good for the industry. Loewe, as a brand, is not affected by the presence of the local perfumes because we are a 160-year old company and have won a loyal customer base in the 20 years we been in the region.
How difficult is it to protect the originality of the brand? Are there copycats who imitate your products?
Yes indeed. Companies that duplicate scents pose a similar threat to those that flood the market with fake products. It not only causes revenue losses, but also affects the reputation of the brand.
What is the threat from fake perfumes and how do you tackle it?
It is a huge problem, but I guess it is not unique to perfumes. Whether it is watches, handbags or any other luxury accessory brands, fake products pose a serious threat. We understand that we cannot completely wipe out the fakes, but we deal with it in the most effective way possible by using the existing legal framework that offers protection against illegal duplication.
How different is the Middle East perfume market compared with other parts of the world?
In the Middle East we have a very brand-conscious, multi-cultural and multi-racial customer base. Creativity and innovation are appreciated in the market and customers are very sensible when it comes to making their choices.
People come with a thorough understanding of the product and know what they are looking for. One thing about the market is they are open to new ideas and there is no prejudice towards any products, unlike in certain regions.
How important is branding for a product like perfume?
Perfumes are like any other luxury item. Branding helps to popularise a product and determine the way it is perceived in the market. In the Gulf we have become established as the number one luxury brand from Spain and have been extremely successful.
What are your future plans for Loewe in the region?
We aim to keep growing and come up with more exciting new lines of perfumes. We will work towards consolidating our position as the number one in the market. Our aim is to make Loewe the unavoidable brand reference when it comes to fragrances in the Middle East.
Juan Pedro Abeniacar Trolez
Chairman and CEO, Loewe
Trolez is responsible for Loewe perfumes worldwide as Chairman and CEO. He is also in charge of all LVMH’s perfumes and cosmetics businesses in Spain and Portugal, including the Dior, Givenchy, Guerlain, Kenzo, Benefit and Acqua di
Parma brands. He has doubled the turnover of the group of companies under his management in seven years to more than €220 million (Dh1.2bn). Born in 1952, Trolez was the lead country manager and CEO of LVMH perfumes and cosmetics in Spain from 1997 to 1999. Before that he also served as CEO of the Farlabo Group, where he started his career as marketing and sales manager.
Loewe: 'We will remain number one'