One of the outstanding brands of niche perfumery, which was created in the UAE, was exclusively introduced to the Georgian market by Estel Georgia. “Arcadia” is a brand founded by Amna Al Habtoor, a young graphic designer, who has left the family business and started her own company entirely with her own vision and a goal to share Eastern culture and traditions with the rest of the world.
From the motor industry to the “scent-sational” universe. How did you decide to separate yourself from the family business and start working in a completely different direction?
Working for the family business is a colossal entity that has really given back to the UAE. We’re into hospitality, car dealerships, construction, schools. My dad also owns a couple of businesses. I just felt that working in the corporate world wasn’t enough for me. It wasn’t a big enough challenge, so I decided to go into something that was more passionate for me, something that we regularly engaged in on a daily basis, which was perfume. It’s part of our tradition, It’s part of our culture and it’s an everyday life. I felt like that was something I knew. I didn’t know the expertise and the chemistry behind it but I knew enough and knew a lot about notes and it kind of pulled me into it. And that’s how I made the switch. I wanted to be as creative as I could and kind of not have any boundaries set for me.
Why the name Arcadia? Where did it come from?
When starting the brand, I wanted something that was a little bit different. I didn’t want a name that was “very Arabian” and I really thought how I wanted this brand to be portrayed worldwide. It wasn’t something that I wanted to start only in the region, so I was like, let’s think of something, that could go international. My main goal was to create a worldwide brand, that started in UAE, but is not “typically Arabic”, so as I was doing my research and reading through names, Arcadia was what fit best for me, because of its meaning. It was something that was more of your happy place, a place where you belong and that’s what really the brand represents: the place, where you belong, something for everyone. I just wanted everyone to see it as a safe place, sort of a safe haven.
How did you envision the brand from the beginning and how did your vision change after its success?
I wanted something very contemporary, very modern, completely opposite, to what you typically would find on the eastern market, where usually their bottles are very elaborate, gold-plated, wooden boxes. I was like, let’s create something opposite, something contemporary, a bottle that’s not quite intimidating and is very inviting, more modern, but still, sticking with a little bit of traditions when creating the scent. The whole approach of the brand was to be genderless. It is a brand for everyone.
Apart from the scents, the packaging of Arcadia is also unique and sophisticated. Your graphic design experience may have played a role in this.
Yes, I’ve studied graphic design for four years and my whole family is art lovers, so we do pay attention to beautiful things. We all have our own styles, but for me, it was more clean-cut, typography plays a big role, and there are steps within R, that is in our logo, which are actually steps to a journey. Certain things have meanings. You probably won’t understand, why they’re there, but these little details, even if you don’t really think about it, you still appreciate it.
When did you become interested in the Georgian market and why?
It’s always been one of the countries, that I’ve been interested in, a wide growing young market, where people are doing different things. You see it in restaurants, you see it in architecture, the graffiti on the walls. There are so many beautiful things, that I liked about it and said, you know what, why not? It is my first time here and I’m loving it. Maybe one day we could come up with our Georgian scent?!
How do you see the future of Arcadia?
Obviously, coming up with new scents, new ways of sharing experiences, sharing a little more of our tradition in the UAE. I feel like to create that bridge between East and West and kind of educating people about why it is that we use perfume that we do, It’s because it’s literally part of our culture and our daily routine.