Enterprise

French fragrance firm targets SMEs with Nairobi office

thierry

Thierry Fleurichamp, the Regional Head Fragrances SAMEA Expressions Parfumees Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY

BDgeneric_logo

Summary

  • Big multinational manufacturers are served by leading players but small manufacturers have to rely on agents who supply a limited variety of fragrances and do not offer technical support.
  • Expressions Parfumees has now opened a Nairobi office to support its partner with ASL Kenya to supply small units of fragrance to SMEs.
  • French companies have been active mainly in water and energy have been targeting small businesses and international tenders.

When Thierry Fleurichamp regional head Fragrances SAMEA Expressions Parfumees was doing market research, he discovered Kenya has a gap in variety, quality assurance and a fragrance industry dedicated to small businesses.

Big multinational manufacturers are served by leading players like Givaudan but small manufacturers have to rely on agents who supply a limited variety of fragrances and do not offer technical support.

Mr Fleurichamp said he saw this as an opportunity given the size of the regional market and Kenya’s transformation towards building an industrial hub that is bound to boost demand.

Expressions Parfumees has now opened a Nairobi office to support its partnership with ASL Kenya to supply small units of fragrance to SMEs making home and personal care products like detergents and creams.

The Nairobi office, equipped with a lab to conduct stability tests, quick sampling, and fragrance collection, will help ASL  market the products in Kenya and East Africa.

“When we came we realised the fragrance that were available were the normal lavender, citrus the normal limited range but the local people want the smells they appreciate more; the aloe vera and cocoa butter,” Mr Fleurichamp said.

“We set up an office here which brings us close to the customer to understand what they want, help them find what works best with them and create a very specific fragrance for them and offer quantities that big companies cannot service.”

Expressions Parfumees was bought by Givaudan in 2018 which gave the firm the financial muscle, supply chain discounts and global links to allow it to expand.

Givaudan is the global leader in the creation of flavours and fragrances that develops scents for food, beverage, consumer product and fragrance with a local presence in over 100 locations.

The acquisition, however, allowed the firm to maintain its business model targeting small players around the world.

Mr Fleurichamp says having Givaudan as the big brother is a huge advantage especially now given the supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 that has led to shortages and price hikes.

Expressions Parfumees is part of the shift by French companies looking to tap the small businesses segment by offering niche products along the supply chain and consumer products.

French companies have been active mainly in water and energy have been targeting small businesses and international tenders.

The French ambassador to Kenya Aline Kuster said the French Treasury and AFD had immensely funded Kenya’s urban-rural projects and urged French companies to plug into the projects by lining the French firms with donor partners.

As of July 2020, the French have loaned Kenya Sh79.4 billion directly and through Agence De Francaise De Development (AFD) and Banque Nationale de Paris, according to the latest debt disclosures by Treasury.

Some of the projects they have funded include Olkaria power plants, Ethiopia Power Interconnector Project-, Maai Mahiu - Narok road Project, and water projects in Ruiru as well as Phase one of the Nothern Collector tunnel project.

[email protected]