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Elaine O’Connell: “Our goal is to reconnect the global beauty industry with new ideas and fresh perspectives”

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The Middle East’s largest international trade fair for the beauty industry will take place in Dubai from 5-7 October 2021. What are the goals for the 25th edition? What special features will the event offer? What is on the programme, particularly for fragrances? Answers from the show director, Elaine O’Connell.

What are the goals for the 25th edition of Beautyworld Middle East, the first major international beauty event to be held since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic? 

We’re thrilled to be back and to welcome exhibitors from over 54 countries, many of them exhibiting at one of the 17 national pavilions. We held our last show in 2019 and this year’s goal is to reconnect the global beauty industry with new ideas, fresh perspectives, innovations, and new sales and marketing strategies. To mark the occasion and celebrate our return, the themes we’ve chosen for the show are Rethink, Reinvent and Rediscover. 

What will be the special features of this year’s event?

We’ve introduced a whole new product section, Beauty Technology, to reflect technology’s growing impact on the beauty industry, alongside the existing product sections: Cosmetics & Skincare; Hair, Nails & Salon Supplies; Machinery, Packaging & Raw Materials; Fragrance Compounds and Finished Fragrances; Personal Care & Hygiene, and Natural & Organic. The Beauty Technology section will highlight companies offering consumers and professionals a custom beauty experience tailored to their needs, an experience that is more intelligent in every way and better for the environment. Exhibitors will be presenting a wide range of the latest technologies: customised beauty care devices, AI-driven skincare, smart combs that analyse hair, beauty applications, virtual mirrors, devices that can analyse your skin zone by zone, and much more.

Visitors will also be able to access the new hybrid event platform, giving them the opportunity to try out AI-assisted networking, set up virtual or physical meetings with exhibitors, discover must-see products and content, and bookmark conference sessions they want to attend.

What are the visitor profiles you are expecting?

Everybody who feels as passionately about the beauty industry as we do: trade buyers, importers, exporters, beauty professionals, retailers, perfumers, salon owners, make-up artists, hairdressers, cosmetologists, skincare specialists, researchers, journalists, influencers, entrepreneurs, distributors, and more – it’s a very long list!

Can you tell us more about Quintessence, the platform devoted to niche fragrances? 

We’ve been running it for the past five years and it’s one of the things about Beautyworld Middle East that I love the most. What makes Quintessence unique, aside from the gorgeous niche fragrances it showcases, is the bespoke, luxurious environment created for the perfumers themselves to recount their stories and the inspiration behind their creations. Over a dozen fragrance brands and creators of artisanal fragrances, including Attar al Has, Arnoway, Bohoboco Perfume, Bois 1920, Bruno Acampora Profumi, Jivago and Parfex, have already confirmed their presence at Quintessence. Buyers will have an opportunity to learn the perfumer’s art and the secrets behind the creation of a signature collection.

What will be the main events over the three days?

The Next in Beauty conferences will run throughout the show, focusing on key topics such as innovation, market trends, and business in the Middle East. The Innovation stream will shed light on the latest developments in the industry, looking at sustainability and technology, and forward-looking ways for connecting brands with customers. Market Trends will cover retail solutions, fragrance, beauty, and care trends in the Middle East as well as the products of tomorrow. And the Business in the Middle East stream will centre on brand creation and how to make your business more agile in today’s world.

Front Row, organised by the Nazih Group (beauty and haircare product distributor in the Middle East), will be back with a mixture of educational seminars, live shows, demonstrations and expert panel discussions. The focus is on ranges of vegan haircare and hair styling products that are clean, sustainable and highly effective, perfect for today’s world and a better choice for salons, consumers and planet alike.

The second Beautyworld Middle East Awards gala ceremony will be held at the Ritz Carlton DIFC the day the show opens, on the evening of 5th October. We have shortlisted 57 finalists from almost 200 entries in 13 categories, and we can hardly wait to celebrate with the finalists in person at an entertainment-packed evening event that fully complies with all health regulations.

And what are you planning for fragrances? 

In terms of fragrances, apart from Quintessence, there are several new features we are particularly proud of. Starting with Signature Scent Journey. To mark its 25th anniversary, Beautyworld Middle East will be launching a special fragrance that evokes the spirit of the show. We invited 15 top international fragrance houses to come up with their own interpretation of what will be our signature scent. A special area at the show has been set aside for the 15 creations, and visitors will be able to test them and vote for the fragrance they feel best captures the essence of Beautyworld Middle East. Each bottle will be accompanied by the history of the fragrance house that created it, the composition’s olfactory notes, and an explanation of how the fragrance captures the spirit of Beautyworld Middle East. The winning fragrance house will be perfuming a section at Beautyworld Middle East 2022 in celebration of the show’s continuing success.

The second fragrance-focused innovation is A World of Scents, a collaboration with Spanish composition company Iberchem showcasing new olfactory experiences at different locations throughout the show. A World of Scents has been designed as a unique way for visitors to discover the beauty and benefits of fragrances in a setting away from perfumery company stands, providing trade buyers, beauty professionals, retailers and distributors with the chance to extend and enhance their usual visit by embarking on an olfactory journey that takes them through the show.

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