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11/09/2017 - 07:00hs
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Women distribute cosmetics from Brazil in Arab countries

The Middle East is the primary market for São Paulo-based cosmetics brand SPHair. Half of the company’s distributors in the region are women.



São Paulo – A Brazilian entrepreneur runs her cosmetics company in São Paulo with one foot planted on the Arab world. The biggest buyers for Cristiane Cintra’s SPHair are in the Middle East. The staff includes Syrian refugee women in Brazil, and the company’s product distribution women that in Arab countries also includes females.

Press Release

Cristiane: investments in a natural product

SPHair makes mostly hair products. Its flagship is a formaldehyde-free sealant made from natural materials, was the key for its securing a foothold in the Arab world. “They demand natural products,” says Cristiane.

Foreign sales make up 70% of total sales for SPHair, and the best buyers are in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq, but Cristiane claims she has shipped product to the entire Middle East, in addition to having deals underway in Mexico, the United States and Germany. Half of the brand’s 20 biggest distributors in the four Arab countries mentioned are women.

Egypt was the first country to buy SPHair’ natural-based sealants back in 2012, only two years after the company went into business. For the first few years, beauty shops in Brazil were hesitant in embracing natural cosmetics, and SPHair found Egypt to be a promising outlet.

Cristiane used to write a blog on hair products. That was where she got referred to a distributor in Egypt who got in touch and struck a partnership to carry SPHair items in his country.

Press Release

SPHair in a promotional event in Egypt

Now, the company has distributors across the Middle East. Some sell direct to parlors and others have their own salesperson networks. Cristiane focused on women for this job. “Arab women are very careful about their looks and they are also enterprising women,” she says. It worked out so well some women joined forces with their husbands in distribution, says Cristiane.

The Brazilian business owner claims that most Middle East women have afros, so a sealant is a must so they’re comfortable wearing the burka or hijab. But Cristiane believes SPHair’s entering Arab markets is also a result of having figured out the market and being close to the buyers.

Cristiane has been to the Middle East twice to give lectures and grew close with her distributors. “I came to understand their market and their needs,” she claims, besides learning to respect and understand the local culture. “Whenever I’m there, there are no [differences] between us, only love and respect.” Her clients won’t allow Cristiane to stay in hotels; they make a point of having her over to their homes.

Last year and this year, Cristiane delivered lectures in Egypt. Next year she’ll be in SPHair’s stand in Beautyworld Middle East, the region’s biggest cosmetics industry show, in Dubai, the UAE. She believes her Middle East business will grow as new products are introduced and new buyers are found.

Press Release

Hair sealant is the flagship product

SPHair is run by Cristiane and her husband Rogério Duarte. The daughter of a hairdresser, Cristiane was always into the beauty industry. She also completed a course in hairdressing. By distributing hair products to beauty shops, she realized the market could use healthier, high-quality natural products.

With help from chemists, she developed her first sealant and never looked back. Now, SPHair offers 19 different types of hair products. The silkiness factor is provided by materials like argan and ojon oil.

Cristiane intends to do more and more business overseas as well as invest in the domestic market, which she has yet to explore in depth. Her plan is to join industry shows in Brazil and partner up with hairdressing schools.

SPHair is a middle-sized company and relies on third-party manufacturing.

Quick facts
SPHair
Website: www.sphaircosmetics.com
Phone: +55 (11) 5527-0869

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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