044 – Sarah Akkari of Senteurs d’Orient – From Niche to Global Brand

A luxury brand born out of a niche mom and pop business competing on a global stage in the new age of commerce with Senteurs d’Orient…

Sarah AkkariSarah Akkari, Owner/CEO of Senteurs d’Orient (handcrafted, hand-wrapped soap from the heart of traditional soap-making region) joins Karen Moon, Deanna Utroske, and Barbara Zinn Moore in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • How Akkari’s mother founded the company in Lebanon 17 years ago
  • The fragrance of soaps, inspired by bathing ritual of the Orient, cleanses the body and is soothing and relaxing the mind, with a high concentration of essential oils
  • How Akkari was always interested in beauty products, and particularly the fragrance and science side with formulations etc.
  • She started with L’Oreal, loved what her mother was doing but always had separate work lives, saw opportunities for niche brands telling their own stories, and the opportunity to tell the story outside of LebanonSarah Akkari
  • Confusion of what’s natural at a consumer level, what’s right and what kinds of expectations and standards to be set?
  • Why it is worth the product development effort to give the consumer what they are expecting, such as creating lather
  • How Akkari is launching buddy oils, hand wash, lotions
  • And instead of snacks – single use soap leaves
  • Taking a business from Lebanon and the US, the birth of the brand in the US, started with packaging design in Asian and Middle Eastern designs, fusing both cultures, deciding on a focus on PR to tell the story right and getting credibility
  • Telling the story of the benefits of the oils from an SEO standpoint or content and education?
  • The time and money involved in creating content
  • Story is complex so need content creation to tell it
  • The diversity of Lebanese food
  • What she loved about working at L’Oreal, and now with her own company following the process from beginning to finish, and the most exciting part is working with talented people, making sure they align with your vision, while giving them room for their vision and talent
  • Two places to go in Lebanon
  • Being surprised at the speed of the ecommerce business, and the overall size of the retail industry

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