How Arcadia Came To Fruition
Meet our newest olfactory fetish, Arcadia By Amna — once a hobby, now a thriving brand.
In 2017, Amna Al Habtoor started her venture after receiving positive feedback from loved ones who tried her sensorial wedding souvenir: a scent that captures her and her husband’s bond. “Fragrances and scents have been a passion of mine since I can remember and I’ve always wanted to pursue this passion professionally by creating a brand that inspires raw emotions and nostalgia. I thought the perfect foray into this industry would be to create a perfume as a giveaway for my wedding. Not only is it a unique souvenir, but this opportunity presented itself as a focus group.
"When the response to the perfume was outstandingly positive, I knew I had to create my own brand. Before launching Arcadia, I enrolled in perfumery courses in Cotswold to perfect my craft. My wedding scent is still part of the Arcadia collection, called Infinity, and remains one of our top sellers.”
A Woman With A Vision
Amna is a graduate of strategy & design. She joined her family business as an executive director of marketing and communications at Al Habtoor motors, with high involvement in some of the company’s most luxury profile deals, including those with Bugatti, Bentley, & McLaren.
Redirecting her ambitions, Amna founded mash concepts in 2014.
Exploring one of her earliest passions, perfume, Amna seized an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of niche perfumery. When the EASTWAVE team asked her why she chose fragrance-making over skincare or makeup, she replied in a pleasantly surprising and heartfelt way:
“Scent is one of the most powerful means by which to capture and relive memories, holding the power to transport a person to that moment. When I create a fragrance, it is to be reminded of a place, a time, or an emotion that is precious to me, yet relatable to most. Each one of Arcadia’s fragrances is original, unisex, and is re-writing the rules of gender and cultural boundaries, I wanted to create something for those who dare to defy convention, and I’m delighted to say we’ve grown to become synonymous with quality and ethical cosmetics, crafted from the finest ingredients.”
Towards the completion of her perfumery course, Amna was drawn to the idea of a fragrance line focused on the art of nostalgia.
Soon enough, Arcadia was brought to life. A brand that redeveloped the culture of scents in the Middle East, in a contemporary and experiential manner. Arcadia encompasses the idea of reminiscing and creating memories through the art of scents.
A Progressive Brand Ethos
Realizing that there was a gap in the market for premium fragrances at affordable prices - in 2018, Habtoor decided to officially sell decadent scents that boast names like “No. 2 Splinter”, “Royal Orchard”, “Hakassu High”, "The Loud Silence” and more that were not only sustainable in terms of packaging but also clean in terms of ingredients.
“There’s definitely a strong and growing interest in clean beauty across the region,” Habtoor claims. “Personally, I always opt for the cleaner and more sustainable option in all my beauty and lifestyle choices. So, I felt it’s only true to myself to do the same for my brand.”
What’s more, the UAE-based entrepreneur prides her brand on embracing unisex scents.
Dana, Cofounder of EASTWAVE Concept adds:
“we were thrilled when we discovered that Arcadia is not only sustainable but also unisex, so we felt that partnering with the brand and promoting it to the West fits our ethos as a progressive platform.”
Behind Amna’s Sensorial Scents
EW wanted to dig a little deeper into Habtoor’s thought process behind making each fragrance smell the way it does. For example, how much does her cultural upbringing affect the aromatics of “Royal Orchard” over “Hakassu High” for example? Habtoor explains, “scents are a huge part of the Emirati culture and definitely have an influence on the creations. However, from inception, the brand does not target any particular culture, society, gender, or so on. Therefore, Arcadia scents pair the more oriental notes with modern and unique notes, such as using amber and musk with pineapple and apple.”
When it comes to forming the name of each fragrance, Habtoor has a peculiar method:
“Each creation’s name is a fun yet challenging task. I go back and forth with many names, but essentially I aim to name the scents in a way that captures the fragrance itself, narrative, memories, and emotions.”
What’s Next for the Fragrance Connoisseur?
While Habtoor slowly wins over the hearts (or noses) of her fellow followers with her intriguing line, she has also been planning her next moves to grow the business in the background with new collections, home fragrances and ultimately establishing Arcadia as a lifestyle brand.
We wish her the best of luck in her journey of dominating the niche fragrance market!
About Arcadia by Amna
Arcadia is a niche perfumery born and bred in the UAE by Amna Al Habtoor. With an aim to turn scents into memories and relive memories through scents, it is where sentimentalists and preachers of nostalgia reside.
All photos courtesy of Arcadia by Amna