Orange blossom lotions, jasmine soaps and exclusive argan oil sprays are some of the top selling cosmetics of Maison de Senteurs in Tunisia. With eleven stores across the country, the company also offers its creams, perfumes, home fragrances and other products in a shop in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, as well as online for consumers abroad, with a Tunisian online shop under construction to be ready by June.

The EBRD and European Union help companies like this one to develop their business and make them more competitive.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Tunisia, the team at Maison de Senteurs immediately wanted to help, explains the CEO, Mondher Ouenniche:

“We knew that we could contribute in a meaningful way in such a situation. We had all the equipment needed to make disinfectant gel, as well as the necessary know-how as an experienced cosmetics brand.”

“We started production at first to make donations to Tunisian hospitals with the help of our team who, each at their own level, did not hesitate to make every effort for the success of this operation. We are proud to have fulfilled our duty to our country and hope for better days.”

It took just five days to add the new product to the range. In a dedicated part of its plant, Maison de Senteurs now produces more than 180 litres of hydroalcoholic disinfectant gel in each production cycle. The gel is on sale in its shops and available for delivery. A generous supply was donated to various hospitals to support the hard work of doctors and nurses in Tunisia.

The EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses programme, funded in Tunisia by the European Union, previously helped the company to develop a strong and recognizable brand. Experienced consultants were matched with the cosmetics manufacturer to provide expert advice on market research and to design attractive, instantly recognizable packaging. The cost of the advisory services was shared by the client.

Maison de Senteurs’ distinctive branding is now more important than ever: as shops were closed during the lockdown, customers had to conjure up the fragrant orange blossom, rose or jasmine scents in their minds simply by looking at the products. Even after the lockdown, shops in Tunisia are far less frequently visited, so the company is relying heavily on e-commerce for the upcoming period.