From September’s – ‘The Power Issue’ – Download Now

Kuwaiti sisters Sara, Nora and Dana Al-Ramadhan are building a beauty empire based on the premium brands that industry insiders love.

What inspired Apotheca Beauty?

We first came across the idea of distribution from a close connection in LA. A famous dermatologist wished to distribute his products in the Gulf and asked us to help him do so. We then spent a couple of months studying the market and realised there was a gap in the premium market for niche beauty brands. Our goal has been to bring these niche, speciality brands to clients in the region and offer more variety than just the mainstream brands that have been available for years. We also aimed to go one step further and not just become distributors for our brands but work together as partners. We envision ourselves as extensions of the brands we represent in the Middle East and go through great lengths to service both our brand partners and customers.

Which brands have proven to be a hit with Middle Eastern clients?

Skincare has been dominating the market this year. With people spending more time at home, they are paying more attention to the health of their skin. More specifically, targeted and scientifically advanced skincare products which address real skin concerns such as anti-redness, hydration, loss of elasticity, and pigmentation are in high demand. Some of our leading skincare brands include Dr Barbara Sturm, Eve Lom, Dr Lancer Skincare, Malin and Goetz, OSKIA and Sarah Chapman. We would love to know your beauty favourites, which products do you swear by? Cryoglobes – frozen, medical-grade surgical steel balls used when frozen for an invigorating facial and body massage, they cool the skin and cause microcirculation, collagen production, and a reduction in pore size. We also love Dr Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Serum, the EVE LOM Cleanser, OSKIA Renaissance Mask, and Dr Lancer’s new Nourish Rehydration Mask. We swear by Malin + Goetz 10% Sulfur Paste that can be applied directly onto breakouts and le to work overnight, Kevyn Aucoin Glass Glow Face & Body, Cover FX Power Play Concealer – a must for the summer as it is not only sweatproof and waterproof, but it lasts all day while healing your skin. Finally, we also use Lime Crime Bushy Brow Pen, and Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel.

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Are there any brands from the region we should keep an eye on?

We have recently launched Summer Fridays across Sephora Middle East. This is a new brand to the region and has experienced fantastic success across the US and UK markets. Their bestselling, cult-favourite product is their multi-tasking Jet Lag Mask. We also love their CC Me Serum and gentle Amino Acid Gel Cleanser. Kevyn Aucoin is an icon amongst both makeup and skincare enthusiasts. We launched the brand online in the region during the lockdown, and the response was phenomenal. OSKIA is another beautiful brand that specialises in cellular nutrition through patented micro-encapsulation and liposome technology, which are combined with high-tech bio-actives. Their hero ingredient, which we believe more people need to get to know better, is MSM – a super-power that boosts skin health, reduces fine lines, dark spots, and acne. Dr Barbara Sturm is well known but gaining traction throughout the region thanks to her potent range that works to strengthen and rejuvenate the skin at a cellular level and we have big plans for this stunning brand.

What are the greatest lessons you have taken away from building a business?

What we found to be more of a struggle has been ageism. Female entrepreneurs coming into the industry in their 20s or 30s and working with people who have been in the industry for many years and are in their 40s or 50s. It has been a challenge to gain credibility, and deal with certain people because of this, despite education. However, our youthfulness has actually played out to be one of our advantages and led to where we are today. We are young, driven women with our finger always on the pulse of many things that are trending.

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When was the last time you felt empowered?

Witnessing people across the world come together in support of one another regardless of race, religion, and nationality truly empowers us each day.

Which powerful women do you look up to?

We look up to women who care for others and work hard, women who put in the time to drive themselves forward. The first woman who inspired us was our mother. She taught us to work hard and never take anything for granted, but also how to care for our skin and overall wellbeing. She has always been passionate about health and fitness; she’s our ultimate muse.

Complete this sentence, being a powerful woman means…

Having a strong sense of identity and not allowing others to define you, while recognising and empowering other women alongside you.

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What is next for Apotheca Beauty?

We are excited to further develop our online platforms and continuously look for new ways to improve – whether that is through our brand offering, delivery lead-times, presentation, or a top-tier level of customer service. We take the time to listen to feedback and see what is possible. We are also working on growing out more categories within beauty – such as baby care, men’s skincare, tools, and supplements, and wellbeing. At the moment, we spend a lot of time exploring the global market, talking to brands and curating unique assortments for our region.

Read the full interview in September’s – ‘The Power Issue’ which is available on the stands now.

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