Tuesday, 14 May 2024 17:10

Gazelli Group Founder and President Zarifa Hamzayeva : Gazelli is adding beauty to your life

Caspian Energy (CE): Ms. Hamzayeva, why have you chosen cosmetology?

Zarifa Hamzayeva, Founder and President of Gazelli Group: I am a doctor by profession and before creating Gazelli Group, I worked at Doctors’ Advanced Training Institute named after Aziz Aliyev, and engaged in research work aimed at early diagnosis and prevention of chronic diseases closely related to the overall body aging problem. On the other hand, it turned out that many of them develop due to both external and internal (genetic) factors. Having developed methods for early diagnosis of chronic diseases, I introduced disease prevention and early treatment plans. In the early eighties, having defended my dissertation, I headed the country’s first medical and genetic consultation facility which conducted screening of chronic patients’ families, as well as mass examination of children in the regions of Azerbaijan to reveal early symptoms of susceptibility to a certain chronic disease. It was a breakthrough as the diagnostic methods of the time could detect a disease, but not susceptibility to it. Modern cosmetology borders upon many medical specialties as any skin defects are driven by multifactorial causes, including genetic ones.

Therefore, when I started a cosmetics business from scratch, the primary task was not to produce decorative cosmetics that would cover up visual defects, but to apply a complex integrated approach for producing the make-up that would help both women and men to prevent and delay aging, and to remain young, well-groomed, healthy, beautiful and certainly happy for many years.

The company’s name is a derivative from the ancient form of oriental poetry known as ‘gazal’ which most profoundly conveys authenticity of sacred human feelings, glorifying beauty, youth, and love. Azerbaijani great poets of the past centuries Nizami, Fuzuli, Khagani wrote many beautiful ‘gazals’.

Gazelli Group’s philosophy embodies respect, attention, understanding, and an individual approach. Indeed, every woman has her own image, habits, skin properties and our task is to make every woman feel she is unique and unparallel! Each of us has beauty magic inside, and it only wants a chance to break through to show itself. That is genuine art! Any person regardless of education is capable of perceiving beauty in any form. The ability to interpret the language of Harmony through Art and Nature is what creates a quality criterion equally necessary for both the producer and the consumer. All together, it is a unique opportunity to upgrade the population. Usually, many well-known cosmetics manufacturers choose some celebrity, Hollywood beauty or top model to represent their brand. Our company has no such brand face because our cosme­tics are real make-up for real people and that is part of our corporate philosophy.

     Apart from that, we added a poetic touch to our cosmetics by naming it Gazelli - a derivative from the ancient form of oriental poetry - ‘gazal’ - that glorified beauty, youth, and love.

«Just know: the wonder of thy beauty is to my soul the lord.

As though the beauty of the universe – lies in you alone!”

Nizami, ХII century

CE: What did Gazelli Group’s story start from?

Zarifa Hamzayeva: For us, the important point was to define the philosophy on which the company would be built. Based on the fusion of national traditions, subtle Oriental philosophy and world scientific achievements, Gazelli’s philosophy considers a human in unity with nature where a man sources strength from, reaches harmony and equilibrium, while beauty and well-being equally depend on the state of mind and body. In Azerbaijan, we have been the first and so far the only perfume and cosmetics company. That is why, almost 3 years passed after the creation of the Gazelli cosmetics company before the first series of products was released. The development of scientific and technical documentation, equipping of the factory and laboratory, training of personnel, approval of documents and obtaining of certificates took time. At the same time, we set our standards high as we were reaching for no less than global recognition.

In 2006, due to the growing need to expand production areas, the reconstruction of the factory began and today it is a production with an area of more than 12,000 square meters, located in the suburbs of Baku. The need to expand production facilities triggered the reconstruction of the factory and nowadays it is a 12,000+ square meter production site located in the vicinity of Baku. The factory building was designed as an ecologically-friendly, power saving construction. The factory has state-of-the-art equipment for producing up to 1 million units of high-end cosmetic products per month. Before hitting the stores, every line of cosmetics undergoes several stages of development. First, the composition structure of the product is created and subjected to laboratory and clinical tests before serial production. All production takes place under unique quality parameters, strict control, and thorough laboratory tes­ting. The high production quality has been proven by the most prestigious international standard ISO 22716 - GMP certificate granted only to leaders in cosmetics production, in food and pharmaceutical industries.

CE: Over the 25 years of its history the Gazelli brand has never used famous female celebrities as  face of the company. Why so?

Zarifa Hamzayeva: Indeed, there is no face of the company and it is not without reason. Every woman’s having an image of her own, unique habits, body and skin is part of the company’s philosophy.  Gazelli Group’s cosmetics are real and meant for real people facing real challenges. At our first presentation in 2002 we presented a series of photographs of our Azerbaijani women – scientists, physicians, actresses – whose rich, beautiful souls and well-groomed appearance made them look extraordinarily attractive both internally and externally.

It is no coincidence that in 2003 it was decided to create Gazelli Art House with view to introduce various art trends to broad public. “What can a cosmetics producer and art possibly have in common?”, you may ask. «No outward beauty can be deemed complete unless enlivened with inward beauty» (V. Hugo). A harmony of soul and body. Unity of spiritual and physical perfection.  I am confident that beauty is hidden inside each of us and it only needs assistance to reveal itself.  Every woman is unique and beautiful in her own way, and by providing her with high quality cosmetics we only help accentuate that individuality. The concept of beauty to me lies, first and foremost, with an unbreakable bond between physical and spiritual beauty. A physically perfect man cannot be beautiful if hollow inside. That is a manikin from shop windows. Meanwhile, coming into contact with beauty, learning to understand it, feeling up one’s inner world with light and goodness, one starts radiating beauty from inside. At this point, pre­servation, prolongation and enhancement of that beauty is our priority task. I believe the unity of cosmetics producers and art will certainly prove its right for existence.

CE: Today there is a huge range of cosmetic brands on the market for every taste and pocket. How did your cosmetology allure a sophisticated buyer?

Zarifa Hamzayeva: You are right, the variety and abundance of cosmetic brands makes us look for new approaches in the development of our products. Of course, we are aware that we have entered a highly competitive environment. Today, cosmetics manufacturers all over the world are facing one task - finding new biologically active, highly effective ingredients. Azerbaijan is a rich source of unique natural ingredients. 9 out of 11 known climatic zones are present in Azerbaijan, enabling  a variety of unique depo­sits and endemic plants. Thus, the world’s only deposit of Naphthalan oil known for its medicinal properties across centuries is an excellent ingredient for cosmetics. Explo­ring the properties of this oil for more than 20 years and developing various compositions based on it up to the present day, we keep admiring the multitude of its positive effects on the skin. Another unique ingredient for cosmetics is volcanic clay. More than half of the world’s mud volcano deposits are located on the territory of Azerbaijan. Thorough research and many laboratory tests have proved the high effectiveness of using compositions based on volcanic clay in the production of cosmetics. Today, these findings have been checked and patented. Such a variety of active ingredients, unique and unparalleled in the world, is our great advantage and hope, no, rather confidence that we can become, if not the best, then at least one of the best in the global cosmetics market.

There are no insurmountable problems that would prevent us from producing high-end cosmetic products. Perhaps the production of perfumes and cosmetics may not be an Azerbaijani tradition, but it surely is a good prospect for Azerbaijan.

CE: What is your style of running business? What traits of your character help in your work?

Zarifa Hamzayeva: Gazelli Group is a family business. I have two daughters and when the company was founded in 1999, they were still in college. The eldest daughter Jamila witnessed all the stages of the company’s formation from the very beginning and participated in its work. As Gazelli Group’s Vice President, today she is running its UK branch, promoting our brands in the European market. Presentation of our luxury SkinCare line in London at the world-famous Harrods shopping center is largely a merit of Jamila’s team who are on a thorny path of conquering the European cosmetics market. My junior daughter Mila, too, has since 2004 been busy developing Gazelli Art House which is a part of Gazelli Group.  She is,too, the Vice President of Gazelli Group and heads Gazelli Art House in Baku and London, promoting the art of Azerbaijani and world artists and perfecting spiritual beauty in tandem with art. In general, the company’s family spirit is tangible, and we do not want to lose it. Married couples and their children work for the company - all of that creating vibes of a large, friendly family, whose members support each other and work for the benefit of their family and motherland.

Speaking of my main character traits, I would mention excessive stringency primarily to myself and subsequently to others. I am democratic, but do not favor or allow over-familiarity.  I am for building an accurate system for performing any type of activity. A system implies a well-structured mechanism for every stage of work, for interaction within the structure. Thus, if a structure is a skeleton, the system is the blood circulation while people are the muscles.  The key point is to set a clear objective and tasks, to make a decision based on consensus and then plunge into its implementation. 

We have certain team formation rules. So far they have not failed us. We seldom part with employees who have worked for us for long, although, like anywhere, we have staff turnover. An unsuitable person soon realizes that he/she does not fit in the team.  Then it all goes easily – the person leaves without conflicts. On our part we create a favorable environment for a productive performance. The factory provides good working conditions, including comfortable locker rooms, a cafeteria, uniforms, comfortable work stations, and a medical room. To us, professionalism, discipline, responsibility, initiative and creative approach are key. That is pretty much how our team develops shape. For us, a very important point is the employees’ desire to improve their skills, professionalism, and motivation.

Corporate spirit, sincere friendly environment, mutual assistance and focus on a single coordinated result are the main qualities of our company’s team.

CE: Chanel claimed the ‘Nature gave a woman the face she had at twenty. Life shaped the face she had at thirty. But at forty she get the face she deserved.’ What is your idea of female beauty?

Zarifa Hamzayeva: Yes, and she also said: “Important is not what you are but who you are!” Femininity and style lie beyond fashion! Style is when a man’s inner world is being reflected in outward appearance. Every human is made up from advantages and faults. I prefer noticing the advanta­ges. There is something beautiful in every person. Beauty is the result of constant perfection of one’s soul and body.

 

“Beauty is not a gift; it is attained by diligence and efforts…”

 

 Vazeh ХVIII century 

There is a category of people who, in any society, attract attention with their extraordinary charm. They always look stunning. They catch the eye and make you ponder over the mystery of their stylishness. They inspire to look and to listen to them. There is something inside the person, something inconceivable. To me, such a person is the First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva. All of Gazelli philosophy is manifested in her – wisdom, soul, mind, and beauty, external and internal. She is the person who dedicates all her time to solving issues pertaining to culture, healthcare, and education, working in credible international organizations, and promoting Azerbaijan’s image at international forums throughout the world. I think Mehriban Aliyeva’s portrait is worth emulating.

For some, that will require learning and working hard, for others – improving and coming to shape.  It is good to have someone to follow. I guess, on the path of discovering our destined mission, it is very important to have an ideal example to follow.

CE: What is your favorite fragrance? What does childhood smell like?

Zarifa Hamzayeva: It smells sweetness and vanilla. Sometimes I am asked about the origins of my production talent. I grew up in a family of production employees. My father was a director of lemonade factory and mother headed a tea factory. They loved their job while my sisters and I always knew what was going on at parents’ workplace. For example, some Azerbaijani tea brand would win a prize at a fair in Germany or a new kind of lemonade named Golden Rose (by the way, I still love the fragrance of rose) would appear in stores, or the factory would achieve the set production goals or receive new equipment or mom would become a parliament member. I grew up in that environment which may have subconsciously influenced my decision to start a production.

Also, I often remember the vanilla pies my mom used to bake: sweet fragrances have since become my favorite.

CE:  You have many certificates on the wall here. Which awards are the most important to you?

Zarifa Hamzayeva: The support and recognition of the domestic producer is vital for the further development of the company’s business. Success and achievements are the result of efforts, dedication, and professionalism of every employee of Gazelli Group.

National and international awards manifest the quality of our products and serve as further inducement for working on new projects, carrying out further researches, and developing new cosmetic products. 

Every award implies recognition of work done by us. On the other hand, it stirs a strong sense of responsibility and the need to continuously develop your ideas and head toward new achievements.

Participation in exhibitions, too, is a way to promote yourself, encounter new contacts and fulfill your potential. We have been awarded diplomas at many specialized international exhibitions hosted in France, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye, and Azerbaijan.

 It is noteworthy that cosmetics exhibitions differ from all other exhibitions by their extraordinary festive and business-friendly atmosphere. A cosmetics exhibition always features bright colorful stands, an amazing mix of aromas floating in the air, as well as music and dazzling showcases performed on several stages by leading hair stylists and cosmetologists. At the same time, it involves conferences, seminars, workshops, plenty of interesting and cognitive meetings, and, consequently, lots of new ideas. Meeting at exhibitions, representatives of many countries learn not only about our company, but also about our country as a whole. We always bring a wealth of information about Azerbaijan to exhibitions and treat our stand visitors to Azerbaijani sweets.

CE:  What is the difference between products made for Azerbaijan and those for Europe?

Zarifa Hamzayeva: The beauty industry is very closely tied to the concept of fashion trends and, consequently, the variability of consumer preferences.

Our cosmetics are the means to reach inner harmony and beauty; these are cosmetic products for those who value high quality and strive to preserve and emphasize their individuality.

In the manufacture of our products, we always use our natural resources whose uniqueness I have already spoken about. Apart from naphthalan oil and volcanic clay, noteworthy are caviar of rare breeds of sturgeon fish, water from medicinal mineral springs, Caspian Sea salt and rare plant species, the extracts of which we produce ourselves. All these are not a complete list of the riches of a single country – Azerbaijan.

Our cosmetics products are made on the basis of advanced methods and technologies, and national traditions. We produce cosmetics for all skin types, for use in different seasons of the year, for all ages and for people living in different environmental conditions. On the one hand, we produce new cosmetics brands in different price categories and on the other hand, we constantly expand the range of existing brands. Another important point for us is to provide a consumer as many opportunities as possible to purchase our products, and to make sure that our cosmetics are affordable.

CE: The traditional question: what would you wish to our readers?

Zarifa Gamzayeva: Probably the most beautiful woman is she who feels comfortable wearing her true self.  Then it does not matter how old she is or what size she is wearing. It is key for a woman to evaluate and accept her natural beauty.

All that is gifted by nature is yours, while how beautiful it will become depends on you, on your upbringing, behavior and soul! Love and discipline yourself and you will be beautiful. Meanwhile, Gazelli is adding beauty to your life…

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