top of page

Expanding your presence in the Middle East: Selling your cosmetic brand effectively

CCUK was delighted to host a webinar with colleagues from the Middle East on 12th December which was designed to provide tips and advice for anyone looking to sell their products into this region. We were delighted to have three speakers, whose expertise is evident through the know- how shared in the Webinar. 

At the end of the Webinar, we asked the speakers for their top tips! 

Sonia Zaknoune, a Middle East business development specialist and founder of KAZAConsultancy strongly advocated doing thorough market research and market analysis; she said “the market in MENA is very competitive with a lot of existing products and what can really make a difference is to really understand your product positioning in this market”.

Yasser Bayrakdar, founder of the RAQAM Consultancy, stressed that in relation to your Brand, “it's important to understand the regulatory framework in this region and to also be on top of the news, regulatory changes and recent developments in the region”. Yasser also stressed that once you decide to enter this market, don’t rely on distributors or others to tell you what to do; much better to be very well informed to make the best decisions for your business.

Monika Kemp, Santander Corporate & Commercial Bank UK, who introduced their Navigator platform, which is designed to help many businesses to negotiate the often complex scenarios of international markets, urged those keen to break into new markets to give the Navigator platform a try. She said “I'm going to say, start Santander, navigate it free for a year. See? Try it, see if you like it, and hopefully you find it as a useful toolkit with your international journey”.

Speakers Biographies

Monika Kemp

Monika leads the UAE & Australia Trade Corridors as part of the International and Sector Solutions team at Santander Corporate & Commercial Bank in the UK. Her focus is on helping Santander’s corporate and commercial customers identify opportunities and overcome challenges with regards to trade and investment projects between the UK and UAE, Australia. Monika manages Santander’s relationship with banking and non-banking partners in UAE & Australia and works with counterparts on joint initiatives and projects relating to bilateral UK-UAE and UK-Aus trade and investment.​


Monika has spent the last 12 years in trade & investment, during this time she has spent 4 years at PA Consulting specifically on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the Department for International Trade, working with overseas British Embassy across the US, EMEA, and Australia, and international clients to support their UK expansion. Following this Monika spent 2 years at a Top UK 20 accountancy firm, Kingston Smith, focusing on leading the business development & strategy for the US-UK markets. Since then, Monika joined Santander in 2017 focusing on FDI and transitioned to developing the international proposition for UAE & Australia markets. Monika holds a degree in Applied Mathematics & Business and has a particular interest in strategy, new ventures and international business cultures.​


Sonia Zaknoune

Sonia Zaknoune, Entrepreneur and Middle East Business Development Specialist, originally from France, has been living and working in Dubai, UAE, since 2006. Her journey began with Emaar Hospitality Group, and she later ventured into roles with companies like Nespresso. Throughout her career, Sonia has undertaken various projects across the Gulf region, including Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

As a Middle East business development specialist and 17 years of hands-on experience in the region, Sonia founded KAZAconsultancy and believes in helping other entrepreneurs and businesses develop clear strategies to introduce their solutions into the GCC markets. Her goal is to leverage this wealth of experience and well-established network to assist businesses in swiftly entering and navigating the Middle East market. Her expertise serves as a guide for companies aiming to fast track their entry in this dynamic business landscape.

Yasser Bayrakdar

Yasser, Business Development Manager, RAQAM Consultancy, is a diligent and self-directed Sales and Marketing professional who started his career with RAQAM in 2014. Formerly leading a successful and talented team of Regulatory specialists as an Operation Manager at RAQAM, Yasser has developed and implemented efficient systems to deliver successful projects to our esteemed clientele.

Yasser has also been utilizing his technological expertise to support the entire business workflow and has now taken a new challenge to improve client communications and customer satisfaction.

The RAQAM Consultancy journey began in 2011, leveraging expertise in the food and beverage industry across the Middle East. “By 2018, we extended our focus to include personal care, home care, and disinfectant products. In 2020, we ventured into the cosmetics realm within the MENAT region. By 2023, we expanded our services to become a strategic regulatory partner for global cosmetic brands in the MENAT Region. Recognized for our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of consumers, we actively seek and implement solutions that benefit all stakeholders in the cosmetics industry”.

RAQAM bridges the gap between FMCG companies and authorities to maintain compliant products and responsible regulations while guaranteeing public safety. Areas of expertise include:

Product Compliance:

• Formula validation

• Label validation

• Technical translation

• Registration Support

 Quality Assurance:

• QA general consultancy

• Global & local certifi cation support

• Investigating & Auditing


Regulatory Intelligence:

• Research & analysis

• Horizon scanning

• Early updates & warning

• Tailor-made training programs


• Crisis management

• Special approvals

• Problem Solving


bottom of page