Friday, 4 March 2011

Shopkeeper of the Week - Essentially Me

This week we take a look at Essentially Me in our Perfume & Beauty Passage. Based in the heart of the Costwolds, Essentially Me is an artisan perfumery which specialise in small quantities of exquisite natural scents, bespoke fragrances and professional perfume kits as well as workshop courses - perfect gift material!

Recently Alec Lawless, the perfumer behind the company, was featured on BBC 2's Victorian Pharmacy were he created a new scent called The Empress of India. An opulent tribute to the natural aromatic riches of the Orient, it is truly fit for a Queen. The fragrance is available in Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette strengths in a 56ml bottle, as well as in a handy 12ml handbag-size atomiser ( which comes with a voucher for £10 off a full-size bottle).

The Empress of India has also been entered for the Fragrance Foundation’s FiFi awards in the Best Niche Fragrance category. The FiFi awards are the "Oscars" of the Fragrance Industry and the award is voted for by readers of Basenotes, the leading online community dedicated to all things perfume. Voting goes live in the next couple of weeks so it would e great to show the all our support!

Also, don't miss reading Alec's blog, it's a fascinating look at what inspires him to make perfume.

We take a few moments out with Sian and Alec:

How would you best describe your e-shop?

Essentially Me is the only Natural Perfumery in the UK, creating beautiful fragrances with the finest natural aromatics. We're also a one-stop shop for perfume enthusiasts wanting to create their own perfumes, with a range of perfumery ingredients, lab supplies and courses for everyone - from the beginner to the experienced natural perfumer.

Who/what are your biggest influences?

Perfumer, Alec Lawless, is inspired by trying to recreate a golden age of perfumery, which we think held sway between the end of the 19th Century and the mid 1940's. In this period, the great perfumers worked with mostly natural aromatics, a small percentage of the (then) new aromachemicals and animal musks. We don't use animal musks - we've created our own botanical musk - but we do use a tiny percentage (around 1%) of fragrance compound; and most importantly, we focus on sourcing the finest natural aromatics in the world.

Where is your favourite spring/summer place to visit for inspiration?

The Cotswolds, where we are based, is full of beautiful places - Slimbridge Wetlands, Westonbirt Arboretum or just a walk in the country pretty much anywhere around here!

What is your favourite item from your current collection?

Perfumery is such a personal choice - it depends on your mood each day, time of year, place you're going to. We can't choose! One of our most popular fragrances is "Empress of India" which Alec created for BBC TV's The Victorian Pharmacy last summer - inspired by the Indian subcontinent, it's a heady mix of rose and jasmine (including a special arabian jasmine known as sambac), with sandalwood, vanilla, citrus and spices. Heavenly.

Do you have any new items about to be launched?

We're hoping that our new Wedding Favours will be popular with brides-to-be: the couple choose from our Fragrance Collection (10 different perfumes) and we specially package our 1ml miniatures in a pretty organza bag with a personalised card.

What do you enjoy most about being one of the shops in The Secret Arcade?

It's lovely to be exhibited with other Artisan businesses - the quality of the products is so high and truly individual.

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