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November 2015

Behind the Scenes, In Conversation..., New Releases

Meet Deco London Founder

Indigo recently welcomed the elegant perfumes of Deco London into Indigo Perfumery’s curated collection. And now it is time to introduce you to the lovely Sophia Fannon-Howell, its founder and creator, whom I’ve had the privilege of getting to know over the past few months.

 

   

Sophia sm     Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I am a mother of two children ages 9 and 7 (my greatest achievement!) I am a Dr of Geology, business owner, entrepreneur and have worked in industry for over 17 years.

I was born and raised in Surrey, England and am descended from poet, satirist and Restoration RakeJohn Wilmot

John Wilmot 2nd Earl of Rochester and Grace O’Malley the Irish ‘Pirate’ Queen.

Perhaps that’s where I get my love of history!

 

What led you decide to focus on perfumes? 

 

I’ve always been drawn to fragrance, but my journey really began when I became interested in essential oils, aromatherapy and perfumery back in 2004, when I began creating fragrances for skincare products.
I had a vision to create a brand to share my love of history and bring the elegance and glamour of times past to a modern audience. Using the medium of fragrance seemed the perfect way to do this and so the idea for Deco was born.

 

How did you come up with your particular scent ideas?

 

For me historical periods and characters are vivid in my imagination. The personalities of 1920s London were larger than life, glamorous, hedonistic, tragic and elegant, coming to terms with a new changing world. I wanted to capture those characters in the fragrances I created.

 

The 1920s was also a time of great advancements in perfumery when many classic perfumes and modern perfume families (oriental, chypre etc.) were created. I looked at the fashionable fragrances and fragrance notes and took inspiration from them.

 

How did you determine which fragrance house to go with?

 

As I was new to the fragrance industry I needed to find some experts to help me create my vision and who understood the challenges faced by a startup company.  deco party

 

I approached Robertet as they create perfumes for some of the biggest brands in the world and have a UK office near to London. Robertet were founded in 1850, so have a long history, which fitted very nicely with the Deco London brand.

They are also the world leader in natural, sustainable and organic ingredients and the only company to fully integrate every stage in the creative process “from Seed to Scent”. This really appealed to me as I have a particular interest in naturals.

 

Robertet enjoy working with new brands and their perfumers were really excited by my brief. They are also a lovely bunch of people!

 

Do you have a holy grail beauty / wellness product you like to use? 

lavender     I still have a love of essential oils. They not only smell great but they possess therapeutic          benefits. I always travel with a little bottle of lavender oil. If my skin is stressed I mix a drop of Lavender essential oil into my moisturizer before I apply it. If I can’t sleep, a few drops on my pillow at night or dabbed on my temples works wonders. I also put a few drops of lavender oil in my children’s bath every evening to calm them down!

 

What fragrances do you like to wear? 

 

I love lots of different fragrances, but I am a vintage Guerlain girl at heart. There is something about that slightly old fusty scent that I love. I also love Chanel No 5, but I don’t like the modern version. I buy vintage bottles on eBay!

 

Were there any especially helpful persons along the way?

 

Everyone I have met in my Deco London journey has been really helpful, but if I have to single someone out it would have to be Robertet. They have been so supportive of both my brand and me. It can be a lonely ride setting up a business, creating a product and taking it to market, but having experts like Robertet at my side has filled me with confidence.

 

In addition to working closely with me on my fragrances, they visit me twice a year at home to give me a personal preview of all the key perfume releases and trends, they give input for PR and marketing and they even give me little samples of the raw ingredients in my perfumes to show customers.

 

Which designers or artists do you look up to or are inspired by?

 

I love Alexander McQueen; his designs were so exciting, exotic and daring and the cut was impeccable. The recent ‘Savage Beauty’ Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London was absolutely mesmerising. He was a genius.

 

I love Ralph Steadman’s Gonzo art, my husband and I have a number of his prints and I also admire British guerrilla artist Banksy’s work. I think I like art with a rebellious edge to it!

Behind the Scenes, Indigo Perfumery, Perfumes

CINNAMON in Perfumery

 

Ceylon cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon

 

 

Cinnamon in a perfume? Customers are often surprised when I answer their question “What am I smelling? I can’t put my finger on it.”

Too often cinnamon is associated with that all too potent potpourri smell of the holiday season- you know, the smell that clings to your clothes for days? Thankfully the perfumers of our four perfumes have fine noses and know when enough is perfect.

 

 

The true cinnamon, C. Verum or zeylanicum is from Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon). It is an evergreen, aromatic tree that must be grown for at least two years before its bark can be cut. After harvesting, the stems must be immediately processed while its inner bark is still wet. The outer bark is first scraped off, the stem is beaten to loosen the inner bark, which then allows the inner bark to be pried off in long rolls which are cut to exactly 4.2 inches long.

 

In America, Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum aromaticum are used because they are sweeter and more aromatic, although they are inferior to the Ceylonese cinnamon. You can tell the difference by smell as well as looks: Ceyonese cinnamon sticks (also known as quills) use only the inner bark and have numerous thin layers with a subtle and aromatic flavor and smell, whereas the C. cassia sticks, using all layers of the bark, are much harder, harsher and stronger in taste and smell.

 

Cinnamon is a well known medicinal spice high in antioxidants, and noted for its boost to mood and memory, for lowering blood sugar and “bad” cholesterol (LDL), for stopping the growth of bacteria in food, for alleviating sinus headaches or migraines and for preventing the onset of cold or flu.

Cinnamon quills can be stored for periods of years as long as they are not a powder.

In perfumery, only Ceylonese cinnamon is used. According to Mandy Aftel, in her must read book, Fragrant, “Cinnamon opens with warm, sweet, candy-like notes, and finishes with a powdery, dry wood.”

 

Cinnamon most often is used as a heart note, imparting a warmth and lightness to other notes.

It takes a very small amount before it overtakes the perfume, so a very light touch is advised.