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.
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 Rake
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.
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?
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!