16 Jun 2021 --- With today’s flourishing fragrance market, brands are tapping into their inspiration, ingenuity and innovation capabilities to produce fragrances that are truly creative and stand out on the shelf. BPC Insights spoke to Linda Pilkington, founder and CEO of Ormonde Jayne about the importance of creativity in fragrance conceptualization and formulation.
New product development (NPD) in the fragrances category has recorded positive growth in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with fragrance’s share of personal care NPD rising from 6% to 8% from 2018 to 2020, Innova’s Fragrance Trend Analysis report, released in April 2021, reveals.
With Europe being the leading region for fragrance launches in the second half (H2) of 2020 with a 58% share, brands are delving into the world of fragrance ingredients, formats and packaging to create a sought-after scent profile to appeal to consumers’ demand for personal luxuries and treats.
A scent of inspiration
Click to EnlargeOrmonde Jayne has made the process of perfume-making into an art form. Source: Ormonde Jayne. After 20 years on London’s Bond Street, perfume house Ormonde Jayne has made the process of perfume-making into an art form, drawing on a variety of sources of inspiration to invigorate its scent collections.
Commenting on whether there are certain skills or experiences that Ormonde Jaynes’ founder has developed over the past two decades and that are instrumental to creating the brand’s fragrances, Pilkington reveals: “It's a combination of many aspects. I did a lot of reading and a lot of research. I was also quite lucky, in so much as I met some very accomplished perfumers.”
“If you've got a fertile mind, you can see inspiration with just the slightest thing; I get 101 thoughts a day about everything,” Pilkington shares on what inspires her and ultimately guides Ormonde Jaynes’ collections.
So where does Ormonde’s Jayne’s fragrance collections start? “Even if it's just interiors, or if I see a beautiful flower display, I'm forever taking photographs. I can't bear it if I see something beautiful and I haven't captured it,” says Pilkington. “I've always got a pair of scissors in my bag, just in case I have to clip something,” Pilkington adds.
Being open to the unusual or unexpected places creativity may pop up from, is also a key part of deriving fragrance formulation ideas. “I'm always prepared to see what the day brings. Creativity is brimming at all times because I'm very interested. I like esthetics. I like the way things look,” conveys Pilkington.
Setting or following trends?
Describing her relationship with fragrance trends, Pilkington reveals: “Sometimes I am bang on the nail and then some people say to me, 'How did you know it was going to be that trend?' And I have absolutely no answer.” Following that instinctive nod towards notes and important fragrance considerations that resonate with consumers has been an integral part of Ormonde Jayne since its inception. “We were doing gender-free fragrances 18 years ago,” confirms Pilkington.
The evolution of formulation influences
Click to EnlargeChoosing fragrances that are unique and stand out is a challenge. As the founder of a selective perfume house, Pilkington agrees: “In the beginning, when I decided to create perfumes not widely used in the perfume industry, I struggled for a while to find these oils. I traveled with some fantasy idea from my big botanical book of oil that I was hoping to bring back—then realizing that nobody extracts it and it doesn't exist.”
One day somebody gave Pilkington a tip, which would prove a very valuable one. They said, "Why don't you phone up some of the fragrance houses and say to them, "Can you give me your list of specialty oils?" Those are the oils they don't have in high quantities, so the big perfume houses don't use them. “That was genius,” confirms Pilkington. The fragrance founder phoned up the first company, Expressions Parfumées in Grasse, and said, "Do you have speciality oils?" She said, "Yes,” and happily confirmed she could send her a list. Within five minutes, all these faxes were coming through to Pilkington with the list of these oils. “It was like bingo, I have got something to work with now,” the brand founder describes.
After exploring some options, Pilkington reveals she immediately thought: "I must have that. I must have that. I must have that.” After researching and learning that no perfume existed on the market using the fragrant ingredients she was exploring, such as the base note Black Hemlock, for example, Pilkington decided: “I'm going to make perfume.”
So the idea behind Ormonde Jayne is that people come into the boutique and if they say "I like jasmine,” the brand’s team would respond by saying: "'We don't have jasmine, we have Sampaguita. It's the national flower of the Philippines.' That was the whole style of the company and it went down very well,” confirms Pilkington. Consumers would come in and ask for a more familiar note, and then the brand would recommend ones that had similar qualities. Like, "I like tuberose," I said. "Well, I've got frangipani." "I like jasmine." "I've got Sampaguita." "I like amber." "I've got Tolu; it's a sweet resin from Peru,” explains Pilkington. “They all smell very nice as well, they're all beautiful,” Pilkington adds.
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Editor