What comes in a dignified cream box tied with a black grosgrain ribbon? Something from the prestigious British beauty line, Jo Malone. Although the fragrances, lotions, candles and soaps are now the epitome of luxury, founder Jo Malone began the line in her kitchen. Originally a ‘facialist,’ Malone’s first creation was 20 bottles of nutmeg- and ginger-scented bath oil, which she gave out as thank-you gifts to her clients. One client ordered 100 bottles to place as table favors at a prestigious dinner; of the 100 guests, 86 called to place their own orders, and the company was born. LN talked to Jo Malone fragrance and lifestyle director Debbie Wild, who described the process behind the line’s luxury scented soaps.
LN: What brought you to the beauty industry?
DW: I have had a passion for fragrance as long as I can remember and this led me to Jo Malone. I was lucky enough to be part of the founding team that helped build Jo Malone into the global lifestyle brand it is today.
LN: Has Jo Malone always offered the same scents or have they changed with time? Are there some old favorites that still remain popular today?
DW: New scents have been added to our fragrance arc throughout the years, but there are some old favorites such as Lime Basil & Mandarin, which is our signature fragrance, launched in 1991.
LN: How do you decide which fragrances make sense as soaps, and which don’t?
DW: We choose fragrances by popular demand.
LN: Where do you get your inspiration for new scents?
DW: The Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour in London is a kaleidoscope of creative inspiration. I never miss the myriad wonders of the Chelsea Flower Show in late May because of the new design concepts and inspiring scents. Additionally, London’s markets are fabulous. I love browsing at the Dover Street Market, which houses an eclectic mix of fashion and fragrance. For a truly vibrant experience, I recommend Borough Market. It’s crammed full of stalls selling anything from cheeses and chocolates to delicious breads, spices and flowers.
LN: Are Jo Malone soaps ‘triple-milled,’ and what does that mean?
DW: Jo Malone soaps are made from a formula composed of a French triple-milled soap base. This is a high-quality type of soap that is commercially made by a repeated machine-rolling process. The soaps produce a beautiful, rich, creamy lather when used in the bath or shower.
LN: How can a woman know which fragrance is right for her? Is there such a thing as the ‘wrong’ scent?
DW: When choosing a scent, I like to suggest that an individual take their time and always try a new fragrance directly onto the skin so that he/she experiences the development of the top, middle and base notes…I wouldn’t choose to use the term ‘wrong scent,’ as for every individual this is a personal choice.
LN: Do you have a personal favorite among the soaps Jo Malone offers?
DW: Since the spring is upon us, I enjoy the sweet notes in the Nectarine Honey & Blossom Bath Soap.