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Experience Matters: London’s Ormonde Jayne Lets the Customer Create

The indie brand has also refreshed its Mayfair store and will launch at Saks Fifth Avenue in May.

LONDON — Linda Pilkington has never been afraid of getting up close and personal with her customer. How could she be? Her shop in The Royal Arcade off Old Bond Street is as small as a pillbox and encourages conversation over the long lineup of heady Ormonde Jayne fragrances.

Now, Pilkington plans to get even closer to her customer, offering them the chance to play a part in creating their fragrances, with the launch of services such as made-to-measure, bespoke and in-house engraving.

She’s doing it all from her newly refurbished space, with its 20-foot-high windows hung with theatrical orange velvet curtains, perfume counter shaped like an abstract perfume cap and refrigerator stocked with Champagne.

“You can’t just expect customers to walk into a shop anymore, you have to offer an experience, and that’s something you can’t do in a department store,” said Pilkington from behind the counter, which is lined with her rich fragrances grouped into collections with names such as Love Trilogy and Four Corners of the Earth.

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“You want them to sit down and relax — that’s the way forward,” added Pilkington, whose brand is part of a growing trend in high-end fragrance to involve the customer and lift the veil on the creative process.

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When Harrods’ Salon de Parfums launched in 2014, the store said it wanted to encourage a conversation about fragrance that went beyond the basic elements of the juice, and offered customers the chance to learn about notes and formulas and what goes into making a high-end scent.

The Ormonde Jayne store on Old Bond Street
The Ormonde Jayne store on Old Bond Street Courtesy Photo

Some of the perfumers at Harrods offer special fragrance services, including Penhaligon’s, which is offering semi-bespoke and bespoke.

Ormonde Jayne’s made-to-measure service allows customers to choose from nine top notes to add to a cologne, an oud or a smoke moss. They can also choose the strength of the juice, have their initials engraved on the over cap or have the flacon personalized.

Fragrances from the standard signature range cost 160 pounds for a 120-ml. bottle, while the made-to-measure ones poured with 40 percent fragrance oil cost 240 pounds per 120-ml. bottle.

Pilkington’s fragrances are some of the headiest out there with 30 percent perfume oil in the basic ones, and she said she’s noticed that people nowadays want longer-lasting perfumes. “And they’re far more knowledgeable than before,” she added.

At the end of this year, she plans to launch a bespoke, a by-appointment-only service where, over the course of three to four months, she’ll develop a scent alongside the customer. That service will start at around 10,000 pounds although the final price depends on the ingredients used and the time it takes to make.

The Ormonde Jayne store on Old Bond Street
The Ormonde Jayne store on Old Bond Street Courtesy Photo

On April 2, the brand will also launch a web site allowing customers to build up a “perfume portrait” of themselves so they can decide what best suits them. It will also encourage flavor sampling.

In July, she also plans to Ormonde Jayne Privée, which will be exclusive to Saks Fifth Avenue where the brand will land in May.

In addition to the Old Bond Street store, Ormonde Jayne sells at Selfridges, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, and through more than 100 boutiques in Europe, Russia and the U.S.