LONDON — There’s no stopping the perfumer Jo Malone — not lockdown nor retail closures nor a ban on travel to her newly opened stores in the Middle East and China.
The London-based Malone has, over the past nine months of quarantine and restricted movement, built on her collaboration with Zara, opened a string of stores in the Middle East for the Jo Loves brand, created fragrances for kids, and is set to unveil a perfume on Christmas Day.
In an interview, Malone added that hard times have only spurred her to take new risks. “You’ve got to live the adventure, and see the green shoots. Survival gives you oxygen and now it’s time to invest, build and rise up.”
On Tuesday, Malone will roll out in the U.S. the Zara Emotions Collection by Jo Loves, a collaboration that began a year ago with the fast fashion giant.
The collection, which will land on Tuesday in Zara’s physical stores and online, includes eight scents with names that have a jet-set — and English aristo — feel such as Amalfi Sunray, Vetiver Pamplemousse, Waterlily Tea Dress and Bohemian Bluebells.
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They’re priced at $39 for 90-ml. bottle. The collection includes candles, hand and body wash, fragrance-filled paint brushes, shampoo, body lotion and gift sets.
Malone said Zara moves so quickly, working with the retailer over the past few years “has been like playing a game of creative ping pong. They’ve changed me and taught me another side of the business.”
Malone stressed that she and Zara have not held back on quality, and that she’s working with similar raw ingredients that she uses for her Jo Loves fragrance label, which is considerably more expensive than the Emotions collection. She said she’s been wowed by the power Zara has in sourcing and buying.
She’s also created an Advent calendar with them, and popped in a new scent, Jo’s Rhubarb, on Christmas Day. The standard size fragrance, which she describes as “very gourmand and masculine, with vetiver and ‘leaf to stalk,’ rhubarb,” will be available to buy on Dec. 25.
Zara said it chose to work with Malone because of “her skill of story-telling through scent.” Malone, the retailer added, worked with the Zara team, taking inspiration from the company’s fashion collections to create the fragrances.
The Zara offer is a broad one, and Malone said home products, such as candles, have been flying off the shelves in markets worldwide.
“Lifestyle fragrances are selling in a way that they didn’t before. There has been a huge cultural and paradigm shift. People are spending more time at home and want their homes to smell good. They want something to lift the spirits.”
She’s also come up with a collection of mother-and-baby fragrances for Zara as well as a dedicated set of children’s fragrances, which will launch soon. The latter have names like Hip Hop Apple, Cherry Watermelon Ice, and Rose Marshmallow Candy, a scent she describes as “jumping on a trampoline.”
During lockdown she made strides with her own brand, Jo Loves, opening shops at Bloomingdale’s and Harvey Nichols in Dubai. Malone said because she and the team could not travel there for the openings, they did everything over Zoom, including dictating what the floors, shop fit and even the lighting should look like. The brand is also ready to open five stores in China.
Malone said the Jo Loves business only accelerated online during lockdown, and she’s working on a fresh set of projects for 2021, including a concept that will see the brand go beyond spritzing, dabbing, paint-brushing and dusting with the launch of a “fragrance delivery” system, among other projects.
“I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m ready to run again,” she said.