I love the beauty halls in the major London department stores such as Selfridges, John Lewis Oxford Street, Liberty and Harvey Nicks…the convenience of being able to purchase all of my favourite brands all under one roof is a boon and the in store theatre, promotions, window displays and the opportunity to discover new, exclusive brands all add to the joy of beauty shopping….
…sometimes, however it is nice to leave the hustle and bustle behind and visit the stand alone boutique of individual brands.
That is exactly what I did over the last weekend – and how lovely it was indeed.
Diptyque – Brook Street, W1
Miller Harris – Bruton Street W1
Although department stores are convenient, they can often feel impersonal, but this was not the case at all with the stores that I visited – I was not just another faceless customer, the staff went above and beyond to make me feel welcomed and valued. Also, I very much prefer niche fragrances that are unusual and eclectic, so thought it would be a nice change to take the time to rediscover the beautiful stores that house these creations.
I was actually on my way to Space NK on Brook Street, when I happened upon the Diptyque store. I had had no idea that this store was located here (which is very unusual for me!!), and was shocked to learn that it had been open for 3 years! The store is quaint and petite, but is perfectly formed. I adore the Diptyque range!
The candles are divine and extremely long lasting (my favorite scent is Tubéreuse) and the although the cult fragrance that has amassed a dedicated following is the fig based Philosykos, I prefer the fruity scent of Oyedo.
The Diptyque consultant was extremely knowledgeable and took her time to introduce us to the latest fragrance, Eau Rose (£60.00) and also demonstrated how could be combined with Philosykos to create a whole new fragrance….which I actually found to be quite appealing . This was a surprise – as not only am I not Philosylos’ biggest fan, neither do I take to well to rose scented fragrances! So it goes to show that the staff can play a critical role in assisting you to discover a new experience that you might have otherwise discounted.
At no time, did she try to ‘sell’ me any thing (unlike many department store ‘spritzers’ ), but was happy to answer all of my my questions and allow me to peruse the beautiful surroundings at my leisure…pure heaven! I left with a cute sample of the fragrance Do Son, which contains – you guessed it – tuberose! The other ingredients of berries and flowers create a concoction that is sweet, but not saccharine and is perfect for every day wear.
Ever since I was given a bottle of L’air De Rien over 5 years ago, I have been besotted with the fragrance and the brand behind its creation. I will have to do a separate post on this fragrance because it is SO gorgeous…
The brand’s creator and the nose behind the fragrant offering is Lyn Harris.
Lyn Harris has been working in the fragrance industry for more than twenty years and founded Miller Harris in 2000. She spent five years training in France at one of the highly prestigious schools of the perfume elite in Paris and then Robertet in Grasse.
The Mayfair flagship store offers a peaceful retreat from the bustle of Bond street with a Fragrant Tea Room at the rear of the store. I arrived at the store at about 6.15pm…not realising that the store closed at 6pm! The door was locked but the lights were still on.
As I was peering through the window a member of staff appeared and came to the door. I expected her to say we are closed and advise me of the opening times for future visits….but no, she opened the door and invited me in! ‘You have made your way here to see us’ she said and welcomed me as if it was 12 o’clock midday!
NOW THAT IS WHAT I CALL CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!
We chatted about the fragrances and candles and as you can see I didn’t leave empty handed!
It was just so refreshing to receive genuine customer focused service – to see someone go above and beyond the what was reasonable to expect.
In the word’s of the Mastercard adverts – this is priceless.
Just 6 days until Christmas!! How are you tackling the mission that is the big ‘Christmas Shop’ ?
Well, if you are looking for inspiration, I would highly recommend a gift from the Australian make up brand BECCA!
The lovely ladies at the BECCA London office invited me to an exclusive industry event last week, which was hosted at the newly renovated boutique, located on Pelham Street in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea!
As I had mentioned in a previous blog post, I had learned about the BECCA brand when it was sold in Space NK – but this was the first time that I visited the stand alone boutique.
The interior is a blend of the sumptuous textures of descendant chocolate velvet and sparkling mirrored panelling and lighting which creates a chic interior that is both welcoming and luxurious.
If you have to buy a present for a cosmetic obsessed friend or family member – you really can not go wrong with a choice from BECCA, as the brand has a range suitable for ALL skin tones, plus many other services that I for one would be extremely happy to find under my tree.
Game, Set, MATCH
It was so much fun to further explore the product range. The foundation range is fabulous – as a black woman, I know that finding a shade that suits not only my complexion, but works well with my skin type (which is slightly on the oily side – a common feature of dark skin) can often prove to be a challenge. I did find my match – the Stick Foundation (£30) in Almond. It literally disappeared upon application…perfection! I also really liked the Shimmering Skin Perfector (£33) in Topaz – fantastic for creating a dewy finish – perfect for the party season! The water-based moisturiser has a SPF of 20+ and light-diffusing particles of shimmer that creates instant radiance and vitality.
Make – Up MaestroBECCA is loved by the professional MUA – and you too can gain the skills to enhance your beauty by attending the Introduction to Make-Up Application 2 day course at the BECCA Make-Up Academy. Perfect for the fashion aware, professionals who need to maintain a polished appearance at all times, or the busy mother who wants to enhance her personal makeup routine. Taught by a BECCA International Makeup Artist, the course focuses on skincare, makeup preparation and brush use. During the course, attendees will also receive an exclusive 30% discount on all product purchases!!
I really enjoyed the event and will be definaitly following the brand in the New year – not only did it celebrate it’s 10th birthday this year, it was also featured as the runner up in the inaugural category for the ‘Best New Product for Darker Skin’ in the 2011 Grazia Beauty Awards – as voted for by…US!
Who’s going to argue with that?