Training to become a beauty and massage therapist was the beginning of a fabulous journey which led me to a wonderful vocation and into the very special world of perfume and essences.
I trained with the remarkable Clare Maxwell-Hudson, Clare had a supreme team of health and well being professionals and it was possible to continue training and gain experience at Diploma level for as long as you wanted, the variety of courses enabled me to set up a home practice with confidence and to keep adding to my treatment menu.
I had read about Micheline Arcier, the renowned Aromatherapist and her amazing clinic, at that time her training programmes were for post graduate therapists so I was able to add to my skills and I embarked on her pregnancy aromatherapy massage course and later her fabulous lifting facial treatment.
I eventually opened my shop in Primrose Hill in the mid 1990s and decided I wanted to create a perfumery around the treatments, this arrangement worked successfully for a few years until I realised the perfumery was taking over my time and I decided to just concentrate on this side of the business.
During the mid 1990s Niche fragrances were really beginning to interest women who were looking for something quite different from the large commercial brands available everywhere. The shop was great fun, it was very popular and successful, there were very few shops in London at that time selling sophisticated and unusual niche fragrances and we enjoyed introducing these more unusual and new perfumes to our customers.
Well being and skin care was also an integral part of the business, we persuaded Micheline Arcier to let us stock her wonderful face and body oils and worked with both Darphin and Environ, two brilliant skin care companies.
I closed my shop a few years ago but the 16 years in Primrose Hill were one of the very best times for me – The Studio Perfumery gave me the huge privilege of working with some of the very best niche perfume names, being part of new launches and perhaps in our small way helping some of these new fragrances on their journey to success.
Although I invariably missed running The Studio Perfumery, I have enjoyed the past 5 years, it has given me time to pursue other aspects of perfume and beauty. During this period I have worked with Maggie Brown, a facial Acupuncturist, developing an Aromatherapy face oil collection for her practice, creating a face oil for Perfume & Paris and running a small mail out skin care business.
I am still hugely interested in perfumes and I enjoy following the development of the smaller niche companies, there are some very imaginative and very clever and talented perfumers who have emerged during the past 20 years and I think there is still enormous scope for more as the boundaries are endless and our appetite for the most unusual just keeps the interest alive.
I spend most of my time in London but I also have a tiny Studio in Paris where I can indulge in a little French style and joie de vivre – Paris is still the best perfume destination and fragrance is never far from my thoughts when I am in the City.