Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - March/April 2024

41 PROFILE AMPERSAND FRAGRANCES T: +44 (0)207 993 8165 have perhaps typically been pigeon holed as a ‘feminine scent.’ When you strip it back to the scent only, it’s amazing to see people make up their own minds. You should wear what you like and not be led by a market team. How do you keep your designs fresh and current? Do you follow trends? Honestly, we’re more about less design and distraction – which I guess gives us quite a modern look. We always keep our nose ready for fragrance trends – but we’re about giving our customers fragrances they love over internet trends! What sets you apart from your competitors? Retailers. We love to work and partner with retailers of all sizes. If they’re proud of their business, keep fresh and engage with their customers, the chances are we’d love to work with them. Most fragrance brands have a snobbery about them, we’re the very opposite – as larger brands pull from independent department stores, we’re expending that customer base – and smaller boutiques and lifestyle stores often share our core values, so they become really amazing people to work with. How are you finding the current climate in the UK? Is it affecting business? Because we’ve always considered price from the outset, it’s actually worked a little in our favour. The feedback we’re getting from retailers is that people are bored of paying £120 for an average bottle of fragrance – and when they discover us, our concept and price point, they’re often sold. We’re trying to make fine fragrance accessible to everyone. How do you view the future of independent retail? I think it’s faced significant challenges over the past few years for sure, but I honestly believe for those people willing to think a little more outside the box and engage with their customers, the future is really bright. You can never underestimate how great customer service sticks in your mind – engagement that can’t be replicated online. By offering more unique products in different environments and combining it with great personalities, I think it’s a really exciting space. Are you active on social media? How is this important for the business? No, it’s not something that really works with fragrance, it’s an interactive product which means our retailers are far more important to us. We don’t utilise it as a tool that most businesses use it for. We believe in face-to-face interaction and organic growth. We’ll only use it actively in order to promote our retailers, not pay our way into success. Do you have any advice for new businesses starting out in the world of gifts? I think be fluid. I love to attend events, retail shows and ask questions, which help us really refine our offering. It’s really easy to just blindly go in one direction – I think as long as you’re always standing back and taking a look at yourself and your business, you’ll go far. What can we expect in the future from the company? We really want to concentrate on the UK market for the next year or two and really find out feet with our growing list of retailers. We’re trying different ranges with different stores and getting feedback from what works what doesn’t. Our aim is to of course grow, but in as controlled a way as we can manage!