Alice Beaumont: “I wanted to create scents that remind me of the English country garden”

If you would like to recreate English heritage scents at home, you definitely should try ‘FEU de BEAUMONT’ scented candles and home accessories. Started as a hobby, this brand has now expanded outside globally. These candles were firstly adored by British high society and are now featured in high fashion publications.

- All of my products are inspired by the interesting wares and artifacts I grew up with in Northumberland. This year I am launching our diffuser, along with long, scented matches in a beautifully designed tin box. We have new scents coming soon, such as wild cherry and pine, and it’s a really exciting time for us! I like to keep things fresh and new and often redesign existing products.

- Do you design everything yourself?

Yes, I design everything. I have teams who help with various parts of the work, from logistics and storage outside of London to production who create the candles themselves. I oversee everything, I’m very much Chief Executive.

- What does inspire your scent range?

- Firstly I wanted to create all of scents that I loved; all of scents that remind me of the English country garden, like wild fig. And also I have to think commercially as well. I love floral scents and also woody notes. My ‘Feu de Bois’ scent contains cedar wood which I am crazy about, and my ‘Oudh’ scent is one of the most popular, containing oudh wood, sandalwood, cedar wood, along with lots of other divine scents.

Feu-de-Beaumont

- How did you decide to set up FEU de BEAUMONT?

It took me a long time to set up my company. I’ve always loved scented candles and the way they look when they burn; that wonderful feeling of nostalgia when you smell something and it takes you back to a childhood memory or holiday.

- It’s like Marcel Proust memories…

- Yes, exactly! I also gave great consideration into how my candles looked. I wanted create a candle that kind of transcends the original model by using different materials, so I started experimenting with 22- carat gold plate. And to allow these products to be customised so a candle not only smelled fantastic but it also looked beautiful in your home. So hopefully, with our premium range, we add something to the home visually as well as the scent. That was my starting point: I wanted to create something beautiful, which smelled great and also could be customised.

- How long ago did you set up the company?

- We launched in 2012 but I was working on it two- three years beforehand. So it’s from 2009-2010. It was a hobby though, I launched but even then I still was working full-time for Burberry. And then eventually two years ago I decided to run my business full time. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made!

- Is your education related to your business?

No! Like most of people in Britain who do degrees completely irrelevant to what we are doing. We usually do degrees in humanities and don’t really think about our careers until we leave university. I read Theology and English at Edinburgh University for four years. I also have done perfume courses and candle-making courses.

Feu de Beaumont-Glass Vessel

- Do you merchandise in stores?

- We do, we sell in the Bluebird shop, along with Moda Operandi in New York. We are about to launch in Harrods which is very exciting. And of course we do sell online via our website. Our biggest sales are always at Christmas; with the candles particularly it’s popular time of the year so we do a lot of sales events. It gives us a chance because it’s challenging to launch a brand, and to stand out. I’m up against well-established brands and it’s very difficult to make headway, and get your story out. At events we get a chance to speak with customers and engage them in the story.

- What do you think in this competitive market will make you stand out?

The bespoke element, i.e. the engraving of our candles. It gives the customer a chance to write their own special message on a candle.

- Do you have any exciting stories with bespoke candles?

- It was a really good friend of mine decided to propose to his (now wife) on a candle. So we engraved ‘Will you marry me?’ and put the ring inside. Not a real ring, just a plastic one, because he was travelling to Africa with his soon-to-be-fiancée. So we packed the candle, I tied it really well with a ribbon to make sure she won’t open it before the proposal. She said yes!

- It’s so romantic!

- So sweet. It was the first bespoke candle I’ve ever done. It was definitely the most original commission. Our larger gold candles can be refilled so you can keep them forever. We sell refills for these particular candles.

- I’ve heard about your collaboration to make encrusted candles. What would be your dream candle?

- I would want to create one which is made of solid gold with beautiful gemstones on it spelling somebody’s name.

- You are on the committee of the Boodles Boxing Ball. What’s your role in there?

- The Boodles Boxing Ball has been our charity initiative for the past 7-8 years. It’s an event which has grown so popular. It’s very unusual for the group of friends to organise a charity event like this. Every year we try to raise as much money as we can for Cancer Research UK and try to have a bit of fun in a process. It’s important we do our bit for a charity and help these less fortunate.

- How do you feel about your brand recognition?

- It really feels like we are developing traction and the brand has developed its own energy. It is the first year that journalists are approaching us. Last week in The Independent we were in their top travel candles which is phenomenal. I work twelve hours a day, seven days a week; I live and breathe my company, and when you realise that people are taking note and enjoying your products, it’s really exciting.

 

Text: Irina Smith

Photographs: Courtesy of Alice Beaumont

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