The Way We Do Things

How we do things around here.

By Sarah.

There is a Japanese belief that to talk about your ethics is unethical, that it's better to get on with what you do quietly.

On the other hand, the British are usually a good deal more questioning (and sometimes downright nosy - in a good way) about the way companies behave, so here is some info about what we do and why.

  • We handmake and bottle all our perfumes at our studio in Acton. The majority of perfume brands have their fragrances made by specialist perfumers to their exact needs. We're a bit different because we love the real hands on creative part of it all.
  • Most of our perfumes are sold in London shops, so our transport energy use is low. (And we often deliver by bus, or Interlink as they're carbon neutral.)
  • The only powered machinery we use regularly is our balance for weighing raw materials, so our energy use is tiny. We now have a dishwasher, but it's greener than boiling the kettle to do the dishes.
  • Once in a while, we do use an electric bottling machine, but usually it's a person with a jug and a funnel.
  • We've got huge west-facing windows so our lighting bill is pretty low too (and this year we're planning to grow tomatoes, aubergines and cucumbers).
  • We've got ceramic energy efficient heaters for winter because it gets blinking cold and we don't think it's ethical to freeze our colleagues, however we also provide hand knitted woolly jumpers because it's better to put one of those on than to crank up the thermostat.
  • It gets really hot in summer, so we open the windows and the back door and complain a lot. We also run two fans.
  • We rent our space from Shepherd's Bush Housing Association, so we're helping to fund affordable housing in West London. Another benefit is that we have a fair, honest landlord, which is great.
  • We like our packaging to be reusable, recycled and beautiful.
  • Our scent hankies are made by the CC Shroff Self Help Centre in Mumbai; they are hand printed on organic fair trade cotton. Please do visit their site.
  • Our boxes come from Baddeley Brothers of Hackney, so transport is minimal and they are 100% recyclable.
  • Our bottles are made in France, then printed just along the road in London W7 by Pochpac.
  • Our tins came from a British company, but it turns out they had them made for us in China. At least they travelled by sea, and they're so lovely that we're sure everyone will keep them and use them forever. They're recyclable. Anyway, you live and learn.
  • We ship with Royal Mail, and for Europe we use Interlink/DPD who go by land and are a carbon neutral company.
  • For the US we have to use FedEx or we can't ship at all owing to the dangerous goods IATA regulations. If we can find a way to ship by sea we will.
  • No EU cosmetics are allowed to be tested on animals, so ours aren't. European companies who boast that their cosmetics aren't tested on animals are just doing it for the marketing. (It's the ones who fight to stop raw materials to be tested on animals who are the good guys, like Lush, Sarah's former employer.)
  • China insists on animal testing cosmetics so we don't sell our perfumes there. (Most of the big guys do; look it up if you're interested.)
  • Our products are vegetarian. There is honey absolute in Babylon Sunset, Dirty Honey and Sunshine & Pancakes, and there's butter extract in Time to Draw the Raffle Numbers.
  • We use natural and synthetic perfumery materials in our scents, and we follow IFRA (International Fragrance Association) guidelines and EU regulations
  • The materials most likely to give people a rash are the naturals, because naturals will contain 300 to 600 different chemicals, made naturally by plants.
  • The EU has banned or restricted anything that harms the skin or the environment, bless them.
  • Perfumery synthetics are around 98% - 99.9% pure; there's really no such things as a pure essential oil. Using synthetics in perfumery (which has been happening since the 1880s) is like putting baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in your fairy cakes so they rise.
  • If something is wrong with your order we'll fix it, just let us know.