The Fragrance Shop’s Athina Macpherson Talks Scents with Sabi Phagura

The Fragrance Shop's Athina Macpherson Talks Scents with Sabi Phagura

The beauty world has changed as we know it in the past two years, with more time indoors and social distancing changing our relationship with some products. While it may seem something as specific as fragrance would lose its power, it’s been the exact opposite. The Fragrance Shop Head of Brand, Athina Macpherson, talks to us about the industry shift and more.

LM: With the holiday season literary just over, tell us what has Christmas been like for The Fragrance Shop?
Athina Macpherson: At the Fragrance Shop, we love the festive season – as well as being one of our busiest periods, it’s also another key time of year where we can truly help “Spray A Little Happiness” in our customer’s everyday lives. Whether assisting them to choose their new signature fragrance for a Christmas party or looking for that perfect gift, there’s nothing quite like fragrance at Christmas time. With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’ll be busy again. Scents never go out of fashion – even covid hasn’t been able to halt its popularity.

A SPICEBOMB gift set from Viktor and Rolf

LM: What is the biggest draw of giving fragrances as gifts?
AM: Fragrance is one of the most personal gifts you can give to someone – you have to really know the person well to know what scents they like and what you think will suit them. A fragrance should be something that sits beautifully on the skin and complements the wearer, which is why a fragrance can be such a wonderfully thoughtful present for that special someone.

That being said, we know how difficult it can be to get it just right – that’s why we’ve created dedicated services to help our customers find that perfect scent for themselves or for someone else. Available in-store and online, our Fragrance Match consultation helps find the ideal “match” within just a few minutes.

Our Fragrance Experts are also always on hand; whether that’s in one of our 200+ stores or a quick chat with them online, they’ll help you find the perfect fragrance. We also have a range of personalisation options too, to really make that gift extra-memorable. From engraving the bottle, personalised ribbons, gift wrapping, gift cards.

LM: Are there any particular scents that capture the smell of fragrance?
AM: As one of the most prevalent scents in both male and female fragrances, vanilla is a firm favourite for many people, and it’s a commonly-requested note both in-store and on our online Fragrance Match service for people wanting to find a similar scent.

Jasmine is another fragrance note that people generally gravitate to – it’s delicate yet intimate, so it is a firm favourite in female fragrances. Male fragrances tend to favour strong scents like cedarwood and tonka bean that are easy on the nose yet linger in the air long after being sprayed.

A man examining a bottle of cologne

LM: What’s your advice on buying someone a fragrance who doesn’t like over-empowering scents?
AM: There are four main categories in fragrance: fresh, floral, oriental and woody. Fresh is the lightest of fragrance notes; floral mainly incorporate flowers; oriental notes are generally headier, while woody fragrances are the strongest of the bunch. While each of these areas can be abrasive on the nose in large doses, people who don’t like overpowering scents should look for fragrances with a good mix of two or more of these categories to balance out the smell.

Alternatively, look to Eau de Toilettes (EDT) rather than Eau de Parfums (EDPs). EDTs are generally lighter on the skin, containing around 5-15% perfume oil compared to EDPs, which are much stronger at 10-20%.

LM: Last year, The Fragrance Shop partnered with children’s charity Rays of Sunshine. Can you tell us a bit about that?
AM: At The Fragrance Shop, our motto is to “Spray A Little Happiness”, always. For us, this means much more than just helping our customers. We want to spread happiness wherever we can, which is why we’re always so keen to give back to charities close to our hearts.

Rays of Sunshine are an incredible charity that helps brighten the lives of seriously ill children across the UK by granting wishes to make their dreams come true. The fantastic work they do fits in so perfectly with our ethos of spreading happiness, so for us, it’s the perfect partnership. Rays of Sunshine is one of our longest-running charity partners – we have been working with them for over ten years, during which time we have helped fulfil over 750 wishes for children with life-shortening illnesses.

For every transaction made in-store, we donate 5p to our charity pot, and the customer has the option to donate too. As well as private donations from the business, we’ve raised over £1.5million so far, a number which continues to grow with everyone’s help and support.

Woman smelling some perfume put on her wrist

LM: What is the best way and part of the body to wear a fragrance that will last all day?
AM: There are so many different ways to wear fragrances. Whether you prefer to spray directly onto your skin or you choose to spritz in the air, there’s no fundamental right or wrong way to spray your fragrance. However, here are some of our top tips to help your fragrance last longer: The best time to spray your fragrance is once you’re dry after a bath or shower – this is where your body is clean and fresh, so your fragrance will last longer.

Always spritz your scent a safe distance from your body – we’d recommend holding the bottle around 5 inches away before you spray. As well as your neck and wrists, we’d recommend spritzing your favourite scent on some of your body’s natural pulse points, such as behind the ear, inside the crook of your elbow and even behind your knees (yes, really!) – These areas all give off heat, which keeps your fragrance fresher for longer.

Although tempting, try not to rub your wrists together when you have just sprayed your fragrance – this can dull its top notes and ultimately change the way it smells on your skin.

The Jimmy Choo Urban Hero boxed set

LM: Fragrances don’t have to be just about wearing them on the body. How else can we enjoy scents around the home and our surroundings?
AM: Wearing perfume or aftershave on your body is the best way to enjoy a fragrance. Give yourself a spritz before you leave the house, and you’ll be smelling fresh for hours! If you’re on the go, our range of travel-size cases (or atomisers as we call them) is a great grab-and-go solution that you can decant your favourite fragrance into and pop in your pocket or handbag to spray on the go.

Candles, reed diffusers and room scents are, of course, perfect additions to the fragrance family. Candles and room sprays offer a lovely, refreshing burst of fragrance when sprayed or lit, while reed diffusers provide you with a continuous, long-lasting scent.

Funnily enough, we’ve just expanded our Home category. We’ve always stocked home fragrances, but our selection has just got bigger and better. This range incorporates everything from affordable aromatherapy brands like Aromaworks, mid-range pieces from the likes of La Montana and Simpatico, to high-end keepsake pieces by top interior homeware designers Lauren Dickinson Clarke and Emma J Shipley. There’s something for every home, style and budget with our Home Fragrance collection.

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The Fragrance Shop's Athina Macpherson Talks Scents with Sabi Phagura 2


Sabi Phagura

Deputy Online Editor

Sabi Phagura is a health, fitness, travel and lifestyle journalist with over 14 years experience in both print and broadcasting media. With Luxurious Magazine, Sabi has travelled the world and experienced some of the finest things that it has to offer. Sabi is one of our most eager and enthusiastic journalists regularly finding unique and exciting destinations. She always creates articles that showcase the subject in the best light via her wealth of knowledge in the luxury travel and dining sectors.

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