We are absolutely thrilled to share with you that back in February '23, our founder, Melissa, had the wonderful opportunity to engage in a captivating conversation with Sally-ann Bloomer, the Editor of Live 24 - Seven Magazine.
As the Midlands' premier luxury lifestyle magazine and property guide, Live 24 - Seven has truly showcased our story in their May 2023 edition.
We are truly grateful to Live 24 - Seven for featuring us, and we couldn't be more appreciative of their support. It is an honour to be included among the pages of such a prestigious publication.
Delve into the full interview below which provides a comprehensive glimpse into our journey and vision.
When Melissa Wilkes worked as a counter girl at the Estée Lauder beauty counter in Beatties, her hometown of Worcester, little did she think she would one day be running her own luxury home fragrance brand.
"The customer care at Estée Lauder was exceptional," she recalls. "We would keep handwritten notes on all of our customers about their family, their likes, their recent holidays, and talk to them about it – so it was a truly personal experience. I learnt so much."
“I worked for Estée Lauder Companies when Estée was still alive. She was one of the first female entrepreneurs - a true visionary.”
It was not the world of beauty that Melissa first went into though. After studying law, she spent 10 years working as a criminal lawyer in London. In 2014, she and her husband moved back to their home county of Worcestershire, specifically Inkberrow, as they believed it was the ideal place to raise a family. They are now proud parents to their daughter, Matilda. While Matilda was young, Melissa focused on other businesses, including an international CPD company that provided training for physiotherapists and osteopaths (her husband, Chris, is a lecturing osteopath). More recently, she ventured into a company that sold upscale luggage imported from Vietnam.
While this gave her and Chris more freedom within their work as well as new perspectives on running businesses, it was never quite enough for Melissa and she still hankered after launching her own brand.
"I had a vision of creating something sustainable, ethically made using skilled artisan British craftspeople who love what they do.” she explained.
“I had this idea which I was always subconsciously thinking about and I suppose I just wanted to see what I could achieve with a product of my own, something which I’d built from scratch.”
When working for Estée Lauder, Melissa says her favourite element was always the fragrances and she says her husband often commented on her amazing ability to be able to recognise other people’s scents.
"I just thought that was normal," she laughs.
Melissa initially set out to create perfumes but then shifted her focus to home fragrances.
"I felt I could do something truly special with home fragrance, to elevate what's currently available," she shared. "I am quite fanatical about gifting and wrapping, so I wanted my product to be something people could truly enjoy as a complete experience, from unboxing to the amazing scents."
"So many candles come in glass jars imported from China with sticky labels. I believed we could do so much better by utilising British craftsmanship."
Instead, Melissa's luxury candles are enclosed in exquisitely crafted fine bone china pots made in Stoke-on-Trent by a pottery company that also produces items for Fortnum & Mason, Burberry and the V&A museum.
The candles feature a 22-carat gold hand gilded lid that reflects the beauty of natural light and gorgeous fabrics, which also doubles as a coaster. The pots are so stunning that Melissa hopes people will keep and reuse them as lovely jars, thus reducing waste.
All the pots are hand-poured in small batches, and Melissa works closely with the potters to ensure the process and attention to detail are flawless. The candles, made from eco soy wax with lead-free cotton wicks for a clean burn, are then hand-poured in Herefordshire.
"A great deal of thought has gone into the entire process, and the products reflect that. A home fragrance can truly enhance the atmosphere in a room and create a captivating ambiance."
"Candles should be considered part of an interior design scheme, adding a different dimension to any space."
Melissa’s range currently has three distinct and unusual fragrances. Elegant Rose is a beautiful modern floral scent with black pepper and bergamot, inspired by Melissa’s own bouquet from her wedding in Tasmania.
Speakeasy Honey is crisp and stylish with all the allure of a speakeasy, dimmed lights and cocktail hour, with a relaxing base of tobacco leaves, amber and oud.
Pomelo Bitters is the final fragrance in the collection – producing a vibrant energy with citrusy scents and with a woody twist.
Hopefully by the summer her collection will also include reed diffusers and clients have already approached Melissa to produce a bespoke scent for their homes which fully reflects their lifestyles and tastes.
Melissa’s fine bone china candles are currently available via her website www.melissawilkes.co.uk