Fragrance can have a significant impact on the overall feel and ambience of an interior space. It can enhance the experience of a room by affecting mood and creating an atmosphere that resonates with those in the space. For example, lavender has relaxing qualities and can be used in a bedroom to promote restful sleep. Citrus scents can help invigorate and stimulate, making them great for a home gym or workout room. For kitchens or dining spaces, scents like fresh herbs or baking bread can help stimulate the appetite and create a welcoming atmosphere.
Incorporating scent into the design of a space can really enhance the overall experience and make it a memorable one for those who inhabit it. There are a variety of ways to incorporate scent into the home by using diffusers, essential oils, wax melts, or even fresh flowers, but the warm glow from the flickering flame of a candle is hard to beat. Melissa Wilkes would concur because she has created a business centred around the latter.
Melissa grew up in Worcestershire but after a stint in Australia, moved to London to study law. “I qualified as a criminal defence lawyer and worked in that field for 10 years. It was a career that gave me valuable perspective. I went on to be the co-founder of two thriving companies before I moved back to Worcester where I developed and launched my home fragrance brand, Melissa Wilkes England.”
As a highly ambitious and successful individual, Melissa set out to create candles that were an equal triumph in aesthetic and function. “I’ve always had a love and fascination with scent. As someone who is ambitious, I wanted to create a new luxury and innovative home fragrance brand that utilised the best of British craftsmanship. It’s a joy to work with incredibly skilled and experienced artisans. It took courage and tenacity to venture into the unknown but when I turned 40, I knew it was now or never!”
‘I’ve always had a love and fascination with scent. As someone who is ambitious, I wanted to create a new luxury and innovative home fragrance’
To fund her new project, Melissa sold one of her businesses, which provided a significant amount of the capital. Additionally, she sold shares in a company she had co- founded and used some of her personal savings. “Currently, I am the sole owner of Melissa Wilkes England, however, I’m open to working with angel investors who can help bring forward my growth plans.”
Melissa launched the company in 2022 with the “Gold Collection” which consists of the three scented candles in beautiful fine bone china with hand gilded 22-carat gold lids. “The scents in my debut collection are personal to me and were inspired by travel and childhood memories. The ‘Elegant Rose’ fragrance is a sumptuous modern floral scent. Pomelo Bitters sings with sunshine and boasts citrus aromas. Finally, Speakeasy Honey was inspired by the stylish sophistication and allure of a speakeasy. Notes of brushed leather, amber and tobacco are perfect for cosy evenings chatting with friends.”
In line with the sustainable values Melissa holds, Melissa Wilkes England candles are hand poured in small batches by an eco- artisanal carbon neutral company in the heart of the Herefordshire countryside. “We use 100 per cent GM free eco soy wax and lead- free cotton wicks. This combination produces a beautiful clean burn and long-lasting diffusion of fragrance.”
The fine bone china vessels are made using traditional heritage methods in Stoke-on- Trent. Fine bone china is made from a bone ash, Cornish clay and feldspars combined in the perfect ratios to create an exceptionally strong yet slightly translucent finish. “It takes 34 pairs of hands to create just one candle, and it’s an honour to work with and know everyone involved in creating them.”
Melissa decided to us 22-carat gold to decorate during a research trip to the potteries. “I saw gold being hand gilded on some of the most exquisite prestige pieces. I thought it would be really special if I could incorporate it into my design. It’s a highly reflective 22-carat yellow gold we use, which has a jewel-like quality that will elevate any interior design scheme.”
Fragrances are created by drawing inspiration from travels, experiences, art, and music. “Each fragrance begins with a detailed story that serves as the fragrance brief for my perfumer. We meet in person to experiment with scent notes from his perfume organ, carefully selecting each note to craft the perfect balance.
“It can take up to six months to develop a fragrance that captures the essence of my inspiration, but the end results are worth the meticulous attention to detail. My fragrances are designed to evoke a range of emotions and make people’s homes smell amazing.”
In addition to her current collections, Melissa also offers a bespoke service for those seeking something a little more personal.
“My bespoke fragrance service is a truly personalised experience that involves gaining a deep understanding of the client’s tastes and lifestyle. We can create for residences, whether it be a home, holiday home, studio, or hotel. We can also design fragranced candles for special events and romantic occasions such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. My fragrances are designed to elevate the atmosphere and ambiance, or to evoke a memory.”
Supporting British businesses is integral to the ethos of the company. “The entire supply chain consists of British businesses. I’m able to ensure that our sustainable values are aligned so we reduce waste and our carbon footprint. Some of the methods used to make the candles are listed as endangered by Heritage Crafts. I’m keen to help preserve skills and contribute to the production of fine bone china in England. Collectively we promote a restorative and regenerative economy while producing luxury with purpose.”
“The link between architecture, interiors, and fragrance is incredibly powerful. Incorporating fragrance can heighten the overall experience of a space, adding another dimension. Therefore, it is essential to consider the olfactory experience as important as the visual experience, as both work symbiotically to create a cohesive and immersive environment”.