Beauty

Fragrance Profiling at the Burlington Arcade with Sloan Sheridan-Williams

I was on stage giving a talk recently about how to be successful in life and more importantly how to be a person that magnetises other successful people to you. When I asked my audience to call out some of the most desirable traits in people to partner with in business, I was met with words such as knowledgeable, honest, trustworthy, experienced and a wealth of adjectives until one voice piped up attractive and available. I jokingly told them my dating seminar was the next week, but I then went on to explain that being attractive is as important in business as it is in dating, but that I was not talking about looks. Most of us know that successful people are consistent, find opportunity in challenges, persist until they get the desired goal and never give up but what gives them that charisma that they all seem to share.

After the event, I got to thinking about the similarities and characteristics successful people in business have compared to successful people who have found their perfect partner to see where the overlap lay. If such overlap was in the superficial outer layer of what people wore and looked like or if there was a little bit more science to it. Which led me to the science of scent and does it make a difference to your success.

I decided to explore this concept a little bit more and realised to do it justice I would have to go and research scent and sensibility – as a huge Jane Austen fan I couldn’t resist that play on words! Working around Central London, I often pass the Burlington Arcade nestled within the heart of Mayfair, this timeless shopping destination, also England’s longest arcade exudes an aura of tranquil respectability and faultless dependency; a magical oasis within the hustle and bustle of our metropolitan capital.  I am aware it is full of lovely shops but I very rarely make it past Ladurée. However, it was time to delve deeper and go on a search for my answer. I just had to pick up the right scent (puns at the ready – it’s just too easy!) and walk by the yummy macaroon goodies at the entrance to the fragrance houses within!

The Burlington Arcade

For those who have yet to visit the Burlington Arcade, it is one of the few remaining destinations in London where that which is quintessentially British and utterly elegant seamlessly fuse with the surrounding modern world. It remains a capsule for all that is long lasting about British identity whilst also offering a bridge to the contemporary world and the best of its international brands.  An avenue of rich heritage labels and prestigious brands support the reputable quality of the establishment whilst the vast window-paned roof lends a lightness to the brilliantly illuminated displays. With exciting new store openings including the likes of Mulberry, Sophie Hulme and Zoe Jordan, the arcade has proudly welcomed a younger generation of world-class brands to stand alongside their revered predecessors. It is easy to get distracted as lustrous cashmere, elegant lingerie and striking swimwear are amongst the clothing options available in the arcade. Twinkling precious gems tempt every eye from a multitude of decadent jewellers. Flawlessly sleek leather footwear is crafted from traditional cobbling techniques and innovative shoemaking technology whilst a myriad of delicious delicacies are on offer to refresh the famished shopper. The majority of stores have their own private rooms on the 1st floor and offer their clients specialised, one-to-one bespoke services from within them. Stores of note include the phenomenal Roja Dove, La Perla Menswear, Bell & Ross, Maison Michel, Barrie, Kwanpen, Cashmirino and Manolo Blahnik, Frederic Malle and Killian, the latter of which offers clients a choice of exquisitely crafted, art deco inspired packaging with a range of personalisation options that include bespoke engraving.  And the word bespoke sums up this Arcade to perfection, because the knowledge, expertise, service and customisability for many of the products is second to none.

The Burlington Arcade Community

If one were to pause and converse with a Burlington Arcade Beadle, not only would you be sure to learn an impressive amount about the history of each store and the development of the establishment itself, but you would also be treated to a wealth of warming stories gleaned from their experiences with visitors over the years. Anecdotes and encounters between beadles, tenants and customers alike traverse the years with similar themes of comradeship and reliability, traits which make this destination utterly unique within an otherwise largely anonymous London.

The arcade is also home to the wonderfully charismatic shoe shiner, Romi Topi, who on average shines between 35-45 gentlemen’s shoes per day and has a traditional five-step shoe shine stand with all of the finest quality polishes, creams and horse hair brushes. Romi believes that shoe shining should be a part of a lifestyle and not just an occasional treat, a real advocate for the proper treatment and care of quality shoes to lengthen their lifespan. With a regular client base that includes the likes of David Gandy and Bill Nighy, Romi’s stand is yet another attribute offering immaculate service and subsequently catering for the cream of society.

With so much distraction it was a wonder I made it to the three stores on my list Roja, Atkinsons and Penhaligon’s – the latter of which holds the Royal Warrant. I am glad that I did because I had a delightful afternoon. I was able to take my new found knowledge and apply it to my knowledge of neuroscience and emotions and decide is fragrance profiling the next big thing that you can do for success.

The Neuroscience of Scent

Olfactory neuroanatomy (the anatomy of the nose) is intertwined, via extensive and complex neural connections to the primary emotion areas of the limbic brain including the amygdala and hippocampus. I like to refer to these structures as Amy and her Hippo but neuroscientists have yet to adopt my nomenclature and it is more commonly referred to as part of the limbic system. The limbic system supports a variety of functions including the obvious smell but also codes for emotion, behaviour, motivation, long-term memory and the formation of memories. You can see why a smell can be used for more than you originally may have thought.

In particular, this area of the brain can record memories of behaviours that produce pleasurable and painful experiences, so it is responsible for what you move towards and also what you move away from. If it can be used in evoking and controlling emotions, motivation, and behaviour – it’s pretty powerful stuff but the limbic brain is pretty old. Some say reptilian old. It can be set in its way. I spend a lot of my work, helping clients guide their brain by understanding it so they get the optimal effects from this glorious structure. Without a clear understanding, your brain can run you rather than you running it.

So you now know that smell is linked to emotions, but importantly the sense of smell is the only one of our five senses that is directly connected to “Amy and Her Hippo” the part of the brain that processes emotion, memory and associated learning. Which in lay terms means you are more likely to remember something that you smell than something that you see, hear or touch. In fact, you are 100 times more likely. Again extremely powerful stuff. I’m not the first person to highlight this nor will I be the last, but as I often teach if you know something and are not applying it do you really know it.

Marketing managers of successful brands work with their team members to create what is called an olfactory logo for their business. Those who already work in fragrance link it to other parts of their business like the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge which I often frequent which has a beautiful Bulgari aroma circulating at all times, giving another dimension to their brand. The Sofitel in Windsor also has bespoke scented candles, particular to Windsor although other locations I believe also have a “signature scent”  An olfactory logo is in the business referred to as scent branding, is a custom scent that a team of highly skilled people create to embody the brand’s unique characteristics.

Fragrance Profiling For Success

A brand is one thing but imagine having your own olfactory logo for yourself, for your emotions, for your success. How powerful would that be? That is what the three stores I visited provide in three very different ways. Whatever the process, and whichever store you choose, you open yourself up to uncovering long-forgotten memories as a particular scent triggers an emotional response or overturning prior conceptions and biases enabling you to have a new found appreciation of scent.

Penhaligon’s

Here they ask you a series of questions based on preferences such as foods, textures, tastes and uses that information to guide you through choosing the scent which your body is drawn to. Ultimately you decide, the process is very reminiscent of a wine tasting where you discuss ingredients, moving you towards scents you like and away from scents that you don’t.

There is somewhat flexibility in which scent you choose based on the season, your current preferences and the occasion you wish to wear it. I was very intrigued that the two scents I narrowed my choice down to in the end included one with my mother and great grandmother’s name in the title and the other had an Owl my spirit animal as it’s design on the bottle. Neither of these two things did I know when choosing purely on the scent. Coincidence or does our mind know things without even seeing.

This is a good choice for people new to fragrance and want a little guidance and some lovely stories to complement the fragrance choice.

Roja Dove

Roja Dove does it for you, where the 5 figure price tag makes this the ultimate in bespoke services and a truly original scent. This is the epitome of personal branding and will definitely set you apart from the rest, however, the scent is more of a luxury item to pass down as a legacy once you have achieved success rather than one that will move you towards success. It’s the scent to wear once you have already achieved the majority of your dreams.

Trained professionals meet with clients within their private boutique rooms, located on their store’s second floor, in order to help discover and define the client’s ultimate desired scent.  Roja jokingly put 24-carat gold leaf in one of his collections as that is actually the cheapest ingredient in the bottle. Roja embodies his mother from her pearls to her hairspray and her original perfume all in one bottle, likewise, he can embody your essence in something that will last a lifetime creating as close to immortality as one can get.

Atkinsons

At Atkinsons you are guided through a more emotional journey and is far more like a therapy session bringing out the scent triggers that are going to have you aligned with the scent you ultimately choose, such a scent can be a combination of more than one of their collection. Atkinsons encourage you to find a fragrance for life, far more like your own olfactory logo that brands you but also reminds your brain of your identity bringing out the best in you. This is the perfect choice for people who already know that they have one or two perfumes that they wear but they want something just a little more special. Something that brings out their charisma that little bit more. It is also an amazing tool to anchor useful emotions to such as confidence, high self-esteem, a knowledge of one’s innate power and charisma.

My Atkinsons frangrance profiling consultation was guided by Andrew Kyriakou. It was eye-opening and very accurate as to my personality – I don’t want to spoil the experience with a tell-all however journeying through the mood boards and awakening not only my 5 senses but also happy memories and emotions from childhood was a very enjoyable way of choosing a fragrance.

“The consultation involves an optional blindfold… but don’t worry, this is not 50 Shades of Scent! Andrew and his team are highly professional, extremely knowledgeable and an absolute delight to deal with from the moment you enter the store. Steeped in history yet versed in the latest trends, Atkinsons got it right on the nose!”

I would recommend Atkinson’s for those who want to play around with scent to drive them towards success and as a luxury item worth having.

Final Thoughts

Fragrance profiling is an entirely unique experience no matter the method, the careful guidance of informed and knowledgeable experts ensures the revelation of new tastes, preferred tones and ultimately, a personal scent to be enjoyably worn.

If I were to improve the services I would like to see such fragrance profiling becoming something everyone had access to as a form of tool to get you the results you want out of life. This is more than possible if it were combined with more neuroscience-based psychology and NLP type techniques adapted to the olfactory processes so that the scent itself can be used to drive your motivation, success, emotions towards attaining your dreams in record times. Most of us use perfume or aftershave as a daily occurrence if not more than once a day. If that could be linked to your drive and your psychology, pulling you forward to your dreams and helping you achieve them in record time would you consider that as a necessity rather than a luxury? I know I would.

 

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