Like so many luxury brands, Rachel Vosper used 2020 as an opportunity to take stock and look to the future needs of her business. With many large corporate orders on hold, especially in the hospitality and travel sectors, Rachel was able to reconnect directly with her customers and private clients as she had done when she first launched her Belgravia flagship nine years ago, having previously practised her chandlering craft from ateliers in Devon and Barbados. She found a newly invigorated appetite for home fragrancing, with so many spending more time at home and devoting time to the creation of their own private sanctuaries.
‘People were not only burning through their candles fast,’ she says, ‘they were also clearing out their attics and rediscovering all sorts of beautiful vessels for us to fill and to upcycle into beautiful, bespoke candles.’
This is one of the unique offers of the business, that, in addition to its bespoke refill service, it can work with and fill pretty much any container brought in by clients, from Christening silver to commemorative pottery, flea market finds or vintage glassware. These are then filled with a scented beeswax of choice from Rachel’s vast library or a completely bespoke concoction and exquisitely wrapped, providing a truly personal product and also directly linking customers to the integral creative process of the brand.
Rachel is launching a new, business to consumer online platform this year including a subscription service for refills and has also sourced a new family-run factory in East Molesley, near Hampton Court, to create her retail stock and provide logistical support, fulfilling the demands of the new site. She is also shaking up her social media presence, including showcasing favourite pieces and offering a new click-to-buy service on Instagram.
Meanwhile, she continues in her mission to become the most planet-friendly chandler in the business, with a new range of sustainable, European-sourced formulations and blends and continued research into the most environmentally safe reeds for diffusers. Further pioneering research has also seen her develop incredibly realistic, flame-free candles that can be safely used in tricky environments, such as members’ clubs, offering the warm glow of candlelight without any health and safety concerns. In addition, she has also been working on high-tech fragrancing systems to be used primarily within the luxury yacht and hospitality sectors, with bespoke fragrances cleverly designed to work in tandem with air-conditioning systems to deliver instant ambience.
Corporate clients have continued to commission Rachel’s creative services, including requests from the Arts Club in Mayfair, the Berkeley Hotel and Garrard to create bespoke votive offerings for their top-tier customers. While the enforced end of tax-free shopping by the Government remains a concern, Rachel looks to a bright future and cites a significant upswing in interest from new clients in the Middle East and the United States.
‘Now more than ever,’ she says, ‘it’s all about bringing a bit of light and joy into people’s lives. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.’