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5 minutes with... Jackie Ashley, founder of modern-day scent company, Ashley & Co

Alicia Ford
Photo credit: Ashley & Co

From House Beautiful

New Zealand-based brand Ashley & Co was founded in 2005 by Jackie Ashley. Her wish was to create a modern-day fragrance company with products to scent all aspects of daily life, from candles to kitchen cleaners. Ashley & Co has since made the long journey to the UK, so we caught up with Jackie to find out more...

ASHLEY & CO STARTED LIFE IN YOUR GARAGE IN AUCKLAND. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO SET UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

It truly feels like there’s no great time to take the plunge and start a business, but almost 15 years ago, it was definitely a better time than most. My husband Ben and I were newly married and had just bought our first home but I felt stuck in a job for which I had no passion. If I was ever going to give it a go, that was the time! The product I wanted to create – the reed diffuser – wasn’t available in New Zealand then. It was something I’d seen overseas and I loved the concept. The challenge, and a love of creativity, were the driving forces in bringing our first Ashley & Co product to fruition.

WHERE DID YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR EIGHT SIGNATURE SCENTS?

When I launched Ashley & Co, I was finally able to merge my love of fragrance with my passion for interiors. I started with just three scents– their concepts were inspired by vintage wall coverings and tracking down antiques. I gave each one a name, which, in turn, gave it a personality and a story. Now, crafting a backstory inspires a new scent’s direction. The range has grown from just the three home fragrances to more than 60 products that can fit effortlessly into your life.

WHAT MAKES ASHLEY & CO UNIQUE?

Scent is subjective, so it’s difficult to create a range that everyone can fall in love with. We focus on transforming even the most mundane everyday task, using the power that scent has to unlock the senses. Our range of products is wide, from handwashes, lotions, shampoo and conditioner through to home fragrances and everyday cleaning products.

YOU TRY HARD TO ENSURE YOUR BRAND IS AS SUSTAINABLE AS POSSIBLE...

Yes, we’re a small team and pride ourselves on working with as many local suppliers as we can. This means our products are made in New Zealand from the fewest and cleanest ingredients, sourced as close to home as feasible. Being small is an advantage, as it allows us to be nimble. We’re always looking at processes and production and ways we can do things better, particularly packaging. Nearly all our products have a refill option. Our hand-blown glass vessels can be great keepsakes or are easily recyclable, while our green tubes are made from sugarcane, and recycled PET bottles are being phased in as existing stock runs low.

TELL US WHAT SCENT MEANS TO YOU, AND YOUR FAVOURITE OF THOSE YOU’VE CREATED?

Fragrance shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions. It should weave into and throughout your day and bring you joy in the simple pleasures, such as washing your hands, or being greeted by the familiar scent of home as you walk through the door. In our range, I still adore Once Upon and Time. Unlike some fruity fig alternatives, the fig, cedarwood and mixed spices create a soft smoky quality, subtle enough to use throughout the day.

Where to buy Ashley & Co:

These are the best Ashley & Co fragrances for spring/summer, as revealed by Jackie Ashley:

Blossom & Gilt is a fragrance that can be used throughout the year. The throw and reach of this scent is vast. It is best suited to larger areas. High ceilings and open doors do not pose a problem.

Bubbles & Polkadots has a juxtaposition of Rich Florals and Rose Otto which blend harmoniously with the powdery base notes of Musk and Resinous Amber. This too is an all-year fragrance. The fragrance exudes a sense of calm, best suited for open-plan living, for use in late afternoon and early evening.

Vine & Paisley has a scent profile of dominant Vanilla, not candy sweet, and is framed by lively hints of Citrus Mandarin Peel. It's ideal for entrance ways and first impressions, suiting larger bedrooms and en-suites.

Tui & Kahili consists of Mimosa & Lily that excite the calming tones of Sandalwood creating a bold and boisterous impression. It is most definitely a spring and summer scent. Let the fragrance flow throughout your home from the entrance way, through to the living area and lofty ceilings.

Parakeets & Pearls is a trans-seasonal scent, ideal for entrance ways and creating first impressions.

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From: House Beautiful magazine. Subscribe here.

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