Thursday 22 April 2021

I've Gone Nuts Over Ånd Fragrances

Launching an online brand in the middle of a global pandemic is certainly not something for the faint hearted. However, following that up with the opening of a physical shop, as we exit the UK’s latest lockdown, pushes the boundaries for even the most daring of people. That is exactly what Simon Constantine has done with ånd fragrance. He has managed to take Corporate Social Responsibility to a whole new level, invested in the struggling world of high street retail, and launched five fantastic fragrances. I went to Poole to visit the new store and also to discover his latest release, the Tåg Solid Perfume.

Simon Constantine is a larger than life character who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, so when we were sat opposite each other the conversation was anything but dull. Much of that will remain between us but his passion for helping indigenous communities around the world is definitely something that needs to be heard. Each of the five ånd fragrances gives the spotlight to a particular ingredient, and this is sourced directly from the community that farm it. By cutting out the middleman it means that the money can be actively distributed to the grassroots producers, and that is a substantial difference.

The fragrances were greeted with rave reviews when they launched back in 2020 but Simon already had bigger plans for the company. He managed to secure a space in an area of Poole in Dorset that is reinventing itself as a quirky, slightly bohemian thoroughfare, and the layout is spectacularly simple. Designed almost like a gallery, the one wall is dedicated to the story of the ingredients and communities whilst the opposite holds five mosaicked shelves that showcase the fragrances. Centre plinths contain the testers and, instead of paper strips, you get sprayed ceramic beads threaded onto hemp to take away with you.

The reusable beads echo the company’s goal of being sustainable, ethical, and to have as low an environmental impact as possible, and this also carries through to their latest release. Solid perfumes are nothing new, and Simon isn’t claiming they are, but the constant search for recyclable packaging definitely is. Usually housed in metal tins that have little use afterwards, or plastic containers if you’re really unlucky, ånd fragrance have gone in a completely different direction. The classic internal wand is back, so no dipping your fingers, and the casing is 70% biodegradable* with the remaining 30% being recyclable. So how has he done it?

Simon Constantine has used Ecuadorian tagua nuts, and this again supports a local community. Known as “vegetable ivory,” they are hollowed out and filled with a combination of the specific fragrance oil along with a luscious blend of butters. Finished with a cap made from recycled drinks cans, and attached to a wand that means you can sweep it across your wrist, neck, or décolleté, this is a fantastic way to enjoy fragrance without feeling guilty about the usual environmental price tag. The solid fragrance does sit closer to the skin, as you would expect, but that hint of buttery decadence more than compensates.

The Tåg Solid Perfumes are available from the ånd fragrance website at priced at £35 for 5g, and the new store is located at 10 Kingland Crescent, Poole, Dorset. BH15 1TB. You can also click on the image below to read my "Stephan's Six" interview with Simon Constatine. [Product was purchased]

* The 70% biodegradable figure is my own estimate based on the size of the nut

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