Monday 19 June 2023


A picture of Ainslie Fowler, one of the three sisters that founded The St. Ives Co

Independent businesses in seaside towns have a habit of vanishing after a single season, but there’s one in Cornwall that's just celebrated its third birthday. The St. Ives Co. was founded by three sisters, Tegen, Ainslie and Safi, with the aim of championing the Cornish way of life through home, body and lifestyle products. While their iconic Grapefruit, Lime & Bergamot Body Cleanser was chosen for the G7 Summit, I wondered what other scented secrets The St. Ives Co. had? I settled down with Ainslie Fowler to discover more during her “Stephan’s Six”.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
The first smell, and also the most nostalgic, would have to be sun cream. It takes me straight back to my childhood, and instantly reminds me of those wonderfully long days on Porthminster beach when the only thing to think about was having fun.

A perfume advert for Poison by Dior
What perfumes did your parents wear?
When my sisters and I were younger, my mum always used to wear Poison by Christian Dior. Just the smell of it, even now, reminds me of watching her get ready for an evening out. She would always try on multiple outfits until it was absolutely perfect, and then complete the look with matching shoes and jewellery. I used to love watching the transformation, and she always finished with a spray of perfume.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
That would be Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel. I first smelled this perfume at my Nanna Betty's, she had a bottle on her dresser, and fell in love with it instantly. I can’t believe that it’s twenty two years old now, so still a baby really in terms of perfume, but it’s a real classic.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
This is a hard question because, since starting The St. Ives Co., I really don’t like to say anything negative about others. So I’d say my biggest perfume mistake was simply because I was so totally focussed on the funky looking bottle that I forgot to actually smell it before buying. It was Curious by Britney Spears. I know it became a big hit, but it just didn’t suit me.

An illustration for the perfume The Coveted Duchess Rose by Penhaligon's
You can only choose one perfume?
This is an easy choice for me because there’s one perfume that I think is unbelievably beautiful. It’s the earthy and sensual The Coveted Duchess Rose from Penhaligon's. I love it so much that it inspired us to introduce a rose candle into The St. Ives Co. collection, and it’s called Love Lane.

What perfume should I try?
I’m a big fan of Penhaligon's, so anything from them, but I think I’d like to recommend a “perfume” for your home instead. I think you should try our very own Harbour Haze collection. The scent is a mix of tobacco, Cornish honey and patchouli, the ultimate combination, and I’m yet to find someone that does not fall in love with it. We offer this fragrance as a candle, room mist, diffuser, hand wash and hand balm, so there’s an option for everyone. However, perhaps it's time for us to create a Harbour Haze perfume!

For more information about the The St. Ives Co., and their Cornish-inspired collections, you can visit their website at

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