WOMEN WE LOVE: Adriana Carlucci, Ancienne Ambiance
Sublime Magazine named Adriana Carlucci’s candles “Best Candle Collection 2013“, and we just awarded Ancienne Ambiance’s new Damask Rose Reed Diffuser the “Best Home Fragrance 2014” award this month…it’s been an exciting year for London-based luxury brand Ancienne Ambiance.
We got the chance to catch up with Adriana recently, just before our Awards two weeks ago, and asked her how she juggles work (running her multi-award winning brand), life, and what’s the secret behind her luxury home fragrance and beauty brand now loved by many loyal fans from Vogue to Saudi Royals.
“I totally believe that the best job you can do is something you really love and are passionate about, but loving beauty and products is not enough – it’s an extremely competitive market.
You need to be totally committed and dedicated in all areas”
Q: Adriana, you’ve just launched yet another gorgeous collection – your new Reed Diffusers including that utterly lovely Damask Rose blend. Ancienne Ambiance has really become one of the top London “bespoke style” brands for home fragrance and bath and body luxuries, loved by Vogue, Saudi Royals and a host of beauty editors in recent years. Did you set out with a specific range in mind, or would you say the collection has evolved more organically, along the way?
In the beginning, back in 2004 when I founded Ancienne Ambiance, I definitely had a specific range of luxury scented candles in mind, because I first created the collection as an ‘add-on’ for my family’s business which has specialised in archaeological/ancient artefacts for generations. I knew other home fragrance items would be introduced for sure but, having said that, the additions did evolve organically, as have the beauty/bath & body items – mainly due to customer feedback and demand.
Beauty and fragrance have always been a passion (I was already obsessed with Shalimar at age 7), but I didn’t think I’d really get to develop them for Ancienne Ambiance. I introduced various products slowly, based on the feedback we got and what I felt was in keeping with our ancient ‘philosophy’ – it has grown from there.
Q. As you know, we’re also massive fans of your best-selling and award-winning Goddess Body Oil, it’s one of the best argan oil products we’ve ever used. What’s the story behind that particular product?
I’d been using oils on my face and body for years. An old friend was a facialist and I learned a lot about products from her and to never to be afraid of oils.
I think my search for an ‘ancient oil’ to use on my dry skin wasn’t ever something I thought I was going to sell, it was a personal quest to find an old or ancient remedy that I could use. Argan oil intrigued me – the robustness of the tree itself, its location (once Roman territory), the time-consuming production of the oil and its many benefits.
It took ages to get the composition right though – it had to be super-moisturising and all natural, I didn’t want the product to leave an oily feeling after application (it has Grapeseed oil in it which helps and is full of goodness), plus I wanted it to have a very subtle fragrance.
With clients asking for ‘beauty’ items, I decided to try out the oil with them a few years ago. I hadn’t expected the response we got at all, we even had clients buying several bottles at a time because they were using it on their babies and children.
I casually let a male relative try it- a man who has no time for lotions and potions- and his reaction was the best “that oil you made me try is really something, you should sell that!”- little did he realise I already had a waiting list as long as my arm because we’d run out of stock!
I find people in the UK are still waking up to the benefits of Argan oil and some are still scared to use oil on their face or body- yet it’s probably one of the best things you can use. Following the success of the oil I introduced Argan soap bars and Argan hand & body wash which incorporate the oil – so for those who are still unsure about using the oil itself, they can feel the benefits of it this way.
Q. With spring around the corner now – at last! – and Mother’s Day on the way, are there any new launches in the pipeline?
As you know, we just launched our wonderful new reed diffuser collection with three new fragrances that are inspired by our top selling candles. They are a brilliant way to experience our fragrances and continuously fragrance a room, without the safety issues of a burning candle. Also, our Goddess Rose Water will be joined by a few new floral waters soon, which are chemical free and organic. They are the Ancients’ version of the now popular “eau micellaire”. We’ll also be introducing new Hand and Body Washes and unveiling exciting additions to the Argan oil range. And we have some lovely “special” editions for Mother’s Day, limited runs of candles and gift sets.
The utterly lovely Lavendula range, one of Ancienne Ambiance’s latest launches
Q. What words of advice would you give to a new beauty entrepreneur, in a nutshell?
I totally believe that the best job you can do is something you really love and are passionate about, but loving beauty and products is not enough – it’s an extremely competitive market. You need to be totally committed and dedicated in all areas – including business admin, supply chain, etc.
Q. If you had to single out 3 all time favourite beauty products – by any brand – what would they be?
Product 1. I don’t want to sound like i’m plugging my oil, because if it were made by anyone else I’d say what I’m about to say…. in all honesty I really cannot live without Goddess Oil. It has so many uses and, because of this, it is my year-round staple beauty product. I use it on my face every night, on my body after bathing and to treat my scalp, which can be sensitive when stressed. I’m especially grateful for its versatility when I travel, as it means I don’t need to take many products with me.
Product 2. REN’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask is a must. I try to use it once a week, or just on my nose area if I don’t have much time. It is the best facial exfoliator I have used and the effects are instant. I recently ran out and tried various facial scrubs, but none of them matched up.
Product 3 would be Phyto. I simply adore their haircare products and have used them for over 10 years. I have long hair and abuse it a lot with blow-drying and heated rollers. Full of botanical ingredients, Phyto are the best I have ever used and unlike any others I’ve tried. From the straightening balm, to the scalp spray, hair masks, shampoos and conditioners, these products keep my hair in amazing condition – and it gets noticed a lot.
About the brand
Ancienne Ambiance specialises in British made, natural hand-poured candles which incorporate exquisite fine fragrances inspired by ancient times. Ancienne Ambiance has since expanded home fragrance offerings and also produces a beautifully-scented new natural, organic beauty and body range. With paraben-free, organic ingredients and recyclable packaging, Ancienne Ambiance values and implements sustainable practices throughout its business model.