03 August 2015

Ancienne Ambiance

Written by Published in Health & Beauty

For the last ten years Ancienne Ambiance's online shop has delivered exceptional homeware fragrances. Translating the online business into a boutique experience in Chelsea, London naturally comes with some challenges. Founder Adriana Carlucci talks to Sublime about retaining exclusivity in a retail space

AC PhotoAncienne Ambiance™ luxury goods inspired by antiquity and ancient civilisations are designed and developed by Adriana Carlucci. An honours graduate in Product Development from the London College of Fashion with a life-long passion for fragrance and beauty, Adriana has worked for American Vogue, Vanity Fair and British handbag designer Lulu Guinness.

Sublime: Tell us more about the new boutique
Adriana Carlucci: The project was a couple of years in the making and we finally opened the boutique last November. The biggest thing for us was location. We really wanted Chelsea Green because it has a lovely community feel, with the green in the middle and a lot of the independent shops have been established there for many years. Businesses traditionally evolve from a retail space to an e-commerce shop. We’ve done it the other way around - ten years as an e-commerce business and now the boutique.

S: How has the idea of antiquity translated through to the boutique?
AC: In the boutique, essentially I wanted a calm, temple atmosphere. That was achieved through the decor. We did a stone travertine floor, which resembles ancient temples. We kept other elements such as the colour purple as it was used by emperors and it was symbolic with leadership. That’s a small subliminal thing but a more obvious thing is the ancient art and the antiquities we have on display. Both pieces currently on display are Egyptian and are around 2,500 years old.

S: How do you retain that element of exclusivity within a retail space?
AC: The location is exclusive. We’re in the heart of Chelsea. Everything that you get in this shop is handmade and is produced in a small batch. Our fragrances and our products are completely unique to us and I think this being our own temple, clients need to feel that there is something different that they’re not going to get anywhere else. We’ve got a regular clientele who come to the shop every week and are very loyal to the brand.

S: Tell us about the new addition to your signature candle collection
AC: The Imperium line is a combination of laurel and rosemary essence and along with our fig scent, the candles were introduced in the Autumn/Winter 2014, as limited edition. I certainly felt that Imperium definitely was our best seller and you could really see how popular they were with customers. I decided to add them to the main collection and now they are a staple part of the candle range at the store. Like with most things I’ve done, I have based this on client’s tastes and tailored the line to what they like and what they want. 

S: How relevant is ancient civilisation for you and your clients?
AC: If there’s no origin in ancient stories or any historical recordings, I don't use it. Everything has to be rooted somehow within the cultures I reflect such as Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Syrian and Persian. Our products come with a little description explaining the history behind the main ingredients. I think a lot of people appreciate this touch because it transports them back to that particular time.

S: Even with your link to history, scents have the ability to trigger our own memories.
AC: Exactly. That’s very true. Our tagline is ‘Step back in time and let your senses come alive’ so the idea is we’re really letting you step back in time to 2,000 years ago. But for instance, I had one lady who would come in and buy a specific candle and she said it reminded her of her grandmother’s face cream she use to use when she was little. Some things can spark off your own memories.

S: Where do you see the brand going in the next five years?
AC: We’re starting to diversify product-wise and adding on to existing items and collections. The next stage is breaking into niche fragrances and perfumery. We have body care, home fragrance and now I’m starting with eau de colognes, which are releasing soon. Next year we’ll be doing eau de parfum and we will be making those into bigger collections. In terms of the store, I don’t envisage multiple stores in one city, but there is the possibility of small boutiques in different cities, keeping it really exclusive and unique for my clients. So perhaps it’s just the case of enhancing what I’ve already got.


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