Scent is an experience. Both Haeckels and Miller Harris are very different in terms of their approach and aesthetics, the former being very minimal and simplistic and the latter focusing on design, illustration and vibrant colour.
I was drawn to Haeckels because it is a natural fragrance and skin care brand and it is very evident that their skin, hair and body products are a work of love; a love of natural ingredients, a love of design and quality but ultimately a love of the heritage of coastal living. All their hand crafted products are formulated in their clifftop Lab in Margate where they only use and distill locally grown botanicals that offer the very best anti-oxidant properties. This makes the brand even more authentic to me.
I was also fascinated about exploring their Thalassotherapy treatments which use ocean water, seaweed, ocean mud and marine minerals to treat ailments and enable the body to replenish, remineralise and revitalise to enhance good health for body and mind. I love their ethics: all of their products are tested on themselves, not animals. Margate and its surrounding areas are places of raw natural beauty and their products and packaging, in my opinion, reflect this natural goodness.
They also get their inspiration from interesting places and look outside their direct industry. For example I saw on the journal page of their website, a piece about New York-based artist Kim Keever who creates abstract underwater art worlds with paint. Using just a fish tank, various colours of paint are dropped into the water. When looking at the images, they almost create otherworldly environments. Keever states, ‘The Abstract series is my latest body of work. Though they still have some resemblance to the Landscape work, paint patterns and color are the main issues as they form random shapes swirling through the water among the wires and plaster cones.’ This relates to the brand’s connection to water and the coast lines and all of the beautiful things that can be found in the surrounding areas.
Moving onto the second brand that I want to discuss, Miller Harris. Sarah Rotherham, CEO, stated, ‘Storytelling and scent are fundamentally intertwined. We can’t sell the actual smell on film. Just everything else…the imagination, the metaphor is what we have. This brings it to life.’ It is from this that they incorporate senses with their scents to give a more immersive experience.
The brand brings their perfumes to life, often through illustration. One of my tutors has been collaborating with the brand for the last couple of years. In celebration of London Fashion Weekend at The Saatchi Gallery, Miller Harris has teamed up with the artist, illustrator and creative director, Laura Quick. Miller Harris also has deep ties with fashion illustration which they used to express the essence of the brand. Laura stated that she spent two days in a huge perfect box with coloured pens. The brand is always experimenting with colour; the cube was said to invite a blank slate for each illustrator who fills its space with their interpretation of the scents. This made the brand very immersive and created an unusual experience in my opinion. It is this collaboration that allows the brand to have their stories interpreted in unexpected ways.
Miller Harris seems to continuously be reimagining the personality of their brand making it fun and exciting. They take inspiration from the less obvious which I feel helps them to create unique fragrances. They are always inspired by London, constantly reminding consumers of their heritage. Like Haeckels, they also try to use natural rather than synthetic materials and understand their responsibility to the planet.
In everything the brand does, their personality shines through; eccentric rebel, unconventional and also quirky. This is shown through their Scent Profiling and Soundscape features in their store. The profiling allows consumers to have scents allocated to them that best suit their likes and desires. The soundscape allows consumers to listen to a sound while smelling a specific perfume. Again this makes the whole store experience more immersive and allows the consumer to be taken somewhere else.