‘Fragrance is for everyone to enjoy, not just the privileged few.’
This comment, from Paul Firmin, co-founder (with business partner Niko Dafkos) of boutique candlemakers Earl of East, could pretty much serve as a mission statement for the brand. Born from a desire to create more ‘thoughtful’ scents for the home, the pair have remained laser-focused in their quest to ‘democratise’ fragrance and bring meaningful scent experiences to as wide an audience as possible.
What started in 2015 as an enthusiastic side-hustle selling hand-poured soy candles from a stall in east London’s Netil market, has grown exponentially. In just over five years, Earl of East has two standalone London stores – including their Coal Drops Yard flagship – and is stocked in over 230 outlets worldwide.
Over the course of that, Earl of East has evolved its offering from the core range of eight candles it built its name on (it now offers everything from fashion and soft furnishings to its own-brand range of chocolates in-store and online). However, the same independent spirit and passionate commitment that first drove the brand remains solidly intact.
To this day, every Earl of East fragrance comes with its own ‘scent story’, revealing the inspiration and evocation behind the fragrance blend. Part of the fun (and by extension the brand’s success, surely) lies in learning about these as part of the journey to finding the right fit – for you, for your home; even your mood – on any given day.
For many brands, that might have been enough ‘thought’ right there. Not this pair. Their dreams of a fully realised fragrance democracy require a complete demystification of the heady world of bespoke scent. As Firmin puts it: ‘We aim to break down the idea that being able to talk about scent is just for the experts. We all have noses after all.’