London Gets New Niche Perfumery 'Bloom' in trendy Spitalfields

21st December, 2012

London has a new niche perfumery shop. 'Bloom' in Spitalfields quietly opened its doors in August with a soft launch. Located in the trendy Spitalfields area of East London, home to many creative and artisanal businesses, Basenotes talked to owner Oxana Polyakova.

Why did you decide to open a perfume shop?

When I had to stay at home after my daughter was born I came across Luca Turin’s books and got very interested in perfume and theory of scent in general. Then all things just worked out this way, a short course on perfume in Paris, my love for Shoreditch, lack of perfume places which are about fragrance as an art. My own shop was really an outcome of these three things.

Have you always have a love of perfume?

I have always been very sensitive to scents and it turns out I see scent as colors (I had always assumed this normal and everyone did too, and only having spoken to a lot of people in the shop – I realized very few people were like that). So to me a perfume is a wonder, pure sensual delight, as I feel the scent and at the same time see a kaleidoscope of colors too.

Which are the perfumes you've always admired?

Shalimar (perfume) is my ultimate favorite, good violets sweet or earthy (which are rare) too.

How long have you lived in London for?

I’ve lived in London for 7 years now, I am from Moscow. I like Shoreditch a lot, this area is unique with its array of small shops and businesses with “a face”, feels very 19th century to me and then Google is opening its office here. Very cool.

What is the clientele like in Spitalfields? Is it different to other parts of London

Half of the people which come into the shop are rather young and are on their way to Brick Lane, Columbia Flower Market, Spitalfields. The other half would be ones who can afford to live in the area (rather than hang out). And in Autumn, Red Church Street and Spitalfields are just taken over by the French.

What was the most useful piece of research you came up with when you were doing your homework about opening a shop?

I’ve visited dozens of perfume shops in Paris (most of which are quite conveniently in the 1er arrondissment anyway).

What is the philosophy of Bloom? What gap does it seek to fill that others don't fill?

The starting point is that if you do something, do it well, and it applies to wearing perfume too. It’s a pity the perfume art and skill have gone from well-known brands which are now bleak shadows of former themselves. People see ads everywhere, beautiful models in them; people go to a department store and they trust these brands and end up with a very generic musky scent. These faceless fragrances are about marketing skills and the art of selling and packaging. When buying perfume A featured in every glossy magazine you are buying a chimera conjured up a marketing team who gave a brief to a perfumer.

Then on the other hand there are independent perfume houses with a master perfumer who really cares about his creations and has his or her distinct style and clear concept in mind. These perfumers stay away from department stores for various reasons. Their perfumes are about the art of scent and are thorough, distinct and properly made.

Bloom Perfumery has a portfolio comparable to that of Liberty’s fragrance hall but our staff is much more willing to spend more time with a customer as it’s a boutique. So Bloom Perfumery is about good perfume and quality shopping.

We also are more adventurous than a bigger shop and can try small, new and up-coming and unusual perfume houses easily, aiming to bring the best and most interesting creations to Londoners as if we were a modern perfume gallery.

What are your plans for the future?

Now, when things have settled a bit after the opening in August we will start doing a lot of events for our customers in 2013 such as meeting the perfumers, thematic events, etc. Bloom is launching its e-store in February. We a have schedule of new brands and products coming to Bloom and ultimately, Bloom Perfumery will have its eponymous scented product.

* * *

Basenotes spent a very pleasant afternoon whiling away the time with manager Rosa, who was friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and charming. The shop is well organised - each bottle of perfume has a hand written label on it which gives a list of top, middle and base notes for those who would like to know. There are also small, amber jars with ground glass stoppers around the shop, which contain paper impregnated with perfume inside. This allows customers to smell the perfume in its entirety. In addition, some of the perfumes have small black glass jars in front of them which contain only the basenotes of the same perfume, so you can helpfully discern what the dry down might be like. For some lines like Parfumerie Generale, there are 30ml size bottles, which are very handy when travelling or if you just want to commit to a small size initially.

The sample policy is sensible too - a lovely glass jar at the entrance of the shop is filled with empty sample vials, advertising that samples are £2 each (some samples are just £1.00). "It allows customers to live with something before they buy it" says Rosa. With a seating area at the back and airy, glass counters, Bloom is a no nonsense niche perfume store - nestled between a retro fish and chip shop on one side, and a pub on the other, opposite a large, trendy clothing store and a large Asian population in Brick Lane, Bloom has successfully taken luxury, well thought out perfumes into the hurly-burly of London life.

Bloom is at 4 Hanbury Street, London, E1 6QR.

  • Share this

About the author: Lila Das Gupta

Lila Das Gupta is a London based journalist with an interest in all things olfactory. Lila also organises the Perfume Lover's London meet-up group.


Advertisement — comments are below


    • Francop | 21st December 2012 16:37

      How exciting!

      We shall have to visit real soon !

      Thanks Lila! :-)

    • Kagey | 21st December 2012 21:47

      Oh dear! Another good reason for a perfumista to go to Shoreditch (Angela Flanders being the other). Thanks for the tip!


    • maiglöckchen | 27th December 2012 17:25

      A beautiful shop, tastefully furnished. I came across it in September, had a chat with the nice lady in the shop and she introduced me to the two fragrances of Undergreen, a small firm producing all natural scents, called Black and White. I immediately liked White which reminded me of l´Eau d´Hiver but somehow stranger and she gave me a sample to get to know it better. It turned out to be on top of my buying list the next time I come to London.

    • Francolino | 17th January 2013 10:43

      some niche firms use gimmicky marketing tools just like some classic firms from the big industries do, often you get inflated prices for stravagant nothingness bottled from so called affirmed niche scent houses!